Updated: July 13, 2021
After numerous reports that some people in legal marijuana states have gone to the Emergency Room after overdosing on THC-rich edibles, some people worry that CBD might have a similar effect. It has led many people to ask: Can you overdose on CBD? What happens if you take too much CBD? How much CBD should I take?
First, let’s define a few CBD terms. The term “overdose” can have a few different meanings. To begin with, some types of drug overdose can result in death, like with heroin, cocaine, sleeping pills, or prescription opioids.
Also, overdose can just mean accidentally taking two doses instead of one, or when a person’s body has a bad reaction, and they assume it was because they took too much. When someone asks about an overdose, it helps to know their definition of the term in order to give the best possible answer. And even more, to know what CBD is in the first place.
Overdose Potential of CBD Oil — by the Data
Is there such a thing as CBD overdose? Let’s look at the data.
After the passage of the Farm Bill that legalized hemp and the cannabis industry took off, the FDA approved a pharmaceutical preparation of cannabidiol. This preparation is indicated for the treatment of particular types of seizures in patients 2 years old or older. That drug is made from a plant-derived pharmaceutical grade cannabidiol (CBD) isolate that does not contain any other cannabinoids or THC.
This drug contains much higher doses of CBD than full spectrum CBD oil. The label of the FDA-approved drug says that adverse events are mild: diarrhea, sleepiness, and nausea. Researchers found no untoward safety signals in the trials leading to its approval by the FDA.
In 2019, a group of physicians in the UK performed a retrospective analysis of over 35 studies of CBD use in a medical context. Doses ranged from less than 1 mg/kg of body mass to more than 50 mg/kg of body mass. Other than sedation, the doctors saw no serious adverse events in the data, even at high doses.1
In 2020, a group in Denmark performed a look-back at clinical trials using CBD oils. Most of the studies reported no adverse effects with acute administration and only mild to moderate adverse effects with chronic administration. Anecdotal case reports show various degrees of efficacy of CBD oil and CBD tinctures, low toxicity levels, and have not reported any serious side effects.
Even the World Health Organization (WHO) came to the conclusion that CBD is safe for human consumption and does not cause overdose or addiction, but that does not mean that the FDA has agreed with the WHO's assessment. Studies on CBD in the United States have been limited due to federal drug laws, further clouding our ability to better understand CBD overdose and toxicity levels. Cornbread Hemp advocates for less federal restrictions on studying cannabis in America.
Is CBD Oil Addictive?
No, CBD is not addictive, and that lowers the risk of taking too much. CBD does not produce the euphoric “high” associated with THC-rich marijuana, which further lowers the risk of overdosing on CBD.2 People with a history of substance abuse are not likely to take too much CBD.
A study from 2017 concluded that CBD “does not produce a signal for abuse liability” and that CBD was “placebo-like on all measures collected.”3 That means that while CBD could have wellness and health benefits, it is not habit-forming with little risk that someone might overdose on CBD.
Can You Build a Tolerance to CBD?
It does not appear that people develop a tolerance for CBD, but more research is needed.4 When people develop a tolerance for a drug, it compels them to take more of it to get the same effect. That can lead to toxicity if they take too much. According to this 2011 study of human test subjects published in Current Drug Safety, “In human studies… tolerance to CBD did not develop.”5
Anecdotally however, some people claim that CBD has less an effect on them as it did previously, or that it took longer to work, which could be an indication of tolerance. This issue can often be resolved by taking CBD at a different time of day, taking a short break, or only taking CBD periodically to address a specific issue.
This could be different for someone using full-strength cannabis products or a history of marijuana use. These sorts of cannabis experiences can change how CBD products work for you. By ingesting any sort of cannabinoid, whether it be rich in CBD or THC, the regular use of a cannabis product could begin to build a tolerance that would be different than that of a first time CBD user.
However, for those folks who may have plateaued in relief from CBD isolate or broad spectrum CBD products, switching over to a full spectrum CBD product made from Flower-Only™ hemp extract that contains the entire spectrum of cannabinoids could prove to be a more effective option.
Can Humans Overdose on CBD Oil?
Can you overdose on CBD? No, it is doubtful. You can accidentally take more than the recommended dose, and you might be sleepy as a result. If you have a sensitive stomach, CBD could give you a tummy ache or even diarrhea.6 That’s typically as bad as a CBD overdose can get, unless someone has a cannabis allergy.
The clinical trials mentioned above used different doses and different dosage forms. What might have been an effective dose in one trial could be too large of a dose in another. The variables involved in determining ones dose include weight, diet, sex, and age. To learn more about correct dosing, check out our CBD dosage guide.
Can Pets Overdose on CBD?
Again, the answer is no. pets respond to CBD in much the same way as humans. That’s because all animals have cannabinoid receptors.7 The primary difference in administering CBD to pets for their health conditions is a matter of dosage. CBD dosage is based on body weight.
Like humans, pets who use CBD might find relief from all sorts of conditions including aches and pains, daily stress,8 and supporting a healthy sleep cycle. If you’ve got an aging pup or cat, giving CBD oil a try can certainly be a low-risk option to increasing their quality of life.
If a pet consumes too much CBD oil, what can happen? The most likely side effect from a dog or cat overdosing on CBD include: lethargy, vomiting, and incontinence. For ideal dosage for CBD pet products to avoid these side effects, visit Cornbread Hemp’s CBD dosage guides for dogs pet owners of dogs and CBD guide for cats. If you’re still wondering where to start with your pet and CBD oil, look for the nearest holistic veterinarian in your area, as they’d be the most likely to have information about pets and CBD.
Effective Dosing of CBD for People
The real question is not about overdose—but about an effective CBD dose. How much CBD do you need to take to achieve the outcome you desire? What is the best CBD dosage? CBD taken orally is subject to digestion. Does it matter if CBD is taken with or without food? Some CBD preparations are better absorbed with a high fat meal. Is there anything else in the CBD that might affect how it works or how CBD makes you feel? Researchers are still looking for the answers to these questions and more.
Follow the instructions on the label of the CBD product. CBD has no intoxicating effects, so there is no reason to take more than indicated.9 If you are taking the product on the advice of a healthcare provider, follow those orders. If you are concerned about the side effects of other medications taken with CBD, make sure to contact your pharmacist for a drug interaction evaluation.
We recommend to most CBD first timers to start with a daily dose of 25mg of CBD per day. Our products are designed to easily measure 25mg per serving, with a graduated glass dropper that has four equal parts with coinciding lines. With the addition of our 1,500 mg CBD oils, Cornbread Hemp customers can now enjoy a 50mg CBD serving size per dropper of CBD oil, or four equal parts at 12.5mg of CBD.
Does CBD Oil Have Side Effects?
What are the side effects of CBD? Similar to the side effects of the cannabis plant, using too much CBD can cause dry mouth and sleepiness. In the worst cases, it can result in a stomach ache or incontinence.10 If you notice any change in your heart rate, blood pressure, or blood circulation, or if you develop headaches, be sure to consult your doctor.
To date, we have not received any reports of negative side effects from our USDA organic CBD products other than the rare few listed above. Cannabis products are considered to have a good safety profile.
It’s important to understand that full spectrum CBD extract is not a drug, and is considered by many health care practitioners to be a dietary supplement, much like fish oil. However, there are risks associated with taking full spectrum CBD oil. For example, employers can still choose to fire you if you test positive for THC, or even for CBD, on a drug test.
Choosing a CBD Oil Brand You Can Trust
The bottom line here is that there are zero reports of a person experiencing a fatal overdose on CBD. But that doesn’t mean that CBD is totally harmless. Some disreputable CBD brands sell products that have been shown to contain dangerous contaminants like pesticides and heavy metals. One report suggests that 70% of CBD products contain dangerous contamination.11
The only way to ensure that a CBD oil is free of pesticides, heavy metals, solvents, and microbial contaminants is to look for CBD oils that are USDA certified organic and third-party lab tested like the CBD oils made by Cornbread Hemp. This is not only better for you, but better for our environment, too.
Organic farming requires a crop rotation that usually consists of three to four different organic crops. These crops regenerate the nutrients in the soil, which gives us a much better yield in the long run. Hemp is a natural bio-accumulator, meaning is absorbs much of the nutrients, toxins, and other elements within the soil that surrounds it. So crop rotation with hemp is very important for its long-term sustainability.
It’s extremely important to not only grow the hemp without the use of pesticides, but to also regenerate the nutrients that are essential to growing the most CBD-rich hemp genetics in the world. That’s what we refer to as “regenerative agriculture.”
Why Cornbread Hemp?
Since the Farm Bill of 2018 passed Congress, you can find CBD products everywhere from gas stations to health food stores and pharmacies. And you can find CBD in many different forms: from oils, to CBD gummies, capsules, and more. But with so many products saturating the market, it can be hard to find a genuine, high quality CBD product that you can trust.
By committing ourselves to using only the highest quality, pesticide-free organic Flower-Only hemp extract, and by administering third party lab tests , Cornbread Hemp ensures that our customers receive the safest and most effective organic CBD oil available on the market, or your money back. We recommend that you do your own research on CBD products, in part by reading the nearly 1,000 reviews about CBD on the Cornbread Hemp website.
About the Author
Dr. Leslie Mudd, PharmD
A board certified oncology pharmacist with 25 years experience at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center in Louisville, Kentucky, Dr. Leslie Mudd now serves as the Cornbread Hemp resident pharmacist and medical expert. Read Dr. Mudd's full author bio here.
Does CBD Get You High FAQ's
Can CBD oil get you high?
No, CBD oil does not get you high. Full spectrum CBD oils contain trace amounts of THC that must be below 0.3% by law. That's not nearly enough THC to get you high. However, you might notice that you feel less stressed when taking CBD, or that you fall to sleep easier at night.
How does CBD oil make you feel?
Most people who take CBD report being less stressed out in everyday situations, having a healthier sleep cycle, and even relief from aches and pains. However, this is dependent upon what type of CBD oil you are taking, and if it contains a full spectrum of cannabinoids, or just CBD isolate.
How much CBD is too much?
Most people take between 25mg and 100mg of CBD per day, but it's safe to take as much as 3-4mg per 10 pounds of body weight. Depending on your health issues, you will need to experiment with different doses of CBD to find the one that works best for your needs.
1) Millar SA, Stone NL, Bellman ZD, Yates AS, England TJ, O’Sullivan SE. A systematic review of cannabidiol dosing in clinical populations. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2019;85(9):1888-1900. doi:10.1111/bcp.14038. Table 1, Table 2, and Table 3.
2) Devinsky O, Cilio MR, Cross H, et al. Cannabidiol: pharmacology and potential therapeutic role in epilepsy and other neuropsychiatric disorders. Epilepsia. 2014;55(6):791‐802. doi:10.1111/epi.12631. 5th paragraph
3) Babalonis S, Haney M, Malcolm RJ, et al. Oral cannabidiol does not produce a signal for abuse liability in frequent marijuana smokers. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2017;172:9-13. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2016.11.030. Under “Discussion” heading 2nd paragraph.
4) Iffland K, Grotenhermen F. An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017;2(1):139-154. Published 2017 Jun 1. doi:10.1089/can.2016.0034. Under the heading “Acute Clinical Data,” 1st paragraph
5) Bergamaschi 2011. Page 3, paragraph 8
6) Iffland K, Grotenhermen F. An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017;2(1):139-154. Published 2017 Jun 1. doi:10.1089/can.2016.0034. In the “Results” section of the abstract.
7) Institute of Medicine (US); Joy JE, Watson SJ Jr., Benson JA Jr., editors. Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1999. 2, Cannabinoids and Animal Physiology. Available from: Under the heading “Value of Animal Studies,” 1st paragraph
8) Silver RJ. The Endocannabinoid System of Animals. Animals (Basel). 2019;9(9):686. Published 2019 Sep 16. doi:10.3390/ani9090686. Under the heading “The Endocannabinoid System,” 4th paragraph
9) Iffland K, Grotenhermen F. An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017;2(1):139-154. Published 2017 Jun 1. doi:10.1089/can.2016.0034. Under “Introduction” heading, 1st paragraph
10) Millar SA, Stone NL, Bellman ZD, Yates AS, England TJ, O’Sullivan SE. A systematic review of cannabidiol dosing in clinical populations. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2019;85(9):1888-1900. doi:10.1111/bcp.14038. Table 1, Table 2, and Table 3
11) Fletcher 2019. Sentence 20.
All rights reserved. The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. CBD is not advisable for use when breast feeding or pregnant.
Cornbread Hemp works with suppliers who guarantee a less than or equal to 0.3% THC content. With these trace amounts of THC, it is possible that users may fail a drug test. Cornbread Hemp does not take any responsibility in the instance a customer fails a drug test while using these products.