What You Need To Know About Hemp Side Effects

by Emjay
Field of hemp during sunset

It’s hard to go to the grocery store without encountering no less than 15 million products with pot leaves on them, proudly billed as hemp-derived or hemp infused. It’s in protein powder, lotion, CBD products, makeup, shampoo, and even dog food. Everyone is suddenly coming to realize that hemp can be a beneficial part of our everyday lives. It only took nearly a hundred years of cannabis demonization to finally get here. 

Because hemp is in so many of the products we use in our everyday lives, a lot of people are going hemp crazy. They’re excited to have something similar to legal cannabis within their grasp, so they use CBD, hemp seed oil, hemp protein powder, hemp milk, and hemp flour. 

But should they? Is it possible to encounter side effects from using too much hemp?

The short answer is yes. If you’ve ever been overzealous with protein during a time where you were really committed to working out, you know that too much protein can really mess with your stomach. 

It’s a good thing, but overconsuming a good thing can come with consequences. The same goes for hemp. 

What is hemp?

Hemp is cannabis. It isn’t a special plant or a different plant. It’s the weed plant. Hemp is a term the government uses to define what kinds of cannabis plants can legally be grown to manufacture CBD, food products, textiles, rope, and oil. All “hemp” means is that the cannabis plant in question contains no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight.

The government reached the conclusion that 0.3% was the right number based off of the loose suggestion of a cannabis researcher and author who tossed that number out as an example. No actual research went into determining what a “safe” maximum legal limit of THC was. Everybody voted on it and went about their day. 

They were right about one thing: THC levels at 0.3% or lower are not enough to get anyone high. Hemp can’t impair you in any way, which is why it’s a federally legal substance. Allowing it to be grown helps to support agriculture in the United States, and the sale of hemp-derived products supports the economy. Keeping the THC low helps to bypass cannabis restriction. The government may not have gone about it in the perfect way, but it was still a step in the right direction.

The different forms of hemp and their benefits:

Hemp can be used to make dozens of things. Some of those things are for industrial use, like rope, textiles, or fuels. You’re not likely to encounter these in your everyday life. What you’re bound to cross paths with are hemp food products, CBD products, and hemp-infused personal care products. 

Hemp seeds

Hemp seeds, also called hemp hearts, are very good for you. People use them to add crunch to a salad or swap out other kinds of seeds in their diet. Hemp seed butter can also be used as a peanut butter alternative.

Hemp seeds are surprisingly nutritious. They’re full of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids, and the ratio of these fatty acids is perfect. It’s superior to the ratio in oils or fish. Hemp seeds contain many important trace nutrients and add healthy fiber to your diet. The fiber from hemp seeds can aid in your body’s digestive process and support heart health. 

Hemp is used to create things like protein powders, flour alternatives, and hemp-infused foods. If you don’t want to grind the seeds yourself (and you don’t — it’s a lot of hard work), you can opt for a prepared alternative to save yourself time and experience the health benefits. 

Hemp seed oils

Hemp seed oil is the oil made from pressing hemp seeds. The hemp oil you see in the baking aisle doesn’t contain any cannabinoids like the hemp you see in the pharmacy or supplement section.

Hemp seed oil imparts the same benefits as hemp seeds. Its smoke point makes it a poor choice for cooking with heat, but it can be used to prepare cold things like salad dressings or a drizzle of herb-infused oil for a finishing touch for your cooked food. 


Hemp extracts or CBD oils

Full-spectrum hemp extracts and CBD products contain cannabinoids from the plant. In these products, the nutritional benefits of hemp aren’t the selling point. It’s the way they make people feel. Products like sublingual CBD sprays and CBD tinctures are popular among people who want the benefits of cannabis without the high. 

These are the products people use to support their wellness. CBD and other cannabinoids work to provide relaxation benefits or promote emotional balance. CBD is still being studied for its ability to positively impact people living with certain health conditions, and the research is still generally out. In the interim, people are enjoying it for what it is. 

When the cannabinoids from hemp reach your body’s endocannabinoid system, they change the way that your cells communicate. Many people feel that CBD helps them get a decent night’s rest, relax after a hard day, or recover after an intense workout. 

Side effects hemp can cause:

Hemp provides tons of benefits, but it can also cause some unpleasant side effects. Some side effects are more common than others, and a few side effects can be mitigated by changing the way you use your hemp products. 

If you’re noticing what feels like side effects from using hemp products, stop using hemp. If the side effects don’t go away, they may be due to something else. If they resolve shortly, the hemp is probably the culprit. If hemp doesn’t agree with you, stop using it. 

If the side effects were mild, using substantially less hemp than you were using before might allow you to enjoy the benefits without the side effects. 

Digestive issues are the most common side effect of oil products

Some people who use hemp in the form of seed oils or CBD oils report experiencing a sour stomach or diarrhea. Think about what would happen if you took any oil on an empty stomach or over-consumed oil as a part of your diet. If greasy food doesn’t agree with you, large amounts of any oil product will produce a similar effect.

The best way to mitigate this common side effect is to avoid using hemp seed oil or hemp extracts on an empty stomach. If you take CBD oil supplements, eat something first. If you’re using hemp oil in a recipe, only use what you need. Going overboard won’t necessarily impart any more benefits — especially not if you’re running the risk of tummy troubles.

Effects on blood pressure and heart rate

The use of full-spectrum hemp products has been associated with a slower heart rate. This could be due to the effect that hemp-derived CBD can induce relaxation in many people, and when you’re at rest, your heart rate will naturally go down. If it feels unpleasant, stop taking CBD. 

Gently moving around a little bit can help to gradually increase your heart rate. Don’t get up and start running around. Start by gently bouncing your foot or tapping your fingers. You can have a cup of low caffeine tea like matcha to counteract the effects of lethargy you might feel. 

Hemp oil products can also raise blood pressure in some people. This is because they’re naturally high in fat. Fried foods and diets high in fat often lead to complications with blood pressure. You can stop using hemp or you can eliminate sources of less healthy fat from your diet by removing vegetable oil or fried foods. Make balanced choices, and follow your doctor’s instructions regarding a care plan for blood pressure management.

Hemp can interact negatively with certain medications

Cardiac glycosides are drugs that help to control your heart rate. If you’re using glycosides to keep your heart rate low, don’t add hemp into the mix. It can exacerbate the effects and lead to bradycardia, a condition where the heart rate becomes dangerously low. 

Hemp is a mild, natural diuretic. You shouldn’t take hemp in conjunction with a prescription or over-the-counter diuretics. Diuretics can cause potassium levels in the body to become insufficient, which can lead to trouble with heart function. Avoid any and all diuretic foods and drinks when you’re taking diuretic medications. 

The takeaway

Hemp is safe to use in moderation and imparts significant benefits to your overall health when used correctly. It’s nutritious as a food, and many people find the effects of hemp-derived CBD improve the way they feel in their day today. If you’re adding more hemp into your diet or using hemp-derived wellness products, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about the change before you make it. 

If you’re interested in adding hemp products into your daily routine, Emjay has a wide selection of CBD products. We can deliver you tinctures, patches, topicals, and gummies in as little as half an hour. 

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