Letter: A problematic CBD experience

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I thought the CBD trend was harmless, snake oil that could drain your wallet but not much else, but a recent experience has me questioning otherwise. I had previously purchased several different brands of the oil, eventually finding one that did help me sleep, as well as several that probably contained little or no CBD, thanks to the lack of regulation. While I have no doubt CBD can be useful for certain types of epilepsy, sleep and pain, the dosages are likely much different and higher than any amount found in a tincture.

During my recent problematic experience, I took what I thought was 100 mg of CBD [available in the Asheville area], a dose that had previously helped me with anxiety and insomnia. However, about two hours after ingestion, I noticed a lack of short-term memory, closed-eye hallucinations and increased social anxiety as well as other clear signs of THC intoxication. I was previously diagnosed with borderline schizophrenia (they use the term schizotypal more nowadays) and know I am very sensitive to these compounds. In the past, they caused a lot of problems, though I thought I was safe in this instance. I am not writing this to fearmonger but spread awareness of the problem of lax regulation in this area.

I have no doubt CBD can be useful, and many companies are doing good work in distributing it, and it seems to have a much safer side-effect profile than prescriptions, but in its current state with lack of regulation as well as testing, it’s very problematic, especially for those prone to dissociative or psychotic states.

— Name withheld


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7 thoughts on “Letter: A problematic CBD experience

  1. Austin

    “I thought the CBD trend was harmless, snake oil that could drain your wallet but not much else”. I am trying to understand why you took it based upon your initial analysis. This post is fishy, especially with the name withheld. CBD oil is legal and doesn’t have a social stigma. Please inform us, where did you buy it and what product was it so that other’s can avoid your experience. Have you discussed this with the retailer or manufacturer? Seems like that would be your first course of action. Or maybe that wasn’t the point. Please respond so that other’s can know if you are for real or just spreading propaganda. Believe it or not, this is really important for a lot of people’s well being. Including, farmers, hemp processors, the elderly, and those living with an assortment of conditions that they treat with CBD.

    • Z(nw)

      Perhaps using a better term than snake oil would have been wiser, but my intent I thought was clear, not to spread misinformation or propaganda but to relay an issue that I do not believe has been addressed and which can be extremely damaging to those on the schizophrenic spectrum. It’s been my understanding talking to lazarus and doctors of this concern that cbd tinctures contain a small amount of thc wHich can lead to intoxication, though it’s unclear what that cause was in my case. Given my own history and sensitivity to thc , an isolate may be wiser. Again, my issue is not to fear monger but to address a real concern and a frustration that comes with lack of real testing or regulation. My name was withheld for I felt it necessary to share about schizophrenia but know this has extreme prejudice and stigma attached.

    • Z (name withheld)

      It is not locally produced but is a popular one and I did not want to single out any brand as I am not certain that is an influence. The brand however was the lAzarUS high strength full spectrum tincture which contains about 50 mg cbd and 2mg thc per serving. I am not sure why this happened as it happened on one other occasion and perhaps others I was unaware of (since I mostly took it before sleep)although different possible causes such as an inadequately mixed tincture combined with my high sensitivity seems a likely culprit.

      • Austin

        Thank your for your clarification. It is my impression that producers are having each batch tested. Sorry you had a bad experience. I hope you find what you need to live a healthy life.

  2. Roberto


    As a grower, processor, and retailer of hemp products, I’d like to take a minute to (hopefully) clear some things up.

    There are plenty of regulations regarding the manufacture and sale of CBD products but there is very little enforcement of these regulations as laid out by the FDA.


    Food or beverage products containing CBD are a NO. This includes gummys, cookies, snack bars, tea, etc.

    Intentional or unintentional mislabeling: Certificates of Analysis are supposed to ensure that the CBD product you buy is as it says it is but copies of these of compliant strains are very easy to come by via the internet. Hemp doesn’t come with serial numbers so these documents can be used to “verify” products that don’t meet the guidelines set forth by the FDA.
    In their defense, we consecutively had three different methods of calculating THC concentration of hemp products in a year’s time.

    One cannot advertise that CBD treats any medical condition or as a dietary supplement.

    No skin cream or balm with CBD.

    Pet food or treats: Nope. Sorry Fido, no CBD for you.

    I would dare to say that many retailers of CBD products in our area probably have something for sale that is non-compliant, whether they know it or not.

    I would say the best way to get CBD product with a known THC concentration would be to buy from those who retail North Carolina grown hemp. Every farmer has to be tested by the state for THC compliance and is issued a certificate for that strain and crop. That makes for a very short and easy-to-verify paper trail.

    Here’s a link to the FDA website on CBD rules: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-regulation-cannabis-and-cannabis-derived-products-including-cannabidiol-cbd#dietarysupplements

    • Z (name withheld)

      Thank you for your thoughtful response. It does clear some things up in regards to regulation and testing. As you state, there is regulation but little enforcement. This is likely very frustrating for companies doing good work being undermined by those just looking to make quick money. There seem to be some companies that do a good job at getting third party testing and it makes sense to use those companies and to look for paper trails. The first products I used, Gummies and a cbd tincture likely didn’t have any cbd. The product I used has good testing, however it’s produced outside of North carolina.
      Hopefully in the future, regulation can get better, or enforcement, as I think that can only help honest hemp growers. The second issue, testing may take more time, but I think is very important. While cbd has been approved in limited epilepsy cases, as far as I know, other uses (pain,anxiety,schizophrenia)are more hypothetical. It concerns me not only with the unknown side effects but with what effects other cannabinoids have in full spectrum tinctures. It’s likely cbd has little side effects, imo but until testing is done there’s no certainty and it may just lead to a shouting match from both sides. The effects of other cannabinoids seems to be an issue with me, and it seems to mimic the unwanted thc high (I used to live in Washington and california and have experience with this). I’ve talked to a medical cannabis doctor who recommended folks like me stay on isolates but it would be good to know for certain what happened, if it was thc or something else so this kind of thing can be avoided in the future.

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