Cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive compound of the Cannabis plant is taking over the medical world.
Many people tout CBD as a miracle supplement since it is being used to treat ailments from A to Z. This is all thanks to our endocannabinoid system and how CBD interacts with it. Because of this, products like CBD oil and its related compounds from the plant are taking the place of traditional pharmaceuticals as conscious consumers lean towards more holistic values.
While CBD is known to be a benign substance with little to no negative side effects—except possible nausea, diarrhea, drowsiness, and loss of appetite—the research done on the compound is still in its early stages.
This leaves us with the concern of mixing CBD with prescribed medications. While there’s an ongoing list of all the CBD health benefits, little is known about CBD drug interactions.
In this article, we’re diving right into everything you need to know about CBD and drug interactions.
CBD Drug Interactions and Your Liver
It all starts with your body’s very own filter—the liver. Your liver is responsible for processing your blood and breaking down nutrients and chemicals. There are a group of enzymes known as the Cytochrome P450 which enable it to do so.
More specifically, the Cytochrome P450 enzyme group is in charge of breaking down the toxins and drugs that you ingest.
So, what happens to your body when you mix something like Cannabidiol (CBD) and your regular medications?
Well, to put it simply, a sufficient dosage of CBD oil (or any CBD product for that matter) will temporarily deactivate this enzyme group. In turn, this will alter how other chemicals are metabolized in your liver.
This poses the risk of allowing medications to remain in your system for much longer, where they can either become toxic or cause other issues. In rare cases, something like this can even cause an overdose.
Of course, CBD isn’t the only thing that can inhibit your liver from doing its job. It should also be noted that grapefruit, St. John’s Wart, Goldenseal, and several other foods and herbs cannot be mixed with certain medications as well.
Known CBD and Medication Interactions
In essence, any drug that would be metabolized by the Cytochrome P450 enzyme group should not be mixed with CBD.
Here are a few explicit examples of what drugs should not be taken with CBD:
Those who take blood thinners such as Warfarin, Ibuprofen, Coumadin, etc., run the risk of increased bleeding. CBD can increase the potency of these medications and prolong their duration in your body.
Both CBD and THC already have sedative effects on the body. THC is associated more with drowsiness, CBD is better known to have calming abilities.
When combined with a sedative or a drug that has sedating properties, it is said to have an additive effect. This means that CBD can strengthen the effects. While the effect isn’t necessarily a negative one, more research needs to be done to know the true impact of the mixture.
On one hand, CBD has become a favored natural alternative for those who suffer from epilepsy. On the other hand, when taken with anti-seizure medication, it can result in more aggressive seizures. Even at very low dosage, it makes for a dangerous cocktail.
Chemotherapy drugs are dosed and given based on the metabolization rate within the body. Much like CBD, the dosage of chemo drugs is important in their effectiveness.
When mixed with CBD, the metabolism becomes inhibited, which results in a higher concentration of the chemo drugs entering the bloodstream.
Of course, CBD, as well as THC, are known to alleviate the painful symptoms related to cancer. CBD itself is also known to slow the growth of cancer cells.
Other Drugs that You Shouldn’t Take with CBD
Believe it or not, there’s a large number of drug interactions with CBD oil and other CBD products. According to the Indiana University Department of Medicine, the drugs listed below also make for a risky mixture:
- HMG CoA reductase inhibitors
- Calcium channel blockers
- HIV antivirals
- Immune modulators
- Angiotenson II blockers
- Oral hypoglycemic agents
Of course, there are plenty of medications that can potentially interact with CBD negatively. It should also be noted that not every medication will have an adverse reaction. The entire list itself is based on the types of drugs that are metabolized by the Cytochrome P450.
Always Speak with Your Doctor First
If you are taking other medications and you want to begin taking CBD, the first thing you should do is speak with your doctor.
Whatever your purpose for wanting to take CBD, your doctor needs to know. Being on other medication doesn’t mean that you can’t try CBD, however, it’s important to mitigate the risks involved.
Your doctor can help you figure out the right dosage to take—and when to take it. Something as simple as spacing out your prescribed medications and your CBD by a few hours can eliminate any risk of CBD drug interactions.
Never Risk Your Health
As mentioned before, adverse reactions to CBD are very rare. However, CBD drug interactions are a completely different story. While CBD offers a variety of health benefits, it is extremely important to be aware of the possible dangers of taking it with your current medications.
This isn’t something that should scare you away from trying CBD products either. We are more than happy to guide you through your first (or second) CBD experience and answer any questions you may have.
Just remember—always consult with your doctor before trying any new supplements with your current medications!