From anxiety to chronic pain, CBD is being served up as an effective aid for a lot of people, and far more people are interested in natural medicine than ever. But because a lot of people are looking to either use CBD to replace other medications or complement an existing medical care regimen that may involve prescription medications, it brings about a really important question for a lot of people: Does CBD interact with medications?
The short answer here is yes. Cannabidiol does have the potential to interact with certain types of medicine. That’s not to say that anyone taking medications cannot try CBD for whatever ailment it is that they have. Just as it would be if you are adding a new supplement to your daily intake, you should discuss CBD with your doctor first. Here’s a quick look at the science regarding CBD and prescription medications.
CBD could raise medication levels in the body with certain meds.
Harvard Health went over the potential risks of CBD in a publication in 2018. Of course, CBD has been deemed as relatively safe and has very few ill side effects to speak of. The article even mentions the World Health Organization’s highly attributed quote that states:
“In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
However, one thing that the publication mentions is that CBD has the ability to elevate the levels of some medications in the system by the same process that grapefruit juice can. For instance, the publication states that this cannabinoid raises Coumadin levels in the blood, which is commonly prescribed blood thinner. The Mayo Clinic mentions the same thing about blood thinners and CBD.
Why is it that CBD interacts with some drugs?
Even though CBD is derived from a plant, it is a hard-working little cannabinoid. When it is introduced to the endocannabinoid system (ECS), CBD can inhibit cytochrome P450 production, which is a collection of enzymes that affect how the liver breaks down things in the body (like medications). Grapefruit juice, which is commonly referenced as a precautionary thing to avoid on prescription labels, is basically capable of creating the same issue. When CBD or grapefruit juice messes with the production of these liver enzymes, it will naturally change how certain types of medications perform; they may break down at a much slower rate or break down even faster than they should.
What types of medications could be affected by CBD?
As for now, the proposed list of potentials that we know is pretty short. However, it is likely that there will be other drugs included on the list that interact with CBD eventually as there are quite a few listed that can be affected by grapefruit juice, such as Losartan (a common blood pressure medication) and Alprazolam (a benzodiazepine). As far as the drugs doctors recommend not be taken with CBD, there are a few to talk about other than blood thinners:
Chemotherapy Drugs – These medications have to break down at a specific metabolic rate to do their job for a patient, so CBD could interfere.
Anti-Seizure Medication – This one sounds a bit counterintuitive since CBD has been FDA-approved for use in Epidiolex, which is a prescription medication for seizures. However, if CBD is taken in conjunction with traditional chemical-based anti-seizure drugs, it can prevent the drugs from metabolizing fast enough to thwart seizures.
Sedatives – CBD in itself is considered to have mildly sedating or calming properties for some individuals. If a patient is taking a sedative to help them sleep and uses CBD on top of that medication, the sedative effects can be greater.
Talking to a doctor is important with any new CBD regimen.
It is an unfortunate fact that a lot of doctors are not well-versed in CBD, and some may wrongly advise against it when it could really help. However, if a patient is taking any form of prescription medication, it is absolutely a must that they talk to their doctor, let them know their intentions, and make sure the CBD will not cause problems. This is a good measure to take whether you are adding green tea supplements or Vitamin D to your daily intake because overall, a doctor is there to make sure you aren’t going to do anything that interferes with the general medicine that is given. CBD can do wonderful things when taken responsibly, but it is not something to take a chance on without getting your doc’s blessing if you are already on some types of medications.