cbd and drugs interaction

CBD And Drug Interactions – The Ultimate Guide

Guide On Taking CBD While On Other Medications

There’s growing awareness about the possible health benefits of using CBD oil. But what about CBD and drugs, and what happens when they interact?

According to anecdotal evidence, by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system or ECS, CBD may help manage conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and pain.

Although CBD is generally considered to have a good safety profile, it may interact with other medications. 

Drug interaction refers to a reaction between medication and drinks, foods, or supplements. It may also refer to a reaction between drugs. 

While medicine is meant to improve your health, drug interactions may not only interfere with the effectiveness of your medications but may also lead to severe side effects.

This article will highlight all you need to know regarding the safe use of CBD alongside other medications.

But even before we continue, we want to emphasize the importance of talking with your doctor before using CBD oil for any health condition, especially if you’re already taking other medications.

Here’s why:

CBD May Affect How Other Drugs Are Metabolized (CBD And Cytochrome P450)

Found within the liver, a family of enzymes known as cytochrome P450 (CYP450) metabolizes or breaks down foreign substances, including more than 60% of all the drugs you have consumed.

However, some substances or drugs may affect cytochrome P450, either by speeding up or slowing down drug metabolism.

The change in drug metabolism may affect how your system processes, use, and eliminates supplements or drugs from your body. This is how drug interaction comes in.

Why Does This Matter?

When determining an ideal dosage for you, your doctor makes calculations based on the amount of time-specific drugs or medications take to be processed and cleared through the cytochrome system.

If your system is healthy and you’re only consuming one drug, then your doctor-prescribed dosages should be accurate.

However, as explained earlier, some substances may interfere with the working of the CYP450. 

This means that, if the substance slows down drug metabolism, the drugs you consumed will take longer to clear out of your system. This could lead to an overdose.

On the other hand, if the metabolism rate is too high, medications will clear out of your system faster than intended.

How Does CBD Come In?

CBD is one of the substances that may have the ability to affect the CYP450 system.

According to research, CYP3A4, an enzyme within the Cytochrome enzyme family, metabolizes cannabinoids, among them CBD. 

Unfortunately, during this process, Cannabidiol may impair the CYP3A4 enzyme.

CYP3A4 is also responsible for processing about 60% of all medications you will ever encounter.

If substances such as CBD are interfering with this system, then it’s unable to break down drugs in your system as it should. 

This takes us to our previous point where you either have too many medications in your system, even if you stick to your normal dose.

Or drugs clearing out of your system too fast to deal with your health condition.

This goes two ways; If you’re on other medications that inhibit CYP3A4, then your body won’t be able to process and break CBD as it should. This means that CBD won’t have the desired effects on your body.

In a study, kids with hard-to-treat epilepsy were treated with clobazam and Cannabidiol. It was discovered that CBD might have increased the concentrations of clobazam in their bloodstream. The authors of the study note that while clobazam and CBD can be safely used together, medication levels should be monitored.

Guide On Taking CBD While On Other Medications

Now that we understand how CBD can affect the CYP450 enzyme family, how can you safely use CBD while on other medications?

Talk With Your Doctor First

The first thing to do before turning to CBD oil for any medical condition or if you’re already on other medications is to consult your doctor.

This is because they may be able to recommend a dosage, CBD product, and schedule that’s safe with your existing medication plan.

For instance, your doctor may advise you to take CBD oil at different times of the day. This may give both substances enough time to be metabolized sufficiently, lowering the risk of a potential drug interaction.

Your doctor may also recommend a specific CBD consumption method based on your existing medications. For instance, topicals such as creams and lotions don’t typically enter the bloodstream, and depending on your other drugs, your doctor will determine whether this is the most appropriate form of CBD for you.

Remember, so far, there’s no evidence to suggest that CBD can cure or prevent any medical condition. Don’t at any given time, abandon your doctor-prescribed medications in favor of CBD.

Check For Grapefruit Warning

As bizarre as this may sound, drugs with grapefruit warnings should not be used alongside CBD.

According to the FDA, taking grapefruit while on drugs with grapefruit warnings may increase the concentration of these drugs in your bloodstream, leading to an overdose or severe side effects.

Turns out, chemicals in the grapefruit effect CYP3A4 the same way CBD does.

Here are some of the common medications with a grapefruit warning:

  • Antibiotics and antimicrobials
  • Antihistamines
  • Blood thinners
  • Antiepileptic drugs
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Corticosteroids
  • Cholesterol medications 
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Anti-anxiety and anti-depression drugs, etc

This list is not exhaustive as new drugs appear almost every day. The surest way to know of CBD will interfere with your medications is by consulting your doctor.

Side Effects To Check Out For

Although grapefruit warning may point to the potential of the drug to interact with CBD, you can still use them together, but with strict guidelines from your doctor.

Your doctor may opt to monitor how your liver is reacting or examine the plasma serum levels of the drugs you’re taking.

Either way, you will need to watch out for potential side effects associated with drug interactions. They vary from nausea, fatigue, changes in appetite, diarrhea, sedation, and drowsiness.

POINT TO NOTE: Your existing medications may already have some of the mentioned symptoms as side effects. However, if you notice an increase in these symptoms after introducing CBD, then it could be a result of a drug interaction.

How To Use CBD While On Other Medications- Take Away

It’s possible to use CBD while on other medications, but you must consult your doctor first because of possible drug interactions.

CBD may inhibit the Cytochrome P450 system. It is a family of enzymes responsible for metabolizing medications and other foreign substances.

This may lead to an overdose or your medications not functioning as intended.

Depending on your existing medications, your doctor may give a schedule or dosage guideline for the safe use of CBD.

Although CBD is generally safe, it may have temporary side effects when used in high dosages. It’s therefore advisable that you start with the lowest possible dose, watch for possible side effects before increasing your intake.

If you experience any side effects, don’t take more CBD until you have consulted your doctor. This applies to any other supplement.

This article should be used for educational purposes only. For any medical advice, please see your doctor.

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