CBD is the new “miracle drug.” People use it for everything from anxiety to pain relief to epilepsy treatment. The list of benefits is a long one, and it is growing all the time as researchers continue to study CBD use. As more and more people continue to use it for treatment, many are starting to ask, “Can CBD oil interact with medications?” People often choose to use CBD because they want a more natural option that does not produce as many negative side effects as their medications. CBD alone is generally considered safe, and there are only minor side effects, such as drowsiness. However, it can still be risky to take along with other medications, and CBD interactions can potentially be dangerous. Experts like to remind people that all drugs, even herbal drugs, interact with each other.
All medications have to be metabolized in the body, most often in the gut or liver. One particular enzyme family is called the cytochrome P450. These enzymes are responsible for metabolizing more than half of all prescription medications. This enzyme family converts all foreign substances, enabling them to leave the body. CBD is also metabolized by the cytochrome P450, meaning it can inhibit these enzymes and negatively interact with any medication that is metabolized by this enzyme family. CBD competes with these medications and either slows or speeds up their metabolism. This change affects how the body processes these medications. In some cases, CBD can cause high levels of medications to stay in the body longer than they are supposed to, which can cause an increase in side effects or even an overdose.
In other cases, the CBD can cause the medications to be less effective by speeding up the metabolization process. If a medication is metabolized too quickly, it may not stay in your system long enough to do its job. Regardless of whether CBD slows down or speeds up the process, the dosage would need to be adjusted correctly to stop this from happening.
There are many types of medications known to be affected by CBD use, such as steroids, antidepressants, heart medications, and antibiotics. CBD can increase medications that cause blood-thinning, such as ibuprofen. Since CBD causes the metabolism to slow down, these medications stay in the body longer than they should, prolonging their effects. CBD can sometimes cause drowsiness in users, so it should also never be taken with sedatives as it will only increase the sedative effects. Although studies have shown that CBD can be an effective epilepsy treatment, and has been developed into a prescription medication, using CBD while taking any other epilepsy medication can have negative effects. Instead of providing better treatment, as was once hoped, this combination can actually cause more aggressive seizures. A similar reaction can occur when taking medication for chemotherapy. Even though CBD alone can be beneficial for cancer patients, using it while taking chemotherapy drugs can result in a high concentration of the medication entering the bloodstream. In both cases, negative effects could be reduced by decreasing the medication dosage, but most doctors would suggest not combining these medications with CBD at all.
Since researchers are still studying to figure out all the medications CBD interacts with, a simple Google search will not always suffice. Experts agree that if you are not sure if CBD will interact with your medication, you can look for a grapefruit warning on the label. Over eighty-five medications are currently known to interact with grapefruit and even other citrus juices, such as orange juice. These medications can become less effective if the user eats grapefruit or drinks grapefruit juice. Like CBD, grapefruits contain chemicals that affect the cytochrome P450 enzyme family.
Consuming grapefruit while taking these medications leads to high concentrations of the medication in the bloodstream. It can also result in negative side effects or overdose, just like CBD. The general rule of thumb is that if a medication has a grapefruit warning, you should not take CBD with it either. It is believed that CBD interactions could be worse for elderly people. The work of their livers and kidneys slows down as people get older, meaning medications are eliminated from the body at a slower rate. Many elderly people use more than one medication, so the risk of interaction is even greater. These interactions could result in dizziness and a higher risk of falling, which puts them in more danger than younger people.
Researchers are working hard to learn all they can about CBD interactions. So far, most of the tests have been done have been on animals, so it is hard to say how this research will differ in humans. There are also some studies that contradict each other, only adding to the confusion of this research. Some studies show that smaller doses of CBD can interact with medications less, while other studies have not shown significant changes when the dosage was decreased. So, can CBD oil interact with medications? Yes, but it is important to talk to your doctor before using CBD, especially while taking other medications.
It is important for your doctor to know about anything else you are taking, including over-the-counter medications and vitamins. Your doctor may be able to help you come up with a plan that allows you to use your medications and CBD together in a safe manner while monitoring any possible side effects. They can help determine a safe dosage of each and a schedule to follow to maximize the benefits of both. Although some doctors will not recommend the use of CBD in any case, many recognize the potential benefits and they are hopeful that it can offer relief to their patients. In some cases, they may recommend a form of CBD that is not ingested, like topical products, because they do not enter the bloodstream like oils, vapors, or edibles.