CBD Could Interfere with Your Medication. Here’s What You Need to Know
Cannabidiol (CBD) has become well-known for its therapeutic benefits. It can help ease the symptoms of a variety of conditions like insomnia, anxiety and even allergies. There has also been anecdotal evidence of CBD helping treat cancer.
While CBD has these benefits, the research on the substance is still ongoing. To date, it shows that CBD is generally well-tolerated and safe to use but it does potentially interact with other medications.
So does this mean you should give up on your daily dose of CBD? Not exactly. But you may need to reconsider a few things and speak to your doctor. Let’s take a look at what medications CBD interacts with, how this interaction occurs and the impact it may have.
What kind of medication does CBD interact with?
CBD doesn’t interact with every medication but there are a few types of medications that it can interfere with. The known types of medications that CBD interacts with and can have serious effects include:
- blood thinners
- heart rhythm medication
- Thyroid medication
- Seizure medications
Researchers from Penn State College of Medicine have identified more medications that can have a serious effect when their concentrations are altered. Some of these may be affected only by Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which can be found in broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD products.
How does CBD interact with medication?
When you take medicines, they travel throughout the body in different steps. The first is absorption, then distribution, metabolism and finally excretion. When the medicines are metabolised, they pass through the liver which is like the body’s chemical processing plant. The liver breaks down the medicine after it’s done what it needs to. To do this, the liver secretes enzymes but there are a few factors that can change the way these enzymes work and the presence of CBD is one of them.
So if you’re taking CBD and medication, they can interact with each other in the liver. Depending on the type of medication and how your metabolism breaks it down, the enzymes can be affected and not perform the way they should.
What effect does CBD have on your medication?
A family of enzymes called cytochrome P450 (CYP450) are responsible for the breakdown of foreign substances including CBD. However, CBD seems to interfere with this family of enzymes by inhibiting it from doing its job. It can also compete with the enzymes and both situations can result in altering the concentration of the medicines in your body. And both a high concentration and a low one can be dangerous because the medicine may not work as required or the side effects can be increased.
For example, if the CBD caused the enzymes to metabolize the medication slower than it should, you’ll have more medication at one time in your system than you should. This could be dangerous because the effects can be exaggerated even if you’re still taking your usual dose.
And if the CBD causes the enzyme to metabolize the medication too quickly, it will pass out of your system without a chance of properly treating your health issues.
Can you still take CBD while on medication?
If you’re already on prescribed medication you should consult with your doctor first before taking CBD. Although CBD is generally safe and well-tolerated, it’s best to be sure that you’re not at any risk.
There is still research that needs to be done around the interaction of medication and CBD to determine which ones will potentially be a risk. However, you can use the grapefruit warning rule of thumb. Look for any warnings on the label or the insert of your medicines that say you should avoid consuming grapefruit in any form. Grapefruit is known to alter the concentration of medication in your bloodstream because it inhibits an enzyme from the CYP450 family in a similar way to CBD.
Another option you can use to incorporate CBD into your treatments is to use a CBD-infused lotion or cream so you don’t have to ingest it. These are good for topical skin treatments like easing pain and inflammation, itchiness, redness, irritation and acne.