If you’ve spent any time online lately, or gone into any health food store, you’ve undoubtedly seen a CBD product (or two, or twenty…) and it’s no wonder; CBD has been proven to effectively reduce inflammation, anxiety and pain, and a myriad of other health related issues.
But there are still many questions at the forefront of consumer’s minds- namely “what exactly is CBD” and “is it safe for people who are using prescription medications?” Before using CBD, it’s important to learn about the potential CBD drug interactions.
CBD Drug Interactions
In short, CBD can change the way your body processes certain medications. Research shows that CBD is generally safe and has very few (if any) small side effects. However, there IS one caveat: CBD does have the potential to interact with some medications.
CBD (cannabidiol) can interact with other medications that (like itself) are metabolized in the body by the cytochrome p450 enzymes CYP3A4 and CYP2C19. By competing for these enzymes, CBD can reduce the metabolism of such drugs, raising their blood levels and possibly requiring downward adjustment of their doses.
Here is an extremely helpful tool to check whether or not the drug you’re taking may interact with CBD. Simply type in a drug name and the tool will check for interactions with CBD or cannabis.
What Drugs Should You Not Take With CBD?
Given the likely safety profile of the cannabinoid, there are a surprising number of CBD drug interactions. As you will see later, it has a lot to do with the CYP 450 enzymes. As a consequence, there are possible CBD oil drug interactions with the following:
- Oral hypoglycemic agents
- HIV antivirals
- Calcium channel blockers
- Immune modulators
The above is not a full list of all possible drugs impacted by CBD. Also, not every medication within the above categories causes an interaction. As a result, we recommend talking to your doctor before adding CBD to your routine, especially if you are taking any kind of medication.
Final Thoughts on CBD’s Interaction with Other Medications
While there are a few studies that look at potential drug interactions between CBD and other medications, we are still in the dark, according to experts like Yasmin Hurd of Mount Sinai. She suspects that cannabidiol interacts with the majority of drugs taken orally.
It is a suggestion that makes sense. After all, approximately 60% of the drugs on the market interact with the CYP450 liver enzymes. When using these drugs with CBD, more of the medication gets into your system due to CBD’s ability to block these enzymes.
This is terrible news for patients who use drugs such as warfarin because if CBD blocks the metabolization of the blood thinner, the level of the drug becomes higher and could reach toxic levels. In the case of warfarin, using CBD with it may result in a dangerous hemorrhage or traumatic bleed.
If you use CBD with anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax or Ativan, it may lead to a higher degree of sedation. In rare instances, this combination could cause problems with your respiratory system. CBD could even increase the serum concentration (amount of a drug in your blood) when combined with drugs such as antihistamines, antiretrovirals, and beta-blockers.
While low doses of CBD are unlikely to cause drug interactions, there is no research that outlines the ‘safe’ amount. Ultimately, if you are using CBD to treat a specific medical condition, consult with your physician before considering its use when you are already using an OTC or prescription drug.