CBD and Drug Interactions: What You Need to Know

CBD and drug interactions: what you need to know

Many people are turning to cannabidiol (CBD) oil in an attempt to ease the symptoms of common health problems such as chronic, pain, insomnia, anxiety, various inflammatory conditions, and a whole lot more. Research to date has described CBD as very safe and as having very few, minor side effects.

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In having said that, there is ongoing research on one important potential consideration to make when choosing to take CBD oil, and it relates particularly to the compounds interaction with medications. CBD does have the potential to influence the way the body metabolizes some drugs.

For this reason, it is important to speak with your doctor or trusted health professional about any medications and supplements you are currently taking, and how these could possibly be influenced, prior to taking CBD oil.

In this blog post, we look at CBD and drug interactions: what you need to know before trying it out.

CBD and drug interactions: what you need to know about drug metabolism and interactions.

When you take a medication or any other substance, your body needs to metabolize it- that is, to break it down. Substances produced by the body, called enzymes, are largely responsible for facilitating the process of drug metabolism. A group of enzymes called CYP450 are play a particular role. There are some medications that can influence CYP450 to either work to slow down or to speed up drug metabolism.  This ultimately may change the way the drug affects you- referred to as a ‘drug interaction’.

Research has determined that CYP450 enzymes (particularly one known as CYP3A4) are responsible for metabolizing cannabinoids, including CBD, as well as around 60% of clinically prescribed medications. During the metabolism, CBD can interfere with the action of CYP3A4. This means that it may inhibit the enzyme’s ability to effectively break down medications that are in your system. The interaction may also work the other way, with various medications inhibiting CYP3A4, making it difficult for your body to efficiently metabolize any CBD that you’ve taken.

Why is this important? Because it means that even if you are sticking to your prescribed dosage of medication or CBD, the interaction between the compounds can result in a slower metabolism, which can lead to a build up of either substance in your body, which may lead to unwanted side effects. Alternatively, if the medication is being processed too quickly due to the interaction, you might not have enough of the medication staying in your system to effectively treat your health problem.

CBD and drug interactions: what you need to know about trying CBD safely.

If you are currently taking prescribed medications for a particular health condition and you are wanted to try CBD oil, we recommend that you speak to your doctor first. It is important that you do not stop any of your medication abruptly, or before speaking to your doctor first.

There may be some instances where your doctor would like to monitor your blood plasma levels for certain medications that you take, as this can help them to determine whether or not any CBD you’re taking will or is interacting with your prescribed medications.

CBD and drug interactions: what you need to know about the ‘grapefruit warning’.

You may have seen the ‘grapefruit warning’ on medication packages before. The warning is there to indicate that people taking the particular medication should not consume grapefruit. Grapefruit contains certain natural chemicals known as furanocoumarins. These chemicals are known to inhibit the CYP3A4 enzyme in a similar way to CBD, resulting in a slower metabolism of the medication.

Until there are more studies conducted around CBD and drug interactions, if the medication you are taking has a grapefruit warning on it, it is reasonable to assume that you should avoid taking CBD oil in conjunction with it.

CBD and drug interactions: what you need to know about the current studies on interactions between CBD and medications.

There is current ongoing research into how CBD oil interacts with certain medications. Most of the studies that have been conducted so far have been using animal subjects, and so scientists are still working to determine how well their findings translate across into humans. Some smaller-scale clinical trials have been conducted, but further research is required in order to accurately determine how much interaction there is between CBD and certain medications. In turn, this will allow for the development of recommendations or guidelines around taking CBD alongside prescription medications.

CBD and drug interactions: what you need to know about talking to your doctor.

You should speak with your doctor before taking CBD oil if you are currently taking any prescribed medications, particularly so if they are medications that carry the grapefruit warning. Your doctor may be able to suggest a safe dosage rate that will allow you to take CBD oil as a complimentary treatment to your current medications, or they may able to advise you on how you can otherwise safely take CBD for your health condition. In some cases, your doctor might like to monitor your blood plasma levels to ensure that your medication and CBD are both safe for your condition. They can also advise you on any potential changes or side effects that you need to be conscious of.


The information that is contained in this blog post, ‘CBD and Drug Interactions: What you need to know’, is provided for educational purposes only. This information should not be taken as general medical advice, nor is intended to diagnose or treat any type of medical conditions. Transcending Organics always recommends that you seek the advice of your trusted health or medical professional regarding possible drug interactions of CBD oil with any medications that you are currently taking.


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