The use of CBD and hemp products has taken off in recent years. As consumers and researchers alike have found, CBD may be an effective treatment for a wide variety of concerns and issues and can be used by people of all ages and stages of health. But as useful as this cannabis compound is, if used with abandon, it could cause other health concerns.
That’s because research has found that cannabidiol can negatively interact with some over-the-counter and prescription drugs and medications. But what causes this? And should you avoid CBD if you’re taking certain medications? We tasked the writing team at Medimorphic to find out more about this topic.
CBD On Its Own
When used on its own, cannabidiol products like soft gels, sprays, and salves are safe and mostly benign. As such, consumers can use as much of the hemp-based product as they need to achieve their desired results. While consuming too much CBD may result in side effects like nausea, diarrhea, or grogginess, these side effects are mere annoyances.
Moreover, studies suggest that it is impossible to overdose on CBD. In one study, participants took doses that were several times higher than the recommended dosage and experienced no adverse side effects. Even after taking up to 1500mg a day, both animal and human participants displayed no negative effects. With no risk of overdose, and relatively mild side effects, CBD users can rest easy knowing that this cannabis compound has nothing to offer but benefits when used alone.
Numerous studies have found that CBD could be used to help manage or treat a wide variety of health and lifestyle issues, including reducing subjective feelings of anxiety, an anti-inflammatory for joint and muscle pain, an antipsychotic, a way to manage the symptoms of depression, and much more.
Why Does CBD Interact With Medications?
So we know that CBD by itself is basically harmless, but that isn’t always the case for when it’s taken in conjunction with other medications. In these instances, there’s a chance that the cannabis compound and the medication can block each other. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, because the unique chemical compounds and structures of CBD and other medications means that there will nearly always be an interaction of some kind. But what causes these interactions?
CBD can limit or in some cases increase the effects of some medications because it interacts with the body’s receptors within its Endocannabinoid System. In particular, CBD can inhibit the activity of cytochrome P450.
What is Cytochrome P450?
Cytochrome P450 is a liver enzyme that helps to metabolize many medications and compounds. In fact, it’s estimated that nearly 60 percent of all medications are metabolized by cytochrome P450.
When taken in specific dosages, cannabis compounds, like CBD, can temporarily deactivate the CYP450 enzymes in your body. This means that your body will not be able to metabolize other compounds as efficiently. By limiting your body’s ability to metabolize drugs and medications, CBD can make certain drugs less effective, and in other cases, can prolong the presence of the drug in your body. When your body cannot metabolize these medications fully, they can build up in your bloodstream and cause a variety of health concerns. This isn’t a desirable side effect and it may be a cause of concern for you and your doctor.
Which Medications Does CBD Affect?
The research into the interactions between cannabidiol and medications and drugs is ongoing, and we’ll do our part in keeping you updated on new developments. As of now, there has been no comprehensive study into just which drugs CBD can impact and how. That said, there are a variety of studies that have looked at some common medication types and their reaction to CBD treatments.
Blood Sugar Medications
This area of study is still developing, however, there is a body of research that suggests CBD could help to lower insulin resistance while improving the metabolic process and blood sugar control. That said, few studies have looked at how CBD and insulin interact. Some hope that hemp-based compound might have a favorable impact on diabetes drugs, but others are concerned that it could lower glucose levels dramatically.
Opioids have been the topic of heated debate in the United States for the past few years. As more and more people are prescribed opioids and subsequently become addicted, it has sparked a conversation about overuse. Of course, for everyone abusing these medications, there are those who have a legitimate need for them and use them properly.
A recurring part of this dialogue is the suggestion of substituting cannabis products for opioids. After all, cannabis, and CBD, in particular, has regularly been found to help manage and reduce pain. A study from 2011 had subjects use vaporized cannabis in addition to their regular opioid treatments. The researchers found no changes in opioid blood level concentrations after using cannabis. However, subjects reported that they felt less pain after using the cannabis product. The study suggests that cannabis products, like CBD, may be an effective pain-reliever and supplement or substitute for opioids.
Blood Pressure Medications
Studies have found that THC activates both the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the ECS at the same time, which can raise blood pressure. CBD, on the other hand, has been shown to lead to a minor drop in blood pressure when taken in large amounts. The volume of dosage may interact with prescribed blood pressure medications.
Medications that Increase the Risk of Bleeding
CBD has been found to increase the effects of drugs that are used for blood thinning, like warfarin or heparin. The cannabis compound can also increase the effects of OTC drugs that can increase blood thinning, like ibuprofen. This is because the body’s ability to metabolize these drugs has been slowed by the interaction between CBD and CYP450.
On its own, CBD can have a sedative-like effect on users by interacting with the neurotransmitters within the ECS. When used with prescribed medications, cannabidiol can enhance the effects of the medication. Studies have not fully measured the impact that CBD has on sedatives, but it can lead to other issues, like the inability to stay awake. It is safest to avoid using CBD treatments while taking prescription sedatives.
Cannabis products, and in particular CBD, has been used as an anti-seizure treatment successfully for many years. When used alone, it can be a viable replacement for prescribed anti-seizure drugs. However, it can cause issues when taken with other medications. A study from 1992 found that low dosages of CBD do not offer any anti-epileptic effects, but can inhibit the CYP450 enzymes enough to allow a concentration of the medications clobazam and norclobazam to build up in the bloodstream. This could lead to more severe seizures in some cases.
The chemotherapy treatment process requires precise doses of medications delivered at specific times. When not enough of the drug is administered, it may not have an effect, and if too much is used, it could prove to be toxic to the patient. Chemotherapy drugs have to be metabolized by the body before they can take effect. Since CBD has been shown to inhibit the body’s ability to metabolize drugs, this could result in more of the chemo drugs entering the bloodstream than is ideal.
There is research that suggests that CBD may be useful in helping to address the aches and pains related to cancer treatment, but it is not recommended to use CBD in conjunction with chemo drugs. If you and your doctor should agree to use both CBD and chemo drugs at the same time, the amount and type of medication will have to be changed to account for the use of CBD.
Using CBD and Your Medications Safely
One thing that nearly all of these studies have found is that when taken in addition to your doctor-prescribed treatments and in low-doses, CBD does not appear to have a remarkable effect on the body’s ability to metabolize a medication. In other cases, the interactions between the two may not be noticeable.
In any case, it’s always wise to discuss the use of CBD with your doctor before you begin using a hemp-based product or before you start using a new medication. Together you can develop a treatment plan that best utilizes your medications and CBD. In some cases, you may be able to supplement your medications with a CBD treatment, and then replace the medication with cannabidiol completely over a period of time.
Order Your CBD Products Today
When used properly and in tandem with your doctor prescribed treatment plans, CBD could play an effective part in managing your health and wellness. At Medimorphic, we have a variety of product lines that are designed to seamlessly integrate into your existing lifestyle. Check out our nuhumun line, which features high-quality micro-mists, softgels, and salves that all make use of our premium quality CBD.
See how CBD can enhance your health today and order now.