As CBD use as a therapeutic alternative to conventional medicine, many people are asking: does CBD interact with other medications? The concern is certainly valid as nearly half of all Americans are taking at least 1 prescription drug. While the positive health benefits of CBD are numerous, those taking other medications are wondering of potential interactions.
The short answer: Yes.
The Role of Cytochrome P450 Enzyme
CBD inhibits the cytochrome P450 enzyme, which is involved in metabolizing many drugs. Compounds in grapefruit inhibit the same enzyme group, which is why physicians advice patients not to eat grapefruit shortly before or after taking a medication.
(Read this article from ProjectCBD.com to learn more about Cytochrome P450 enzyme.)
By inhibiting cytochrome P450, CBD can either reduce or increase the effects of other drugs. In some situations, it may be advisable for a physician to monitor a patient’s blood levels of other medications while taking CBD. See CBD-Drug Interactions: The Role of Cytochrome P450 for more information.
This suggests that CBD can either increase or decrease the breakdown of other drugs. Again, it depends on the drug in question and the dosages used.
Any pharmaceutical, nutraceutical or green rush scheme to exploit the therapeutic potential of CBD must reckon with the fact that cannabidiol can both inactivate and enhance various cytochrome P450 enzymes in the liver—and this can potentially impact a wide range of medications. Drug interactions are especially important to consider when using life-saving or sense-saving drugs, drugs with narrow therapeutic windows, or medications with major adverse In particular, those who utilize high doses of CBD concentrates and isolates should keep this in mind when mixing remedies.
Pharmaceuticals and the Endocannabinoid System
Evidence indicates that several classes of pharmaceuticals upregulate the endocannabinoid system, including analgesics (acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, opioids, glucocorticoids), antidepressants, antipsychotics, anxiolytics, and anticonvulsants. Clinical interventions characterized as “complementary and alternative medicine” also upregulate the eCB system: massage and manipulation, acupuncture, dietary supplements, and herbal medicines. Lifestyle modification (diet, weight control, exercise, and the use of psychoactive substances—alcohol, tobacco, coffee, cannabis) also modulate the eCB system.
Do you work with clients and customers who are interested in taking CBD therapeutics but ask the question, “Does CBD interact with other medications?” If so, feel free to share this article with them and to always advise that they speak to their medical doctor before using CBD or any other cannabis related therapeutic.