The popularity of Cannabidiol has made this natural remedy most trusted in treating almost all types of health issues. Being a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, it does not make you high and also has no side effects if consumed in moderate dosages. But the question about its interaction with other medications has always been a hot topic among the users. In today’s article, we will try to answer this question and let you know whether CBD interferes with your other prescription meds.
The Risk Of Mixing Drugs
You must have heard from your doctor that medicines have the potential to interfere with each other when they are consumed at the same time.
According to AIDS Info, ” A drug interaction is a reaction between two (or more) drugs or between a drug and food, beverage, or supplement. Taking a drug while having certain medical conditions can also cause a drug interaction. A drug interaction can make a drug less effective, increase the action of a drug, or cause unwanted side effects.”
Drug interactions occur mostly due to two reasons. Some drugs interact because the substances present creates a synergistic effect resulting in an effect larger than expected. Another reason may be antagonistic effect in which the combined drugs lead to a smaller effect than expected. The individual effects of the drug may vary from patient to patient and can be dangerous, especially when the patients are not aware of the effect.
Can CBD Interact With Other Drugs?
Yes, CBD could potentially interact with other drugs, though there is no surety about the specific drugs or dosage levels at which it might start to pose risk.
So far no systematic interaction of CBD has been studied with other drugs. The only clear study in this regard is of Epidiolex which is an FDA approved drug for treating a few rare forms of epilepsy-like Dravet and Lennox Gastraut Syndrome.
Studies found out that a particularly high dose of CBD in some patients increased blood levels of other antiepileptics they were taking. These antiepileptics were clobazam, rufinamide, topiramate, valproate, eslicarbazepine and zonisamide.
A case study on the interaction of blood thinner warfarin and cannabidiol found that taking CBD led to even thinner blood than expected. Since these studies are pretty much isolated, they have a minor standing.
Yasmin Hurd, a CBD researcher and the director of the Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai suspects that CBD could very well negatively interact with most drugs that are taken orally.
Another CBD Expert Michelle Henry, a board-certified dermatologist and Harvard-trained Mohs surgeon seem to agree on the same. According to Henry, Nearly 60 per cent of the medications on the market is metabolized through a set of liver enzymes — called cytochrome P450, or CYP450 — that are, coincidentally, the same enzymes that break down CBD.
Previous studies suggest that CBD is a strong inhibitor of these enzymes which means if you take CBD when you are also taking any other medication, it can inhibit these enzymes present in those medications allowing more of the medication to enter your system.
Similar is the case with benzodiazepines like Xanax or Ativan which are usually given to treat depression. If CBD is taken with either of these drugs, it can increase sedation and side effects can be increased.
Furthermore, CYP2D6 metabolizes many antidepressants, so CBD may increase serum concentrations
of SSRIs, tricyclic antidepressants, antipsychotics, beta blockers and opioids.
It Also Depends On Your Dosage
How intensely all these interactions occur in our body largely depends on the dosage of both the CBD and the medication that we are taking.
According to Hurd, “If the concentration of CBD is high enough, it could inhibit the activity of those enzymes, so you would get more of the other drug getting into your system,”.
However, very low amounts of CBD doesn’t seem to interact much with other medications. But unfortunately, there has not been much evidence to determine how much CBD is safe to consume.
The Form Of CBD Matters
Another factor that can influence the extent of interaction of CBD in our body is the way you use CBD. Whether you take it orally, sublingually or apply it topically contributes to this factor.
It all comes to how much of the content makes its way to the bloodstream which differs based on the method of consumption.
According to Henry, an IV would be the most direct route as its putting the drug right into your blood.
Next up is taking CBD sublingually i.e. under your tongue.
When CBD is ingested, it goes through the gastrointestinal system where some of the absorptions are reduced in the bloodstream before moving forward to the liver where the enzymes are present.
When applied topically that is on your skin, the amount of CBD absorbed and passed to your bloodstream is the least. Therefore, there are very fewer chances of any possible interaction when taking CBD via this method.
The Takeaway On CBD Drug Interactions
No medicine comes without the potential risk of side effects and interactions with other medications. Similar is the case with CBD. It is undoubtedly a natural supplement but can interact with other drugs. Therefore, we always suggest you start with low dosages at first and consult your doctor about possible drug interactions. The best decision would be to avoid large doses if you are on any medication that might interact with this supplement. Talk to your health care providers and find an appropriate amount of CBD that will be best for your body. When used rightly, you may find that CBD helps you improve your symptoms and lessen your usage of other medicines.
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Also Read: Countries Where CBD Has Gained Legality