Back in 2017, very few people knew or cared what CBD oil was. Then, suddenly, it was everywhere, in products too varied and numerous to list. The popularity of Cannabidiol (CBD) oil products fits into the current trend of health, wellness, self care, and functional foods, incorporating the nonintoxicating benefits of cannabinoids without the psychoactive THC found in marijuana.
The hype around CBD is not completely unfounded, as there is a ton of research –more than 11,000 studies in fact –to indicate that it has the potential to help a large number of people with very few unintended side-effects. While the bulk of the research suggests that CBD oil is safe, that doesn’t mean it won’t interact with other medication you may be taking for health issues.
Here’s what you need to know about if and how does CBD oil interact with other medications.
How CBD Oil Affects Your Body’s Ability to Metabolize Medication
Just because CBD oil is considered safe on its own doesn’t mean it will be when taken with other drugs. Whenever we take two or more substances, whether they be drugs, supplements, or even food, there is a chance they will interact with each other. Even foods such as grapefruit or a spice as innocuous as pepper can affect the way our bodies absorb drugs.
Since the widespread use of CBD oil is relatively new, no one has systematically studied how it interacts with specific drugs or types of drugs. But what we do know is how it interacts with the body as it is processed.
CBD oil interacts with the cytochrome P450 enzyme system in the liver. Almost 60 percent of the drugs on the market are metabolized through these liver enzymes. This means if you take CBD while taking one of the medications metabolized by the P450 system, you may end up with too much of that medication in your system.
How this works in your body depends on how much of the medication and how much CBD you are taking, as well as how your body metabolizes substances. More research is needed on what dosage level won’t block these liver enzymes.
Medication That Interacts with CBD Oil
Any medication metabolized by the cytochrome P450 enzymes has the potential to interact with CBD. Below is a list of some drugs known to use the cytochrome P450 system. The list is not exhaustive, so be sure to check with your doctor before supplementing with CBD.
- Calcium channel blockers
- HMG CoA reductase inhibitors
- Beta blockers
- Blood thinners
In addition, there are some medications known as “prodrugs,” that need to be metabolized by the body to produce the therapeutic drug required. Simply put, you need to ingest an inactive compound and when it is in the body, it is turned into the active compound. If the processing depends on enzymes in the cytochrome P450 system, then a substance such as CBD that blocks this system can result in too little of the active drug becoming available for the desired therapeutic effect to occur.
An example of this is codeine, which is a prodrug that the body metabolizes into morphine. Morphine is the drug that provides a desired pain-relieving effect. If you are worried that your cytochrome P450 is not metabolizing substances properly, a physician can test your system to make sure that the medication you are taking is being metabolized as expected.
Not All Interactions Are Bad
Drug interactions can be either useful or harmful. A substance that amplifies the desired effects of a drug without significantly impacting any adverse side effects could be beneficial. For example, taking CBD oil with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can strengthen the analgesic effects of the drug without worsening the gastric side effects.
One of the most promising cannabinoid-opiate interactions seems to be between CBD and opiates. CBD reduces cravings for opiates, most likely through its effect on dopamine and serotonin. Complete understanding of the interplay between cannabinoids and opiates is still not well understood, but the clinical data demonstrates a significant synergy between them.
Exact Dosage Is an Open Question
The good news is that just because CBD is present doesn’t mean that the cytochrome P450 enzyme system will be affected so much that it changes the way these drugs work. However, we don’t yet know the exact dosage of CBD that would result in a significant change for any specific drug. Nor do we know how long CBD would affect these enzymes.
It is likely that as doses get higher, you should expect an interaction of some kind. More research is needed in this area, so until then, check with your doctor and develop a plan to monitor the efficacy of any drugs you are taking simultaneously with CBD. That way, you how cbd oil can interact with other medications.
Test Your Knowledge on How CBD Interacts with Medications
CBD has the potential to deliver a wide variety of benefits; but may also interact with other substances, especially medications. Take the quiz to see how much you know about how does CBD oil interact with other medications.