How to Check CBD Interaction with Your Medications

All chemical compounds interact with other compounds, from illegal drugs to prescription medications and even over-the-counter ones. Even benign substances, such as grapefruit, will interact with some medicines. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the non-psychoactive molecule in cannabis. Although using CBD with pharmaceuticals is safe, it may affect the potency and effectiveness of the drugs you are taking.

Taking CBD with Drugs

If CBD has any influence on your drugs, then it will have a “synergistic” or an “additive” effect. In some cases, CBD will increase a drug’s potency. In others, it will reduce it. Even if there are beneficial drug interactions with CBD, it is important to study the pamphlet and a medical doctor should monitor you closely. By having regular blood checks, your physician will be able to adjust dosages accordingly.

Known CBD Drug Interactions

Cannabidiol has the ability to treat many illnesses by manipulating the body’s own endocannabinoid system. It does this with very few unintended side effects. However, some interactions can be dangerous if you do not understand them, such as the possible inhibition of the cytochrome P-450 system, found in the liver where it metabolizes more than 90 percent of the drugs that we take.

There are over 50 enzymes in the cytochrome P-450 system, and according to Davis’s Drug Guide, doctors calculate dosages based on how much time it takes for this system to process a drug. CBD affects these processing times, making some drugs metabolize faster or slower than they would otherwise. This may increase levels of the drug in your body, causing side effects or even overdose.

If cannabidiol affects the drug that you taking, then it is extremely important for your doctor adjust your dosage for you to take them both safely. All drugs metabolized by the cytochrome P-450 system in your liver have the potential to interact with CBD. According to the Indiana University Department of Medicine, these drugs use the cytochrome P-450 system and can potentially cause adverse reactions:

  • Antihistamines
  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • HMG CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Steroids
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Immune Modulators
  • HIV Antivirals
  • Prokinetics
  • Anti-Psychotics
  • Anesthetics
  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-Arrhythmias
  • PPIs
  • Beta Blockers
  • Anti-Epileptics
  • Anti-Depressants
  • Sulfonylureas
  • Oral Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Angiotensin II Blockers
  • NSAIDs

·      Drugs for Blood Sugar

Evidence suggests that CBD can lower resistance to insulin, improve metabolism and enhance blood sugar control. According to Time, it may well become mainstream treatment for diabetes. However, if combined with some other drugs, it may have the opposite effect and lower glucose levels too much.

·      Drugs for Blood Pressure

Cannabidiol activates both the CB1 and CBD2 cannabinoid receptors. When combining it with blood pressure drugs, it could increase oxygen consumption in the cardiac system and reduce the flow of blood. Although extremely rare, this could potentially trigger a cardiovascular stress response.

·      Drugs for Bleeding

Blood thinning drugs, such as heparin and warfarin, could thin the blood too much after ingesting CBD. The same applies to any drugs known to cause blood thinning, including naproxen, aspirin and ibuprofen. CBD slows the body’s metabolism, which will then take longer to process these drugs.

·      Drugs for Pain

Cannabidiol is becoming the go-to medication for treating chronic pain. Opioids and other painkillers have lethal consequences for millions each year. According to The Pew Charitable Trusts, CBD will likely treat opioid addiction in the future, and many are using them simultaneously now to avoid addiction.

·      Drugs for Sedation

Most sedatives calm the nervous system by influencing GABA neurotransmitters. However, CBD is also a sedative. In fact, CBD acts as an additive when combined with sedatives, which means that it makes tranquilizers more potent. The combination can be risky, so consider exercising extreme caution.

Checking for Drug Interactions with CBD

Cannabidiol is completely safe for the overwhelming majority of patients. The human body tolerates it extremely well, and adverse reactions are not as risky as other commonly prescribed drugs are. However, potential interactions can vary between strains, which make it very difficult to identify possible CBD drug interactions, both good and bad.

It is vital that you do your research beforehand. Scour the internet, read all the fine print in your drug’s information pamphlet. Talk to your doctor. Tell him or her of your intention to use CBD in your treatment and then work together to ensure your safety. It is always wisest to visit your physician frequently for blood checks and dosage adjustments, particularly if you are taking powerful drugs.

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