One of the most frequently asked questions in store and online is whether CBD will interact with medications. The answer really depends on what medication you are taking and how you are consuming CBD! Now, how it interacts depends on the medication and how it is metabolized (broken down by the body). CBD is metabolized through the liver, which happens to be the way most medications are metabolized. Just because a drug is metabolized through the same pathway does not mean that you cannot take both CBD and your medication. It just means that you need to speak with a medical professional about the potential interaction. Doctors may monitor you, change dosages on other medications, and/or can recommend taking the CBD at different times as the medications. We do have many customers taking CBD and other medications with side effects being very rarely reported to us.
Drugs can interact in different ways, not necessarily always in a negative fashion. There is still so much unknown when it comes to how CBD interacts with medications. Most studies that have been done on humans, typically use much higher dosages compared to what most people consume outside of studies. However, doctors can use the information they already know from other products that act similar to CBD such as grapefruit/grapefruit juice, St. John’s Wort, goldenseal, and watercress. Just because research is limited, does not mean that doctors cannot make educated guesses on how CBD will interact based on the similarities to grapefruit.
One factor to take into consideration about CBD and medication interactions is the product itself. If it is an isolate product (meaning only the CBD molecule and a carrier oil), studies have shown that the potential of drug interaction is increased. If it is a broad spectrum product (all of the cannabinoids from the hemp plant minus the THC), studies indicate the drug interaction potential is reduced.
The way CBD is consumed plays a role in how drugs can interact with CBD as well. If CBD is ingested, it will be metabolized by the liver through the digestive tract, taking about 45 minutes to an hour. If you take CBD oil sublingually (under the tongue), it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and bypasses the digestive system and liver. If you are using a transdermal patch, it would work similar to the sublingual method but is absorbed slowly over hours. If you are smoking or vaping a CBD product, the lungs absorb the CBD and transfer it into the bloodstream. If you are using a topical (unless it has a transdermal property), it will typically be absorbed and metabolized very slowly over the course of days.
Another thing to consider is the dosage of CBD you are taking and when you are taking it; higher doses of CBD can increase the chance of interactions. It appears that CBD enhances the way some drugs are effective if taken within a certain time frame (either before or after). With that being said, some drugs can be inhibited by taking CBD too closely to the other medication, or can cause toxic levels of the drug in the body. Other times, CBD can cause enzymes to be induced, meaning that CBD can accelerate the metabolization of other drugs where the body is not receiving enough of the drug to be beneficial.
In conclusion, it is always a good idea to talk to a medical professional before starting any new product, especially when already taking medications. If you do not feel comfortable talking to your doctor about CBD, you can ask your doctor about grapefruit interactions. Doctors are becoming more aware of the health benefits of CBD, and many health care providers are actually recommending their patients try CBD. We have customers that are on medications that have had great results using CBD with no issues; some have been able to reduce the amount of other medications. Research, education, and honest discussions with medical professionals are going to be paramount in adding CBD to anyone’s health regimen!
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- Department of Health- District of Columbia. (n.d.). Medical Cannabis Adverse Effects & Drug Interactions. Retrieved from https://doh.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/doh/publication/attachments/Medical%20Cannabis%20Adverse%20Effects%20and%20Drug%20Interactions_0.pdf
- Devitt-Lee, A. (2018, September). A Primer on Cannabinoid-Drug Interactions. Retrieved from https://www.projectcbd.org/sites/projectcbd/files/downloads/cannabinoid-drug-interactions_2018-10-11.pdf
- Keenan, A. (2019, May 31). Does CBD Interact with Other Drugs? Here’s What You Need to Know. Retrieved from https://www.thegrowthop.com/cannabis-health/does-cbd-interact-with-other-drugs-heres-what-you-need-to-know
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