How Does CBD Affect Other Medications?
The increasing use of medications derived from the cannabis plant continues to save lives.
While we don’t have to worry about harmful side effects when taking quality cannabis medications in any form, unlike pharmaceutical and prescription drugs, there are certain precautions that you need to take especially if you are already taking medications for other conditions. Consuming whole plant medicine simultaneously with other common medications may have side effects (read about it more here).
Additionally, using CBD isolate or other CBD products also has a different impact when you use it together with other medications.
It is important to make yourself aware of the possible side effects that interactions can bring about, and never self-medicate blindly especially when other drugs are involved.
The Role Of Cytochrome P450
Cytochrome P450 refers to a group of liver enzymes that plays the important role of helping your body metabolize drugs. It’s helps your liver digest and metabolize around 60% of the drugs on the market.
Cytochrome P450 also helps metabolize CBD. When the CBD makes its way to your liver, however, it ends up monopolizing all of its enzyme processing abilities. In turn this inhibits the capability of the enzymes in successfully metabolizing other drugs because it becomes too consumed with processing CBD with no more room to do so with other compounds that need to be metabolized. When the P450 is focused on breaking down CBD, the rest of your body stops processing other kinds of pharmaceutical drugs involved in the same metabolic pathway.
Studies show that CBD has the ability to increase blood levels in specific medications, which means that it becomes much more potent than intended. This can have a positive or negative outcome on the patient, depending on your medical condition, the circumstances, and the nature of the drug itself. There is limited studies backing this up, although we need to consider the possibility that consuming high amounts of CBD may lead to the release of harmful levels of other medications into your bloodstream, and it can stay there for a longer period of time. Some anticoagulant drugs use the same metabolic pathway as CBD, and when you consume CBD, the increase in serum levels can be dangerous. This is also particularly dangerous if you re consuming strong painkillers like oxycodone and codeine in conjunction with CBD because CBD may cause it to stay in your system longer, and while you may think it’s good because it extends its painkilling properties, it can be dangerous because it also increases your risk for developing serious side effects from these drugs such as liver damage, drowsiness, constipation, nausea, and vomiting.
There have been no known instances of CBD oil harmfully affecting a human patient taking these medications, but the science is there and it requires much more research. It’s always good to be on the safe side, right?
Using CBD in conjunction with other medications may even have a positive impact on your health. A 2015 study of children with seizures revealed that they were able to reduce the dosage of clobazam, an anti-seizure drug, when they were given CBD a form of co-therapy. CBD was found to increase the levels of clobazam. As a result, the children were able to reduce their dosage to just 1mg per day of clobazam, which was beneficial in decreasing the side effect of the pharmaceutical drug.
Which Medications Can’t Mix With CBD?
Generally speaking, any drug that is metabolized by the liver has the potential for side effects when they interact with CBD. The 60% of the drugs on the market that are processed by the liver are too numerous to mention, although the most common forms are: antihistamines, benzodiazepines, steroids, HIV antivirals, calcium channel blockers, macrolide antibiotics, and fentanyl.
If you intend to use CBD in conjunction with other medications, it’s crucial that you let your doctor know as he may need to adjust the dosage of CBD or the other medications you are currently taking. Doctors can monitor your health by ordering blood tests to check for the levels of medicine in your blood. Adhere to any recommendations they may have especially when it comes to check ups, and make sure to report any side effects if you do experience them.