Chances are that if you’ve found your way to this article you are interested in CBD for one of the many things it shows promise in helping to treat. One thing you don’t often hear about is the fact that CBD and medications you are taking may not mix. CBD can potentially have adverse effects on over-the-counter and prescription medicine. 

The first thing we should say is that if you have any questions about CBD and a drug you are taking you should consult a doctor. While we have done a lot of research on the subject, we are not medical professionals.  

With that out of the way, here is what we know about CBD, drug, and prescription medication reactions!

CBD, Medications, and Your Liver

Most medication that you take will be processed in the liver so they can be used by our cells. One family of liver enzymes is of particular interest to us, and that is cytochrome P450m or CYP450. 

CYP450 helps the liver break down many common drugs, including CBD. Any issues that CBD may cause with prescription medication result from situations where CBD inhibits CYP450, changing the way the body metabolizes other drugs. 

If the body isn’t metabolizing medication fast enough, you may run into a build-up of medication in your system, which might result in the same reaction as taking too much. This could cause a wide range of negative side effects. 

On the flip side, if something causes the CYP450 enzyme to speed up you may need larger doses of medication to get the same treatment results. 

Not all drug interactions are bad, however. An article by Scientific American in 2016 referenced a study of 162 patients dealing with epilepsy where results left doctors “cautiously optimistic” about CBD as an epilepsy treatment. In fact, the one FDA-approved CBD medication is for treating some rare forms of epilepsy and is used alongside other medications. 

CBD and Medication Interaction Factors

Depending on your personal medical needs, CBD and medication interactions may not be a factor for you at all. CBD itself has very few side effects that you need to worry about, so for many people, it won’t be a concern. 

For those who are concerned, there are four things that you want to think about: The grapefruit method, how you’re taking CBD, the timing, and the dosages you’re using. Here Is more about each one!

The Grapefruit Method

One sure-fire sign you should avoid the combination of CBD and your medication is if your doctor warned you against eating Grapefruit with your medicine. Grapefruit has a similar effect on CYP450, just not as potent as CBD. 

If you don’t want to directly ask your doctor about CBD you can ask about Grapefruit instead, although we do recommend transparency and honesty with any medical personnel. 

Method of Delivery

When considering CBD and drug interactions you should consider how you are consuming your CBD. CBD that does not reach the liver has a significantly smaller chance of interacting with any drugs you are taking. 

By vaping, using topicals or taking CBD sublingually the compound is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and should almost completely avoid the liver. 

That is not the case with Pills, Gummies, or capsules though, which will be digested before reaching your cells. A good rule of thumb is that if you eat the CBD product you need to think about medication interactions, otherwise you are safe! 

Timing and Dosing

You may also be able to avoid complications by separating your medications. If you space the time between taking medicine and CBD by several hours you should be able to avoid any complications. 

Lastly, the more CBD you’re taking the more likely you are to have side effects or adverse drug interactions. Especially when new to using CBD we recommend you start with a small dosage! 

What Medications Should Not Be Taken with CBD?

Thanks to a study by the Indiana University of Medicine we have a pretty good list of medicines that you should avoid taking with CBD. 

If you take any of these pharmaceutical drugs or medications we would strongly recommend you consult your doctor before starting any CBD regimen, especially if you will be taking edibles, pills, or capsules. 

  • Angiotension II Blockers
  • Antiarrhythmics
  • Antibiotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Anticonvulsants / Anti-Seizure Medications
  • Antihistamines
  • Antipsychotics
  • Anesthetics
  • Beta-Blockers
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • HIV Antivirals
  • HMG CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins)
  • Immune Modulators
  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
  • Oral Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Proton-Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)
  • Prokinetics
  • Steroids and Corticosteroids
  • Sulfonylureas

As we mentioned earlier, the CYP450 family of enzymes all play some part with the digestion and processing of these medications, so they might react differently in combination with CBD. 

CBD and Medication Interactions – Summary

At 4CC, our goal is to bring you the highest quality CBD products to help you on your wellness journey. While major health organizations worldwide have given CBD a high safety rating, that doesn’t mean that it is the perfect remedy for everyone. 

As we’ve outlined in this article, there are several medications that CBD, especially in edible form, may interact with in a way that changes how these medications affect you and the thing they are being taken for. 

If you’re not sure if, or how, CBD will interact with any over the counter or prescription medication please consult a medical professional so we can all live long, healthy, and enriched lives!

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