Does CBD React With Other Medications?
For those who are considering a regimen of CBD to treat chronic pain, sleep disorders, migraines, or any number of problems, one of the first questions should be, “How does CBD interact with other medications?” Because the last thing you need when introducing a new treatment is an unwanted reaction or unexpected interference.
While some CBD consumers might claim that worrying over side effects and interactions with other medications is unnecessary, we argue it’s a good thing. It means you are doing your homework, and that you’re interested in doing what’s best for your health.
Here is a basic explanation of how CBD operates in your body and how it could potentially work with (or in rare cases, against) your current medications.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD, also known as Cannabidiol, is a substance found in the cannabis plant, along with hundreds of other substances, like cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. The human body has two types of endocannabinoid receptors, one that works with the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the other that works with the peripheral nervous system (all the little tendrils of nerves throughout the body).
The cannabinoids from hemp impact the body in much the same way your body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids do: by connecting to these endocannabinoid receptors. This can serve to help regulate appetite, sleep, or mood. And while CBD doesn’t overtly interact with these two endocannabinoid receptors, research has shown that it does indeed influence them (especially when consumed alongside other parts of the hemp plant, in what is known as the entourage effect).
Additionally, CBD may work with other non-endocannabinoid receptors responsible for positively affecting serotonin levels. Serotonin is directly connected to our feelings of happiness or joy, making it an ideal substance to combat depression and anxiety. Check out this excellent article from Health Europa if you want more details.
All this is to say that CBD has some very promising benefits, and the research is just beginning. It isn’t all rainbows and gravy, however. Some studies also point to ways CBD could interfere with other medications you might be taking.
How Does CBD Interact With Other Medications?
Does CBD affect other medications you might be taking? The honest, though perhaps unhelpful response is, maybe.
The quick and easy answer starts in the liver. Its function is to balance your body’s blood by processing and breaking down impurities and nutrients. These things include compounds like food we eat, alcohol, medications, and any other foreign substance that enters our blood. This process is accomplished through enzymes in our liver.
Specifically, the enzymes CYP3A4 and CYP2C9 are inhibited by CBD, which can increase levels of drugs they metabolize. These same enzymes are also responsible for processing approximately one quarter of all prescribed medication in the world. Put another way, there is a limited supply of these enzymes, and when too many compounds compete for these enzymes, your body may react in unexpected ways.
Isoenzymes and liver function might be a bit more technical than you were looking for. So, let’s change the question.
Instead of “Does CBD react with other medications?” let’s consider “What should you consider before supplementing your current treatment regimen with CBD?”
What Should You Do If You’re Considering CBD While on Other Medication?
First, don’t take the decision to add CBD to your daily routine lightly. This is especially true when you consider the fact that not all medications are considered equal. Put simply, no two drugs operate the same way in your body. And while we’re strong proponents of CBD (it’s natural, non-psychoactive, and boasts a wide array of potential benefits that would make Ibuprofen jealous), anyone who says CBD is 100% safe is stretching the truth in a careless way. This is why speaking to your doctor is so important.
If you are taking medication, especially multiple medications, it’s all the more vital to sit down with your doctor to discuss what is best for your wellbeing.
While it’s unlikely CBD will interact with most medications in an unsafe way, it is a possibility. And that possibility increases the more prescription medications you’re taking. Starting with your own research is helpful. And buying natural hemp CBD from a brand you trust to avoid synthetic chemicals and provide thorough lab testing is a must. But when it comes to your health, nothing can replace the advice of a qualified medical practitioner.