As the popularity of CBD grows in people’s daily routine, so do the questions asked.
Is CBD safe to take with other medications?
We know CBD is safe to take alone, however it can potentially react with other medications taken.
Can CBD interact with other drugs?
Due to the nature of chemical compounds, virtually every substance, including CBD will interact with other substances.
The way CBD is metabolised by your body can interfere with how your body normally metabolises other drugs you take. If drugs aren’t metabolised properly, they can stay in your system for longer than needed, which can cause negative side effects and complications.
CBD can reduce or increase the effects of certain prescribed medications by interacting with receptors throughout the body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS) and by inhibiting the activity of cytochrome P450.
Found within the liver, cytochrome p45 is responsible for breaking down any toxins that may be found within the body, including over 60% of any drugs consumed.
In basic terms - CBD interacts with enzymes involved in metabolising some medicines and may result in increased drug levels that could cause side effects.
However, CBD drug interactions aren’t always bad. CBD can make other drugs more effective, so much so that you can reduce the dosage of those other drugs and therefore have less negative side effects to deal with.
What is the ECS?
The ECS is a system in our bodies comprised with receptors that interact exclusively with cannabinoids such as CBD. The purpose is to respond to endogenous cannabinoids produced within the human body.
The ECS produces its own cannabinoids, however scientists have learnt that the ECS will also recognise and respond to cannabinoids from external sources such as CBD.
Cannabinoids such as CBD help support the body’s own production of endocannabinoids, which in turn help support the communication through the body’s system. By stimulating the endocannabinoid system, CBD promotes homeostasis, reduces pain sensation and decreases inflammation.
What about topically taking CBD on other medication?
The Endocannabinoid System has receptors not only in the brain and nervous system, but also the skin. Unlike CBD oils or edibles, CBD topicals aren’t digested by the body or absorbed by the blood stream.
Therefore, since topical CBD products don’t make their way through the liver or interact with the cytochrome p45 system, CBD creams, balms and lotions should not cause a drug interaction with any other medication.
Interactions between CBD and blood thinners
Blood thinning drugs in particular are ones you should pay attention to if taking CBD.
Studies have shown that CBD can react with blood thinning drugs such as warfarin by slowing down how the body metabolises these drugs, making it stay in your system for too long without being broken down.
It is advised that any blood thinning drugs or drugs which have a risk of increased bleeding should be monitored by a professional whilst taking CBD.
CBD is plant based and therefore contains no added chemicals you may find in other drugs, which is why many people prefer to use this method to help their conditions. As it is plant based you should also not experience any side effects like you may with other drugs.
Many CBD products are also natural, vegan, organic and handcrafted, which is also a big plus side for users.
How can I find out if CBD will interact with my medication?
The Grapefruit Test
One way to find out if CBD will react with other drugs you’re taking, which has been found to prove plausible, is ‘The Grapefruit Test’ inspired by Martin Lee, from CBD 101.
Labels on a variety of prescription drugs will tell you to avoid grapefruit when taking the medication because it can significantly affect how the body metabolises the drug.
Lee explained: “CBD interacts with other medications in your body the same way as grapefruit does, but even stronger.”
Since both grapefruit juice and CBD can inhibit the metabolic process similarly, logically, any drug or medication that cannot be consumed with grapefruit juice, should also not be consumed with CBD.
If, like many users, you are using CBD for health purposes, you should make sure you consult your GP before taking CBD alongside any other medication.