Drug Interactions Between Prescription Medications and CBD

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As CBD is growing in popularity and fast becoming known for its potential to ease symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, stress, chronic pain, and a host of other health conditions, one question I see come up time and time again is in relation to CBD'S effect on prescription medications
CBD is generally really safe and has very few, if any, minor side effects. How ever CBD does have the potential to interact with some prescription medications. 
This has to do with how the body breaks down certain substances and before trying CBD it's a good idea to research any possible interactions with your current medications and if your unsure talk to your Dr or Pharmacist. 

A family of enzymes called cytochrome P450 is a group of enzymes that helps you break down substances so they can be expelled from your body.

Some medications effect CYP450 by slowing or speeding up drug metabolism. The change in metabolism rate can alter how your body processes the medications & supplements you take.

Does CYP450 matter in relation to CBD and Drug Interactions?

The CYP450 family of enzymes are responsible for breaking down cannabinoids, including CBD. 

The CYP3A4 specifically is an enzyme within the CYP450 family which is in charge of metabolizing several cannabinoids, including CBD and also some clinically prescribed medications. If CBD is inhibiting CYP3A4, it can’t work as effectively to break down other medications in your system.

The reverse can happen, too. Many prescription medications can inhibit CYP3A4 and when you take CBD while on these medications, your body can’t work to process the CBD as effectively.

If your body is breaking down a medication too slowly, you could unintentionally increase the amount of that medication in your system at one time through limiting your body's ability to break it down, even if taking your normal dose. This can potentially exagerate the medications effects, including the side effects. This could have benefits meaning you maybe able to take less of a medication or that a medication could become more effective but I can just as easily cause problems increasing unwanted side effects and limiting the effect of the medication.

Can you try CBD safely while taking some prescription medications?

If you want to try CBD in addition to your normal medication it's really important to check for drug interactions, there is various drug interaction checkers available how ever it's always best to talk to your doctor or pharmacist if in any doubt.

Also keep in mind that topical CBD, like lotions, creams and patches may also be an option, as long as they’re not a transdermal solution they will not enter the blood stream.

The grapefruit warning

As a bit of a general rule of thumb that can be applied is to do with the grapefruit warning.

This warning is quite common on several medications and states that people taking the medication should avoid consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice.

It's primarily due to avoiding a higher concentration of the medication in the bloodstream and adverse side effects, caused by inhibiting CYP3A4, in a similar fashion to CBD.

As a generalistion if your prescription medications say to avoid grapefruit then it's a good idea to avoid, or seek medical advice before, taking CBD.

In Conclusion

If your considering taking CBD and are taking one or more prescription medications it's definitely advisable to look into any potential interactions to avoid any unwanted side effects and to prevent your medication from not being as efficient as normal.

There can be ways of mitigating the risk with moderate or low interaction such as timing the medication and CBD intake leaving a 4 hour gap or tailoring the dose to reduce the interaction risk.

There is also potential to use CBD to enhance your prescription medications so that you can take less but you should always research this thoroughly and talk it through with your doctor beforehand.