by Christine Athens
Cannabidiol (CBD) continues to rise in popularity for its potential to treat a wide variety of conditions. More and more people are choosing CBD over conventional pharmaceuticals, but not everyone can abandon their medications outright to start a new regimen. This leaves most people to wonder, can I take CBD with my current medication?
Research shows that CBD is generally safe, and side effects are rare but minimal at most. Of course, everything in life has its pros and cons. The one con that comes with CBD is that it has the potential to interact with some medications.
Keep reading to learn more about CBD and drug interactions.
Does CBD Interact With Other Medications?
When we take medications or other substances, our bodies have to break them down to make use of them or excrete them. That includes CBD, which metabolizes in the gut first and then the liver. The liver is a metabolically active organ responsible for the following vital functions:
- Production and excretion of bile
- Excretion of bilirubin, cholesterol, hormones, and drugs
- Metabolizing fats, proteins, and carbohydrates
- Enzyme activation
- Glycogen, vitamin, and mineral storage
- Plasma protein synthesis
- Detoxifying and purifying the blood
In essence, the liver is like a filtration system that all substances must pass through. The good stuff is put to use, and the toxins are sent packing. A specific enzyme group within the liver is responsible for the conversion of medications and substances known as the cytochrome P450 (CYP450).
Of course, some medications and substances affect the CYP450 by either slowing down or speeding up its metabolic process. Drug and substance interactions occur when the metabolic process of the liver slows down.
CBD and the CYP450
Research shows that CBD has an inhibiting effect on a specific enzyme within the CYP450 group. The enzyme in question is known as the CYP3A4, and it’s responsible for metabolizing more than half of clinical medications.
When the CYP450 group is inhibited, higher concentrations of certain drugs can remain in your system at one time. This can lead to adverse side effects, including an overdose. However, CBD is not unique in this phenomenon. Grapefruit, watercress, St John’s wart, and goldenseal all have an inhibiting effect on the CYP3A4.
CBD and Drug Interactions
Any drug that the CYP450 enzyme group metabolizes falls into the “CBD interactions” category. According to the Indiana University Department of Medicine, this includes:
- Angiotensin II blockers
- Calcium channel blockers
- HIV antivirals
- HMG CoA reductase inhibitors
- Immune modulators
- Oral hypoglycemic agents
Not every type of medication listed above will always cause an interaction with CBD. Likewise, other types of drugs not listed that also have the potential to interact with CBD.
So, Can I Take CBD With My Medication?
If you’re on prescription medications and want to try out CBD, your first step should be speaking with your doctor. Only your doctor can monitor your CBD and drug interactions, lower your prescription dosages, and help you safely work it into your regimen.