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How Does CBD Interact with Medications?

April 15th, 2021 by David Kranker

CBD Interact With Medications

Although CBD is considered safe, with minimal side effects, there is a possibility of interactions with some prescription and over-the-counter medications. In particular, CBD may interact with medications that have a “grapefruit warning.” Before adding CBD or any supplement to your diet, you should always consult with your physician.

Green Wellness Life offers an array of high quality CBD products, including oils and tinctures, capsules, topical lotions, balms and salves, and edibles. If you’re interested in trying CBD, read on to learn more about how CBD may interact with other medications that you may be taking.

How Could CBD Interact with Medications?

Current research shows that CBD is generally safe and well-tolerated by most people, with few side effects. However, it is possible for CBD to interact with other medications due to how the human body metabolizes both drugs and supplements.

When we take medicine or another substance, our bodies have to break it down, or metabolize it. This happens throughout the body. Our bodies produce enzymes known as cytochrome P450 (CYP450) to convert these substances so that they can be eliminated from the body more easily.

Any medication or supplement that affects CYP450 has the potential to change how our bodies metabolize other substances by either increasing or decreasing the rate of metabolism. This can cause a drug interaction, as the substance in question may stay in our bodies for much longer or leave our bodies much more quickly.

One enzyme within the CYP450 family, CYP3A4, is responsible for breaking down certain cannabinoids, including CBD. When it metabolizes CBD, however, the CBD interferes with CYP3A4. Similarly, some medications inhibit CYP3A4. As a result, some medications may not be as effectively metabolized when taking CBD – and CBD may not be metabolized effectively when taking certain medications.

If the CYP3A4 is inhibited – either by a cannabinoid or a medication – it can cause an interaction, because your body won’t process the medication (or CBD) in the way that it should. This may lead to increased side effects if the medicine stays in your system for too long, or the medication may not be as effective if your body metabolizes it too quickly.

Can I Safely Take CBD While Taking Medications?

Before adding any supplement to your diet, you should always consult with your doctor. We want to repeat this…You should always consult with your doctor! They can help you determine if CBD will interact with your other medications, advise you on serving size, and may even be able to recommend specific products to try. Your doctor may also order blood work to ensure that your medications are at an optimal level in your body after starting CBD.

If you are taking a medication with a “grapefruit warning,” that medicine may interact with CBD. Like cannabinoids, a chemical compound in grapefruit and certain other citrus fruits inhibits CYP3A4, which can slow the metabolism of medicines. A good rule of thumb is that if a medicine has a grapefruit warning, CBD may also interact with that medication.

A number of prescription and over-the-counter medications have a grapefruit warning. These include:

  • Some statin drugs, which are used to lower cholesterol, such as Zocor and Lipitor
  • Some medications that treat abnormal heart rhythms, including Pacerone and Nexterone
  • Certain medications that treat high blood pressure, such as Procardia and Adalat CC
  • Some organ transplant rejection drugs, including Sandimmune and Neoral
  • Certain anti-anxiety medications, like buspirone
  • Certain corticosteroids used to treat Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, including Pacerone and Nexterone
  • Some antihistamines, like Allegra

Other medications, including antibiotics, blood thinners, erectile dysfunction medications, pain medications, immunosuppressants, mood medications, and anticancer medications, may also have a grapefruit warning. Because so many drugs have a grapefruit warning (and may also interact with CBD), it is important to talk to your doctor, pharmacist or other healthcare professional before adding CBD to your diet.

Scientists have also performed studies on specific medications used to treat epilepsy to determine if CBD interacts with them. A small 2015 study found that CBD elevated the levels of an anti-seizure medication, clobazam, in children with hard-to-treat epilepsy. A second study in 2017 found that taking CBD with the anti-seizure medications clobazam and desmethylclobazam could increase the serum levels of the medications. In both studies, researchers determined that it was safe to take CBD with these medications, but noted that blood tests should be performed to ensure that the medications remain at a therapeutic level.

If your doctor approves taking CBD with your current prescriptions, you should watch for any new or increased side effects. If you experience drowsiness, nausea, sedation, fatigue, diarrhea, changes in appetite or weight, or a change in the effectiveness of your prescription medication, make an appointment with your healthcare provider to talk about it.

You may be able to minimize any possible interactions by using a topical lotion, cream, balm, or salve. Unlike CBD that you take orally, topical CBD doesn’t enter the bloodstream, so there is a lower risk of an interaction with other medications. Topical CBD is most often used for localized pain and inflammation.

Buying High Quality CBD Online

While the research is still emerging, scientists have found that CBD has a lot of potential health and wellness benefits. If you are interested in trying CBD, consult with your doctor first – particularly if you have a health condition and are taking any medications. Once you get the go ahead from your doctor, the next step is to find safe, high quality CBD.

At Green Wellness Life, we only sell products that have been independently tested by third party laboratories, so that you can be sure that you are getting what you pay for – and nothing else. Our products are all made from industrial hemp grown in the United States. While we aren’t doctors and cannot diagnose or treat any medical or mental health condition, we are happy to share our insight on CBD with you – along with the latest research.

If you’d like to learn more, we are happy to help. Give us a call at 888-772-7875, or fill out our online contact form. You can also click on the “live chat” button on the bottom right of your screen to talk to someone now.


About David Kranker

David KrankerDavid Kranker is the digital marketing manager at Green Wellness Life. David is passionate about CBD and making well-sourced CBD information/research accessible to all. David likes to keep his finger on the pulse of the CBD industry to report the latest studies, statistics, and findings from the community.

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