CBD has quickly become the hottest product on the wellness market. With the cannabis-derived compound showing up in products as benign as skincare serums, it’s easy to forget that CBD is a complex compound that can have a wide range of profound effects on our brains and nervous systems.
Preliminary research into CBD suggests that it may have several therapeutic applications, including treating chronic pain, anxiety, and seizures. Despite not being yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration, many people have already begun using the cannabinoid medicinally. However, before starting a CBD regimen, it’s crucial to understand how the compound may interact with your other prescription medications.
How Does CBD Work?
Inside our bodies, we all have a system of neurotransmitters and neurotransmitter receptors known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is in part responsible for a number of essential bodily functions such as appetite, mood, memory retention, and sleep patterns.
When we consume cannabinoids like CBD, they interact with the CB1 and CB2 neurotransmitters that partially make up the ECS, influencing the way the system operates.
Unlike the other popular cannabinoid THC, CBD doesn’t directly bind to these receptors. As a result, CBD doesn’t come with the intoxicating high associated with marijuana and THC.
According to some new research, the ECS might not be the only thing affected by CBD consumption. Let’s look at some potential CBD interactions with other drugs.
Does CBD Interact With Other Drugs?
If you regularly take prescription medicines, you may have been told by your physician to avoid grapefruit while using certain pharmaceuticals. Have you ever wondered why that is? Well, grapefruit actually disrupts a group of proteins called cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYPs) which are responsible for breaking down many types of medications. As a result, these medications can wind up staying in the system longer than intended, causing the likelihood of negative side effects to increase, as well as create more severe side effects.
So what does grapefruit have to do with CBD? Some research suggests that CBD could also inhibit the function of CYPs much in the same way that grapefruit does.
Can You Take CBD With High Blood Pressure Medicine?
Currently, no research indicates any negative interactions with CBD and the beta-blockers typically prescribed to treat high blood pressure. However, early research indicates that CBD itself may have a blood pressure-reducing effect. This could potentially compound with any other prescribed blood pressure medication. Check with your doctor to make sure it’s safe to combine CBD products with any medications you may already be currently taking.
Can You Take CBD With Thyroid Medication?
Much like with beta-blockers, there is little clinical evidence that suggests CBD may have a negative interaction with either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism medications. However, it’s still a good idea to confirm with your doctor before taking CBD.
Can You Take CBD With Blood Thinners?
With blood thinners such as Warfarin or Eliquis, CBD’s CYP inhibiting properties could potentially cause problems. By preventing these medications from being filtered out of the body when they should be, the risk for potential adverse reactions could be increased. If you are currently taking blood thinners, make sure to consult your physician to receive personalized advice before taking CBD.
Can You Take CBD With Anti-Seizure Medications?
CBD has been proven to be an effective treatment for certain forms of epilepsy and has even received FDA approval to be sold as an anti-seizure medication under the name Epidiolex.
However, other pharmaceuticals used to treat seizures like Clobazam are broken down by CYPs, which means that using them in combination with CBD could potentially exacerbate side effects.
Can You Mix CBD With Alcohol?
Many medications have negative interactions with alcohol. Fortunately for those that like to drink, CBD isn’t one of them—at least according to the current science. In fact, some studies suggest that CBD may actually help prevent cell damage caused by drinking and could help temper the effects of alcohol withdrawal. Though, you may consider that the sedative effects of alcohol may compound with CBD, causing users to become more drowsy than if they were just using the CBD or alcohol individually.