CBD and Drug Interactions: Everything You Need to Know

With the endless potential benefits of CBD, it makes sense that everyone wants to try it for themselves.

It’s important to know relevant information before trying something new, even if it’s a plant-based product like CBD. This is especially true if you take any medications, as they could be affected.

Keep reading to find out CBD drug interactions so you can be informed and stay safe.

Can CBD interact with Prescription Drugs?

In short — yes, there it could but it rarely does.

CBD can inhibit the metabolization, or break down, of certain prescriptions in the liver. This slows down the body’s processing, leading to higher concentrations of the medication in your bloodstream.  There is little research indicating a definitive answer to how much CBD can increase the concentration of certain prescriptions. This could be due to the fact that research in this area is relatively new.

It could be that CBD affects it in small negligible ways. Alternatively, it could mean that concentrations are increased to dangerous overdose levels.

CYP3A4 Enzyme and CBD Interactions

CBD can interact with drugs that commonly have a “grapefruit warning”. This is because they both work with the same drug metabolic enzyme called CYP3A4.

This enzyme is responsible for at least a quarter of all medications.

Types of medications that use CYP3A4 include but aren’t limited to:

  • Antihistamines (i.e. Fexofenadine)
  • Benzodiazepines (i.e. Alprazolam and Triazolam)
  • Calcium channel blockers (i.e. Amlodipine and Verapamil)
  • Macrolide antibiotics (i.e. Clarithromycin)
  • Medications for infections (i.e. Ketoconazole and Itraconazole)
  • Statins (i.e. Lovastatin)

If CBD were to change the concentration of an antibiotic or medication for an infection, it’s likely that these prescriptions would simply become ineffective. In the case of other medications listed, CBD could potentially raise levels of medication to dangerous levels. 

CPY2D6 Enzyme and CBD Interactions

Enzyme CYP2D6 is responsible for breaking down a wide variety of medications. CBD can inhibit it, meaning that it will take your body longer to process the medication.

This includes medications like:

  • Antiarrhythmics
  • Antidepressants (i.e. SSRIs)
  • Antipsychotics
  • Beta-blockers
  • Opioids 
  • Neuroleptics

Similar to the previous enzyme, CBD could potentially cause these medications to rise to dangerously high levels in the bloodstream.

CYP1A2 Enzyme and CBD Interactions

CBD inhibits the enzyme CYP1A2, meaning it can increase the concentration of medications that also use this enzyme.

Medications that are broken down with CYP1A2 include but aren’t limited to:

  • Antidepressants (i.e. Duloxetine and Fluvoxamine)
  • Antipsychotics (i.e. Clozapine and Haloperidol)
  • Mood disorders (i.e. Olanzapine)
  • Muscle relaxants (i.e. Cyclobenzaprine)
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (i.e. Naproxen)

Again, CBD can potentially change the concentrations of these types of medications in your bloodstream, which in turn could potentially be dangerous. 

It seems like every drug is on this list, should I worry about CBD and my medication?

This information isn’t to say that CBD is inherently dangerous and anyone taking these medications will experience an overdose if they take it at the same time. Moreso, it outlines that taking CBD could potentially alter the concentrations and effectiveness of some medications based on limited research.

The main takeaway is that you should talk with your doctor before taking CBD if you are currently taking any medications. That way, you can become aware of any potential consequences such as interactions. If they approve you using it, they can monitor the levels of prescription medication in your body to confirm it isn’t doing any harm.

Stay Safe and Informed about CBD Safety

Now that you know that there could be CBD drug interactions, you can make informed decisions to keep yourself safe and healthy. 

If you’re taking any medications, talk with your doctor before trying CBD. If you’d like, you can start by asking your pharmacist if there are known drug interactions.  Find the answers to your most frequently asked questions and do a little bit of independent research.

To further educate yourself, read more articles on our CBD research page. If you aren’t taking any medications or your doctor says it’s okay for you to try CBD, browse our shop to find your favorite product. 

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