Every year, researchers discover more health-promoting effects of CBD. So far, cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to reduce anxiety, reduce the number of seizures in epileptic patients, act as an anti-inflammatory agent to reduce pain-related symptoms in patients with multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative disorders, and alleviate symptoms from arthritis. Researchers are even investigating whether CBD could halt the growth of some cancer cells. A number of new CBD books are available that outline this new and exciting research.
CBD comes in many forms. In addition to RSHO (Real Scientific Hemp Oil), the world’s leading hemp oil brand, there is a wide range of edible CBD products on the market, including food infused with CBD, tinctures, and capsules. So where’s the catch? There aren’t many side effects to using CBD-based products, but you do need to be careful to avoid using these products in conjunction with certain other medications. Below we discuss how CBD interacts with other medications, and when to consult your doctor about supplementing with CBD.
How does CBD Affect other Medications?
In short, CBD inhibits what is known as the cytochrome P450 enzyme system. This system is located in the liver and is responsible for metabolizing anything it detects as “toxic,” which includes the drugs you consume. In total, this system uses over 50 enzymes to detect, process, and get rid of various toxins. Here’s where it gets tricky: doctors make prescriptions for other medications based on the average amount of time it takes for these prescribed medications to be processed by the P450 enzyme system. If the person is only taking one medication at a time, these prescriptions usually work as intended.
Unfortunately, since CBD impacts this system, it has the potential to affect processing times for other drugs in the system. Specifically, since CBD acts as an inhibitor, it can increase the amount of time it takes this system to process the other prescribed drug. The broader effect is that you end up with a higher dose of the prescribed dose in your liver at once time, which can lead to side effects (depending on the drug) or an overdose of the medication.
So which drugs are we talking about? Any drug metabolized by the enzymes in the P450 system could potentially interact with CBD. These include:
Angiotension II blockers
Calcium channel blockers
HMG CoA reductase inhibitors
Oral hypoglycemic agents
This is not a comprehensive list, and not all medications on the list will always react with CBD. You should always consult with a physician before using CBD in conjunction with any other medication.
Some medications called “prodrugs” require full metabolization via the cytochrome P450 enzyme system to produce their effect. If these drugs require the same pathway as CDB, then it’s inhibiting effects can mean that there isn’t enough of the prescribed medication in the body to work as intended. Some examples include codeine (prescribed for pain), vyvanse and concerta (prescribed for ADHD).
CBD and Alcohol
It turns out that the CYP450 enzyme system also plays an important role in alcohol metabolism. This means that taking them together will generally enhance the effects of each (leading to increased sedation, inhibition, and/or loss of control). There is not currently enough definitive research on these interactive effects, but physicians have advised anyone who drinks regularly to be mindful and limit intake while supplementing with CBD.
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