While CBD use is gaining popularity, the possibility of drug interaction also is part of CBD discussions. Many are skeptical about taking CBD while they are already on medication courses. In this session, we attempt to explain drug interactions and CBD.
How Does CBD Influence The Way Our Body Processes Certain Medications?
Due to its ability to handle multiple health conditions including anxiety, pain, insomnia and a host of other conditions, CBD has gained widespread attention in the wellness industry. Research has suggested that CBD is generally safe for use and has very few side effects. However, its interaction with medications is still possible.
Before trying CBD, it is important to discuss with your doctor about the medications you are taking currently.
CYP450 Enzymes And Drug Metabolism
Whatever is the substance you take, be it a medication or some other substance, our body has to metabolize it. The primary location where drug metabolism takes place is the gut but the liver plays a major part in it.
Cytochrome P450 (CYP450), a family of enzymes plays a major role in the conversion of foreign substances into forms that can be easily eliminated from our body. However, some medications affect CYP450 by either speeding up or slowing down drug metabolism. The changes in drug metabolism affect the way your body processes the medications you take, thereby resulting in a drug interaction.
Relevance Of CYP450 In Drug Interaction Resulting From CBD Use
The CYP450 family of enzymes metabolizes various cannabinoids including CBD. The particular enzyme in the family that does the task is CYP3A4. However, CBD, if present in our system, may interfere with the enzyme during the process.
About 60% of the clinically prescribed medications are metabolized in our body by CYP3A4. When CBD generates an inhibitory response on the enzyme, its effectiveness in breaking down medications in our system reduces.
You can also expect the opposite. There are some medications that inhibit CYP3A4. Taking CBD while on these medications will not generate the effects you expect because the CBD will not be processed effectively.
Slow metabolism of a medication generally indicates that you have more medication in your system at a time. This could happen even when you stick to your normal dose. Increased levels of medication in your system may lead to harmful side effects.
In some cases, your body might metabolize a medication too fast leaving your system without an adequate level of medication at a time.
How To Use CBD Safely While You Are On Other Medications?
If you are considering adding CBD as an add-on therapy alongside other medications, talk to your doctor first. They can help you by suggesting the appropriate CBD product and safe dosage. In some cases, doctors may monitor the levels of some medications in your blood plasma. Stopping any important medications to try CBD is not recommended unless and until your doctor says so.
If you are avoiding ingestible CBD products out of the worry of possible drug interaction, you can always try topical cannabidiol products like creams and gels as they do not lead to drug interactions because they are meant for external use alone. However, topical cannabidiol options may not be effective in treating all types of medical conditions that can be handled by ingestible CBD.
How To Detect Potential Drug Interactions?
There are many studies going on to determine drug interactions between CBD and other medications. We think this general rule of thumb will be useful: Avoid medications that come with a grapefruit warning on the label. The warning suggests that people taking the medication has to avoid taking grapefruit or grapefruit juice.
The Food and Drug Administration points out that consuming grapefruit while you are on the medications that come with grapefruit warning could lead to the rise in the concentration of these medicines in the bloodstream and then to overdose even if you stick to the recommended dosage.
It is estimated that about 85 medications interact with grapefruit and some closely related citrus juices like Pomelos, Seville oranges and tangos.
Furanocoumarins, the chemicals in grapefruit inhibits CYP3A4 as CBD does. A grapefruit warning on a medication is indicative of the possibility of a drug interaction with CBD. If you are taking CBD while on medications that come with grapefruit warning, there are possibilities of a drug interaction. It is better to avoid CBD use in these instances.
Current Studies On Interaction Between CBD And Other Medications
Active research is going on to find out the interactions of CBD with other medications. Scientists are still determining how the results of animal studies will translate to humans. A few clinical trials were also performed. For example, in a study conducted in 25 children with severe epilepsy, 13 children were given CBD and clobazam. The researchers found that the clobazam levels in these kids increased possibly due to a drug interaction. Although taking CBD and clobazam together is relatively safe, monitor the dosage levels appropriately.
Getting the advice of your doctor before starting CBD use is very important, especially when you are on some other medications.