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Will CBD Oil Interfere With Medications?

by Christian Vergara |

CBD has been touted as a natural alternative to many traditional medicines & over-the-counter solutions. After thinking for a minute I started to ask myself, “Is it okay to take CBD alongside other medications? Is there a possibility of interaction or not?”


What I found was that: With many medications, there's no issue with taking CBD. Although, it can have an interaction with certain medications. An important aspect is finding out if your medication has an interaction with grapefruit. CBD, like grapefruit, can inhibit the ability of specific proteins in your body to break down medicine. This can result in increased side effects & levels of medicine in your blood.

Now, scientists & doctors have seen that it take upward of 200mg+ of CBD daily for this to occur in most cases. So, it's important to understand that there is a theoretical risk although this hasn't been prominently noted or observed in everyday CBD users who take other medications.


CBD & Grapefruit

You might be wondering what these vastly different things have to do with each other. But it turns out, CBD and grapefruit share some similarities. This is especially important when discussing CBD and medicine interactions.


Grapefruit is a common enemy for about 85 different medications.  As detailed above, many of them are cholesterol medicines. Although, there are different types of medications that do have the same interaction. 


Grapefruit can interact with these medications and cause the breakdown of them to slow down. Now, you may think that a slower breakdown of the medication would be a positive thing although it is not.


The reason is that if the medication is not broken down properly and in a timely fashion, it can result in more prominent & severe side effects. Many medications affect other parts of your body & can introduce side effects especially when not broken down properly. Side effects that you may not have realized when using the medication regularly, may suddenly appear after consuming grapefruit.


What does this have to do with CBD? Well, CBD can have the exact same interaction with these types of medications. 

The Caveat

Scientists & doctors who have been working with Cannabis & CBD alike have been closely observing this potential interaction. What has been found to be true in most cases is the fact that it would take high levels (200mg+) of CBD for this to actually occur. 

Most CBD consumers will never have to take that much in a day to achieve the results they're looking for! So, this is something to note & take into consideration!

The biggest pointer doctors have given is allowing a gap between taking your medication & taking CBD. Typically 2 hours is the recommended window to allow for the medication to break down correctly.

Why does this happen?

So, your next question is probably asking the reason this happens. Well, at the core of it, this interaction is due to the ability of both grapefruit and CBD to interact with CYP450 proteins.


 CYP450 proteins are responsible for the breakdown of medication. Both CBD and grapefruit have been shown to inhibit the ability of these proteins to break down the medicine. The slower breakdown of these medications may very well result in higher concentrations of the medicine in your bloodstream.


Because of this fact,  any negative side effects that could be realized through taking the drug can be strengthened. In many cases, there is a very specific prescribed amount from your doctor based on different health factors. They know the amount of the medication that you will need to take to see positive results and remain at safe levels of it within your body. 


When the breakdown of these medications is slowed down, this very specific prescription could be thrown off due to the fact that they are accounting for the normal, unaltered, systemic ability of the CYP450 proteins to break down the medicine to a certain degree. 


In some cases this effect can potentially be fatal. As doctors prescribe a safe amount for you to take based on the previously noted health conditions. By inhibiting the ability of your body to break down the medication, you are essentially causing the medicine to become more concentrated within your blood.

What medications does it apply to?


As noted this applies to mostly cholesterol medications although there are some other types of medicines that may be affected. The other types of medications at risk include some blood pressure medications, Heart rhythm medications, anti-infection medications,  mood medications, Certain blood thinners, antidepressants, & erectile dysfunction/prostate medications.


Again, this does not apply across the board to every single medication that falls under one of these categories. To help you, we are listing some of the most common, at risk medications that fall under these categories. These are merely guidelines from the research we have performed ourselves and do not serve as medical advice or guidance, consult your doctor for such information.


Cholesterol Medications

  • Atorvastatin (Lipitor)
  • Lovastatin (Mevacor)
  • Simvastatin (Zocor)

Blood Pressure Medications

  • Felodipine
  • Nifedipine (Procardia)
  • Losartan (Cozaar)
  • Eplerenone (Inspra)

Heart Rhythm Medications

  • Amiodarone
  • Dronedarone (Multaq)

Anti-infection Medications

  • Erythromycin
  • Rilpivirine and related HIV drugs
  • Primaquine and related antimalarial drugs
  • Albendazole

Mood Medications

  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin)
  • Quetiapine (Seroquel)
  • Lurasidone (Latuda)
  • Ziprasidone (Geodon)
  • Buspirone (Buspar)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Midazolam (Versed)
  • Triazolam (Halcion)

Bloodthinners

  • Apixaban (Eliquis)
  • Rivaroxaban (Xarelto)
  • Clopidogrel (Plavix)
  • Ticagrelor (Brilinta)

Pain Medications

  • Fentanyl
  • Oxycodone
  • Colchicine

Erectile Dysfunction/Prostate Medications

  • Sildenafil (Viagra)
  • Tadalafil (Cialis)
  • Tamsulosin (Flomax)
  • Silodosin (Rapaflo)

This list includes some of the most common medicines that may interact with CBD. Although there are more, less common medicines that can interact that are not listed. We recommend visiting www.drugs.com & searching for your medication. This site shows you any interactions your medication can have. Lastly, consulting a doctor is never a bad idea. 

Conclusion

The information & details provided in this article serve as educational content & not medical advice. So, now that you know that allthough CBD has the potential to interact with medications, it usually requires high levels of CBD for this to actually happen.

We implore you to weigh out your decision as many have decided to make the switch to a more natural alternative with virtually no side effects.