CBD Alters Your Body’s Reaction to Some Medication
CBD has come in for extensive attention thanks to its ability to relieve symptoms of some medical problems like anxiety, severe pain, and insomnia. Though studies to measure the extent of CBD’s benefits in this area are still ongoing, a number of people are more than willing to give it a shot.
Recent research has shown that under normal circumstances CBD is safe to consume and leads to very few minor side-effects, if at all. However, this comes with one noteworthy inclusion – CBD may interact with certain medications. The root of the concern is the way the human body processes specific substances.
Therefore, for new users, it is best to consult a medical professional before trying CBD. It is advisable to disclose all of the traditional medication, supplements, vitamins, or over-the-counter drugs that form part of your regular regimen.
Here is why this is important.
The Role of Cytochrome P450 in Drug Metabolism
The body has to break down or metabolize medicines and similar substances when consumed. While this metabolism takes place in various parts of the human body, a major chunk of the responsibility falls to the liver.
Enzymes known as Cytochrome P450 or CYP450 is tasked with breaking down alien substances before it can be passed out from the body. Certain medications affect CYP450 and either speed up or slow down the drug metabolism process. This altered metabolism rate modifies the way the body processes medication or supplements and leads to a drug reaction or interaction.
The Importance of CYP450 When Considering CBD
Research published in 2018 shows that the CYP450 enzyme family is largely responsible for processing CBD and a number of other cannabinoids. While Cytochrome P3A4, within the family of CYP450 enzymes, is the one specifically tasked with the breakdown of CBD, CBD also hinders CYP3A4 during the process.
CYP3A4 is responsible for processing more than half of the prescription medications today. However, with CBD hindering CYP3A4, the enzyme is unable to carry out its task of metabolizing different medication as and when consumed.
That said, the reverse is also possible. Certain other traditional medicines also hinder the work of CYP3A4. Therefore, if CBD is consumed while the user is also prescribed these medicines, the dose of CBD will not be as effective.
Some medicines are also successful in speeding up the work of the Cytochrome P450 family of enzymes. In this case, if another substance in the body is forcing the quicker metabolism of a drug, a user may end up having less than the required dose of medication in their system to treat a medical problem.
How to Take CBD Safely & with Other Medication?
The importance of consulting a licensed medical professional before including CBD as an add-on therapy to relieve a medical condition cannot be stressed enough. A doctor is best placed to advise a specific CBD product and dose that is safe to take along with your other prescribed medicines.
Unless advised by your doctor, do not stop or alter the schedule of any of the other medications that you may be on. When considering CBD products as an alternative therapy, it is also important to consider the use of creams, lotions, and similar topicals. Unlike other CBD-based products like edibles, oils, and smokables, topicals don’t tend to enter the bloodstream.
Combatting CBD-related Drug Interactions
The Grapefruit Warning
Notwithstanding the fact that the scientific community is actively researching the extent to which CBD may interact with certain medications, a general rule that consumers can follow in the meanwhile is to steer clear of CBD if their medication comes with a grapefruit warning.
According to a report by the FDA, consuming grapefruit while taking certain medicines may lead to a higher volume of medication in the bloodstream and a possible overdose.
What’s the deal with grapefruit?
Certain types of medication have a tendency to interact with grapefruit and related citrus fruits like oranges, pomelos, tangelos, etc. These fruits have a chemical called ‘furanocoumarins’. This chemical hinders the work of Cytochrome P3A4 just like CBD. As a result, the metabolization of certain medications is slowed down.
Side Effects to Watch Out For
It is possible to safely use CBD along with medication. The caveat being a prior discussion with a doctor. If required, doctors can call for the monitoring of plasma serum levels of medication or monitor the liver functioning of the patient.
If taking CBD along with certain medications, it is important to watch out for changes in the effect of the medication or CBD.
Keep an eye out for –
An increase in –
A decrease in the medicine’s effect in controlling certain outbreaks like seizures
Changes to common side-effects of CBD including –
CBD products that are derived from Hemp and contain less than the prescribed .3 percent of THC are legal per federal law. However, certain state laws may still deem it illegal.
CBD products that are derived from Marijuana are illegal per federal law but remain legal under laws of certain states.
It is advisable to check the appropriate state laws in case of travel. It is important to note that over-the-counter CBD products are not approved by the FDA.