Cannabis is a complex plant packed with compounds and over 100 different cannabinoids. The limited research covering cannabidiol or CBD, one of the most abundant cannabinoids found in the plant, shows evidence of a range of potential health benefits. We can use CBD oil for epilepsy, chronic pain, stress, insomnia, and other medical conditions. As CBD grows more popular, people are starting to ask the big question: “How will CBD interact with my current medication setup?”
Currently, limited research hints that CBD can indeed have problematic interactions with some prescription drugs. The findings are far from definitive — more research on CBD’s interaction with different medications is still needed to better understand the situation.
Many doctors and scientists urge people taking CBD (medically or recreationally) to be careful when mixing it with other prescriptions and to ask their doctor about potential interactions.
CBD Interaction With Medication
Are you familiar with the grapefruit test? Many prescription medications will bear grapefruit warnings on the package, advising against eating the citrus fruit while taking the drug.
Most medications are broken down in the small intestine and the liver by a group of proteins called cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYPs). Through this process, the medication’s benefits are delivered to the intended destination.
Grapefruit meddles with this activity and slows the breakdown process. The fruit also enhances the side effects and duration of the drug in a person’s system.
One 2013 study revealed that grapefruit could increase blood content levels when mixed with at least 80 different medications. The reported results were critical, including organ failure, irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding, and even death.
The quality, variety, and purity of CBD all play a part in how it will interact with your body and your medication. Furthermore, the timing of when the CBD is taken along with any other drug will tell how they interact in your body. And of course, because every individual is different and reacts to medications differently, depending on age, weight, and other factors, your experience might be different.
Let’s explore the current research on CBD’s interaction with some of the most common over-the-counter medications.
What Drugs Should Not Be Taken With CBD
CBD and Ibuprofen
Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAID) that subdues pain as well as inflammation in the body. Because ibuprofen has a risk of blood-thinning, it can cause shortness of breath, dizziness, and nausea. Potentially, CBD may extend the duration and concentration of ibuprofen in the body, thereby increasing the intensity of the side effects.
While no human studies to date cover CBD’s interaction with NSAIDs specifically, two studies conducted on rodents in 2006 and 2008 suggest that other cannabinoids (not CBD) may work in tandem with NSAIDs like ibuprofen to intensify the pain-reducing effect.
CBD and Warfarin
Warfarin (Coumadin) is an anticoagulant (blood thinner) drug used to stop the development of fatal blood clots that could lead to heart attacks or strokes. Warfarin’s side effects include bleeding, severe headaches, swelling, or pain in extremities.
A study published in Epilepsy & Behavior Case Reports revealed that CBD enhances the effects of blood-thinning drugs by slowing down how the body metabolizes the medication and thereby extending its presence in the body. By prolonging the duration of warfarin in the body, CBD could potentially worsen some of the adverse side effects.
CBD and Metoprolol
Metoprolol is a beta-blocker taken to manage high blood pressure by reducing the heart rate and adjusting the discharge of epinephrine, the hormone linked to stress, and other processes. Yes, beta-blockers reduce blood pressure but sometimes produce adverse side effects, such as nausea, dizziness, heartburn, stomach pain, and cold hands and feet.
While no current published studies cover the potential interactions between CBD and metoprolol, some placebo-controlled research has linked CBD with lowered blood pressure when taken individually. For people taking metoprolol, the combination with CBD could have adverse consequences on blood pressure.
CBD and Metformin
Metformin is a prescribed medication for type 2 diabetes to help manage blood sugar levels. Side effects of metformin range from low blood sugar and nausea to diarrhea and vomiting.
While one 2006 study showed that CBD oil reduced the incidence of diabetes in some animals, very little research has explicitly covered CBD as a potential treatment for diabetes or the compound’s interactions with the Metformin. More research is still needed on CBD’s interaction with diabetes and Metformin. Patients taking Metformin should talk to their physician before incorporating CBD in their diet.
CBD and Plavix
Plavix, better known by its brand name clopidogrel, is commonly prescribed for people suffering from or are prone to have a heart attack. The drug works by preventing blood platelets from developing clots in arteries near the heart.
According to a 2011 study, it is possible that CBD may produce an inhibitory effect on the protein that metabolizes Plavix. This could cause Plavix to linger longer in the system and minimize the intended results. Further research is needed to conclude whether CBD could lower Plavix’s effectiveness in stopping heart attacks.
Can Caffeine Counteract CBD?
CBD and caffeine are both growing in popularity, especially when infused. Many people rely on caffeine for its energy boost and to help them stay awake. You’d think that when mixed with CBD, it would counteract the desired effects. Surprisingly, a 2007 study on rodents showed that caffeine is metabolized by CYP enzymes, which CBD represses. This could lead to an extension of caffeine’s duration in the body and could potentially extend the stimulating effects of caffeine as well.
CBD’s safety profile is grounded in research, confirming that it is well-tolerated and safe to use. CBD is a complex compound that has a penetrating impact on a wide variety of bodily systems, making it such an efficient therapeutic alternative for so many common conditions.
At the same time, it is important to remember that CBD may also interact with other drugs you’re currently taking (not mentioned on this list). That’s why CBD should be administered with care and prudence.