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A Journal of Cannabis and Culture

Is CBD Safe To Mix With Medications?

Is CBD Safe To Mix With Medications?

BY MARIE LODI 

Studies have shown CBD can be a promising treatment for health issues including pain, anxiety and epilepsy. But what if you’re already on prescription medication for these ailments? Or, perhaps you’re sick and taking antibiotics for a short-term period. Should you mix CBD with medications?

First of all, if you are thinking about taking CBD and are concerned about other medications, you should speak to your doctor. But if you’re curious about how it all works and whether or not CBD generally interacts with other medications, the short answer is: yes.

CBD effects

The process of drug metabolism undergoes three phases, and CBD, off the bat, disrupts the first phase. “CBD inhibits phase 1 [cytochrome P450] of the liver detox system, which breaks down 50% of prescription medications,” says Dr. Prudence Hall, MD, founder and medical director of the Hall Center, a regenerative medicine practice. “Therefore, it can increase the effects of the medication; especially if you have genes that already inhibit the cytochrome P450 enzymes, CBD could worsen this.”

Neuroscientist Dr. Joshua Kaplan adds, “This could lead to elevated levels of medications in your bloodstream and prolonged effects,” and notes that several studies refer to CBD used in addition to medications, in which were rarely any severe adverse side effects. “The most commonly reported side effects associated with medicinal CBD use are drowsiness, dizziness, and diarrhea. It's unclear at this time whether or not those symptoms are from CBD alone, or the interaction between CBD and other medications.”

The amount of CBD you use might also make a difference. “Higher doses are going to have stronger impacts on the levels of other medications and any side that may be associated with these interactions,” says Dr. Kaplan.

But what about over-the-counter medications, like ibuprofen or cold and flu meds? Dr. Hall says mixing those with CBD should be safe, as long as you’re not on too many other medications that use the same detoxification pathways. Bottom line: it’s better to err on the side of caution and talk to your doctor about taking CBD if you are on any other type of medication.

A Journal of Cannabis and Culture
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