More benefits of using CBD seem to be found every day. This may lead people to ask the question of whether CBD will have an effect on the medications currently being taken. This is a question the medical community is trying to answer. More research needs to be done to have more definitive answers, but here you will find what we do know so far.

How CBD Affects the Body

CBD effects are predicated by the format of the product being used. Among the most popular broad categories for usage include:

  • Inhaling – Smoking with pipes and joints or inhaling through vape pens.
  • Edibles – Gummies, drinks, and oils added to food are common.
  • Topical solutions – Creams and oils for rubbing on the skin.

The fastest way for CBD to take effect in the body is by inhaling. This typically causes your body to process the drug within 30 minutes. The concentrations are highest in this format.

Edibles can take longer, and generally are believed to have a less intense effect on the body. Effects felt from edibles generally last longer due to the way they are processed through the digestive system.

Topical solutions have the least studied effect on the body. It is believed due to how CBD enters the bloodstream these have the least concentration of the drug within the body.

Overall effects of CBD on the body include such side effects as:

  • Drowsiness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Liver damage (least common)

Higher dosage creates more possibility for you to be at risk for these effects on your body.

Interaction Between CBD and Other Medications

Regardless of the format used, CBD is processed through the CYP450 (cytochrome 450) pathway. This is a pathway in the liver that utilizes the CYP3A4 enzyme. As such, it is necessary to pay attention to any drugs that utilize the same pathway and enzyme.

For this reason, doctors recommend paying attention to any drugs that interact poorly with grapefruit juice. This is because the negative interaction that occurs with grapefruit juice is due to the same interaction CBD may have.

There are more than 85 drugs with a warning for having a negative reaction with grapefruit juice. Furanocoumarins are the chemicals at work in grapefruit that cause it to inhibit CYP3A4. This is the same interaction that CBD has with the body. As such, if you are advised to not consume grapefruit juice, you should similarly avoid CBD usage. Here are some common medications which may have an adverse reaction with CBD:

  • Antibiotics and antimicrobials
  • Anticancer medications
  • Antihistamines
  • Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs)
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Blood thinners
  • Cholesterol medications
  • Corticosteroids
  • Erectile dysfunction medications
  • GI medications, such as to treat GERD or nausea
  • Heart rhythm medications
  • Immunosuppressant

Dosage is a key factor when dealing with the interaction between CBD and other medications. Lower doses may not interfere at all, or will interfere at an unperceivable level. This is a factor that should be paid attention to not only when using CBD products, but also in the medication you are taking.

It is important to note some effects from medication may be inhibited while others may be amplified. For example, such things as blood thinners and sedatives may have increased effectiveness. In blood thinners this could lead to increased bleeding. Sedatives may cause you to sleep longer and deeper. Transversely, such things as anesthesia are generally lowered in potency while taking CBD.

Age Considerations

Keep in mind older patients generally are more at risk for CBD to interfere with medications. One reason is due to the way the body works, the other is an overall assumption.

As you age, your body will decrease its ability to process anything through the system. As such, CBD can create a higher reaction with your medication. Lower dosages will have an increased effect on the CYP3A4 enzyme.

The other factor to consider when it comes to age is the volume of medication typical in older patients. With increased health factors doctors are attempting to regulate at once, the chance for interactions increases. Whereas someone who is younger may take one or two medications on a regular basis, an octogenarian may be taking upwards of 4 different medications.

Always Consult with Your Doctor

Just like with any other medication, it is recommended for you to consult with your doctor. CBD is no exception. Knowing all the medication you are taking and the possible reactions that may occur, the doctor can provide you with the best path forward.

Resist the temptation to hide that you are taking CBD from your doctor. It is a legal product in most locations, but even if it is not legal, your doctor is concerned about your health. Other than taking care of your prescriptions you may get a lecture on what drugs you should or should not be utilizing.

Final Thoughts

It is important to keep in mind there is no regulation on CBD. This means there are no standards for potency, purity or safety. Make sure to only use products that conduct testing through verified third-party vendors. You will have more peace of mind for what you are putting into your body and the way it will affect you.

Given the different ways in which CBD can increase or decrease the potency of medication, it is necessary to take caution. With the added factor of increased side effects on the body along with medications, consult with your doctor. Make sure your medication has a warning for interference from grapefruit juice, take this very seriously.

CBD can be utilized safely. As with any product that can affect how your body, take your time. Do your research. Stay safe. With this in mind, you are going to enjoy the benefits CBD has to offer you.