Is CBD Safe to Take with Medications and Drugs?
CBD (cannabidiol) is a substance which naturally interacts with the endocannabinoid system inside the body. But more times than not, people who choose to take CBD could also be taking one or multiple medications. The question most of these people ask is whether or not it is safe to take CBD while also taking these medications and the answers are quite varied in all truth.
So, to begin to understand whether it is safe or not to take CBD along with medications and drugs, it is important to understand more about these medications and drugs and then one can understand whether it will be alright to take both at the same time.
The Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
The Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System, CYP-450 for short, is a specific enzyme system which resides in the body’s liver. This enzyme system is responsible for breaking down and distributing certain compounds found in medications and drugs. This enzyme system is dependent on the endocannabinoid system in the body and is therefore receptive to interactions with CBD.
This enzyme system is also responsible for breaking down CBD, so not only is the enzyme coming in contact with the CBD through its effects on the endocannabinoid receptors inside the body, but it also comes in direct contact with it when processing it within the liver, and then distributing it throughout the body
When the CYP-450 reacts with CBD in the body, the enzymes don’t operate as they usually do, and they don’t break down the compounds found in these drugs and medications in the way they normally would. Instead, when the compound enters the liver to be processed, the enzyme system either breaks them down too slowly and releases the medicines and drugs too slowly and inconsistently into the body; or breaks down the compound half-ways and releases it throughout the body too quickly or in too big amounts.
Therefore, when there is too big or too small of an amount of these drugs and medications in your body, there can be side effects or loss of effectiveness. To put it plainly, if your body receives too much or too little of the medication it needs, your body won’t benefit from the effects and benefits of the medicine.
It is also important to understand that many of these drugs have side effects if they are taken in large amounts (which is why one should always stay on the prescribed amount of medication, no matter what). So, if you are taking medication or a drug and you also take CBD, there is a chance that you can experience side effects, but the side effects are not from the CBD itself, they are from the medication.
You see, doctors have studied the Cytochrome P-450 enzyme system, how it works, how it breaks down compounds, and how much time it takes this system to complete the whole process; and they have been able to base their prescriptions on the way this system works. This means that the prescribed amount of medication or drug is literally based off off the way the enzyme system breaks it down. Therefore, creating a change in the way this enzyme system operates will have a direct impact on the way your body receives and processes this drug.
What Medications & Drugs Should Not Be Taken with CBD?
The main categories of drugs and medications that should not be taken with CBD are listed here below for your optimal convenience:
- HMG CoA reductase inhibitors
- HIV antivirals
- Calcium channel blockers
- Immune modulators
- Angiotensin II blockers
- Oral hypoglycemic agents
Above you read all about why these drugs and medications should not be taken with CBD, and listed are all the different main categories of these. If your medication aligns with one of these categories, we suggest checking in with the doctor who prescribed it/them to you, and to mention to them that you are thinking of taking CBD, but that you are unsure whether they are safe to take together. Doctors are likely to be able to either adjust your prescription if you are very sure about taking CBD, but their professional opinion is the best to consult before taking any CBD while on these medications and/or drugs.
Pros & Cons of Taking CBD When Taking Medication
Taking CBD alongside certain medications which don’t rely on the Cytochrome P-450 enzyme system to be broken down can be quite good in the eyes of some. CBD is a dietary supplement, as you know, and was categorized like this thanks to all the nutrients it can provide the body with, which include many fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, terpenes, and flavonoids, which all have their benefits for the body. So if you are taking medication which could be reinforced with some fatty acids, vitamins or minerals, or terpenes and flavonoids, taking CBD could be a way in which you can provide your body with these essential nutrients, as long as these medications are not on the list above.
As mentioned above, the cons are mainly the fact that your medication(s) or drug(s) may not be processed normally in your body and can, therefore, be released within your body in irregular amounts. This leads to you experiencing the unprecedented side effects of a drug, which is not altogether the most pleasant or safe.
There is also a slight possibility when taking CBD with medications which may cause an upset stomach that those effects could be amplified slightly, but that is only due to the rare side effect of CBD causing some nausea or diarrhoea when people first take it. So, really, that isn’t a very prominent con, but it could happen if your body is not accustomed to CBD.
Terpenes and Medications: Is it Safe?
What are Terpenes?
As you may know, full-spectrum CBD also contains amounts of terpenes and flavonoids which are naturally occurring substances, like CBD, in the marijuana and hemp plants. Terpenes are a type of natural essential oil which many different plants and some insects produce in order to ward off any herbivore animals which might eat them. They are usually quite aromatic, and to many herbivore animals, they can also taste unpleasant, which is essentially the reason they exist.
Since these essential oils are found in many types of wood, leaves, and grasses, they are widely known in the scientific world and have been part of many medical practices throughout history. Of course, it was not until technology caught up that humans were able to isolate terpenes and use them for their benefits, but now that we can isolate them, one can find terpenes and essential oil extracts on the market.
Along with flavonoids, terpenes and terpenoids are the components which give marijuana its taste and smell, and for that reason also, they are highly regarded and widely loved. This has become something which can be altered in the plants as they grow, and for that reason, there are many different “flavours” of marijuana in places like the USA and Canada, where it is legal.
On another note, you may know the word “aromatherapy”, which refers to the use of essential oils for their benefits. Natural essential oils have been found to be really great for many things, including skin treatments, fungal infections, stress and anxiety, insomnia, and things such as minor coughs, headaches, and drowsiness.
Terpenes play a huge role in the reason essential oils smell and act the way they do, and they provide many of the natural medicinal benefits which essential oils have. Therefore, full-spectrum CBD also contains some of these benefits, for it can contain terpenes such as limonene, myrcene, pinene, and linalool, which are all very well known for their benefits. Isolated Terpenes can also be purchased if someone is looking for Cannabinoid Terpenes specifically rather than a Full Spectrum CBD oil rich in Terpenes.
Do Terpenes Affect Medications and Drugs like CBD Does?
Terpenes found in CBD are currently being studied as to their effects on medications and drugs, since we now know the effect CBD has on the CYP-450 enzyme system, and how that affects drugs and medications, and the way they are processed. But as of now, we are still currently investigating exactly what affects terpenes have on medications and drugs.
Terpenes and terpenoids don’t interact with the endocannabinoid system, despite coming with CBD, since they are actually separate compounds from CBD. In short, terpenes are not cannabinoids (CBD). Therefore, they don’t have a direct contact or interaction with the Cytochrome P-450 enzyme system like CBD does.
This is actually good news for those who would like to experience the benefits of terpenes such as limonene or pinene when on medications; but it does mean that it is best if they look for isolated terpenes instead of a full spectrum CBD. This can also mean bad news for people wanting to take full spectrum CBD for the benefits of both CBD and terpenes, but are on medications or drugs which can be affected by the CBD.
So, as of now, the best thing to do, if you are thinking about terpenes as a good option for you, is to just try to find an essential oil with the terpene blend that you would like to take, and buy that; instead of buying and taking CBD oil with terpenes in it.
To conclude the above-stated facts, it is important for you to know a little about what CBD is used for, and how it is categorized by the MHRA; that way you can use it to its fullest advantage, and you can get the most out of your CBD.
Ad of November 2018, the UK laws changed regarding the use, sale, and manufacturing of CBD. There were, however, a few catches and rules which were established before people were allowed to make, sell, or distribute CBD; and some of those are:
1) CBD must be classified and marketed as a “dietary supplement”, meaning that although there are many claims regarding CBD’s major benefits and uses, companies were not allowed to guarantee any of these or market CBD as providing them; since there is not enough scientific evidence proving CBD to have any benefits outside of a nutritional value. 2) CBD must contain less that 0.2% THC for it to be allowed to circulate the market, and there must be lab testing done to prove all CBD to be within that legal limit.
With that in mind, we believe that once you know about what CBD is categorized legally, you will then be able to use it to your advantage and get all the good nutrients CBD has. For example, if you are taking medicine which may lower your levels of fatty acids or could be paired with vitamin C, B12, or A, then you can take CBD (as long as it is not one which is affected by the CBD, of course).
In addition to this, CBD also contains a great number of fatty acids, apart from vitamins, minerals, terpenes, and flavonoids; and these specific fatty acids are a really great option for people who are on a vegan diet, because research theorizes that vegans can sometimes have low levels of this specific fatty acid.
So now you know all you need to know about taking CBD with your medications, and we hope you are able to feel confident in all your knowledge about this particular subject. Please note that we are not doctors of any kind, so if you have any doubts whatsoever, we advise you to go to your doctor for their professional advice and guidance. Other than that, don’t forget to check out our other blogs to learn more about CBD!