The benefits of CBD to our health is there for all to see. We are continually hearing about new things that CBD can help with, whether it is helping you to sleep, calming anxiety or giving you more energy. In fact, the likelihood is that CBD can probably help everyone in one way or another.
CBD or cannabidiol works by interacting with the human endocannabinoid system. This is a system in the body which ensures that everything is regulated and in perfect balance. When it is taken, it can enhance the endocannabinoid system and give your general health a great boost.
There are, of course some other, more specific health problems that can be helped by CBD, such as depression and anxiety, insomnia, reducing inflammation and helping with pain relief.
It is no wonder, therefore that more and more people across the world are turning to CBD to help them deal with their health problems. CBD is completely natural, non-addictive and won’t make you high. Nobody has ever died from a CBD overdose – if you take higher doses of CBD, you will just find that the CBD is less effective.
CBD and Medication
In the UK, unless they have a specific medical licence, CBD products are usually classified as a food supplement. This means that producers of CBD products are therefore unable to claim that their products have any specific medicinal qualities. However, it is certainly true that CBD products can help people to deal with certain health issues that they have.
When considering taking CBD, however, one of the most important things to think about is how it might affect any medication that you are taking.
If you are currently on some sort of medicine – either prescribed or obtained over the counter, it is crucial that you talk to your doctor before trying CBD. This is because, although it is absolutely safe to take on its own, it can have an impact on certain medications.
For many people, CBD won’t have any effect on medicines which are being taken, however, there are some specific drugs which it will.
CBD and Drug Interactions
When medication is taken, some of the drugs are metabolised by the cytochrome P450 enzyme system in the liver. When doctors prescribe these drugs, they calculate the dosage that you require according to how much you need to have in your bloodstream. By knowing how long it takes for your body to be able to breakdown or metabolise these drugs, doctors can then work out how much of the medication you should be taking at any one time.
There are some substances – including grapefruit, St John’s Wort, watercress, and CBD which can inhibit the ability of cytochrome P450 enzymes to be able to breakdown these medications, resulting in higher levels of the medications in the blood.
This means that it is possible that taking CBD can keep medicines in the bloodstream for longer and therefore make them stronger or more effective than they would be when they were calculated by doctors.
It is important to take this into account with any medication that is being taken, but especially with chemotherapy drugs which are carefully calculated to give you the exact balance of chemicals in the bloodstream that you need.
Drugs which Interact with CBD
There are a number of drugs which are metabolised through the cytochrome P450 enzyme system, and these all have the potential for being impacted by CBD. This doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that you cannot take CBD and enjoy its health benefits, it just means that you should discuss it with your doctor before trying it.
It is important to remember as well that you shouldn’t stop taking your medication (at least until you have discussed it with your doctor and have planned a way forward).
Some of the drugs which work with the cytochrome P450 enzyme system and therefore could be affected by CBD include:
- HMG CoA reductase inhibitors
- Angiotension II blockers
- Calcium channel blockers
- HIV antivirals
- Immune modulators
- Beta blockers
- Oral hypoglycemic agents
There will also be other medications that aren’t on this list. All of these medications won’t necessarily interact with CBD, and this is why it is so important that you speak to your doctor if you want to try it. It is better to be safe than sorry, after all.
It is also important to remember that if you are already taking CBD – for whatever reason – you should let your doctor know if they are thinking of prescribing you some sort of medication.
Just because you were taking CBD first, doesn’t mean that the effect will be any different!
CBD and Prodrugs
There are also some medications which are known as “prodrugs”. These are drugs which only start working when they are metabolised by the human body. One example of this is codeine, which metabolises into morphine when it is ingested, and it is the morphine that actually has the effect on the body.
Prodrugs use CYP3A4 – which is part of the CYP450 system – and CBD can inhibit this. This means that potentially, CBD can reduce the amount of these medications in the bloodstream, making them less effective.
There are a number of medicines which fit into this category, including codeine and some drugs which are given for treating ADHD.
CBD Dosage and Drug Interactions
If very low levels of CBD are taken, it can be the case that it won’t have much effect on the CYP450 system. It is, however, difficult to stipulate at what levels this effect comes in to place as research carried out shows that levels vary from person to person.
Just as actual CBD doses can be different to get similar effects for different people, it seems that it is the same for the levels at which the CBD will affect the CYP450 system.
CBD can be highly beneficial to many people and is becoming popular the world over.
Although it might seem simple to buy it and use it straight away, it is important to make sure that it will have the positive effect on your body that you are looking for.
By discussing taking CBD with you doctor, you can make sure that it won’t have an impact on the medication that you are taking and help you to really get the benefits to your health that CBD can give you.
It is also worth remembering that even if you are taking one of the medications above, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to use CBD. It might have no effect, or you might need to adjust your dosage, but you can find this out by talking to your doctor before you try it.
Getting the right balance of medication in your body is essential to its effectiveness regardless of what you are taking it for. Although CBD is safe, it can drastically affect these balances and this is why you must speak to your doctor or physician before trying CBD, especially if you are already taking some sort of medication.