CBD May Interact with Prescription Drugs

CBD products have recently been flooding the market and many older adults are turning to cannabidiol to help treat aches and pains from arthritis, sleep problems or anxiety without the intoxicating effects of THC.  But researchers are warning the public that CBD is likely to interact with certain medications, altering their effectiveness or increasing the risk of side effects.  Because a higher percentage of older adults have chronic health problems, many also take multiple prescription medications and should be aware of possible drug interactions with CBD. 

According to a recent report in the Huffington Post, scientists are concerned that CBD may inhibit enzymes that the liver uses to metabolize many prescription medications.  When drugs are not properly metabolized, too much of the medication may enter the bloodstream, resulting in toxicity or other dangerous side effects.  A higher dose of a blood thinner like warfarin, for example, could lead to a traumatic bleed or hemorrhage.  Similarly, the effects of anxiety medications could be heightened resulting drowsiness, increasing the risk for car accidents or falls around the house. 

Even over-the-counter pain medications and some antibiotics may be affected by the use of CBD.  While small amounts of CBD administered through a topical cream or oil may not have a serious effect on how the body processes drugs, CBD taken orally underneath the tongue, by inhaling it through a vaporizer or taking it in an edible could result in a medication interaction. 

When using edibles, it’s also important to remember that it takes the CBD longer to be absorbed into the body than with CBD taken under the tongue or other methods. This longer absorption period can lead people to believe that it isn’t working and take another dose potentially leading to overdosing and/or more harmful interactions with prescription medications.

Always talk with your doctors before adding any medication or supplements to your regime.  In addition to antidepressants, CBD could also increase blood concentrations of antihistamines, antiretrovirals, calcium channel blockers and beta blockers.  More long-term research on the use of CBD is needed to establish safety guidelines.  For now, researchers recommend talking with your doctor and using caution when taking CBD, especially in conjunction with any prescription medications.  Learn more about the clinical data and studies conducted on the safety and side effects of cannabidiol by following this link to the US National Library of Medicine.