CBD and Medication Interactions
Oct 24, 2021
Research shows that CBD is generally safe and has few, if any, minor side effects. But there’s one big caveat: CBD does have the potential to interact with some medications. The concern has to do with how the body metabolizes certain substances.
When you take a medication or other substance, your body has to metabolize it, or break it down. Drug metabolism happens throughout the body, such as in the gut, but the liver does a big part of the job, too.
A family of enzymes called cytochrome P450 (CYP450) does the important work of converting foreign substances so they can easily be eliminated from the body.
But some medications or substances affect CYP450, either by slowing or speeding up drug metabolism. That change in metabolism rate can alter how your body processes the medications or supplements you take — hence a drug interaction.
Although studies are still ongoing to determine potential interactions between CBD and specific medications, there’s one rule of thumb that can help consumers in the meantime: Avoid CBD if your medications have a grapefruit warning on the label.
This warning indicates that people taking the medication should avoid consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, consuming grapefruit while on one of these medications can lead to a higher concentration of the medication in the bloodstream and adverse side effects or even an overdose.
More than 85 drugs interact with grapefruit and some closely related citrus juices — like Seville oranges, pomelos, and tangelos. That’s because chemicals in grapefruit known as furanocoumarins inhibit CYP3A4, in a similar fashion as CBD. The result is a slowed metabolization of medications.
Grapefruit warnings are common in several types of medications, but not all medications within a category will require the avoidance of grapefruit. Check your medication’s insert or ask your doctor.
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