Cannabidiol (CBD) products remain very popular for recreational and medicinal use. They have been providing relief for an extremely diverse range of common ailments. These ailments include chronic joint and muscle pain, insomnia, epilepsy, hot flashes, skin health, memory, and more. If you are one of the people interested in exploring the world of CBD, it is important to first understand what CBD is specifically. Also, how it affects the body, and how it may interact with prescription medications you may already be taking.
CBD is considered to be a very safe substance to use regularly. However, there can be unintended consequences if not used responsibly, especially if you are taking other medications. If you are taking any prescription medications, we highly recommend you contact your doctor to ensure using CBD is a safe and effective option for you.
Below we will shed a bit of light on what CBD is. We will discuss how it may alter the effects of other drugs, and what those side effects may be. Our goal is to be as transparent as possible when it comes to the reality of hemp-derived products. We are passionate about making sure everyone understand the full benefits and potential side effects that come with using CBD.
What is CBD?
Simply put, CBD is an extract of the hemp plant which contains chemicals called cannabinoids. CBD molecules, called cannabinoids, bind to cell receptors in our body. These stimulate the “feel good” parts of our brain, bringing a sense of calm, relaxation, and when taken in higher doses, a greater sense of happiness. Used also as a popular anti-inflammatory agent, CBD helps relax muscles and aids in faster recovery of damaged tissues. CBD can also help prevent other common sicknesses.
What are some potential side effects?
Most people don’t experience side effects after using CBD in smaller or medium-sized doses. People who use too much or do not research the proper dosage amount for their body can potentially experience a range of side effects. Drowsiness, lightheadedness, nausea, diarrhea, liver damage, and dry mouth are just a few of these effects.
Taking CBD with other medications carries the above risks, as well as others. These may introduce unwanted toxins or other unpleasant symptoms including: extreme sleepiness, fatigue, loss of motor skills, and excessive tiredness. Those taking Xanax, Ativan, antipsychotics, antidepressants, Benadryl, or alcohol are at risk of experiencing the above symptoms. Taking CBD while using certain herbal supplements like kava or melatonin may also lead to the aforementioned symptoms.
Using CBD while taking stimulants also carries risk of adverse effects. Those using adderall, metformin, and certain heartburn medications could lead to decreased appetite and could cause diarrhea.
How CBD can affect drugs in your system
By introducing CBD into our system, we are potentially allowing it to compete or interfere with the enzymes in our liver. Enzymes which break down other drugs. This may lead to too little or too much of a particular drug substance in the body. It then alters its concentration and potentially, its desired effect. This can lead to the medication simply becoming useless. It also may exaggerate its effects to an unhealthy degree. It is very difficult to predict what could happen specifically when mixing CBD and prescription medication, but the problems can be serious.
Does the type of CBD product make a difference?
Yes! CBD edibles, for instance, take a long time for the body to absorb but also come with a very high concentration peak. They could at some point start interfering with any prescription medications already in the body. Topical CBD products like lotions, creams, and oils can be harder for the body to absorb. This means they can take longer to get into the bloodstream, and may not interfere as much with medications. There is a lot of research still being done on how much CBD needs to get into the bloodstream to begin interfering with medications.
Conclusion: talk to your doctor
The best bet anyone has about using CBD safely while taking prescription medication is to consult with their family doctor. Certainly, there are some instances where CBD should never be taken in conjunction with another medication. And, there are many instances where that may not be the case at all. Only your doctor can help you safely determine the answer to those questions. If you do decide to use CBD while on a prescription medication, it may be necessary to alter the dosage of the medication or CBD.
If you are taking numerous medications (and are elderly), it is even more important to make sure that CBD will not interfere with your treatment. Do not withhold the fact that you are using or are interested in using CBD from your doctor. If you do not have access to a doctor, a pharmacist can be a great resource as well. Of course, we are also here to help in any way we can.
One thing to always keep in mind is that it is never safe to assume that because CBD is a natural, organic substance, that it will not have adverse effects on our bodies. If you are using prescription medication, it may have very serious adverse effects that you likely do not want to experience.