I am NOT a medical professional, just a knowledgeable ‘Boomer’ with 2 years of educating about CBD and working with my peers and my elders. In doing this, I found that one of the most important topics that needs to ALWAYS be addressed is medications & CBD. As we get older, it is inevitable that we will be on a few meds, even if we try so hard to do without. I preach about and honestly feel that CBD & Cannabis can be an excellent alternative to so many drugs, but we do need Western Medicine as well!

The best way forward is to be able to hopefully lessen some of the “Big Pharma” drugs. We all know how bad opioids are for us but some don’t realize just how bad even over-the-counter pain meds can be for our health. According to (Reuters Health) – “Many adults who use ibuprofen and other so-called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs take too much, increasing their risk of serious side effects like internal bleeding and heart attacks, a U.S. study suggests.” 

This study continues with, “These drugs can have serious side effects, including gastrointestinal bleeding and heart attacks, and are often taken without medical oversight because many products are available over-the-counter.” It is SO easy to just “take a pill,” and expect immediate results then it is to be patient and allow a natural medicine to do the same but without all the side effects. 

Whereas, most studies have shown that low to NORMAL doses of CBD are generally recognized as a safe and well-tolerated compound with little to no known side effects. However, more studies need to be done specifically on how it interacts with medications.

What we do know:

CBD can interfere with the enzyme CYP3A4, which is in charge of metabolizing certain prescribed medications. If CBD is inhibiting CYP3A4, it can’t work as effectively to break down the medications in your system.The reverse can happen, too. Many medications inhibit CYP3A4, therefore, If you take CBD with these medications, your body can’t work to process the CBD as effectively.

First rule of thumb: Avoid taking CBD with any medications that have a grapefruit warning on the label. 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. You can still take CBD but take it a few hours after or before to minimize any potential reactions. 

This is good advice for all medications, don’t take it at same time as any other meds. I found this from a study: “Spacing out doses of medicine does help to reduce the workload on the liver. For example, depending on the half-life of a drug, its ability to inhibit liver enzymes might be diminished after a couple of hours depending on dose, etc., thus liver enzymes could regain sufficient function by the time a second drug is consumed later on.”

CBD works similarly to how anxiety or SSRI meds work. We also know that if CBD is taken with anxiety drugs, benzodiazepines (or benzos) like Xanax or Ativan, it could increase the side effects and potentially cause you to feel more sedated or drowsy. With SSRI’s, CBD can reduce or increase the effectiveness of these drugs making them work too well or not so well. The same is said for how it works with blood pressure meds. It can make them work too well, so it is advised to keep check on your blood pressure.

I know confusing! Bottom line, it is suggested to just don’t take it at the same time you take any other medication or supplement. Also, start slowly, learn how to dose CBD and monitor how it affects you personally.  it is recommend you also take it in the evening in case drowsiness happens. And OF COURSE, talk to your doctor. (However most don’t know much about it!) 

If you are just using Topicals such as a lotion, salve, oil or patches, this will NOT affect any medications unless it has a compound in it to make it transdermal. It will say this and be a more expensive product. 

Hopefully, in time it can help you to learn to ‘choose plants over pills’ and stay happy and healthy. 

BY: Karen Watts Nauman