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Does CBD Interact with Medications?

Metabolizing CBD

Is it safe for me to take CBD with medication? If you have been looking into CBD and are worried about taking it due to a prescribed medication, this is probably a thought that’s crossed your mind. The simple answer is that, CBD can potentially interact with many pharmaceuticals, but whether this can cause harm is still being researched.

Many types of medication—over 60%, in fact—are metabolized in the liver by a family of enzymes known as cytochrome P540, or CYP450. The process of metabolism is pretty complicated, but it involves multiple molecular pathways and various enzymes that help your body get rid of compounds, or it can involve breaking a compound down into a simpler molecule that your body can use.

CBD has a very unique interaction with CYP450—they basically deactivate one another. CBD is both metabolized by CYP450 and functions as an inhibitor of the enzymes. CBD essentially pushes any chemical “competitors” out of the way and keeps cytochrome P450 from metabolizing those compounds.

Now, the extent to which this happens varies based on how tightly CBD binds to the active site of the metabolic enzyme—and that can change depending on how CBD is administered, how much is taken, the unique individual taking it, and whether an isolate or full-spectrum product is used. Low enough doses will not create a noticeable effect on CYP activity, but CBD can still cause other effects. And, it’s unclear as to how much CBD will cause the CYP450 receptors to be blocked.

So What?

All that being said, CBD essentially has the potential to render some medications less effective. For example, in an anti-epileptic medication, the active component may be a compound created when the drug is broken down after it’s taken. So, if CYP450 enzymes’ ability to break down the drug is slowed down, the drug might be made less active.

Another potential effect of CBD blocking CYP450 is that the medication could be broken down via a different metabolic pathway, which could interfere with the drug’s activity.

Further research even suggests that, instead of inhibiting cytochrome P450 enzymes, CBD might actually enhance their activities. Again, it depends on the drug and the circumstances surrounding the CBD dosage.

But Can I Take CBD and My Prescriptions?

The best approach to answering this question is to consult with your doctor. Ask about the medications you are prescribed, find out how they are metabolized, and talk about the potential effects of taking those medications with CBD.