CBD and medication

A very common question that many people ask is whether CBD interacts with any of the medication they are taking.

There is an easy to follow rule which I shall discuss later, however, there is very little evidence about CBD and medication so the important thing to bear in mind is that if you are taking any medication prescribed by a doctor you must always go with safety first.

Speak to your doctor – they may or may not be able to offer objective advice. There is precious little, if any, education for doctors in the mainstream health system regarding cannabis products so they may know less than you do but there is no harm in asking.

It is worth noting that CBD products are very safe to take compared to much over the counter medication – a simple example being that around 3000 people a year die in the UK from taking Ibuprofen. This does not happen with CBD. In fact, I think it is safe to say that no one has ever died from an overdose of cannabis in the history of humanity!

One estimate I’ve seen is that you would need to take 1.5 tonnes of cannabis in twenty minutes to overdose on it – you are actually in more danger from having 1.5 tonnes of cannabis dropped on you.

There is some evidence that CBD interacts with an enzyme called cytochrome P450. This enzyme helps your liver process and remove certain medications from your body. CBD appears to inhibit this enzyme, in other words, it slows down the action of it.

Therefore, the most important piece of knowledge you need to acquire regarding your medication and CBD is – does your medication need cytochrome P450 to remove it from your system.

Finding this out is actually very easy because there is another commonly taken food that also interferes with this enzyme and that is grapefruit.

All you have to do is check the literature with your medication – if it says do not drink grapefruit juice when on this medication you can extend that to say ‘do not drink grapefruit juice or take CBD when on this medication.’

Once you have established this you have to decide either that you will stay on your standard medication or speak to your medical team about coming off the medication so you can try CBD. Be aware that very few medics know much about CBD – they are simply not taught about cannabinoids in their training. This means you may well know more than they do.

I have encountered all manner of reactions from medics from blatant prejudice based on no knowledge of the facts to others who are very interested and willing to encourage their patients to try something that may help them. Do talk to your GP/consultant and do ask what their knowledge is, you may be pleasantly surprised.

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