CBD’s Stake In Drug Interactions
By Gabriel Darda
Cannabidiols (CBDs) have created quite a stir in the vital arena of wellness, specifically for the highly beneficial, broad spectrum of medicinal properties they possess. But, before anyone considers incorporating CBD into their daily lifestyle, key concerns regarding possible drug interactions, should be addressed.
CBD is a safe, non-psychoactive (non-intoxicating), plant-based, non-toxic cannabis extract loaded with a myriad of therapeutic benefits. In trial studies it has shown itself to be highly effective in treating chronic conditions like arthritis, lupus, epileptic seizures, anxiety, PTSD, and most importantly inflammation, which promotes overall health and wellbeing. Its role as a pain reliever, natural sleep aid, anti-inflammatory and post workout recovery supplement, has earned CBD products a fast-growing, dedicated following. In fact, research continues to support the fact that CBD has the ability to treat a host of medical conditions more effectively and with fewer side effects than traditional prescription drugs.
Understanding How Drugs Are Metabolized
A basic understanding of the process requires a glimpse at how most drugs including CBD is metabolized by the human body. This process starts with the Cytochrome P450 or CYT P450, which is the group of enzymes collectively responsible for the metabolic process. Known as an intracellular component, CYT P450 plays a key role in managing hormone secretion and cholesterol as well as vitamin synthesis. It is central to all the biological systems not only in the human body but also in animals, plants, fungi and even bacteria.
In fact, CYT P450 is present in every tissue of the human body, but it is in the liver where it plays it’s most important role, that of breaking down toxins – or in this case – implementing the medicinal properties of beneficial drugs. This becomes critically important when you consider it is the liver that metabolizes 75% of the pharmaceutical medications we take, which includes CBD. When more than one medication is taken, it often becomes difficult for our liver to digest and effectively implement each of them to their fullest potential; it also becomes difficult for our liver to remove them from our system at the appropriate time.
When more than one drug utilizes the CYT450 pathway, they begin interacting with each other, promoting or inhibiting the metabolism of the other. This metabolic confusion means neither drug will be metabolized as anticipated, so dosage adjustments may need to be made. Under other conditions, the interaction can be a health risk, with interaction causing damage to the liver, or worse. It also can lead to bioaccumulation – where the liver cannot process and properly release the drugs and they ultimately accumulate within the body. This is why it is so important to have your physician carefully review any combination of medicines you currently take, especially before adding to that list.
Obviously, the more medications combined, the more complex the interactions will be. Where the dosage is too low to compete with the other medications, it will fail to perform. If the dosage is too high, it could lead to serious internal damage, even an overdose. Again, it is imperative that your medical professional be attentive to the medications you take in order that they work with your body, not against it.
Role of CBD in Interactions
CBD is a potent inhibitor to other drugs that are also using the CYT P450 pathway. When taken along with other prescribed pharmaceutical drugs, Cannabidiol generally forces its way through and jumps to the front of the line when it comes to being metabolized. This reaction can be compared with that of grapefruit, whose bioactive compounds prevent certain formulas from metabolizing some varieties of statins, blood thinners, antihistamines, blood pressure medications, and HIV medications. Therefore, using CBD products will require taking a proactive stance to familiarize oneself with any possible interactions
Be Clear About CBD Use When Consulting With Your Doctor
It is extremely important to be candid and share with your doctor that you are consuming CBD products, in addition to any other prescribed medications – this is YOUR responsibility. In this way, your doctor can help you avoid any drug interactions or harmful health side-effects – and can best prescribe the correct dosage of medications. Be aware, because of the stigma and the lack of knowledge still associated with Cannabis-based products, it is possible a physician will not support the decision to include it in your health journey.
That said, the growing acceptance of CBD products being used, as an alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals, is definitely a welcome change. If a CBD product can legitimately treat your health issues and promotes wellbeing without the addition of prescription medications, then embrace and celebrate that healthful new state!
Note, even if you are not using any prescription drugs, it is advisable to let your doctor know that you are making use of CBD products, so she/he can adjust future recommendations that may be necessary.
Cannabidiol is not a cure-all magic potion or replacement for all pharmaceutical medicines, but its highly effective, broad-spectrum of therapeutic benefits shows great potential for treating a wide gamut of serious ailments. Those benefits make it well worthwhile to factor it in as a potent – and useful – tool in the health industry.