Research has shown CBD is effective in managing many different ailments by manipulating the endogenous endocannabinoid system, with little to no side effects. Though completely safe to use, CBD can potentially interact with many pharmaceuticals by inhibiting the activity cytochrome P450, a family of liver enzymes. This key enzyme group metabolizes most of the drugs we consume, including more than 60% of marketed drugs.
CBD can inhibit the cytochrome P450 system’s ability to metabolize certain drugs which can lead to an overall increase in processing time. This can lead to higher levels of the drug in your system at one time which can cause unwanted side effects. Once CBD enters the liver, it monopolizes all the P450 enzyme processing capability, inhibiting its ability to break down any other metabolized drugs. The double duty of cytochrome P450 enzyme is the basis for all CBD interactions.
The way in which CBD inhibits the cytochrome P450 is all dependent on how much CBD is administered, method of ingestion, the pharmaceutical drug being taken in conjunction, unique attributes of the person taking the medication, and whether or not they’re taking an isolated CBD or full spectrum cannabis product. If the dosing of CBD is low enough, it will have no noticeable effect on the P450 enzymes, but CBD may still exert other effects. There is no clearly established cut-off dose below which CBD does not interact with other drugs.
CBD drug interactions aren’t always bad. They can actually be a good thing. CBD can make other drugs more effective, so much so that you can reduce the dosage of those other drugs and thus have less negative side effects to deal with. Before adjusting any current prescriptions, or deciding to use CBD in conjunction with other drugs, always speak to a qualified medical professional. All drugs mainly metabolized by the liver pose a risk for adverse CBD drug interaction. Considering that 60 percent of clinically prescribed medication is metabolized in the liver via the P450 enzyme, it’s not feasible to list them all here.
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