Drug & Alcohol Interactions With CBD

Nearly 70% of Americans take at least one prescription medication according to data from the Mayo Clinic1. Interestingly, many people are turning away from these prescription medications in favor of a new alternative: CBD.

CBD is also known as Cannabidiol, a chemical that is naturally found in hemp plants. It doesn’t have psychoactive properties, so it won’t get you high or have any intoxicating effects. People often report taking CBD products for seizures, anxiety, inflammation, sleep, addiction, and more. 

But, what does the research say about CBD and its potential interactions with prescription drugs or alcohol? When any new product is introduced that relates to health or wellness, it is important to consider the potential interactions between it and common prescription medications. In this article, we will evaluate the research on CBD and its interactions when taken with specific prescription drugs and alcohol.

Old man taking CBD with other medicinces

Why do people use CBD?

Before diving into the interactions of CBD and different types of medications it is important to understand why people are taking CBD oil products. Published research about how CBD works in the body and personal anecdotes indicate that it has a positive effect on over 50 health conditions. Although the research on CBD is still in the early stages, the results are promising. More research is needed to prove CBD effective for specific health conditions, but there is significant evidence for these properties of CBD:

  • Reduces frequency or counteracts seizures
  • Decreases anxiety in social situations and relieves stress from a long day
  • Helps support healthy movement and proper joint functioning
  • Reduce painful aches from physical activity and over-exertion
  • Promotes brain health and helps with problems associated with aging
  • Promotes stable mood and a positive mindset


Is CBD safe?

Yes. In fact, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has approved Epidiolex2, which is a pharmaceutical drug made of 99.9% CBD, for rare childhood seizure syndromes: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. In order to be approved by the FDA, a drug must pass multiple intense phases of research, including double-blind trials, to prove its effectiveness and that it is safe with minimal side effects.


Are There Any Side Effects?

Doctor consulting on taking drugs with CBD

CBD is generally tolerated well and is considered safe. In rare cases, it can cause mild side effects for some people. The side effects noted by some clinical studies3 include dry mouth, loss of appetite, diarrhea, drowsiness, fatigue, and changes in mood. However, most individuals experience no side effects and those that do generally report lessened discomfort when used at lower therapeutic doses. Clinical trials4 have also demonstrated that the side effects of CBD are often less severe than some prescription drug alternatives.


Does CBD interact with other medications?

Now, you are probably wondering if you can start taking CBD with the other medications that you are currently taking. Although CBD-drug interactions are rarely dangerous and very uncommon, they can cause an impact on the well-being of patients on certain medications. The current research suggests that two types of medications – anti-seizure medications and blood-thinning medications – could be impacted by CBD for some individuals. 


How CBD Interacts Medications for Seizures

CBD is well known for its effective treatment for childhood seizures and epileptic seizures, however, it has been observed that CBD can potentially create problems with other anti-seizure medications under certain circumstances. Specifically, one study conducted by researchers at the University of Alabama5 suggests that CBD has the potential to alter the liver’s capacity to metabolize certain anti-epileptic drugs such as clobazam, rufinamide, topiramate, zonisamide, and eslicarbazepine.


CBD Interaction with Drugs used as blood-thinners

Other research6 states that CBD along with other cannabinoids can increase the effects for certain drugs mainly used for blood thinning, such as Warfarin, or drugs that come with a risk of blood thinning. CBD slows down the metabolism of these medicines, which results in the medicine staying longer in the body. Consequently, it increases the effect of the drug and may prolong the risk of bleeding.


How CBD interacts with alcohol

Drinking alcohol while taking CBD oil

There hasn’t been extensive research to see how CBD and alcohol interact with each other, but the limited results are extremely positive.

In an early study7 published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, researchers concluded that participants who consumed alcohol with CBD showed significantly lower levels of alcohol in blood, though no difference in their level of impairment was noted.

Other studies have shown that CBD can protect against some of the toxic effects that alcohol induces on the body. A study8 published in 2013 found that CBD was successful in reducing alcohol-induced neurodegeneration by 50%. In 2014, a study9 concluded that CBD can play a role in the prevention of liver injury induced by alcohol.

Therefore, we can safely infer that the interaction between alcohol and CBD is a positive one. So, if you are wondering, “can I drink while taking CBD”, the answer is yes. But as always, do so responsibly and in moderation.


Final Thoughts

Repeatedly, studies have suggested that cannabinoids such as CBD have significant therapeutic value. But, with the skyrocketing popularity of CBD products, the topic of CBD drug interactions has become a critical subject of future research. These initial findings on drug interactions with CBD are not a cause for alarm for most individuals. But, as always, if you are considering the use of CBD products, it is essential to consult with your primary health care provider to discuss the potential risks involved. If CBD is an appropriate option for you, we encourage you to visit our online store to order your CBD oil or CBD gummies today.

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