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Pharmaceutical drug interaction with CBD?

Serious drug interactions have not been seen with Cannabidiol (CBD) in combination with any other drug.

However, CBD and other plant cannabinoids can potentially interact with many pharmaceuticals by inhibiting the activity of cytochrome P450, a family of liver enzymes.

Cyto... P-who-what-huh??? 

Things are about to get a bit geeky but please stick with me...

It's important and you'll want to read on.

This key enzyme group metabolizes most of the drugs we consume, including more than 60 percent of marketed meds.

When a compound is metabolized (this means broken down), the body uses it or gets rid of it. This metabolism can also involve breaking down a compound into a more basic molecule that the body then uses.

Takeaway: Cytochrome P450 is important in how our body utilizes certain compounds (including some pharmaceuticals)

Now that we understand what this enzyme does, let's move on explore its interaction with CBD.

Deep breath... OK...

At sufficient dosages, CBD will temporarily deactivate cytochrome P450 enzymes, thereby altering how we metabolize a wide range of compounds, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which causes the high that cannabis is famous for.

By inhibiting this enzyme the metabolism of the drug is reduced which increases the effects of the prescription drug you are taking.

Because your body can't metabolize the drug at a normal rate, over time this drug will accumulate in your body.

Imagine this enzyme as a trash compactor and if the speed of the trash compactor is slowed or turned off then the trash will accumulate.

Make sense?

Good, let's move on.


CBD will allow you to reduce the pharmaceutical drugs intake that are metabolized by P450.

Here is a list of drugs that this enzyme metabolizes

Another consideration is taking CBD with a P450 inducer like:

  • Carbemazepines
  • Rifampicin
  • Alcohol (chronic)
  • Phenytoin
  • Griseofulvin
  • Phenobarbitol
  • Sulphonylureas

The anticonvulsant potency of phenytoin was significantly increased when combined with phenobarbital, CBD and phenobarbital plus CBD. Additionally, CBD reliably reduced the anticonvulsant potencies of chlordiazepoxide, clonazepam, trimethadione and ethosuximide. These data indicate that CBD is an effective anticonvulsant with a specificity more comparable to drugs clinically effective in major than minor seizures. Furthermore, it appears that CBD enhances the anticonvulsant effects of the former and reduces the effects of the latter types of antiepileptic drugs.

RELATED: What Pharmaceutical Drugs can Interact with CBD Oil

If you are taking any prescription meds listed we strongly advise you consult with a medical professional.

Additional reading on the topic can be found here:



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