Does CBD Interfere with Medication?

CBD Cream

There’s no denying that CBD is everywhere. But many people still wonder about its safety. So in this article, we’ll go over potential CBD interactions with other medications and the signs and symptoms you should be keeping an eye out for so you can continue enjoying its many benefits as safely as possible.

What exactly is CBD?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you’ve probably heard of CBD. Short for cannabidiol, CBD is an oil extracted from the cannabis plant that’s increasingly being used as a natural remedy for a multitude of ailments.

You may already know that CBD comes from the same plant as THC – the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, or weed. Chemically speaking, CBD and THC (short for tetrahydrocannabinol) are almost identical. However, they interact with different receptors that produce distinct effects once they enter the body. The most notable difference is that THC produces a high sensation and CBD does not.

Benefits and uses of CBD

The popularity of CBD has prompted investigators to study its effects on a number of health conditions. To date, there’s evidence that CBD products, including oils, gummies, tinctures, capsules, lotions, and more, could help with the following:

  • Epilepsy
  • Chronic pain
  • Arthritis
  • Symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Symptoms of PTSD
  • Opioid addiction withdrawal
  • Inflammation
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) symptoms
  • Sleeplessness
  • Gastrointestinal issues

What kind of interactions can happen while taking CBD with medication?

All chemical compounds can interact with your medications, whether they’re natural – like CBD – or synthetic. In fact, even some of the healthiest foods you can find, like leafy green vegetables and grapefruit, can disrupt the activity of certain medications and increase your risk of experiencing side effects.

In the case of CBD, its main components are broken down by the same family of liver enzymes that are responsible for processing most other medications. These enzymes are called CYP450. CBD inhibits two specific enzymes of this family, which means it temporarily ‘deactivates’ its activity, potentially altering how your body metabolizes other compounds.

As a result, depending on the medication that you take while using CBD, your body can either take a long time processing the medicine or have a harder time breaking down the CBD itself. This is called a drug-drug interaction.

Another issue with taking CBD with a prescription or over-the-counter medications is that many of these products deliver different concentrations of CBD and THC. And larger doses could potentially trigger interactions with drugs that wouldn’t normally interfere with CBD. This is why it’s always important to buy quality products that have been tested and approved by independent labs.

Researchers have found moderate to severe interactions between CBD and at least 57 different prescription medicines (here’s the complete list, if you’d like to check it out). In general terms, you may have a higher risk of experiencing a drug-drug interaction if you take CBD along with the following medications:

  • Antidepressants (visit for more about mental health medication effects and their potential interactions)
  • Warfarin, a common blood thinner
  • Certain heart medications
  • Levothyroxine, a common thyroid medication
  • Certain seizure medications
  • Certain oral contraceptives

Certain medications, especially heart and blood pressure drugs, have been shown to produce serious interactions when consumed with grapefruit and grapefruit juice. This happens because grapefruit juice contains chemical compounds that inhibit specific liver enzymes, much like CBD. According to Healthline, as a general rule of thumb, you should avoid using CBD if you take any medications that contain a grapefruit warning.


Side effects to watch out for

CBD interactions with medications range from mild to severe and can include:


  • Stomach ache and discomfort
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Diarrhea
  • Decrease or increase in appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Reduced appetite
  • Drowsiness


Moderate to severe

  • Low blood pressure
  • Liver injury
  • A decrease in medication effectiveness

When to call a doctor

To date, there haven’t been reports of any life-threatening interactions with CBD and prescription or OTC medications. However, it’s always wise to consult a healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking a new supplement or medication, including CBD. Call your doctor right away if you experience any of the following side effects:

  • Severe nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Unexplained itching
  • Dark urine
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives, difficult breathing, or swelling of your lips, face, tongue, or throat.

This post was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.

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