Understanding The Relationship Between CBD and Grapefruit
Posted on August 26th, 2020
As each day passes, we hear more buzz about CBD. Once illegal, this substance is now being touted as a potential tool for addressing symptoms of so many different conditions. And so many people want to learn more, to see if CBD can help them feel better.
Today, we’ll try to help you understand more about using CBD. While it is a natural substance and has minimal side effects, it can negatively interact with some of your medications. It can also interact strangely with other compounds, which is why you should always talk to your doctor before starting a new CBD routine.
A medical professional will know exactly which of your medications could interact with CBD. But, today, we’ll look at a different combination: in this piece, we’ll explore the possible effects of mixing CBD with grapefruit, so you can proceed with caution. But first, let’s take a closer look at this plant-based compound and how it interacts with your body.
What Is CBD?
CBD, the acronym for cannabidiol, is one of the main compounds, called cannabinoids, that we derive from the cannabis plant. The other is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Both are known for their potential health benefits because they interact with an essential part of your body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is responsible for maintaining balance (homeostasis) in your body. It does this by producing endocannabinoids that interact with a wide variety of receptors scattered throughout your body.
The body has its own natural cannabinoids that initiate the process of restoring body balance when there is an anomaly. How does this work? When you’re in a bad mood, your body will produce endocannabinoids to try and balance your emotions. This takes some time, especially if your ECS is slow or out of balance. If, however, you introduce cannabinoids from the cannabis plants, you can help boost your ECS. We believe this is why cannabinoids like CBD and THC can produce strong effects in your body.
While both CBD and THC have potential health benefits, they do act differently in your body. THC is intoxicating; CBD isn’t. Remember, full-spectrum CBD products will contain trace amounts of THC. But, as long as you choose hemp-extract CBD, with THC concentrations below 0.3%, you’ll be on the right side of federal laws. You should still check local state laws, though, since CBD regulations vary across the country.
What Is the Relationship Between CBD and Grapefruit?
Have you noticed “grapefruit warnings” on your medication? Or has your doctor told you not to eat grapefruit after prescribing a new drug? Well, the reason behind these warnings is that grapefruit contains a compound called furanocoumarins. It can combine with certain enzymes in your digestive system and neutralize them. One of these enzymes is CYP450, whose job it is to break down and remove drugs from your body. Without this enzyme, your medicines won’t break down properly. They’ll make their way into your liver, eventually hitting your bloodstream in a harmful form. This increases your chances of having dangerous levels of drugs in your system.
Studies have drawn comparisons between CBD and grapefruit in that they both have similar effects on these enzymes. The only difference is that CBD might be more potent since it binds with enzymes in multiple areas of your digestive system, while grapefruit mainly affects enzymes in your small intestine. Once you have interfered with the enzymes, it can take a few days to restore their regular functioning. This window is dangerous, since raw drugs may flow into your system.
Risks of Grapefruit and CBD
The enzymes affected by both CBD and grapefruit play a significant role in your body. They are responsible for breaking down multiple drugs, including antihistamines, antidepressants, and benzodiazepines. And the extent of the potential threat depends on the dosages.
When you get a prescription, your recommended dose specifies how much of this drug needs to survive to break down in order to do its job. But if nothing breaks down, your doctor-recommended dose is no longer accurate. A small dose could become a high dose when break down gets bypassed. This is particularly true for medications that only work when present in small concentrations.
We don’t yet know everything about CBD and grapefruit and their drug interactions, so always be cautious. Talk to your doctor before combining over the counter medications or prescription drugs with CBD or grapefruit.
What Is the Way Forward?
CBD can still be a useful supplement, as long as you are careful. The best thing to do is to treat the CBD warning with the same level of seriousness as you would handle the guidance surrounding grapefruit. You won’t find drugs with CBD warnings, but assume that they are the same and avoid CBD when taking any medicines that have grapefruit warnings.
And again, it’s always best to seek the guidance of a doctor, especially if you are taking medications. Your doctor will explain the risk levels and might even be required to monitor plasma serum levels of the drug to determine whether it is safe or not.
Possible complications of combining CBD and grapefruit-adverse drugs include:
- More intense medications side effects
- Medications become less effective
- CBD side effects are more noticeable
Other Factors to Consider with CBD and Drug Interactions
Some studies indicate that CBD’s risk of medication interactions comes when you consume high doses. But that’s not always the case, so always proceed with caution.
Other factors can determine the way CBD interacts with your current medications. These include your CBD delivery method and your dose scheduling. In some cases, your doctor may be able to craft a schedule where you take CBD and medication at different times of the day. They can space out your doses to minimize interactions, so you can wholly metabolize CBD and your medication separately.
The potency of CBD oil and its bioavailability may also play a factor. This absorption rate of CBD may affect when you take it in relation to your medication. For example, a tincture may work more quickly in your body than a capsule. Here, your doctor can advise you on which form of CBD may be best for you to avoid interacting with the enzymes in your digestive system.
As we get excited about the potential health benefits of CBD oil, it helps to be aware of how CBD could interact with certain medications, including those with a grapefruit warning. Always be sure to consult your physician before introducing CBD into your routine, especially if you are taking any medication. When looking for a CBD product that’s right for you, be sure to look for high-quality CBD from a reputable source. A reliable source will have a certificate of analysis for their products provided from third-party lab tests.
Studies have drawn comparisons between CBD and grapefruit in that they both have similar effects on certain enzymes.
What CBD And Grapefruit Have In Common When It Comes To Drug Interactions: Risks You Should Know
Interest in cannabidiol (CBD) is exploding. Now that major retailers are carrying CBD products, plus an enormous selection online, curiosity is only going up. But we also need some healthy skepticism and caution to balance out the exuberance. CBD research is still in the early stages, and marketing is predictably outpacing facts. Concerns about safety, among other topics, are getting lost in the hype.
Apart from a short list of possible side-effects, bigger concerns revolve around how CBD interacts with other drugs. Here’s a brief breakdown of possible risks if you’re thinking of trying it out.
What CBD and grapefruit have in common
You’re probably familiar with “grapefruit warnings” that appear on a variety of medications, or maybe your doctor or pharmacist has told you to avoid grapefruit or grapefruit juice when taking a particular med.
The reason for the warning is that grapefruit contains compounds called furanocoumarins that bind with and effectively neutralize enzymes in the gut (specifically a type called CYP450 enzymes), which help break down and eliminate drugs from the body. When these enzymes can’t do their job, too much of the drug enters the liver and flows unprocessed into the bloodstream. That elevates risk of having dangerously high levels of the drug in your system.
CBD is similar to grapefruit in that it also binds with those enzymes, but research suggests that it’s possibly even more potent because it binds in multiple parts of the gut and liver (grapefruit mainly affects enzymes within the small intestine). Once an enzyme has been inhibited, the effect isn’t immediately reversed. It can take days for enzyme function to return to baseline and start the process again.
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In particular, research has found that CBD is a “potent inhibitor” of two enzymes (CYP3A4 and CYP2D6) that affect many common drugs, including antihistamines, benzodiazepines, certain antidepressants and statins.
What’s the risk?
The enzymes that both grapefruit and CBD inhibit are thought to break down a significant percentage of prescription and over-the-counter medications, so the potential for problems could be high.
A low dose of a med could become a high dose if it’s not properly broken down and eliminated. A high dose of a med could become a dangerously high dose, or even an overdose. Drugs with a narrow “therapeutic window” (they must stay within a certain blood-concentration range) are especially susceptible.
One of the big problems with CBD at the moment is we don’t really know yet which drugs are affected the most, and it’s difficult to identify exact levels of risk because the research has a lot of catching up to do after decades of science-blocking illegality. But since the compound appears to exert similar effects as grapefruit, caution is needed.
What’s the best path forward?
At a minimum, the evidence at this point suggests that grapefruit warnings on medications should also apply to CBD. And it’s important to check with your doctor before taking CBD, especially if you’re taking other medications.
The market for CBD products is predicted to pass $22 billion over the next four years, and that’s coming with the expected hurricane of fact-obscuring hype. With so much fanfare, it’s easy to ignore the fact that CBD is a potent compound that’s far from exhaustively understood. Research is uncovering upsides of taking it for a variety of conditions, and we’ll likely see more to come, but it’s also on us to recognize that this is an unfolding story and proceed with caution.
We’re still in the early stages of CBD research and marketing is predictably outpacing the facts. Here’s a brief breakdown of drug-interaction risks you should know.