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CBD and Some (Psychiatric) Medications: Dangerous Together

Did you know that CBD can be dangerous when combined with some psychiatric medications? Read this on HealthyPlace.

CBD and Some (Psychiatric) Medications: Dangerous Together

Did you know that CBD can be dangerous when combined with some psychiatric medications?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is skyrocketing in popularity. According to a poll conducted by SingleCare in 2020, 33 percent of the 2,000 respondents had tried CBD1. It’s touted as wellness-enhancing, and people use it for many reasons, among them reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression symptoms, and insomnia. It’s generally considered safe and effective for mental health concerns, with even a 2019 Psychology Today article encouraging people to use it for a variety of mental health challenges2. What many sources don’t tell you, and what the Psychology Today article only glosses over, is that CBD can be dangerous when combined with certain prescription medications, including many psychiatric medications.

How to Tell If CBD Shouldn’t Be Combined with Your Mental Health Medication

If you are taking a medication that carries the “grapefruit warning,” a statement on the bottle notifying you to avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while taking the prescription, CBD is dangerous3,4. Both grapefruit and CBD block a group of enzymes made by the body called cytochrome P450. These enzymes are largely responsible for the body’s metabolization of medication. When grapefruit and CBD block those enzymes, medication isn’t processed correctly in the body. Depending on the drug, either too much remains in the system, leading to toxicity and increased side effects, or the medication doesn’t absorb properly, and you don’t benefit from it the way you need to. Either way, your physical and mental health can suffer.5

This is particularly worrisome given that more people are taking prescription medications for anxiety and depression than ever before6. According to Harvard Medical School, a partial list of common psychiatric medications that carry the grapefruit warning and are unsuitable to take with CBD includes7:

  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Triazolam (Halcion)
  • Midazolam (Versed)
  • Buspirone (BuSpar)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Carbamazepine (Tegretol)

This is an incomplete list of psychiatric medications disrupted in the body by CBD. If you are taking any prescription medication and are also taking (or are considering taking) CBD, check your label to see if it carries the grapefruit warning. Also, check with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Sources

  1. SingleCare Team. (2020, April). The 2020 CBD survey. SingleCare. Retrieved from https://www.singlecare.com/blog/cbd-survey/
  2. Bongiorno, P. (2019, January). CBD oil for mental health—should you take it, too? Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/inner-source/201901/cbd-oil-mental-health-should-you-take-it-too
  3. DiSalvo, D. (2019, June). What CBD and grapefruit have in common when it comes to drug interactions: Risks you should know. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2019/06/30/what-cbd-and-grapefruit-have-in-common-when-it-comes-to-drug-interactions-risks-you-should-know/?sh=40f3b71d719d
  4. Chesak, J. (2019, November). CBD and drug interactions: What you need to know. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/cbd-and-drug-interactions-what-you-need-to-know#the-basics
  5. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (2017, July). Grapefruit juice and some drugs don’t mix. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/grapefruit-juice-and-some-drugs-dont-mix
  6. Marsh, T. (2019, May). Depression and anxiety prescriptions are climbing nationwide. GoodRx. Retrieved from https://www.goodrx.com/blog/depression-and-anxiety-prescriptions-are-climbing-nationwide/
  7. Harvard Health Publishing. (2020, October). Grapefruit and medication: A cautionary note. Harvard Medical School. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/grapefruit-and-medication-a-cautionary-note

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APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2021, March 31). CBD and Some (Psychiatric) Medications: Dangerous Together, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, July 24 from https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/mental-health-newsletter/cbd-and-some-psychiatric-medications-dangerous-together

Last Updated: March 30, 2021
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Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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