Does CBD Interact with Medicine?

Does CBD Interact with Medicine?

CBD is known for its medicinal benefits, including the ways in which it can help control symptoms like pain, nausea, and inflammation. However, before beginning a CBD regimen, it is important to ask whether there is the potential for interaction between the CBD and any other prescription, over the counter (OTC), and herbal medications you take.

Depending on the types of medication you take, there can be a contraindication regarding CBD; however, the degree of the interactions vary, and the feasibility of taking CBD with your specific medications should be discussed with a doctor who knows you well.

Why Does CBD Interact with Certain Medications?

Like many of the other drugs (both medications and intoxicants) that enter the body, CBD is ultimately processed through the liver. More specifically, CBD is metabolized by cytochrome P450 enzymes in the liver, which are also responsible for metabolizing 60+ percent of all of the other drugs that exist today.

CBD has the ability to temporarily inhibit or induce the functions of some of these enzymes because it binds to the areas where their metabolizing activity takes place.

This means that, while some medications can be processed through your liver more quickly, other medications have to compete with the CBD in order to be absorbed by your body, which can result in a buildup of one or more medications in your system.

What Are Known Drug-Drug Interactions with CBD?

There is currently very little data on drug-drug interactions that involve CBD; however, the Pennsylvania State University School of Medicine has compiled a list of 57 medications that should be closely monitored when taken with CBD.

These medications include, but are not limited to:


Amitriptyline (Elavil)

Nortriptyline (Pamelor)


Valproic Acid

Cyclobenzaprine (Amrix, Fexmid)

Oral Contraceptives



Is There a Way to Know if My Medication Will Interact with CBD?

While the best way to determine if there may be any sort of interaction would be to ask your doctor, there is also one other way to get an idea if there would be a significant interaction.

You should avoid consuming CBD products if your medications have a “grapefruit label” on them. This may seem strange, but grapefruits contain compounds called furanocoumarins that inhibit medication metabolization in a similar fashion to CBD. So if your medication advises you not to consume grapefruit or grapefruit juice while taking it, it’s pretty safe to assume that CBD would be contraindicated as well.

There are several classes of medications that tend to contain “grapefruit labels,” but it’s always important to check your instructions or talk with your doctor because there are some medications (even in these classes) that may not cause a serious interaction. An example of this is Ibuprofen. While many NSAIDs have a “grapefruit label,” there is no evidence of an interaction between Ibuprofen and CBD. This is also true for certain antibiotics.

How Can I Find Out (For Sure) if CBD Interacts with My Medication?

While there is really no way to know for sure whether your medication will have a mild interaction with CBD due to the sheer lack of research, it is always important to check with your doctor before starting a CBD regimen and when changing doses of anything you take (including CBD). They may advise you against taking cannabinoids altogether, or they may adjust the dosage or timing of some of your existing medication.

It’s important to know that you will be using CBD safely and effectively, as well as to know that your other medications will be giving you their intended benefits, so always talk to your doctor and do your own research as well.