Dr. Peter Grinspoon, M.D., author and instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School
According to statistics from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness in any given year. Furthermore, as NBC News reported, a 2016 study revealed one in six people in the U.S. take some type of psychiatric medication, with antidepressants being the most widely prescribed. Limited research has shown that CBD may help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and sleep issues, as well as lower levels of inflammation in the body, though this research (and the dosages needed for these effects) is nowhere near conclusive. And that means you need to be careful if you’re choosing to consume it.
Despite this, Grinspoon explains that this is typically not a large cause of concern for a majority of people on antidepressants or other psychiatric medications. “Certainly, if someone is on a very delicately balanced medical regiment, CBD could knock that out of whack because of the two different enzyme systems it inhibits. In terms of actual clinical practice, I haven’t heard any stories of people having clinical decompensation because of adding CBD to their regime,” he says.
The 2018 passing of the bipartisan Farm Bill legalized the production of hemp on an industrial scale for the first time in the U.S. — which means it’s that the CBD industry will only continue to grow. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean there will be more oversight or required research.
What’s more, Grinspoon says that CBD also inhibits “the system that metabolizes a lot of serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants, and antipsychotics as well.” Meaning, taking CBD supplements while on these psychiatric medications could hypothetically interfere with how these medications are metabolized.
So, what can potentially happen if you take CBD oil and antidepressants? Unfortunately, because there’s a limited amount of studies to draw from, Grinspoon says, “CBD does have hypothetical drug interactions; the question is whether these are clinically important or not.”
There’s no denying that CBD, aka cannabidiol, has been the reigning trend of the last few years, and shows no signs of stopping. From edible products and tinctures, to bath and beauty products, CBD was (and is) everywhere. Though touted as a natural, holistic, and safe way to manage a variety of health issues, you may be wondering if you can take CBD and antidepressants together. And while CBD is touted as an all-natural supplement with some evidence that it can be good for your health, it’s possible that your CBD latte can still impact the efficacy of different medications — including antidepressants.
The reason for this is that CBD inhibits two main enzyme systems, Grinspoon explains. Enzymes are proteins that speed up chemical reactions in the body, and play an important role in functions like digestion and respiration. They also help you metabolize antidepressants. “One system is the same one that grapefruit inhibits — the technical name is the CYP34A enzyme system. So, just like grapefruit juice, CBD can cause your body to have higher doses of benzodiazepines [anti-anxiety medications], or certain antipsychotic medications,” Grinspon explains.
When it comes down to it, Grinspoon says that the potential interactions should be regarded as more “hypothetical than real,” and that the side effect profile of CBD is “very minimal.” Of course, it’s always good to have a conversation with your physician about potential interactions, and to disclose any prescribed or over-the-counter medications and supplements you are taking. At the end of the day, using CBD supplements while on antidepressants is an individual choice, but it’s important to go in informed.
Results: Cannabidiol minimally affected the metabolism of sertraline, fluoxetine, and mirtazapine in vitro. However, CBD significantly inhibited CYP3A4 and CYP2C19-mediated metabolism of citalopram and its stereoisomer escitalopram at physiologically relevant concentrations, suggesting a possible in vivo DDI. In patients on citalopram or escitalopram, the addition of CBD significantly increased citalopram plasma concentrations, although it was uncertain whether this also increased selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor-mediated adverse events.
Methods: The effect of CBD on CYP450-mediated metabolism of the commonly used antidepressants fluoxetine, sertraline, citalopram, and mirtazapine were examined in vitro. Cannabidiol-citalopram interactions were also examined in vivo in patients (n = 6) with anxiety disorders on stable treatment with citalopram or escitalopram who received ascending daily doses of adjunctive CBD (200-800 mg) over 12 weeks in a recent clinical trial.
Background: Cannabidiol (CBD), a major nonintoxicating constituent of cannabis, exhibits anxiolytic properties in preclinical and human studies and is of interest as a novel intervention for treating anxiety disorders. Existing first-line pharmacotherapies for these disorders include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor and other antidepressants. Cannabidiol has well-described inhibitory action on cytochrome P450 (CYP450) drug-metabolizing enzymes and significant drug-drug interactions (DDIs) between CBD and various anticonvulsant medications (eg, clobazam) have been described in the treatment of epilepsy. Here, we examined the likelihood of DDIs when CBD is added to medications prescribed in the treatment of anxiety.
Conclusions: Further pharmacokinetic examination of the interaction between CBD and citalopram/escitalopram is clearly warranted, and clinicians should be vigilant around the possibility of treatment-emergent adverse effects when CBD is introduced to patients taking these antidepressants.
If you have been considering CBD oil for anxiety and panic attacks, you’re certainly not alone. Many individuals with anxiety are interested in hearing about the potential benefits of CBD products. You may wonder, however, how true are these claims? Is it possible for CBD products, such as CBD oil, to help alleviate symptoms of anxiety?
Does CBD Help Anxiety?
Many common antidepressants aid in serotonin production. This group of antidepressants is known as SSRIs. The serotonin receptor that SSRI medications target is called 5-HT1A—a tried and true method to boost mood in those with depression or anxiety.
Is CBD Safe to Consume?
Furthermore, if CBD and a medication need the same enzymes to be absorbed by the body, then it’s possible that CBD use will speed up the pace at which the body metabolizes certain medications. Whenever this occurs, the user could end up with a concentration of the medication that’s too high—or, at least, higher than was intended by their prescription. However, only a minority of medications fall into this category. In reality, most common medications are compatible with CBD, with little to no risk of issues.