Published by Green Coast Radio

Negative prescription drug interactions happen every day to thousands of people around the world.  As we get more comfortable with the idea of adding cannabis, hemp, THC and CBD to our daily wellness regiment, those negative interactions could increase if we’re not careful.  It doesn’t help that sometimes cannabis marketing can push the idea that “Since no one has ever overdosed and died from cannabis or hemp, that means it can’t harm you”.  As a cannabis advocate, I wish I could tell people this was true.  But the reality is, cannabis, hemp and their derivatives can affect some of the systems the human body uses to metabolize certain prescription drugs.

One of those systems is the Cytochrome P450 System (CYP450).  This system is a group of enzymes that are responsible for metabolizing drugs and other foreign substances in the body. These enzymes are mostly located in the liver, but they are also found in other organs such as the intestine, lungs, and kidneys.  Each enzyme is responsible for metabolizing specific drugs or types of drugs.  While other drugs can inhibit or induce the activity of P450 enzymes, which can lead to drug interactions and changes in drug metabolism. THC and CBD are a couple of those drugs that can affect the P450 system.

CBD or cannabidiol, has been shown to inhibit several CYP450 enzymes, including CYP2C19, CYP2D6, and CYP3A4.  This means that CBD can slow down the metabolism of certain drugs that are metabolized by these enzymes, potentially leading to higher levels of the drug in the bloodstream.  This is the reason why CBD has been shown to increase the effects of some blood-thinning medications like Warfarin in some patients, leading to an increased risk of bleeding.

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC in the Cytochrome P450 System THC has been shown to induce CYP1A1, CYP1A2, and CYP2B6, which can increase the metabolism of certain drugs like caffeine, clozapine, and theophylline.  This can result in a decreased concentration of these drugs in the bloodstream and reduced their effectiveness.  THC may also interact with antidepressant medications, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and increase the risk of serotonin syndrome, which is a potentially life-threatening condition with certain patients.

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Here are some reputable sources where you can find more information about possible drug interactions with cannabis:

  1. Mayo Clinic: The Mayo Clinic provides a list of potential drug interactions with cannabis, along with information on the severity of the interaction and recommendations for use.
  2. MedlinePlus: MedlinePlus is a database of health information maintained by the US National Library of Medicine. It provides information on drug interactions with cannabis, along with possible side effects and safety concerns.
  3. American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO): The ASCO provides information on the use of medical marijuana in cancer care, including drug interactions and potential safety concerns.
  4. Comprises more than 35 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books.  Citations may include links to full text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites.

It is important to note that the research on cannabis and its interactions with other drugs is still ongoing, and new information is emerging constantly.  It is always a great idea to talk to your healthcare provider before using cannabis if you’re taking any medications.  They can advise you on possible drug interactions and help you make an informed decision about using cannabis.