Cannabidiol, more commonly referred to as CBD, is one of the two main active ingredients that occurs naturally in cannabis and can take several forms.
CBD has become a popular health supplement choice for the potential relief of chronic pain and anxiety in recent years, as it’s significantly less detrimental to the body than strong drugs like opioids. There are still precautions to be taken when using CBD, however.
Certain medications designed to treat the heart and thyroid, and seizure meds, could react or not work to their full effect in combination with CBD.
To understand what medications should and shouldn’t be taken with CBD, it’s essential to know what CBD is, how it affects the body, and how you can take this natural health food supplement. As with a regular vitamin or mineral health supplement CBD can be taken each day as an extra source of nutrients to supplement the body in various ways.
What is THC?
THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol. It’s the other main component of cannabis and is the primary psychoactive ingredient, meaning it’s the chemical responsible for the sensation of being high.
It’s usually taken either through smoking the dried leaves of a marijuana plant or ingested directly. THC can make the user feel more relaxed, happier and can function as a temporary stress reliever.
What is the difference between CBD and THC?
CBD and THC are chemically nearly identical. They’re both composed of the same elements – carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen – and they both mimic the body’s natural endocannabinoid system, which works with your primary nervous system to deliver chemicals that relax the body and protect it from stress.
The main difference between CBD and THC is how they interact with that system. THC binds with receptors that control mood-boosting hormones and causes a sense of euphoria, which is the classic high. On the other hand, CBD binds more closely with receptors that control pain signals and stress hormones, providing the physical effects without causing any high.
Another difference between these chemical compounds is that CBD is non-toxic whereas THC can be toxic in larger amounts. The status of both is also different. While CBD has been approved for use in many countries, THC is still generally not permitted to own and use – including in Ireland.
CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the hemp plant which is a member of the cannabis plant family. It contains mainly CBD and THC in small amounts. The cannabis that you associate with THC and causing a high is taken from the marijuana plant which is another member of the cannabis plant family.
What drugs should not be taken with CBD supplements?
As with any other medicinal substance, there are certain chemicals present in other medications that should either not be taken or cautiously taken with CBD in your system.
CBD should not be taken with:
- Most kinds of muscle relaxants
- Warfarin, a commonly prescribed blood thinner
- Amiodarone, a medication used to control heart rhythm idiosyncrasies
- Levothyroxine, which is a treatment for certain thyroid disorders
- Many common seizure medications, including Clobazam, Lamotrigine, and Valproate
The Penn State College of Medicine identified these among a complete list of 57 unique medications that could have potentially dangerous interactions with CBD. Taking CBD with any of them can either nullify the effects of the drugs or cause severe issues with the cardiovascular system.
There is a general rule of thumb within the Irish CBD industry that if you are taking medication for a certain health condition, then your intake of CBD should happen either at least two hours before or two hours after. This gives time for both to work independently and not interfere with the other’s effectiveness on your body.
Of course, you should always check with your doctor to ensure that the medications you’re taking are safe to use together. If you notice any severe side effects, call your doctor immediately or get medical attention right away if the reaction is life-threatening.
Can I pass a routine drug test after taking Cannabidiol?
In most cases, CBD products won’t show up on standard drug tests. These tests pick up on commonly abused drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, PCP, ecstasy, and other unauthorised substances. Because CBD is not an abused drug – or at least, not one on the same level – it isn’t included in the test panel.
THC, however, is included in these panels because of its prevalent toxic effects. If the CBD product you use contains even trace amounts of THC, it may show up on the drug test as a positive result.
Ireland’s CBD laws currently only allow CBD products that contain 0% THC. Additionally, CBD products may not be manufactured using any CO2 or solvent extraction methods, ensuring that the products will be THC-free.
What CBD food supplements can I buy?
As mentioned above, CBD is available in a wide variety. The most common forms of CBD are:
- CBD oil – A concentrated oil containing 5-10 milligrams or more of CBD per dose, meant to be applied directly under the tongue. Here it should be left for a minute to two to soak into the gums and undergo absorption into the blood.
- CBD cream – A lotion intended to be applied to the skin to relieve muscle and joint ache or refresh dry, inflamed or irritated skin. Most CBD creams are THC-free and are aimed at inflammation.
- CBD capsules – Pills or soft gel capsules designed for oral consumption. This design corresponds with many common over-the-counter vitamin and mineral health supplements and are easy to manage in terms of dosage.
- CBD gummies – Small, easily chewable jellies made with gelatin that generally start at about 5 milligrams per dose. Vegan options are increasingly available and these eliminate the strong taste of CBD oil.
- CBD vape juice – Liquid intended to be vaporized and inhaled through a vape pen. It is a fast-acting method of CBD intake into the body. CBD vape juice can be complex to dose however and may cause lung damage.
- CBD paste – A thick liquid composed of wax, butter, or oil with a more concentrated dose of CBD. These pastes are meant to be ingested and can either be placed directly under the tongue or mixed into foods.
Always check the quality of the CBD products you are using. Use only brands that are correctly certified, widely trusted and have proof of product testing. Be sure to check the labels for the ingredients used and the correct dose to use.
What age groups can take such supplements?
In most areas where it is permitted, you must be at least 18 years old, if not 21, to purchase or use CBD products. In Ireland it is age 18.
There are some exceptions to this, however, one of the most significant being seizure treatment. Recent studies have found that CBD oil, in low doses, can help to treat epilepsy that has responded poorly to other forms of treatment. This has been effective in all age groups, including children older than five.
So it has become more and more common in Ireland for men and women to purchase CBD oils and other CBD products on behalf of their children. You should always consult your doctor before attempting to use CBD oil to treat your child’s seizures.
There has been a significant uptake in the popularity of CBD as a treatment option for neurological disorders at all age levels. It can be administered in various ways, both slow- and fast-acting, to match the patient’s needs.
With more research coming in every day, CBD may soon become a standard health treatment option across the world.
Shannon is an avid CBD user and health writer whose years of experience trying many different brands including Dr. Hemp Me, Endoca and more. Sign up for her free newsletter here or visit her Linkedin profile.