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Can You Take CBD & Antidepressants? Here’s What You Should Know

There is no denying that CBD, also known as cannabidiol, has been the prevailing trend in the last few years and shows no signs of stopping. From edible products and tinctures, to bath and beauty products, CBD has been (and is) everywhere. Although it is advertised as a natural, holistic and safe way to manage a variety of health problems, you may be wondering if you can take CBD and antidepressants together. And while CBD is advertised as an all-natural supplement with some evidence that it can be beneficial to your health, it is possible that your CBD latte may still affect the effectiveness of various medications – including antidepressants.

According to statistics from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five adults in the United States lives with a mental illness in a given year. In addition, according to NBC News, a 2016 study found that one in six people in the United States is taking some form of psychiatric medication, with antidepressants being the most widely prescribed. Limited research shows that CBD can help relieve symptoms of anxiety and sleep problems, as well as lower levels of inflammation in the body, although this research (and the doses needed for these effects) is not nearly complete. And that means you have to be careful if you decide to consume it.

“Generally speaking, you can safely use CBD supplements when taking antidepressants. However, there are some concerns, ”said Dr. Peter Greenspoon, MD, instructor at Harvard Medical School and author of the memoirs. Free refills: Doctor confronts his addiction, says Bustle. “The first concern is that CBD is not regulated by the FDA. You need to make sure that the CBD you receive is from a trusted provider. For example, Consumer Reports recently published an article on how to shop for CBD because they did tests and found some [supplement] the formulations do not have CBD. Some were inaccurately labeled, and other formulations even contained little THC. (THC is a cannabis compound that, unlike CBD, I can to tease you.)

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The adoption of the bipartisan farm bill in 2018 legalizes industrial hemp production for the first time in the United States – meaning the CBD industry will only continue to grow. However, this does not necessarily mean that there will be more supervision or necessary research.

So, what could potentially happen if you take CBD oil and antidepressants? Unfortunately, because there is a limited amount of research to draw from, Greenspoon says, “CBD has hypothetical drug interactions; the question is whether they are clinically important or not. “

The reason for this is that CBD inhibits two major enzyme systems, Greenspoon explains. Enzymes are proteins that accelerate chemical reactions in the body and play an important role in functions such as digestion and respiration. They also help you metabolize antidepressants. “One system is the same one that inhibits grapefruit – the technical name is the enzyme system CYP34A. So, just like grapefruit juice, CBD can cause your body to have higher doses of benzodiazepines. [anti-anxiety medications]or some antipsychotic drugs, ”Greenspan explains.

Moreover, Greenspoon says CBD also inhibits “the system that metabolizes many serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants and antipsychotics. This means that taking CBD supplements while taking these psychiatric medicines may hypothetically affect how these medicines are metabolised.

However, Greenspoon explains that this is usually not a big cause for concern for most people taking antidepressants or other psychiatric medications. “Of course, if someone is in a very delicately balanced medical regiment, CBD could destroy this due to the two different enzyme systems it inhibits. As for actual clinical practice, I have not heard stories of people who have had clinical decompensation due to the addition of CBD to their regimen, ”he says.

When it comes to this, Greenspoon says that potential interactions should be seen as “hypothetical rather than real” and that the side effect profile of CBD is “very minimal.” Of course, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor about potential interactions and find out any prescription or over-the-counter medications and supplements you’re taking. At the end of the day, using CBD supplements while on antidepressants is an individual choice, but it is important to stay informed.

Readers should note that regulations and data on marijuana, CBD and other related products are still evolving. As such, the information contained in this publication should not be construed as medical or legal advice. Always consult your doctor before trying any substance or supplement.


Dr. Peter Greenspoon, MD, author and medical instructor at Harvard Medical School

Cited studies:

Moore TJ, Mathison DR. Adult use of psychiatric drugs and differences in gender, age and race. JAMA Intern Med. 2017; 177 (2): 274–275. doi: 10.1001 / jamainternmed.2016.7507

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