How CBD Interacts With Prescription Medication for Pain
Updated September 22, 2023.
Although much research is needed, many people are using CBD to manage pain and other health conditions. Although the evidence on this topic is unclear and under debate, there is some good and bad news. In this article, we will discuss CBD as a potential painkiller (analgesic), as well as how it interacts with other prescription pain medications.
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Can You Use CBD Together With Prescription Medication for Pain?
While CBD is known to possibly cause side effects such as drowsiness, nausea, dry mouth, and even damage to the liver in rare circumstances, taking it together with other pain medications with similar side effects can double the risk of unpleasant symptoms.
Since each pain medication has different side effects, you should consult your doctor before taking CBD alongside any prescription pain medication.
How Does CBD Interact With Painkillers?
There’s little research on how CBD interacts with other pain medications. However, available evidence has shown that CBD can inhibit the action of some drug enzymes that galvanize drug metabolism. This could result in either a reduced effect of the painkillers or potential adverse reactions. All drugs, CBD included, have some effect on the liver and, as such, you may be at a higher risk of experiencing negative side effects when you mix CBD oil with painkillers.
The potential for interactions between CBD and the most common painkillers are discussed below. Even though some of these medications aren't reported to interact with CBD, the risk is still moderate to high. If you decide to take the two together, you should consider giving yourself a few hours in between doses of each, and monitor yourself closely for signs of any of the listed side effects.
Is It OK to Take CBD Oil With Ibuprofen?
Ibuprofen is classified as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Its primary goal is to reduce inflammation and pain in the body by inhibiting the hormones that cause them.
Out of a total of 361 reported drugs that Ibuprofen is known to interact with, CBD is currently not one of them. Now, this is not to say that CBD is perfectly safe to take together with Ibuprofen, just that the two have not been observed to interact with each other.
Side effects to watch out for when taking Ibuprofen with or without CBD are:
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Dizziness and headaches.
- Signs of stomach bleeding.
- Mild to severe skin rash and itching.
- Abdominal cramps and pain.
- Excessive sweating.
Interactions Between CBD Oil and Meloxicam
Meloxicam, like Ibuprofen, is an NSAID and is used to treat similar conditions with greater severity. As such, potential interactions and side-effects of CBD oil and Meloxicam are similar to taking CBD at the same time as Ibuprofen.
Can You Take CBD With Paracetamol?
Paracetamol is a drug used to combat a lot of conditions ranging from pain to fever. Strangely enough, the mechanism by which it does this isn't fully understood as much as other painkillers are.
Just like Ibuprofen, CBD is not reported to be one of the known 126 other substances that interact with Paracetamol. However, this still is not necessarily enough cause to take the two substances concurrently. Although the evidence suggests that you might not experience any critical reactions, you have to understand that there will always be risks associated with taking CBD together with medications of any kind.
Side effects to watch out for when taking Paracetamol with or without CBD are:
- Fever accompanied by stomach pains and nausea.
- Stomach cramps.
- Rashes, hives, or general itching.
- Sore throat.
- Unusual bleeding or fatigue.
Can CBD Oil and Tramadol Be Taken Together?
Tramadol belongs to a class of drugs called opioid agonists, which are used to treat moderate to severe pain by binding to receptors in your brain and causing it to release fewer pain signals. It essentially tricks your brain into feeling less pain than it should.
Similar to the two prior medications, potential interactions between CBD and Tramadol are not expected, but still pose a moderate risk.
It is advised to not take CBD and Tramadol together as this could lead to any of the following effects:
- Dizziness and confusion.
- Drowsiness and difficulty concentrating.
- Impaired thinking and judgment.
Although rare, simultaneous use of these two substances could also lead to:
- Nausea and vomiting.
- High fever and blood pressure.
Factors That Influence How CBD Interacts With Pain Medication
The dosage you use will significantly determine how CBD interacts with prescription pain medications. For instance, you may experience a greater danger when you take large amounts of CBD alongside pain medication like Ibuprofen than when you take low amounts.
The time that you take CBD alongside pain medication will influence how they interact in your body. Ideally, spacing out doses of medication by a few hours will significantly reduce the workload on the liver.
Does CBD Act as a Painkiller?
There is much debate surrounding the evidence of whether CBD acts as a painkiller or not, and similar concern as to whether CBD is better than Ibuprofen, Paracetamol, or Tramadol. Currently, there are studies that exist that point to CBD alleviating pain, though there are others that suggest its analgesic properties are placebo.
Put simply, despite the fact that there are many individuals that advocate for the use of CBD oil to manage chronic pain directly, the evidence is anecdotal at best.
There is some good news on this topic, however. Although it's unclear whether CBD directly inhibits experienced pain in the same way that some other painkillers do, there is evidence to strongly support CBD's anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties, all of which can contribute to a decreased perception of pain. Although this might not necessarily classify it as a "painkiller", it's not a stretch to suggest that CBD can help you alleviate pain.
As you’ve seen, depending on your body composition and the type of medication you take, CBD may reduce or intensify the effects of pain medication. It cannot be stressed enough that taking CBD with prescription medication of any kind is dangerous and should always be discussed with your doctor beforehand.