CBD Interactions

Recently, we’ve taken a look at how cannabis interacts with other substances, specifically alcohol and antidepressants. Many people in the United States use products with CBD only, especially since this is the only legal option in many states. Since CBD doesn’t have psychotropic effects, people tend to take a more casual approach to using it. While CBD-only products have milder effects than those with THC, you should still consult a doctor before using it in conjunction with other medications.

A wide array of substances can interact with medications. Believe it or not, even grapefruit can negatively interact with some medications, and are listed on some warning labels to be avoided during use. There is little formal research on CBD interactions since we’re in our first year of CBD from hemp being federally legal, but initial cases provide a few considerations.

Absorption Process

Cannabis, including CBD-only products, are processed through the liver, which is the same way most medications are processed. This means that taking CBD could limit the amount of liver enzymes available to process other medications (including antibiotics, epilepsy and chemotherapy drugs), and in turn, cause the medications to build up in the blood stream instead of being fully absorbed. However, this is so far associated only with taking high doses of CBD, as in over a gram a day.

Blood Thinners

One of the few case studies on CBD interactions has been with blood thinners, specifically Warfarin. The result of mixing the two actually resulted in enhancing the effect of the blood thinner more than expected, leading to thinner blood than planned. The patient in the case was taking very high doses during the study, but still consult a doctor even if you are planning to take low doses of CBD.


Another concern is for those who take insulin. This is definitely a topic that needs to be researched more as more states legalize cannabis use. Some are suggesting that CBD can be used in place of insulin shots, but this has not been verified by scientific study. Initial case studies are showing that cannabis, including CBD-only products, can help lower blood sugar levels and lower fasting insulin levels. Consult your physician, start low and slow, and be extra attentive to monitoring your blood sugar levels if you’re diabetic and considering trying CBD.

The Bottom Line

When trying cannabis, including CBD-only products, we first of all always encourage users to start low and slow. We recommend trying 5 mg of CBD if it’s your first time, then adjusting as needed the next time you give it a try. If you are on any medication, including antibiotics, insulin and chemotherapy drugs, definitely consult your physician before trying any cannabis product.