What Happens When CBD Inhibits The Cytochrome P450 System? Using CBD Safely With Other Medication Side Effects Of CBD What Research Says Frequently Asked Questions Concerning CBD and Drug Interactions Discussing CBD And Drug Interactions With Your Vet List Of Known Drugs CBD Interacts With Next to CBD and the benefits According to studies, CBD has antidepressant-like properties. Does taking CBD together with conventional antidepressants make sense? Let’s find out. CBD has a lot to offer, but why stop there? Where CBD falls short, other supplements can pick up the slack. Here are five other supplements to take with CBD.
CBD Drug Interactions: Which Medications Should You Avoid
Next to CBD and the benefits that can help treat a long list of medical disorders, the other thing that has driven its popularity is its low risk for causing side effects. In fact, research shows CBD can be so safely used that it has the potential to replace other drugs typically used to manage pain, inflammation, anxiety, and on. In fact, in the case of certain epilepsy disorders, there are even times when CBD is the only thing that truly helps. None of this isn’t saying that using CBD doesn’t carry along minor side effects, which we will discuss in more detail later on.
While generally noted for its low side-effect profile, research shows CBD does have one significant side effect of note. And that is the potential for it to interact with certain prescription drugs that are metabolized by a family of enzymes. Known as Cytochrome P450, these enzymes, in particular, CYPA4, are responsible for breaking down about 60 percent of clinically prescribed medications.
While this news jumps out to many as incredibly alarming, it’s not uncommon for foods, supplements, and common medications themselves to inhibit CYP enzymes, causing drug interactions. Grapefruit, St. John’s wort, and kale can all cause drug interactions by inhibiting the same enzymes CBD products can. Then foods such as broccoli, spices like cumin, and drinks like coffee can all interact with the medication we take.
Because many of these are common items in a human’s diet, one way to quickly find out if CBD could interact with the medications you’re taking is to look on the drugs’ label for warnings about eating certain foods, in particular, grapefruit. This isn’t so easy with medications for our pets, however that’s why we are here to help. Because including CBD in our dogs and cats’ health regime is a great way to give them the health they deserve. The therapeutic effects of CBD are countless, and we will be covering the main health benefits in addition to advising you on how to safely use CBD alongside other medications.
What Happens When CBD Inhibits The Cytochrome P450 System?
By temporarily inhibiting cytochrome P450 enzymes, CBD along with the other cannabinoids found in all cannabis plants are able to delay the rate they break down their intended medication.
The metabolism rate of a drug is quite important for several reasons and must be known before an appropriate dosage can be prescribed. By delaying a drug’s metabolism rate, CBD can allow for too much medication to be in your system at once. And in essence, by raising the drug’s potency, this acts as if you took a higher dosage of that drug than normal. By effectively raising the dosage, you’re often increasing the risk for the said drug to cause side effects.
Research on the significance CBD can interact with other medications is still heavily being looked into, and discussed below. Anecdotally, we know that both marijuana and hemp products are commonly used alongside other medications. As we know, there is no great worry in the marijuana community at large about their use interacting with their prescribed medication. The same can’t be said when it comes to the side effects to memory and motor control due to the high amounts of THC found in these plants.
We can theorize from this, that while cannabis products can cause drug interactions and it is not something to take lightly, it’s not significant enough by large to cause a great concern amongst its users. It is important to note that Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), limited to 0.3% in CBD products vs 20%+ in marijuana is heavily involved in inhibiting CYP enzymes. Both CBD and THC are metabolized by CYP3A4 while THC is also metabolized by CYP2C9 and CBD by CYP2C19. From what we currently know, the less CYP are enzymes inhibited, the less chance it can interact with other medications. Along with its inability to cause a high, along with being available for kids and pets, this is another reason CBD oil may be the preferable choice vs medical marijuana.
However, don’t let this trick you into thinking that there isn’t good evidence that we shouldn’t be concerned about it. We have studies that show evidence of CBD itself raising the potency of blood-thinning medication along with seizure medication, causing a higher occurrence of side effects vs. the control groups.
Using CBD Safely With Other Medication
While CBD and other CBD products have the ability to interact with around 60% of prescribed medication, there are several ways to safely use CBD in conjunction with other medications.
First, never stop giving your pet medication prescribed by your veterinarian until you’ve consulted them. This goes for medication that may have a potential interaction with CBD and medication that doesn’t.
From starting CBD off at a lower dose than normal to timing out when CBD should be given to allow for the prescription drug to break down first, there are lots of little things that you can do to improve the safety of CBD. Your veterinarian can help you with these. As well, they can monitor blood plasma levels to ensure your pet’s medication is being properly metabolized or if it could do for a dosage adjustment.
There are times when CBD is touted for its ability to lower the reliance or dosage of prescription medication. One reason this happens is that CBD offers its own benefits. But the other reason we speculate this happens is that CBD may be raising the potency of the other medication in the body.
Last, even in the rare case your pet can’t ingest CBD due to a drug interaction, all hope of ever giving them CBD isn’t lost. The beneficial compounds found in CBD, and in hemp and cannabis products can be administered topically. CBD lotions, salves, and creams are great for help with surface-level aches and pain, skin breakout, inflammation, and more, These do this by avoiding entering the bloodstream, largely preventing CBD from interacting with Cytochrome p450 enzymes.
The skin is the largest organ and the first level of defense against nasties that can put severe stress on the body. Including CBD and hemp in your pet’s skincare regime is a great way to care for their general health.
Side Effects Of CBD
Without a doubt, the biggest and in most cases, the only side effect that comes from using CBD is its ability to interact with other medications. However, there are some minor side effects to be aware of. In most cases, these side effects occur when too large of a dose is given. CBD has a biphasic effect where low and common dosages can put a slight pip in your pet’s step. However, give your dog or cat too much, and you may find them catching some heavy Zzzz’s on the couch.
Another side effect of CBD, along with other cannabis products, is dry mouth. CB1 and CB2 receptors which make up the endocannabinoid system — the system cannabis largely interacts with — are found heavily in the mouth where they help regulate saliva production. But by the same token, the opposite of dry mouth can happen, and CBD may temporarily boost saliva product/release. CB1 receptors are overstimulated with high-THC products like marijuana. Because there are only trace amounts of it in CBD products, issues like dry mouth are much less commonly seen.
High doses of CBD can lower resting blood pressure causing some lightheadedness, which should quickly pass. One 2017 study found the potential for CBD to help lower blood pressure in those with high blood pressure.
Nausea and stomach discomfort are frequently cited side effects seen with nearly every medication. This especially happens when first starting a medication due to the body needing to take time to realize it’s not a threat or allergy. The same can happen with CBD, despite it usually having adverse effects and helping with nausea and stomach discomfort. Changing the dosage while the body learns to recognize CBD can help. Usually, a lower than normal dose for a few days to a week is a great course of action for this side effect.
What Research Says
Research on CBD, and cannabidiol itself, and the potential for drug interactions so far has been a bit of a mixed bag. Some researchers have found a low dose of CBD is effective enough in avoiding interactions with the drugs they were studying. While other researchers have found a precise dosage – that can be either low or high – is preferable and dependent on the patients’ and their medications. So how do we interpret this data?
First, the big thing that comes from the studies we have found is while CBD can cause interactions with the medication we take, studies still find CBD is a safe and effective treatment. With simple monitoring and potential adjustments in the dosage, there is little risk to continue using CBD. This is awesome news!
The reason a low dose usually works, but not always for avoiding a drug’s side effects is likely due to the individual cytochrome that’s responsible for the metabolism of the drug. Researchers have found CBD can both speed up and slow down the metabolism rate depending on the drug and the cytochrome it interacts with. Again, while there is some risk with CBD, when given the appropriate care, the data shows CBD is very low risk.
Clinical trials show care and safety should be given in the case of epilepsy because while CBD can significantly help seizures, they can easily interact with seizure medications increasing their side effects, which can produce seizures of their own. However, again, researchers have found CBD and seizure medications can be used together with a smart medical treatment plan. In fact, epilepsy is currently the only thing the FDA has approved the use of CBD for.
Frequently Asked Questions Concerning CBD and Drug Interactions
We hope our article has provided you with all the information you need when deciding if CBD is something you should give to your pet. Especially if they are already on medications. Because we’ve taken such an extensive look at CBD and its potential for causing a drug interaction, we wanted to quickly answer some of the most asked questions concerning the topic.
Can You Take CBD With Medication?
In the large majority of cases, CBD can safely be used with most medications. Using CBD in tandem with over-the-counter medications warrants little to no concern. If using an OTC drug long-term or at a higher than normal dosage due to medical advice from your doctor or vet, please consult said authority before using a CBD product. While a CBD product has the potential to cause drug-drug interplay in about 60% of prescription drugs, for the most part, with the proper medical advice and guidance, CBD can be safely used.
What Meds Does CBD Interact With?
CBD has been shown to interact with blood-thinning drugs like Warfarin, raising abnormal liver enzymes along with inducing tiredness when used in conjunction with Valproic Acid – sometimes used for controlling seizures. This information comes from research on Epidiolex, an FDA-approved cannabis extract for help with epilepsy. Epidiolex is an isolate, meaning it only contains the single cannabinoid, cannabidiol, in very high amounts. Most CBD products aren’t a single cannabinoid but contain the full range including high amounts of cannabidiol.
For a full list of potential drug interactions, please see our list at the end of the article.
Can CBD Interfere With Arthritis Medications?
In the large majority of cases, it’s very unlikely CBD would interfere with the metabolism of drugs used to treat arthritis and other inflammatory joint disorders. For help with pain and joint issues, veterinarians commonly prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that are safe for dogs. Except for diclofenac, it appears CBD will not have a drug-drug interaction with an NSAID drug. While NSAIDs are commonly given to dogs, the over-the-counter medications we commonly take – like Ibuprofen – should only be given to your dog under the supervision of your vet due to their ability to easily pass the safety threshold in dogs.
Does CBD Interfere With Blood Pressure Medicine?
While high blood pressure and hypertension occur in humans more, our dogs are susceptible to the disease and put on similar medications, as well. Because CBD can lower blood pressure and potentially help those with hypertension, it can seem like a good idea to use it in conjunction with drugs designed to do the same, but caution is advised. While CBD can be used in tandem with blood pressure medications, it’s recommended you discuss it with your veterinarian first.
There are several medications used to treat high blood pressure, including angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor antagonists (ARBs), diuretics, and calcium channel blockers. Because of this, if your vet finds they like what CBD is offering your pet, but they see it interacting with their medication, they have the option to switch to a different medication.
Has CBD Ever Caused A Life-Threatening Drug Interaction?
To the best of our knowledge and thorough research, we can not find an example of CBD or any cannabis product causing life-treating drug interactions.
Again, this should not make you disregard potential drug interactions. Instead, we are simply saying that while cannabis can cause such, it’s frequently used alongside other medications, often without the guidance of a health provider, yet for whatever reasons, a crisis has not occurred.
Discussing CBD And Drug Interactions With Your Vet
CBD has a world of therapeutic benefits that can improve our pets’ health in both small and big ways. Backed by research, CBD oil and other CBD products have been shown to be extraordinarily low-risk options for the benefits it has. However, while you can use CBD in tandem with other medications, there is a chance for an interaction that can increase the risk of the drug causing side effects. Interactions cannot happen with all drugs, but a majority of prescription medications (about 60%) have potential. This includes medication commonly used to treat epilepsy, for which CBD is commonly used to help as well.
If your dog or cat is on medication, and you’re concerned about CBD and its potential for drug interactions, your best bet for advice is their vet. While CBD may interact with medications your pet is on, your vet can safely assess if CBD is still the correct choice for them. Often timing out the dosages or changing the dose of CBD or the other medications can allow them to be used together for the best of both worlds.
With proper care, current research indicates CBD can offer a treatment plan an irreplaceable tool for improving health without causing serious adverse side effects, even when there is potential for a drug interaction.
List Of Known Drugs CBD Interacts With
If either you or your pet is on one or more of the medications listed below, please consult the appropriate medical professional before using CBD. Just because a medication is listed below does not indicate that it can never be used in conjunction with CBD or another cannabis product. Nor does it mean you will personally see drug interactions or side effects from them. Instead, it simply means there is potential for an interaction that you should be aware of.
Our aim for this list is to give a comprehensive reference point. However, there is always the chance we could have missed some medications. As well, there are studies and clinical trials dedicated to the research of CBD and drug interactions currently in operations that could change our list.
CBD and Antidepressants: Can You Take Them Together?
Depression has many faces, but it’s usually characterized by mood disorders, persistent feelings of sadness, and loss of satisfaction from previously enjoyed activities.
It rarely stems from a single event but rather as the combination of many factors, both individual and environmental ones. The symptoms of depression can range from mild to severe.
Depression can be treated with psychotherapy or with the use of medicines, although the most benefits are experienced by combining these two methods.
Since conventional antidepressants can have undesired side effects, people are starting to explore alternative remedies that are derived from nature — such as CBD.
CBD is a major cannabinoid found in hemp plants. It supports the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and helps maintain homeostasis throughout the body. Recent studies also show that CBD has anxiolytic and antidepressant-like properties.
In this article, we cover the topic of CBD and antidepressants; we’ll break down the pros and cons of each substance, compare their safety profiles, and explain what happens when you take them together.
Is CBD Good for Depression?
There is no single cure for depression because it’s a disease caused by multiple factors — and these factors often affect different areas of your life. There are many contributors to depression, including poor stress management, sleep deprivation, the loss of someone close or other traumatic events, and more.
There is some scientific evidence that CBD can alleviate the symptoms of depression, although these results haven’t been yet replicated in large-scale clinical trials.
Nevertheless, at least several high-quality studies have outlined CBD’s ability to help us cope with the whole set of symptoms and mental health problems commonly experienced together with depression.
Addressing these secondary conditions can indirectly improve your management of depression — lifting up your daily life.
Benefits of CBD for Depression
Depression is often accompanied by low mood, anxiety, apathy, and the loss of interest in activities that a person had considered joyful prior to their diagnosis.
Hopefully, CBD may help regulate certain processes in your body that can reduce the severity and frequency of these symptoms.
Here’s how you can use CBD for depression.
CBD May Reduce Anxiety
There’s a growing body of evidence to support the hypothesis that CBD has anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties in many individuals.
CBD has been studied in many types of anxiety disorders, including PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social phobias, and fear of public speaking.
One mechanism that helps CBD achieve such positive effects is the activation of the GABA receptor. GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in our bodies; in simple words, it works like a hand brake for the brain — preventing neuroexcitation. Higher levels of GABA and lower levels of glutamate are associated with a better response to stress and lower levels of anxiety.
Another way CBD can help alleviate anxiety is by interacting with serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is another important neurotransmitter that controls emotions, mood, and feelings of happiness. Low levels of serotonin are linked to depression, and while CBD isn’t a direct serotonin booster, it can block its reuptake so that the body can use it more efficiently — resulting in an elevated mood.
CBD May Improve Mood and Reduce Stress
As mentioned earlier in the article, CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is the major regulatory system in all mammals, helping the body achieve and maintain homeostasis.
Homeostasis is a scientific term for the balance between all vital functions performed by other systems and organs. The ECS regulates memory, mood, pain perception, emotional processing, fertility, body temperature, appetite, sleep cycles, and more.
Anandamide, one of the two major endocannabinoids (endo = produced in the body) has a major role in the regulation of mood and pain threshold. Poor anandamide signaling can lead to a worse response to stress and cause a low mood. Permanent anandamide deficiencies may even result in anxiety disorders and depression.
That’s why anandamide has been dubbed as the “bliss molecule” in sanskrit.
CBD can improve anandamide signaling and slow down its breakdown by inhibiting the Fatty Acid Amino Hydrolase (FAAH) enzyme. As a result, your body can achieve higher and more stable concentrations of anandamide — improving your mood and reactions to stressors.
CBD Contributes to Neurogenesis
Studies have shown that CBD can stimulate the formation of new neurons in the brain, improving the plasticity of the hippocampus. The hippocampus is an important region in the brain that controls our cognitive performance, emotions, and mood.
Improved neuroplasticity of the hippocampus has been associated with better cognitive performance and a lower frequency of suicidal thoughts in patients with depression.
Can You Take CBD and Antidepressants Together?
“Antidepressants” is an umbrella term that covers a wide range of different products that use different mechanisms to treat depression. However, one common feature shared by all classes of antidepressants is that they are metabolized by the liver before they can start working in your body.
The liver contains a number of different enzyme systems that facilitate chemical reactions. One of these systems is the cytochrome P450 (CYP450) enzymes that metabolize the majority of medications, including antidepressants.
CBD has demonstrated potent inhibitory actions on these enzymes, suggesting that there could be interactions between CBD and antidepressants.
What kind of interactions are they? Does taking CBD and antidepressants together mean they produce a stronger effect? Or, as a result of that inhibitory mechanism, maybe they shouldn’t be taken at the same time?
What May Happen When You Take CBD with Antidepressants
CBD is generally considered safe, but it’s one thing when you take it alone, and the other thing when you combine it with other substances, such as antidepressants.
The most common side effects of CBD include lightheadedness, dry mouth, sedation, and (rarely) diarrhea. Taking CBD with other medications that have similar side effects may increase the likelihood of unwanted symptoms or toxicity.
Doubling Up On Side Effects
To put it simply, taking CBD at the same time with substances that cause sleepiness, such as benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, antidepressants, or alcohol may lead to increased fatigue, sleepiness, and possibly accidental accidents when driving.
Increased sedation may also occur when you combine CBD with other herbal supplements, such as melatonin, St. John’s wort, and kava.
Taking CBD together with stimulants — like Adderall — may lead to decreased appetite, while interactions between CBD and the diabetes drug metformin or certain heartburn medications may increase the risk of diarrhea.
CBD Can Alter the Effects of Antidepressants
Since CBD interferes with the enzymes in the liver that break down many drugs, including antidepressants, their interactions may lead to insufficient concentrations of the drug in the body — resulting in a subtherapeutic effect.
Depending on the type of interaction, CBD may also increase the drug concentration in your bloodstream, inducing toxicity and increased risk of side effects.
Researchers from Penn State College of Medicine analyzed existing data on five cannabis-based medications. Overall, the team found 139 medications that may be affected by cannabinoids. They further narrowed down that list to 57 medications, for which altered concentrations can be hazardous.
Among these medications, the researchers identified blood thinners, heart rhythm medications, thyroid drugs, and several medications for seizures.
However, antidepressants weren’t included in that list.
Does the Form of CBD Matter In CBD-Drug Interactions?
Inhaled CBD enters the blood the fastest, reaching peak levels within 30 minutes and increasing the chances of acute side effects.
CBD edibles for anxiety need more time to be processed in the digestive system and are less likely to produce high concentration levels. However, they may eventually reach high enough levels to interact with other medications.
Topical formulations are the safest from that trio because they do not absorb and reach the bloodstream; therefore, they can’t interact with other medications.
The problem with estimating the likelihood of CBD-drug interactions is the lack of regulations regarding CBD products, which may cause issues with purity, concentration, or safety.
That’s why reading third-party lab reports is critical if you want to make a well-informed decision when choosing your CBD product. These reports analyze the entire chemical profile of the tested sample, including its purity levels.
Common Antidepressants and Their Risks
Since there are different classes of antidepressants, some demonstrate a higher risk when taken with CBD oil than others.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
This is the most common type of antidepressant that doctors prescribe. They work similarly to CBD in the way they block the reabsorption of serotonin into the brain, leading to higher concentrations in the bloodstream and improved mood.
Common SSRI’s include:
The reason why SSRIs are the go-to treatment for depression is that they generally have fewer side effects than other antidepressants. Taking CBD with SSRIs would cause similar effects, as is the case for all antidepressants belonging to a specific drug category.
Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)
They use a similar mechanism to SSRIs and entail the same level of risk, but some individuals may tolerate them better than others.
Common SNRIs include:
These drugs work by increasing levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. They can be very effective but also entail a higher risk than other antidepressants. For that reason, they’re only prescribed when SSRIs or SNRIs haven’t been working.
Common tricyclic antidepressants include:
Wrapping It Up: Talk to Your Doctor Before Taking CBD with Antidepressants
CBD may have more benefits in the long term than conventional antidepressants. One of the main reasons why people choose CBD instead of these treatments is that it doesn’t cause the user to build up dependencies on it.
CBD can exhibit the same degree of antidepressant effects but without getting you addicted to it.
Even though there’s no clinical evidence that would recommend the use of CBD as the go-to treatment for depression, it’s only a matter of time before such studies will start emerging on the surface.
Taking CBD and antidepressants together can lead to certain interactions that can change the way both substances are metabolized in the liver. Despite the lack of hard evidence that CBD directly interacts with antidepressants, there’s a well-grounded belief that taking them at the same time presents some concerns.
If you want to make sure you get the right CBD dosage and avoid potential interactions with antidepressants, consult your doctor before buying CBD oil.
- Pretzsch, C.M., Freyberg, J., Voinescu, B. et al. Effects of cannabidiol on brain excitation and inhibition systems; a randomised placebo-controlled single dose trial during magnetic resonance spectroscopy in adults with and without autism spectrum disorder.Neuropsychopharmacol. 44, 1398–1405 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41386-019-0333-8 
- Sales, A. J., Crestani, C. C., Guimarães, F. S., & Joca, S. (2018). Antidepressant-like effect induced by Cannabidiol is dependent on brain serotonin levels. Progress in neuro-psychopharmacology & biological psychiatry, 86, 255–261. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pnpbp.2018.06.002 
- Leweke, F. M., Piomelli, D., Pahlisch, F., Muhl, D., Gerth, C. W., Hoyer, C., Klosterkötter, J., Hellmich, M., & Koethe, D. (2012). Cannabidiol enhances anandamide signaling and alleviates psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia. Translational psychiatry, 2(3), e94. https://doi.org/10.1038/tp.2012.15 
- Beale, C., Broyd, S. J., Chye, Y., Suo, C., Schira, M., Galettis, P., Martin, J. H., Yücel, M., & Solowij, N. (2018). Prolonged Cannabidiol Treatment Effects on Hippocampal Subfield Volumes in Current Cannabis Users. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 3(1), 94–107. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2017.0047 
- Brown, J. D., & Winterstein, A. G. (2019). Potential Adverse Drug Events and Drug-Drug Interactions with Medical and Consumer Cannabidiol (CBD) Use. Journal of clinical medicine, 8(7), 989. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm8070989 
Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
Five Supplements You Should Be Taking With Your CBD
CBD has a lot to offer, but why stop there? Where CBD falls short, other supplements can pick up the slack. Here’s five other supplements to take with CBD.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is quickly becoming one of the most popular nutritional supplements on the market. It’s highly revered for its ability to regulate metabolic, immune, and neurological homeostasis — which is a fancy word meaning “balance.”
Negative health conditions can be attributed to an imbalance of one organ system or another. As a result, CBD is suggested to offer a wide range of health benefits throughout the body.
Although CBD has many uses, combining it with other synergistic nutritional and herbal supplements can optimize its effects.
In this article, we’re going to highlight why you should be combining your CBD with other supplements and which supplements you should consider for different symptoms.
Let’s get started by discussing exactly why you shouldn’t rely on just CBD to manage your symptoms.
Table of Contents
Why You Should Combine CBD with Other Supplements
The use of CBD as a form of medicine isn’t a new concept — people have been using it for centuries to treat everything from pain and inflammation to age-related cognitive decline.
However, people rarely use cannabis on its own to treat conditions.
In all forms of herbal medicine, plants are combined to enhance their effects based on the symptoms presented.
This is a common practice in herbal medicine, even in the modern world.
Only in the modern era have health practitioners chosen to take a more reductionist approach to medicine. Instead of combining multiple herbs or medicines to leverage their strengths and weaknesses, a single compound is prescribed.
Using a single compound (pharmaceutical) has advantages during the research stage because it’s easier to see what is responsible for a given result. Compounded medicines, on the other hand, are much harder to study because it’s challenging to identify exactly what effect each component is producing.
However, most people don’t care about knowing exactly which compound is producing the bulk of the effects — they just want to feel better.
By far the best way to leverage health supplements is through intelligent formulation. This works by taking 2 to 5 supplements that work well together to produce a more significant overall benefit.
For example, let’s say you’re taking CBD for joint pain — a popular application of the compound. Now, you could stop there and let the CBD do its job alone, but it’s going to have limitations.
CBD helps block pain and lower inflammation — both of which are common causes of the pain associated with the condition.
However, what happens if the cause of pain is a loss of cartilage tissue? CBD isn’t going to do much to support that process — so it’s better to combine it with something such as glucosamine, which is beneficial for repairing cartilage. Taken together, you can both speed the repair of your cartilage tissue in the joint and provide symptomatic support for the pain.
This is just one example of when it’s more beneficial to combine other supplements with CBD to achieve better results. Let’s go through five more examples.
Top Five Supplements to Take with Your CBD
Choosing which supplements to use alongside your CBD is going to depend on the symptoms you’re trying to address.
1. CBD & L-Theanine for Anxiety
There are many causes of anxiety, but the effects we feel during an anxiety attack are a direct result of overactivation of the nervous system — known as the fight-or-flight response.
CBD calms the nervous system through its ability to increase the activity of a neurotransmitter known as GABA — which acts as the brake pedal for the nervous system.
When our nervous system speeds up too fast, GABA slows it back down again.
Stepping on the brake pedal is great, but only if you ease off the gas pedal at the same time.
This is where L-theanine comes in.
L-theanine is an amino acid found in the tea plant (Camellia sinensis). Its structure closely resembles a neurotransmitter known as glutamate — which is essentially the gas pedal in the brain. It’s one of the primary stimulatory neurotransmitters in the brain.
The similarity in the chemical structure of L-theanine to glutamate allows it to bind to glutamate receptors — only it doesn’t produce any effects . Instead, L-theanine blocks glutamate from hitting these receptors — effectively stepping off the gas pedal to allow CBD to calm us down.
2. CBD & Ashwagandha (KSM-66) for Stress
An effective stress response is critical for maintaining optimal health.
Stress comes in all forms, but all stress has a similar effect on the body. It activates a region deep within the body known as the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus then sends hormones to the adrenal glands, which initiate the production of a hormone known as cortisol.
- Inhibits the immune system
- Inhibits digestion
- Increases heart rate
- Increases blood pressure
- Dilates the airways
- Stimulates the brain
- Forces the liver to dump glucose into the bloodstream
Cortisol is helpful in the short term for activating the stress response when it’s necessary — but if allowed to persist for too long, it can cause serious long-term problems, including insomnia, brain fog, lowered immunity, and weight gain, and even more serious complications such as diabetes and heart disease.
Ashwagandha supplementation has been shown to lower cortisol levels over time with regular use [1, 2]. There are several theories as to how it achieves this. The predominant idea is that it increases the conversion of cortisol to inactive metabolites by increasing the ability of the hypothalamus to regulate cortisol levels and handle stress.
CBD pairs nicely with ashwagandha because it achieves similar results by acting on other areas of the nervous system, including GABA .
These compounds may work together to alleviate chronic stress from the top down.
3. CBD, Curcumin, & Boswellia for Chronic Inflammation
Inflammation is incredibly complex — entire textbooks are dedicated to the topic without even grazing the surface.
Inflammation can vary a lot depending on the cause of the inflammation, which means that the inflammation experienced during an autoimmune disorder is very different from the inflammation experienced when you injure yourself.
Long-term (chronic) inflammation is also very different from short-term (acute) inflammation.
CBD is excellent for addressing both chronic and acute inflammation because it blocks many of the molecules involved in triggering inflammation. However, it has its limits.
Adding curcumin (the active constituent in turmeric) and Boswellia (another name for frankincense) may further enhance the effects of CBD by offering additional anti-inflammatory benefits through different mechanisms.
Curcumin and Boswellia stop inflammation by blocking key enzymes involved with manufacturing inflammatory compounds known as COX and 5-LOX.
Curcumin blocks COX , while Boswellia is better for stopping the related enzyme 5-LOX .
Taking all three supplements together is going to offer the most profound benefits because all of these actions are important for stopping inflammation.
By blocking these enzymes on top of key inflammatory messengers by CBD, the inflammation process comes to a screeching halt.
4. CBD, Glucosamine, & Chondroitin Sulphate for Joint Pain
CBD is useful for alleviating joint pain involved with both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis because of its analgesic and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Inflammation is a key component of the underlying causes of arthritis, but it’s not the only cause.
One of the biggest problems leading to chronic joint pain as a result of arthritis is a gradual breakdown of cartilage in the joints. Cartilage is designed to protect the joints so that bone doesn’t rub directly against another bone. Instead, the cartilage and a slippery fluid called synovial fluid allow the joints to move freely without causing any damage to the bones.
As the cartilage disappears, the rubbing of bone on bone causes extreme pain and worsens inflammation — ultimately leading to even faster degeneration of the cartilage and a buildup of scar tissue.
CBD is effective for reducing symptomatic pain in the joints and fighting inflammation — but it does very little for restoring lost bone cartilage.
This is where glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate comes in.
Both of these supplements are known for their ability to provide essential precursors for the body to repair both the cartilage and the cells responsible for producing synovial fluid (chondrocytes).
Taken together, the CBD can help lower inflammation and treat pain, while the glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate help to restore cartilage tissue over time.
5. CBD & St. John’s Wort for Depression
Depression can be debilitating to our health, especially if allowed to persist for long periods.
CBD is a good option for treating depression primarily for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Neuroinflammation is a key driver of depression , but it’s not the only cause.
Most antidepressant medications work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain — something that CBD isn’t able to do.
However, another herb — St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) — can do this.
This herb works similarly to common SSRI medications used to treat depression . It blocks the reuptake and breakdown of serotonin in the brain, causing levels to increase outside the neurons.
This ability to increase serotonin, combined with the powerful anti-inflammatory effects of CBD, provides a powerful combination for alleviating symptoms of depression.
Of course, always consult with your doctor before taking any supplements to treat depression, especially if you’re already taking antidepressant medications. Both CBD and St. John’s Wort may interact negatively with this type of medication — in which case, they should be avoided.
Bonus CBD Supplementation Tip
Grapefruit Juice to Prolong the Effects of CBD
CBD — like any other compound we consume — is eventually metabolized and deactivated by the liver.
The liver is an incredibly versatile organ. It can break down nearly any compound that enters the bloodstream thanks to a set of enzymes known as the cytochrome P450 isoenzyme complex.
Depending on the chemical structure of the compound being metabolized, different enzymes will step up for the job.
When it comes to CBD, the liver mainly relies on two enzymes — CYP3A4 and CYP3A5 .
Therefore, if we inhibit the activity of these enzymes, it will take much longer for the liver to break the CBD down.
There are a few things that can achieve this, but nothing as strong, or as readily available, like grapefruit juice .
This has led to a lot of people drinking grapefruit juice or taking grapefruit juice extracts, alongside their CBD supplementation — effectively lowering their required daily dose of CBD and providing long-lasting relief.
Cautionary Note: Grapefruit juice also inhibits other liver enzymes, so you should never take this supplement if you’re taking other medications as it may cause side effects. It’s especially important to avoid grapefruit juice if you are taking blood thinners or other medications to treat high blood pressure.
Key Takeaways: Supplements to Take with CBD
CBD is an incredible health supplement. It has a lot to offer a wide range of different medical conditions. However, like many other compounds, CBD is even better when combined with other herbs and supplements.
Choosing which supplements to combine it with depends on the symptoms you’re treating.
By leveraging the benefits of CBD alongside other supplements, we’re able to provide even greater benefits toward reversing, preventing, or alleviating symptoms.
This is the difference between a holistic approach versus a reductionist approach. Which one will you choose?