Results: Cannabidiol minimally affected the metabolism of sertraline, fluoxetine, and mirtazapine in vitro. However, CBD significantly inhibited CYP3A4 and CYP2C19-mediated metabolism of citalopram and its stereoisomer escitalopram at physiologically relevant concentrations, suggesting a possible in vivo DDI. In patients on citalopram or escitalopram, the addition of CBD significantly increased citalopram plasma concentrations, although it was uncertain whether this also increased selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor-mediated adverse events.
Methods: The effect of CBD on CYP450-mediated metabolism of the commonly used antidepressants fluoxetine, sertraline, citalopram, and mirtazapine were examined in vitro. Cannabidiol-citalopram interactions were also examined in vivo in patients (n = 6) with anxiety disorders on stable treatment with citalopram or escitalopram who received ascending daily doses of adjunctive CBD (200-800 mg) over 12 weeks in a recent clinical trial.
Background: Cannabidiol (CBD), a major nonintoxicating constituent of cannabis, exhibits anxiolytic properties in preclinical and human studies and is of interest as a novel intervention for treating anxiety disorders. Existing first-line pharmacotherapies for these disorders include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor and other antidepressants. Cannabidiol has well-described inhibitory action on cytochrome P450 (CYP450) drug-metabolizing enzymes and significant drug-drug interactions (DDIs) between CBD and various anticonvulsant medications (eg, clobazam) have been described in the treatment of epilepsy. Here, we examined the likelihood of DDIs when CBD is added to medications prescribed in the treatment of anxiety.
Conclusions: Further pharmacokinetic examination of the interaction between CBD and citalopram/escitalopram is clearly warranted, and clinicians should be vigilant around the possibility of treatment-emergent adverse effects when CBD is introduced to patients taking these antidepressants.
Products containing cannabidiol (CBD) seem to be all the rage these days, promising relief from a wide range of maladies, from insomnia and hot flashes to chronic pain and seizures. Some of these claims have merit to them, while some of them are just hype. But it won’t hurt to try, right? Well, not so fast. CBD is a biologically active compound, and as such, it may also have unintended consequences. These include known side effects of CBD, but also unintended interactions with supplements, herbal products, and over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications.
Doubling up on side effects
Many drugs are broken down by enzymes in the liver, and CBD may compete for or interfere with these enzymes, leading to too much or not enough of the drug in the body, called altered concentration. The altered concentration, in turn, may lead to the medication not working, or an increased risk of side effects. Such drug interactions are usually hard to predict but can cause unpleasant and sometimes serious problems.
CBD can alter the effects of other drugs
CBD has the potential to interact with many other products, including over-the-counter medications, herbal products, and prescription medications. Some medications should never be taken with CBD; the use of other medications may need to be modified or reduced to prevent serious issues. The consequences of drug interactions also depend on many other factors, including the dose of CBD, the dose of another medication, and a person’s underlying health condition. Older adults are more susceptible to drug interactions because they often take multiple medications, and because of age-related physiological changes that affect how our bodies process medications.