Can I Take CBD Oil With Metformin

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Metformin is an effective anti-diabetes medication, with a few mild potential side effects. CBD is also known for its ability to regulate our metabolism and blood sugar levels, but can you combine these two for a more efficient treatment? Looking to take CBD oil and metformin together? Or making a switch? Here's the information you need to know, a guide to the effects and potential outcomes!

CBD and Metformin: Which Is Better & Should You Take Both?

Cannabis compounds are more often prescribed by doctors to treat serious chronic conditions. Cannabinoids like CBD and THC have been highlighted as potent anti-inflammatory agents, neuroprotectants, painkillers, and antioxidants.

CBD can also regulate our blood sugar levels and help with metabolism on many levels, according to recent research. Not only does CBD promote fat-browning, but it can also curb cravings for high-calorie food and reduce stress levels, preventing people from eating compulsively.

But does CBD have a direct impact on diabetes? Can you take it as a diabetes treatment instead of conventional medications? Are CBD and metformin a good match?

Metformin is a common anti-diabetes medication that doctors prescribe to lower blood sugar levels in their patients. The idea of combining these two compounds is tempting, especially if your current treatment doesn’t bring satisfying results.

Let’s take a look at the current situation of CBD in treating diabetes — and how it interacts with meds such as metformin.

What is Metformin?

Metformin is an FDA-approved medicine commonly prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes. Doctors often recommend this drug on its own or prescribe it along with other diabetes medications to manage high blood sugar levels.

Metformin has proven to be an effective treatment for the majority of diabetes complications; it can also prevent diabetes in high-risk individuals. Despite some adverse reactions reported by individual patients, the benefits definitely outweigh the potential side effects.

What is CBD and How Does It Impact Glucose Levels?

CBD is short for cannabidiol, a phytocannabinoid present in the Cannabis sativa plant. Unlike THC, CBD is non-intoxicating, so it won’t get you high. However, it still has a plethora of therapeutic properties, some of which are related to CBD’s impact on our metabolism and blood glucose levels.

In a 2016 study conducted on diabetic mice, CBD treatment showed to be capable of lowering the chances of diabetes in the subjects. The research team administered a daily dose of 5 mg/kg CBD to the mice for ten weeks at least five times a week (1).

Another study, from 2018, has analyzed the mechanism of action of phytocannabinoids as anti-obesity and anti-diabetic compounds. The study highlighted CBD as the potential aid in the treatment of insulin resistance triggered by obesity and diabetes (2).

CBD and Metformin: Potential Interactions

Considering what we’ve said about Metformin and CBD so far, one could assume that it would be beneficial to combine them. However, no study has yet confirmed whether or not these products are compatible with one another.

CBD is metabolized by the same system of enzymes that breaks down active ingredients in medications. In past research, CBD has been highlighted as a potent inhibitor of cytochrome P450 enzymes. In other words, CBD can compromise the liver’s ability to process other drugs when taken along with them.

The above interaction could result in increased or decreased levels of active drug ingredients in the blood, causing problems associated with being subtherapeutic or, on the contrary, toxic.

CBD’s interaction with CYP450 can change the way it affects the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is the major regulatory network found in humans and animals that regulates the activity of other systems and organs, including the central nervous system.

Metformin has a few side effects on its own, so the more medication circulates in your bloodstream, the higher the risk you will experience adverse reactions. Although these side-effects are not severe, they may lead to a condition known as lactic acidosis. This disorder includes symptoms like muscle pain, dizziness, drowsiness, chills, and breathing difficulties.

Since there is no clear indication of whether using CBD and metformin is dangerous, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and consult your doctor about applying CBD in your routine before buying any CBD product.

A doctor experienced in treating people with cannabinoids should be able to point you in the right direction.

Can You Substitute Metformin with Another Antihyperglycemic to Take CBD Oil?

Insulin is another antihyperglycemic commonly used to lower high blood sugar to diabetics. Doctors often prescribe special injections to administer the compound intravenously.

In a 2010 study conducted on 62 participants with type 2 diabetes, scientists have found that a combination of THC and CBD can lower insulin resistance while increasing its potency in the body. These same patients weren’t treated with insulin and tolerated both CBD and THC well (3).

A study from 2018 shows that low-dose CBD can increase glucose uptake, decrease fat accumulation, and reverse insulin resistance in rats (4). This may be an indication of further clinical trials in humans. Despite being effective in rodents, CBD may not work the same in human subjects, so it’s necessary to test its efficacy on a broader scale.

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Can You Replace Metformin with CBD?

Research has yet to prove whether or not CBD is a safe alternative to metformin use in diabetic humans. Most of the studies on CBD’s effect on diabetes were conducted on rodent models.

For example, one 2016 study on non-obese diabetic mice has shown that CBD can lower the risk of diabetes by altering the response in the immune system in rodents. The non-treated mice had an 86% probability of developing diabetes, while subjects that took CBD only had 30% (5).

The administration of CBD also significantly lowered plasma blood levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines, while also lowering the possibility of inflammatory liver damage — the underlying cause of type 1 diabetes.

Finally, a 2019 study on diabetic rats tested the therapeutic properties of CBD in both ischemic disease models and diabetes (6). The study revealed that CBD reduces neuropathic pain, improves memory performance, and reduces hippocampal levels of inflammation markers (6).

According to cannabis experts, CBD-rich products can be used to target the symptoms of diabetes. Since there are limited data on CBD’s efficacy in the human models of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, it’s always best to seek professional advice from a doctor before considering replacing metformin with CBD oil or edibles.

Drugs That Can Interact with Metformin

Metformin consists of positively charged molecules (cations) that can be processed by the same enzymes as similarly charged drugs for renal secretion through cation transporters found in the kidneys.

Cationic medications that can interact with metformin include quinidine, procainamide, trimethoprim, digoxin, and vancomycin. These drugs can be purchased over the counter for heartburn and may contribute to a case of metformin-associated lactic acidosis (MALA).

Here’s the list of other medications that can interact with metformin:

  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Corticosteroids
  • Diuretics
  • Estrogen and oral contraceptives
  • Phenytoin
  • Thyroid medications

Combining the aforementioned drugs with metformin may result in too-low blood sugar levels in the body. Patients need to monitor their glucose levels frequently to avoid sudden changes.

The following drugs can reduce the kidneys’ capacity to flush metformin from the blood and thus cause lactic acidosis:

  • Cimetidine
  • Dolutegravir
  • Ranolazine
  • Vandetanib

We encourage you to consult a doctor to determine if these drug combinations are worth the risk. There may be a safer alternative that doesn’t entail the same risk of danger.

If you want to avoid increasing the risk of lactic acidosis when using metformin, it’s better to abstain from taking carbonic anhydrase inhibitors such as topiramate or acetazolamide.

Lactic acidosis may be detected early if patients taking CAIs together with metformin are monitored during their treatment.

Your doctor can also change the dosage or even suggest a safer, alternate medication to manage your blood glucose levels if metformin itself has too heavy side-effects on your health.

People changing immediate-release to extended-release metformin pills may experience fewer cases of diarrhea, as reported by a study in 2004.

Anemia and vitamin B-12 deficiency are also possible in people who have been taking metformin for at least a few months. Supplementing iron and vitamin B-12 may help prevent these problems if they occur in long-term metformin users.

What Experts Say About CBD and Metformin

Allan Frankel MD, an experienced physician and expert in GreenBridge Medicinal in Santa Monica, believes that CBD and metformin can be taken in tandem, but it requires proper care from your doctor. He also claims that patients can become able to ditch their type 2 diabetes medications thanks to using CBD.

“We have seen a substantial lowering of their [CBD patients] glucose levels in those with Type II Diabetes including several patients’ Hemoglobin A1C levels normalize so they are able to stop their Type II Diabetes medications, he said.”

However, CBD can cause blood glucose levels to drop too much due to their combined effects.

“The first time I saw this with a Diabetic, he called me after having some hypoglycemic episodes while taking CBD in addition to his Metformin, Frankel continues. “I told him to stop his Metformin and continue his CBD. His glucose levels normalized and he remained off Metformin.”

According to Frankel, CBD can also raise good cholesterol levels, while lowering bad cholesterol levels by stabilizing a patient’s blood sugar levels. He says he has seen patients ditching the statin once they have seen consistent improvements in their cholesterol levels.

On top of that, CBD — especially when combined with THC — can improve the side effects caused by poorly managed diabetes, including neuropathic pain.

“We have also seen improvements ranging from apparent stabilization of macular degeneration and help with neuropathic pain. Sometimes combined with THC, CBD is an avascular and renal protectant.”

To sum up, using CBD provides a multipronged approach for treating diabetes. It can be taken in tandem with metformin, but only under the observation of your doctor. Monitoring blood glucose levels is essential for avoiding unpleasant side-effects, such as hypoglycemia. On top of blood sugar management, CBD can balance cholesterol levels and speed up metabolism.

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“I believe this is all happening on a number of metabolic levels, such as bringing the sensitivity of insulin back to normal,” Frankel concludes.

Final Thoughts on CBD and Metmorfin

Metformin is an FDA-approved prescription drug for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Patients take it on its own or with other prescription drugs with high sugar levels in the blood.

While metformin can effectively prevent diabetes in high-risk individuals, while also addressing most of its symptoms, it may cause a few adverse reactions. Fortunately, most users report that the benefits outweigh the potential side-effects.

People seeking natural treatments for diabetes often turn to CBD as their go-to supplement. CBD interacts with the human endocannabinoid system whose receptors are known to regulate blood sugar levels on top of many other metabolic functions.

Studies from animal models have demonstrated CBD’s efficacy in treating the symptoms of diabetes and managing the condition itself. While more human research is needed to confirm these findings, they are, at least to say, promising when it comes to contemporary diabetes treatments.

CBD and metformin can interact with one another because they are processed by the same system of enzymes. CBD is the inhibitor of these enzymes, meaning it can either increase or decrease the concentration of metformin in the bloodstream. This, in turn, can result in toxicity or subtherapeutic effects depending on the scenario.

As there’s no clear indication regarding the risk of taking CBD with metformin, it’s best to consult a physician who is experienced in complementary treatments. Medical advice from a professional will help you avoid potentially dangerous interactions and get the most out of your diabetes routine.

Do you take CBD and metformin together?

References:

  1. Lehmann, Christian et al. “Experimental cannabidiol treatment reduces early pancreatic inflammation in type 1 diabetes.” Clinical hemorheology and microcirculation vol. 64,4 (2016): 655-662. doi:10.3233/CH-168021
  2. Clark, T et al. “Theoretical Explanation for Reduced Body Mass Index and Obesity Rates in Cannabis Users.” Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, vol 3,1 (2018): 259–271.
  3. Frisher, M et al. “The Role of Cannabis and Cannabinoids in Diabetes”. The British Journal of Diabetes & Vascular Disease, vol 10,6 (2010): 267–273.
  4. Ramlugon, S., Levendal, R.A., and Frost, C.L. “Time-dependent Effect of Phytocannabinoid Treatments in Fat Cells”. Psychotherapy Research, vol 32,3 (2018).
  5. Lehmann, Christian et al. “Experimental cannabidiol treatment reduces early pancreatic inflammation in type 1 diabetes.” Clinical hemorheology and microcirculation vol. 64,4 (2016): 655-662. doi:10.3233/CH-168021
  6. Santiago, Amanda Nunes et al. “Effects of Cannabidiol on Diabetes Outcomes and Chronic Cerebral Hypoperfusion Comorbidities in Middle-Aged Rats.” Neurotoxicity research vol. 35,2 (2019): 463-474. doi:10.1007/s12640-018-9972-5

Aspiring political journalist & small-town stoner currently living in Los Angeles. My day job consists of studying the mental health effects of cannabis in my role as a mental health case manager at Kaiser Permanente. By night, I roll fat joints and do my best to debrief Weed News readers on the latest cannabis happenings.

CBD Oil and Metformin, Taking Both Together, a Helpful Guide

Considering taking CBD oil and metformin together? Here’s what you need to know first, the pros and cons, as well as the cautionary aspects of taking both CBD oil and metformin.

Let’s start with a quick summary, and then head into more details.

CBD and Metformin: CBD Oil and metformin are used for specific medical purposes. But CBD oil has properties that may help control and manage diabetic conditions for which metformin is used. However, no studies can confirm safety with regards to combining both or using CBD oil as a stand-alone treatment for diabetes.

CBD comes in several forms, from oils to tinctures to beverages. This article focuses on CBD oil but can and does encompass CDB in general alongside metformin.

What CBD Oil and Metformin are Used for

First, on this topic, it’s important to get a quick overview of what health conditions both CBD and metformin are prescribed for.

The main use of CBD

CBD oil is used for easing symptoms of many common health issues. A few of them include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Acne
  • Heart disease
  • Insomnia
  • Epilepsy

So, for the most part, CBD oil can and is used to treat various illnesses and chronic pain types.

The main use of metformin

Metformin is prescribed for type 2 diabetes and helps in controlling blood sugar levels. It can also be used for preventing diabetes in those in a high-risk category.

Sometimes this medication is prescribed in combination with other drugs and/or along with lifestyle changes. This is done to treat complications related to type 2 diabetes.

Can CBD oil help with diabetes like metformin?

Recently scientists found that CBD can indeed be helpful for people with diabetes.

In other words, CBD can work as part of diabetes management in certain ways like metformin. Below I’ve outlined some of those main ways.

Regulation of energy metabolism

Firstly, CBD works by influencing our endocannabinoid system.

This system plays an important role in the regulation of energy metabolism. The regulation of energy metabolism is done by affecting how our muscle and fat cells respond to insulin. As such, this can be beneficial in supporting diabetes management.

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Prevents high-calorie food cravings

CBD can help diabetes patients avoid cravings for high-calorie food. This, in turn, helps diabetes patients to manage compulsive eating, making it easier to stick to healthier diet plans.

Although this doesn’t directly control diabetes, it certainly helps with overall diabetes management.

Promotes fat-browning

CBD also helps in promoting fat-browning. For those who are unaware, brown fat is a good kind of fat. This fat burns energy, keeping you warm, and requires less space.

So, high levels of brown fats are related to improved metabolic rates. This, in turn, helps with diabetes management.

Lowers risk of diabetes

According to another study on mice, a dose of 5 mg/kg of CBD for ten weeks lowered the chances of developing diabetes.

When examining CBD’s influence on diabetes, it was found that CBD could help treat insulin resistance.

Improves inflammation and oxidative stress

CBD has been shown to improve inflammation levels and oxidative stress. Increased inflammation can often worsen one’s diabetes condition, as it contributes to insulin resistance.

So, when CBD works on nerve endings to reduce pain and inflammation, it helps in controlling blood sugar levels.

Improves pancreatic health and insulin resistance

CBD helps in improving pancreatic health and insulin resistance. This was demonstrated in an animal study with non-insulin treated type 2 diabetes.

It was found to be evident in animal subjects who received CBD at 100 mg twice daily along with other treatments. This finding resulted in a significant drop in fasting plasma glucose and improved pancreatic health.

Protects the pancreas from overactive immune cells

This means that a diabetic patient may be able to keep producing insulin for longer.

However, this can be achieved only by changing your diet and other lifestyle changes. Failing to do this in parallel with CBD might result in a pancreas that cannot produce insulin.

Can I take CBD oil with metformin? Is it safe?

Both metformin and CBD have beneficial effects on diabetes. But, taking them together comes with its limitations.

This is because both CBD and metformin are inhibitors of a liver enzyme called CYP3A4. So, this may interfere with how each of these medications is metabolized for diabetes.

Aside from this, no study has been conducted showing the effect of taking them both together.

Clinical findings

In fact, there are no clinical findings to confirm if it’s safe to take them together. But taking them together can cause either one of two outcomes.

One is that they can increase side effects because of combined effects. Or the combined effects can reduce the efficacy of compounds.

Some people who took CBD and metformin together experienced hypoglycemia.

So, you may consider spacing out the doses of these medications, to reduce these side effects. You should be taking both these combined only under the guidance and advice from a doctor.

Limitations of using CBD for diabetes management

The main limitation with CBD for diabetes is the individual differences in our endocannabinoid systems.

Because we all respond differently to the effects of CBD, you can experience one of two things.

First is that you can expect a drastic drop in blood sugar levels – which could be dangerous. Or you may not notice any effect at all. So, make sure to monitor your blood sugar levels when using CBD for diabetes to assess results.

The second and most prominent limitation to CBD use for diabetes is that not all are equal in quality. A low-quality product may offer zero effect or may even bring unwanted interactions with diabetes medications.

Be sure to check for companies that provide third-party testing for their products. These products are generally more reliable and tend to be of a higher quality.

Can I replace metformin with CBD for diabetes?

While it’s true that CBD goes a long way towards helping with diabetes management and control, it may not work well alone.

There are reports of people who have controlled their diabetes by making this switch from metformin to CBD. Also, many CBD experts state that CBD alone can be used to target the treatment of symptoms related to type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

However, there is currently only limited data on CBD for the treatment of diabetes.

As such, switching from metformin to CBD or using CBD as a stand-alone treatment for diabetes remains unclear at this point.

Final Thoughts

So, just as we always recommend and advise, you should consider all the options and known potential outcomes in conjunction with advice from a medical professional.

If you’re having trouble affording any of your medications, enroll with us and see if you qualify to pay only $50 a month for each of your medications.

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