Cannabis has been proven to safely help lessen the negative effects of many illnesses. If the illness requires antibiotics, is it safe to consume cannabis? While people do take CBD oil (or other forms of CBD) with antibiotics, it is always wise to consult with your physician before doing so. While CBD oil is generally considered safe, is it okay to use while on antibiotics? Get the answer here.
Is It Safe to Consume Cannabis While Taking Antibiotics?
Many use cannabis for its pain-relieving properties. Smoking flower, or having a cup of cannabis-infused tea, can be just the thing to help you deal with the symptoms of chronic pain. There are many who choose to use cannabis to combat pain and it is even used when one has a cold or the flu to clear the head and relax the muscles, making one feel a little better. Cannabis is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, which is another reason for its continued increase in consumption across the globe.
However, what happens when antibiotics are involved? Many pain and inflammatory-based conditions or illnesses may have a treatment plan that includes antibiotics. Which is how many people know that it’s vital to be careful of drug interactions, especially when antibiotics are involved. This also explains the reason for your doctor inquiring to know which medications one is currently consuming, or even meds recently consumed. Read on to learn more.
While cannabis has proven safe and effective in alleviating an array of conditions and illnesses, if the condition or illness requires antibiotics, will it be safe to consume cannabis, too? Antibiotics have been known to render certain medications less effective when consumed simultaneously due to their interactions. When treatment plans are complicated by consuming interacting drugs, including cannabinoids, either drug levels can become altered. This may potentially pose a health risk.
However, a 2014 systematic review study suggests that CBD, CBN, and THC interactions with pharmaceutical drugs are generally low risk according to the available data, but further research is still necessary to determine the specific effects of metabolites and other effects. Certain medications can still be used with caution in conjunction with cannabinoids, so it’s important to tell your doctor about cannabis use first. So, in light of this possibility between antibiotics and cannabis, let’s assess the impact on effectiveness and risks.
What Are Common Antibiotics?
Antibiotics are often used to treat and prevent the contraction or spread of bacterial infections, not viral infections such as the common cold. According to the NHS, antibiotics are used in order to (1) clear up a problem such as acne, (2) prevent spread of conditions such as chlamydia, (3) speed up recovery in conditions such as a kidney infection or post-surgery and (4) reduce risks of serious infections and subsequent complications such as pneumonia as well as post-surgery risks. The NHS and the CDC also advise selective antibiotic use in order to minimize the spread of drug-resistant organisms.
There are hundreds of antibiotics with the potential to react with cannabis. Penn State News published a study which identified 139 common pharmaceutical medications that have the potential to react with cannabis. However, just because they only identified 139 out of hundreds does not mean that there is no risk of negative interactions among the rest. The following pharmaceuticals are the top ten most commonly used antibiotics, which will be looked at against the Penn State list.
- Combination: Amoxicillin and Clavulanate
- Combination: Sulfamethoxazole and Trimethoprim
Dr. Kent Vrana, a professor and the chairman of pharmacology at the College of Medicine, along with Paul Kocis, compiled a shorter list of 57 medications based on the fact that they may not operate as intended when cannabis is being consumed, too. On the list these professionals compiled, the only antibiotic listed on the narrowed list is clindamycin. This also points out that the available pharmaceutical data this study draws from are still limited and incomplete, among other study limitations. Other safety data show such interactions likely pose a low but not insignificant risk.
Dr. Vrana and the rest of the research team wanted to provide physicians with comprehensive information to make safe prescription choices for the sake of their patients. Dr. Vrana stated that “it’s important for medical professionals to consider the list when prescribing medical cannabinoids and how it may affect other medications a patient is taking.”
Will Cannabis Reduce the Effectiveness of My Antibiotics?
You don’t want to see the effects of the antibiotics you’ve been given neutralized, nor have higher or lower levels of prescriptions or cannabis than intended. If your doctor prescribes an antibiotic, they want you to take the full course of medication to make sure your infection is killed completely and also reduce the odds of developing antibiotic resistance in your body.
Fortunately, the evidence so far seems to suggest that cannabis may not significantly interfere with antibiotics. The antibiotic rifampin can decrease levels of CBD when taken together. However, the two are still well-tolerated when taken together. Caution should be used if you are also going to add on other drugs that are metabolized in the same way. More human research is needed to determine the exact effects and safety of cannabinoid and antibiotic co-administration, especially in the long-term and for special populations.
Additionally, cannabis has shown in studies to have antibacterial properties itself, proving somewhat effective against the difficult-to-treat MRSA bacterium. It may only be a matter of time before doctors are ready to add cannabis to the regimen of antibiotics they prescribe for patients who are having trouble kicking a nasty infection. Based on limited data to date, you can likely use cannabis while on antibiotics and the antibiotics should still do their job just fine. Remember that antibiotic treatment should be monitored by a qualified professional.
What Are the Risks of Using Cannabis While on Antibiotics?
The antibiotics will probably still be effective based on limited data to date, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t without risk. It’s important to understand that different drugs use different metabolic pathways in the liver. The metabolic pathway that processes cannabinoids is the same one used by many prescription drugs, including some antibiotics.
Is that a problem? The short answer is likely not. Despite using some of the same metabolic pathways, most medications don’t interact negatively with cannabis. And if they do, the interactions are so far reported as non-life threatening.
The somewhat longer answer is that one can’t be sure since satisfactory testing and research has not yet been conducted on cannabis and its full effects on the body, including its interactions with other pharmaceutical medications. It’s important to remember that every person is different, too. However, this is also not to say that cannabis use on its own is risk-free. There are short-term adverse events like dizziness, tiredness, dry mouth, and cognitive distortion while the long-term effects of cannabinoids are yet to be known.
Alternatives to Marijuana While on Antibiotics
While cannabis likely may not negatively interact with antibiotics, some may choose to consider alternatives to marijuana while being on antibiotics. One viable solution could be consuming cannabidiol (CBD) isolate products instead and avoiding full- and broad-spectrum CBD products. By doing this, the risks are reduced as additional psychoactive and intoxicating cannabinoids are reduced. Additionally, scientists have found that CBD could one day become an antibiotic of its own.
A study conducted in Australia, led by Mark Blaskovich, found that CBD “killed all the strains of bacteria they tested in a lab, including some which were highly resistant to existing antibiotics.” What’s even more impressive when considering CBD as an antibiotic candidate is that the study found no build up of resistance, even after 20 days of consuming CBD. The researchers also found that CBD has excellent activity against biofilms (this could potentially include dental plaque); against four Gram-negative bacteria (including the bacteria responsible for gonorrhea, meningitis, and airway infections like bronchitis and pneumonia); and reaffirmed it was effective against MRSA bacterium.
If you would like to avoid cannabis as a whole while being on antibiotics, one can consider consuming other botanicals, which also contain beneficial cannabinoids. Be sure to tell your healthcare providers of any health supplements you are taking, and remember that neither these nor cannabis can replace antibiotics.
Summary of Alternatives to Cannabis, or Marijuana, While Taking Antibiotics:
- Isolated CBD for its potential as an antibiotic and ability to kill gram-negative bacteria.
- Cacao, which is rich in anandamide, an endocannabinoid that may boost feelings of happiness amongst stressful times when dealing with bacterial conditions.
- Black pepper, which is rich in beta-caryophyllene and can assist with easing pain. It also provides anti-inflammatory properties.
- Echinacea (coneflower) is a potential remedy for colds and flus, but may also offer relief from anxiety, migraines, fatigue, nausea and conditions such as arthritis.
- Acmella oleracea, also known as electric daisy, which has the ability to block pain receptors in nerve endings while also reducing inflammation throughout the body. A 2019 review study confirmed the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activities of Acmella and demonstrated its promise for pain management for chronic degenerative diseases.
- Japanese liverwort has been found to contain a molecule structurally similar to THC that may possess powerful analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, it potentially offers benefits that are similar to those of THC.
The Final Verdict
You should first consult with your doctor before doing so, but it will probably be okay with them to take antibiotics and consume cannabis. This also presumes you are not worsening a lung infection with inhalational methods, and are aware of the side effects of antibiotics and potential adverse events of cannabis as well. Physicians are the experts on the antibiotics being prescribed, and they’ll be able to tell you with authority whether or not it will be appropriate for you.
Remember that despite the legal status of cannabis where you live, bringing questions to your doctor is always allowed, and your conversations are confidential. Your doctor will provide you medical advice without legal judgment. Also, remember that if you are still uncertain after consulting your primary physician, you can get a second opinion.
Lastly, it will be best to consume cannabis with care and in moderation at first, while avoiding methods of consumption that involve combustion as well as switching to CBD-only products for the duration of the antibiotic course to minimize adverse effects of high-THC cannabis.
Can You Use CBD Oil if You’re on Antibiotics?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is now one of the most famous cannabis/hemp products in the world, with more people than ever choosing to medicate with the compound as opposed to more conventional medications. There are a vast array of reasons for CBD’s popularity, not least that it comes with very few side effects, cannot be overdosed on, and is non-psychoactive!
Due to the reasons we have mentioned above, CBD is accessible for all ages, from children to the elderly, with the apparent lack of adverse effects associated with the cannabinoid making it an excellent option for many.
So with that in mind, are there any situations in which CBD should be avoided? One question we get asked all the time is whether CBD can still be taken when on antibiotics, so to answer that question, we delved into the science behind the myth in order to bring you our comprehensive guide to taking CBD while on antibiotics.
What Are Antibiotics?
Antibiotics are prescribed by the millions across America every year to combat a wide range of bacterial infections. A form of antimicrobial drug, antibiotics are used to either treat or prevent further bacterial infections from occurring.
Even in today’s society, antibiotics are crucial to saving us from often lethal bacteria that would undoubtedly have caused the death of millions back before antibiotics were discovered in 1928.
Studies into how antibiotics work within our bodies have shown that certain medications can interfere with their efficacy, and as such, you should always consult your doctor before combining antibiotics with any other medicines.
Can CBD and Antibiotics Be Taken Together?
Among the range of medications shown to interact with antibiotics is CBD, so what does this mean for those patients who depend on the cannabinoid on a daily basis? Can you still fight off bacterial infections while medicating with CBD or not?
Cytochrome P-450 System
First of all, it is essential to understand how CBD works with antibiotics, and this all comes down to our body’s Cytochrome P-450 System, which is responsible for metabolizing potentially dangerous toxins. Many of us are unaware of the Cytochrome P-450 system, but it is an incredibly vital part of the human body. Without it, we could be exposed to a range of dangerous toxins on a daily basis!
However, over 60% of the drugs we consume pass through this system, and this is where things can get complicated.
This purifying system is located within the liver and has up to 50 enzymes at work to remove potentially harmful toxins. Depending on the drug and its dosage, the Cytochrome P-450 system requires a different period of time to metabolize. Certain drugs can have a direct impact on the efficacy of the system and how long it takes to process a particular drug.
Among the many different drugs that can have an impact on the Cytochrome system are antibiotics, steroids, anesthetics, antidepressants, beta-blockers, and many more! But what exactly does this mean for CBD users?
CBD has actually been shown to inhibit the Cytochrome P-450 system, which can alter the way the system metabolizes certain other drugs that pass through – in this case, antibiotics. In other words, there is a chance that those consuming antibiotics and CBD at the same time could be at risk of taking less or more antibiotics than required, which could be dangerous and even lead to an overdose.
Now, it is essential that we make it clear from the start that this isn’t a common occurrence, nor does it mean that those on antibiotics must not consume CBD at the same time. However, what it does say is that a doctor MUST be consulted before adding either CBD or antibiotics to your list of medications.
The Importance of Consulting a Medical Professional
Put simply, antibiotics and CBD can interact with the internal system that keeps things in check, and this could potentially lead to dangerous outcomes if approached irresponsibly. Due to CBD having the ability to either slow down or speed up the metabolism process of other drugs within our Cytochrome P-450 system, it means that we could end up with higher doses of drugs in our system than what is safe.
The simple solution to this is to consult your doctor first. Your doctor should be able to look at your specific dosage of CBD and antibiotics and alter the amounts so that there can be no harmful outcomes if consuming both together.
This should be a rule of thumb with any medication that is affected by cannabidiol, so we can’t stress enough the importance of checking with a doctor before adding CBD to your list of treatments.
Will Every Antibiotic Interact with CBD?
It is important to note that, while any medication can interact with CBD, not every medication within that category will. So in this case, not every antibiotic will be impacted by CBD, and again it is a good idea to check with your doctor about your specific medication first.
Can CBD Interact with Medication in Other Ways?
As we now know, CBD works with our endocannabinoid system to improve the production of natural cannabinoids. As such, it is natural to assume that CBD may interact with antibiotics – as well as other medications – in some way.
While it is true that CBD can have a potentially negative impact in the case of antibiotics, it is also true that the compound can have a range of positive interactions with other medications, which has led to many patients requiring a lower dosage!
We have seen dozens of cases where patients have been able to reduce their prescription meds or even stop taking them altogether as a result of the actions of CBD, but having this core understanding of the way CBD interacts with different drugs is vital in avoiding any unpleasant or dangerous side effects!
Final Thoughts on Taking CBD with Antibiotics
So, can you still take CBD while on antibiotics? The short answer is yes. However, in many cases dosage may need to be altered, so always consult with your doctor before changing any medications.
Antibiotics and CBD Oil: Safe to Take Together?
With new health benefits constantly being discovered, CBD oil has been one of the most exciting medical developments of this century. But almost 100 years before cannabidiol came into the spotlight, antibiotics completely revolutionized medicine and have held their place as a staple of healthcare since.
Together, could this combination be a powerful dream team? Or a match made in hell?
People around the world take CBD oil for a range of conditions; whether for sleep, mood, muscle repair, pain relief, or inflammation control, it can become an important part of your daily routine. Understandably then, if you are told you need to take antibiotics, you’ll want to know whether you can continue to use CBD oil.
Understanding the potential advantages and disadvantages of using CBD oil in conjunction with antibiotics will help you to make an informed decision on how best to carry out your treatment. But as always, this article serves only to educate and should not be substituted for medical advice. Always consult your doctor before using CBD oil with antibiotics.
CBD Oil and Antibiotic Interaction
CBD oil is widely considered to be a safe product that is well tolerated by the majority of people and carries a low risk for side effects. However, when combined with certain pharmaceutical medications, care must be taken. This is due to the relationship between CBD oil and the cytochrome P-450 enzyme system.
Located in the liver, the P-450 system contains more than 50 enzymes that help your body break down toxins. Many common medications are processed through this system, though common antibiotics like penicillins are actually inhibitors of this system as well. The only antibiotics processed by the P-450 system are clarithromycin (Biaxin) and erythromycin.
If you’re taking either of these antibiotics, CBD oil could slow down the time it takes your body to process them in what is referred to as the ‘grapefruit effect.’ (Grapefruit also inhibits the P-450 system.) This inhibition increases the amount of time the medication’s active ingredient is present in your system, and can make it more likely that you’ll experience side effects.
Generally speaking, it isn’t necessarily unsafe to take CBD oil and antibiotics together, but it’s important to understand how the combination could affect you. So, talk to your doctor before you begin using CBD oil and antibiotics together. You can also consult a naturopathic doctor who specializes in using cannabidiol to treat certain medical conditions.
Effectiveness of Using CBD Oil and Antibiotics Together
CBD oil and antibiotics both fight infection, but they don’t do it in the same manner.
While different types of antibiotics vary in their method of fighting infection, they all have a general function: targeting the elements of bacterial cells that aren’t present in human cells. This is an incredibly thorough method of fighting infection; it wipes the slate clean, so to speak, destroying all bacteria in the body, even the good bacteria (probiotics) that keep your gut healthy. Your medication will also exclude any bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics.
CBD oil has been shown to have antimicrobial properties, making it another tool for fighting infection. While we don’t yet understand how CBD oil fights bacteria, studies have confirmed that this is the case, and that it is particularly useful in attacking bacteria that have become resistant to traditional antibiotics.
One such study investigated how various cannabinoids, including CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), affect pathogenic bacteria. Each cannabinoid was tested against six strains of the antibiotic-resistant superbug MRSA. All of the cannabinoids showed “potent activity” against the bacterium, with researchers noting that “activity was exceptional against some of these strains, in particular, the multidrug-resistant (MDR) SA-1199B” and also “against EMRSA-15 and EMRSA-16, the major epidemic methicillin-resistant S. aureus strains occurring in U.K. hospitals.” In other words, cannabidiol was proven to be effective at fighting one of the most treatment-resistant strains of bacteria medicine has seen.
If you can get the dosages right, using CBD oil with antibiotics can offer a powerful, two-pronged approach to fighting bacteria-generated illnesses. Or, after consulting your doctor, you may choose to try using a high-concentration CBD product on its own to fight infection at first. This will preserve the good bacteria in your body and may help reduce the growing number of treatment-resistant bacteria in the world today, which come as a result of unnecessary and incorrect usage of antibiotics.
Side Effects of Using CBD Oil with Antibiotics
As mentioned above, CBD oil may slow down your ability to metabolize clarithromycin (Biaxin) and erythromycin. It’s important to note here that these two antibiotics can be prescribed on their own and may also be included in medications that contain a mixture of antibiotics. This is why it’s important you read your labels and consult your physician.
Since CBD slows the breakdown of these antibiotics, your chances of experiencing their side effects could increase.
If combining CBD oil and clarithromycin, you might be more likely to experience side effects like:
- Mood changes
- Stomach Pain
If combining CBD oil and erythromycin, you could have a higher chance of experiencing side effects like:
- Stomach pain
- Liver disease
- Muscle weakness
CBD Oil for Side Effects of Antibiotics
Antibiotics have saved hundreds of millions of lives since penicillin was first discovered in 1928, but they come with some side effects, too.
Until CBD oil’s antimicrobial effects are better understood, its greatest use in combination with antibiotics may be mitigating their side effects.
|Generic Name||Common Side Effects||CBD Oil|
|Amoxicillin||Nausea; vomiting; stomach pain||Combats nausea and vomiting and reduces the experience of pain|
|Azithromycin||Nausea; vomiting; stomach pain||Combats nausea and vomiting and reduces the experience of pain|
|Clindamycin||Nausea; vomiting; joint pain||Combats nausea and vomiting and reduces the experience of joint pain associated with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis|
|Cephalexin||Nausea; vomiting; stomach pain||Combats nausea and vomiting and reduces the experience of pain|
Because CBD oil has properties that counter the most common side effects of antibiotics, many people report that when combining the two, they don’t experience any side effects at all. While this is only anecdotal, it is certainly worth considering.
Best CBD Oils to Use with Antibiotics
If you are using CBD oil and need to take a course of antibiotics, speak to a medical professional to discuss the best way forward. Once you have the thumbs-up from your physician, it’s time to choose your CBD product!
To make sure you’re shopping with high-quality CBD oils brands, look for third-party lab testing and Certificates of Analysis. Certificates of Analysis give you the chance to see exactly what is in your CBD product, especially in the way of potency and safety. Finding an organic CBD product will further ensure you’re getting premium CBD oil without any dangerous pesticides or herbicides.
You may also want to think about the method you’ll use to take CBD. If, for example, you have a chest infection, you may feel more comfortable taking your CBD oil in capsule form as opposed to using a vape pen. Explore what your CBD brand of choice has to offer, and reach out to them for the most accurate information about how long it will take the effects to set in, and how long they will last for.
CBD Oil Dosage
Because the amount of CBD oil required to show effects depends on a number of factors like your metabolism, age, and weight, there is no one dose that can be applied across the board.
It’s best to start with the lowest recommended amount that appears on your product. From there, the dose can be adjusted up or down as needed. With no significant side effects, no intoxicating effects, and no risk for overdose or addiction, you confidently experiment with dosage and concentration until you find what works best for you.