Can I Take CBD Oil With Antibiotics

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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. CBD oil has been shown to kill treatment-resistant bacteria. Can it replace or bolster antibiotics? This article answers whether you can take antibiotics alongside CBD products. CBD oil has been shown to possess antimicrobial properties, particularly useful in attacking bacteria that are resistant to traditional antibiotics.

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!

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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.

CBD Oil and Antibiotics: Is It More Effective to Take Them Together?

As medical researchers are constantly discovering new health benefits of CBD, the compound has become one of the most exciting therapeutic products of this century. However, 100 years before CBD came on everyone’s tongues, antibiotics gave medicine a completely new face — becoming a staple of healthcare.

What happens when you take these two compounds together?

Are they a perfect match or a dreadful combo?

People supplement CBD for many reasons, whether it’s to support their overall well-being or tackle specific health conditions, such as sleep disorders, mood swings, muscle pain, inflammation, and more.

So, when your doctor prescribes you antibiotics, it’s understandable that you’ll ask them if you can take them together with CBD oil.

Understanding the interactions between CBD and pharmaceutical substances will help you make a well-thought-out decision on how to best run your treatment.

Of course, consulting a doctor is always better if you want to get professional advice, so treat this article only as an educational piece.

What Are Antibiotics?

Antibiotics are antibacterial medications that are prescribed to millions of people across the world every year. They are recommended as a treatment for a wide range of bacterial infections. Doctors use them to either treat or prevent further bacterial infections from being triggered.

Even in the modern world, antibiotics are essential for saving us from often lethal bacteria that would otherwise cause the death of many people back before antibiotics were invented in 1928.

Studies on antibiotics and their mechanisms indicate that certain chemical compounds can interfere with their efficacy, and as such, you should always consult your doctor before taking antibiotics alongside any other medicines or supplements.

CBD As Antibiotic: What Studies Say

There’s evidence that CBD possesses antimicrobial properties, which makes it a potentially useful tool for fighting infection.

Although the mechanism behind these effects isn’t well understood yet, studies have confirmed that CBD provides similar protection to antibiotics — especially against treatment-resistant bacteria that have become resistant to conventional methods.

One study analyzed how different cannabinoids, including CBD and THC, interact with pathogenic bacteria.

The authors tested each cannabinoid against six strains of the antibiotic-resistant super bacteria, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). All cannabinoids showed increased activity against all strains of the MRSA bacteria.

The study concluded that CBD could be effective at fighting one of the most treatment-resistant bacteria in the field of medicine.

Another study from the researchers at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience found that CBD could kill numerous strains of bacteria in test-tube experiments — including VRSA, VISA, MRSA, and other treatment-resistant strains.

Interestingly, these strains developed resistance to all FDA-approved antibiotics over the years, but not to CBD.

CBD was able to outmaneuver the whole process of superbug growth despite exposing the strains to it for 20 days.

The research team found that CBD effectively disrupted biofilms, a microscopic mass of bacteria, mucopolysaccharides, and waste products that act as a physical barrier preventing antibiotics from inhibiting the bacteria growth — resulting in difficult-to-treat infections.

It seems that CBD uses a unique mechanism that works against bacteria resistant to other antibiotics.

A 2019 study from the UK has provided a deeper insight into that mechanism.

The said study examined the antibacterial properties of CBD on Escherichia Coli bacteria (E. coli) — specifically on its membrane vesicles, which the bacteria use for growth and communication.

The authors learned that CBD might help increase antibiotic activity and reduce the resistance of bacteria when used in tailored co-application.

Can You Take CBD and Antibiotics Together?

As mentioned above, CBD can enhance the activity of antibiotics, translating into higher efficacy against treatment-resistant bacteria. But, considering that CBD meddles with the system of enzymes that is responsible for metabolizing pharmaceuticals (including antibiotics), the answer requires more careful analysis.

How CBD Affects Drug Metabolism

Let’s shed some light on how CBD interacts with antibiotics. This comes down to understanding how CBD affects our body’s Cytochrome P-450 System, which processes potentially dangerous toxins.

Many of us aren’t aware of this system, but it’s a paramount component of the human body. If we lacked CYP450, we could be exposed to an array of toxic chemicals on a daily basis.

Over 60% of the drugs we consume are metabolized by CYP450, which is where things get pretty hazy.

This unique system is located in the liver and contains 50 enzymes that work to remove potentially dangerous compounds. Depending on the type of the drug and its dosage, CYP450 requires a different period of time to break down these substances. Certain drugs have a direct impact on the speed of the system’s metabolism.

CBD & Cytochrome P450 System

CBD is actually a potent inhibitor of CYP450. In other words, it can change the way the system metabolizes certain drugs that it encounters — including antibiotics.

When it comes to taking CBD and antibiotics together, the interaction between these two substances could result in taking less or more antibiotics than required — carrying the risk of overdose.

Fortunately, such hardcore interactions aren’t common. In fact, no study has yet found that regular doses of CBD compromise the liver’s ability to metabolize antibiotics. If anything, as the above studies, indicates, CBD could strengthen the effects of antibiotics.

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However, this can only happen when you apply the right dose of both compounds.

Here’s where a consultation with a holistic doctor experienced in cannabis use may help.

When to Consult a Doctor

If you approach CBD and antibiotics irresponsibly, it could potentially lead to negative side effects. Since CBD affects CYP450’s ability to metabolize medications — either speeding it up or slowing it down — you could end up with higher doses of the drug in your system than what is considered safe.

You can easily minimize that risk by consulting your doctor first. Your doctor should be able to analyze your current dose of CBD and antibiotics — and adjust them so that they can benefit from one another without causing negative interactions.

This should be the first thing that you do before taking CBD with any medication.

Benefits of Taking CBD Oil with Antibiotics

CBD oil and antibiotics both fight infection, but they use different mechanisms to achieve their goals.

While antibiotics vary in their method of targeting bacteria, they all have one general function — wiping out the elements of bacterial cells that don’t occur in human cells. This is an incredibly complex way of tackling infection; it destroys all bacteria in the body, including the good bacteria that help your gut healthy. Certain bacteria can also become resistant to antibiotics over time.

CBD has demonstrated antimicrobial properties, showing itself as another useful tool for fighting infection. While we still need a better understanding of how CBD oil does it, studies have concluded that CBD is particularly effective against treatment-resistant bacteria.

At the same time, CBD can support the growth of healthy bacteria (probiotics), improving your digestive health, and thus can help with problems such as IBS.

In the aforementioned study on the antimicrobial effects of CBD and THC, each cannabinoid was highlighted as “showing potent activity” against the bacterium, with authors 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 simple words, CBD was proven to be effective at killing one of the most treatment-resistant strains of bacteria medicine has seen.

If you combine CBD oil and antibiotics in the right dosages, you can achieve a potent, two-pronged approach to tackling bacteria-driven diseases. Or, if your doctor deems it right, they can recommend a highly concentrated form of CBD as a monotherapy.

The Side Effects of Using CBD Oil with Antibiotics

CBD oil may inhibit your liver’s ability to metabolize certain antibiotics, especially clarithromycin (Biaxin) and erythromycin. It’s important to keep in mind that these two antibiotics can be prescribed on their own or as a combination of antibiotics. That’s why it’s important to read product labels and talk to your doctor.

Since CBD may slow down the breakdown of these antibiotics, higher concentrations can circulate in the bloodstream — causing negative side effects.

The negative reactions to taking CBD oil and antibiotics as clarithromycin include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Weakness

Does CBD Interact with All Antibiotics?

While any medication can interact with CBD, not every product within that category will — and the same goes for antibiotics. Not every antibiotic will be impacted by CBD, and sometimes, it can even enhance the antibiotic’s effects.

There’s one good way to find out if CBD can cause negative interactions with your medication.

How to Tell If CBD Will Interact With Your Medication

Most doctors will tell you not to eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice when taking certain medications.

That’s because grapefruit juice interacts with CYP450 in a similar way to CBD.

Therefore, if your medication has a grapefruit warning on it — or your doctor suggests that you abstain from eating grapefruit for the time of your treatment — you probably should consult your purchase of CBD oil with a medical professional who is experienced in using cannabis.

Key Takeaways On CBD Oil and Antibiotics

Taking CBD oil and antibiotics together can have a positive effect on the efficacy of the latter — that’s especially good news for people with infections.

However, it’s essential to note that scientists still don’t know what exactly is responsible for the mechanism behind CBD’s high efficacy.

All the research was conducted in a lab, using test tubes and bacteria cultures. More clinical human trials are needed to confirm the preliminary findings.

To date, no study has recommended combining CBD with antibiotics — nor there has been a paper that would definitely discourage from doing so.

Before taking CBD oil to treat or prevent infection, do your research and consult your doctor to establish the right CBD dosage and routine so that you avoid the negative interactions with your antibiotic.

Did you take CBD and antibiotics together? Was it good or did you experience any side effects? Share your stories in the comments below!

References:

  1. Blaskovich, M., Kavanagh, A. M., Elliott, A. G., Zhang, B., Ramu, S., Amado, M., Lowe, G. J., Hinton, A. O., Pham, D., Zuegg, J., Beare, N., Quach, D., Sharp, M. D., Pogliano, J., Rogers, A. P., Lyras, D., Tan, L., West, N. P., Crawford, D. W., Peterson, M. L., … Thurn, M. (2021). The antimicrobial potential of cannabidiol. Communications biology, 4(1), 7. (1)
  2. Karas, J. A., Wong, L., Paulin, O., Mazeh, A. C., Hussein, M. H., Li, J., & Velkov, T. (2020). The Antimicrobial Activity of Cannabinoids. Antibiotics (Basel, Switzerland), 9(7), 406. (2)
  3. Kosgodage, U. S., Matewele, P., Awamaria, B., Kraev, I., Warde, P., Mastroianni, G., Nunn, A. V., Guy, G. W., Bell, J. D., Inal, J. M., & Lange, S. (2019). Cannabidiol Is a Novel Modulator of Bacterial Membrane Vesicles. Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 9, 324. (3)
  4. McDonnell, A. M., & Dang, C. H. (2013). Basic review of the cytochrome p450 system. Journal of the advanced practitioner in oncology, 4(4), 263–268. (4)
  5. Zendulka, O., Dovrtělová, G., Nosková, K., Turjap, M., Šulcová, A., Hanuš, L., & Juřica, J. (2016). Cannabinoids and Cytochrome P450 Interactions. Current drug metabolism, 17(3), 206–226. (5)
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Nina Julia

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.

CBD Oil and Antibiotics – August 2022

Antibiotics are used to prevent or treat specific types of bacterial infections. In some cases, they are prescribed for an infection that keeps coming back or causes an increased risk of complications.

However, antibiotics are not effective against viral infections, such as the common cold or flu (1 ) .

Can CBD Be Taken With Antibiotics?

There is no known interaction between CBD (cannabidiol) and antibiotics. However, there is a potential risk when combining CBD and antibiotics, as both are metabolized (broken down) through the cytochrome P450 enzyme system (2 ) .

Due to how antibiotics are metabolized, the concentrations of these drugs could potentially increase when taken with CBD.

The CYP450 liver enzymes are responsible for breaking down toxic compounds, including over 60% of any over-the-counter or prescription drugs consumed.

Certain substances can affect processing times within this system, making drugs metabolize faster or slower than they would on their own.

Cannabidiol can inhibit the cytochrome P450 system’s ability to metabolize certain drugs, leading to an overall increase in processing times , resulting in potentially higher levels over a longer period of time (3 )

Antibiotics use the cytochrome P450 enzyme system and can interact with CBD, as reiterated by authors Eileen Konieczny, RN, and Lauren Wilson, in their book, Healing with CBD (4 ) .

Until studies that specifically look at how CBD interacts with antibiotics are completed, talk with a doctor to make sure there are no CBD drug interactions with other medications currently taken.

CBD Oil As Antibiotic: What the Research Says

CBD oil has been shown to possess antimicrobial properties, making it another tool for fighting infection.

Although it is not well-understood how CBD oil fights bacteria, studies have confirmed CBD’s antibiotic properties, which are 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 (5 ) .

In the said study, each cannabinoid was tested against six strains of the antibiotic-resistant superbug, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). All cannabinoids showed potent activity against a variety of MRSA strains.

The results of the study indicated that CBD has proven to be effective at fighting one of the most treatment-resistant strains of bacteria the field of medicine has ever seen.

Then, the researchers at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience discovered in 2019, through a series of test-tube experiments, that CBD could kill numerous strains of bacteria, including treatment-resistant strains like VRSA , VISA , and MRSA (6 ) .

These strains have developed resistance to other existing Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved antibiotics over the years. However, they did not develop any resistance to CBD.

In one of the experiments, the researchers found that despite exposing the strains to CBD for 20 days, this cannabis compound was able to outmaneuver the entire process of superbug development.

Moreover, CBD was found to be effective at disrupting biofilms, a microscopic conglomeration of bacteria, mucopolysaccharides, and waste products and act as a physical barrier that prevents antibiotics from working against the bacteria growth that leads to difficult-to-treat infections. This breakthrough in microbiology could ultimately lead to the development of new treatments.

Lead author, Mark Blaskovich, stated there was no doubt CBD possessed a unique mechanism that worked against bacteria resistant to other antibiotics. He admitted, however, that he and his team still could not explain how this mechanism works.

A later study , conducted in August 2019 by scientists from the United Kingdom, has shed light on the workings of that unique mechanism (7 ) .

In the said study, which was published in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, the authors examined the antibacterial effects of CBD and Escherichia Coli bacteria (E. coli)’s membrane vesicles, which the bacteria use to spread and communicate.

The researchers discovered that the antibiotic’s ability to prevent the release of those membrane vesicles is enhanced by CBD.

The results suggested that CBD could help fight specific bacteria as a tailored co-application with selected antibiotics.

The researchers concluded that CBD might help increase antibiotic activity and reduce antibiotic resistance when used in tailored co-application.

Conclusion

The results of the studies demonstrating CBD’s antibiotic properties are especially exciting for the CBD community.

However, it is essential to note that researchers still do not know what made CBD powerful at fighting the infections during the experiments.

All the research was carried out in a lab, in test tubes and on bacteria cultures, not on humans.

To date, there has been no study that recommends taking CBD with antibiotics. Neither is there a study that suggests CBD can replace antibiotics in the treatment or prevention of some types of bacterial infections.

Further research needs to be conducted to study the long-term side effects and resistance of CBD as an antibiotic.

Before taking CBD or any CBD products to treat or prevent any infection, do research and consult with a doctor experienced in cannabis use for advice.

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