In the News: Expert Says Lack of Info on CBD Interactions Means Use with Caution for Arthritis

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

CBD (cannabidiol) is widely available in stores and on the Internet and is often viewed a perfect solution for all sorts of ailments, since it acts similarly to cannabis, but without the THC that gives the high or stoned feeling one associates with marijuana.

Because CBD is believed to be beneficial for arthritis patients – potentially causing pain relief, inflammation reduction, and helping with sleep and anxiety issues – the website CreakyJoints.com asked clinician experts if CBD products were safe for those suffering from arthritis or other similar chronic health conditions. The article “Does CBD Interact of Interfere with Medication? What Arthritis Patients Must Know Now” featured Nina M. Bemben, PharmD, BCPS, a specialist in drug interactions from Wolters Kluwer, Health.

“There is still a lot of uncertainty about how CBD interacts with drug-metabolizing enzymes in the body,” Bemben explained in the article. “We know that there are some drug-metabolizing enzymes that are affected by CBD, some that are not, and many others where we just don’t have any information yet.”

Because of that lack of evidence, she urged clinicians and patients to be cautious when using CBD with particular arthritis medications, although she said would not expect to see significant interactions with most common arthritis treatments.

Patient age may be a factor when considering CBD treatment. “As we age, our livers and kidneys may be slower to eliminate drugs from the body.” Bemben told CreakyJoints. “In addition, older patients and those with chronic health problems are more likely to be using multiple medications, so the risk for drug interactions increases.”

She notes in the article that topical creams may be less likely to cause interactions, because less CBD is absorbed into the patient’s system. However, she reiterates that there is little information known about topical products either.

To date, “there haven’t been reports of serious drug-drug interactions with over-the-counter CBD products,” Bemben says. “However, these products are relatively new and it typically takes time for reports to be published. We have very little information about over-the-counter CBD products and how they may interact with other drugs.”

For more on CBD and arthritis, read the full CreakyJoints article.

For more background on medical cannabis, CBD, and the role of the pharmacist in advising patients on their use, read Bemben’s blog, “CBD Oil and Medical Marijuana: Pharmacists Need to Know the High Points.”

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