Another question that we get asked a lot is, “Can I take CBD with painkillers?” It seems like a logical question, right? Many of the same people who take these painkiller medications would be a prime candidate for CBD use. Mixing CBD and painkillers might be common already, but it’s important you understand the risks associated doing this.
Let’s take a closer look into taking CBD with painkillers.
Similarities Between CBD and Painkillers
If you’re reading this blog on answering the question, “Can I mix CBD with painkillers” you are probably already familiar with some of the more commonly prescribed painkillers on the market. Many of these popular painkillers include Vicodin, Percocet, and Oxycodone. If you are taking these medications and are curious about CBD and drug interactions, you’ll find this section interesting and worth reading.
CBD, more formally known as cannabidiol, has gained a lot of attention over the last year and a half since it was legalized at a federal level in 2018. Even though the FDA still has not approved it for use as a dietary supplement, many people still choose to try it and see if any of the potential effects on pain management or anti-inflammatory properties will work for them.
How Do Painkillers Work?
Painkillers and CBD are both metabolized by the human body and inhibit certain enzymes before they can take effect. While the effects of these two substances might come about in different ways, studies show the end results might be similar, but not exactly the same.
In order for painkillers to work, they must target different receptors in our bodies. For the purposes of this article, we will examine receptors targeted by opiates, since opiates are a very popular form of a painkiller today. At a very basic level, the painkillers (opioids) latch on to different forms of proteins known as ‘opioid receptors.’ These receptors are located on nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord, and other areas within our bodies.
When this happens, the opioids can then prevent pain messages that are otherwise delivered from the body through the spinal cord to the brain. The end result is an effective blocking of the pain you would otherwise feel – hence the name ‘painkiller.’
How Does Our Body Process CBD Products?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, works in a similar manner in that CBD is able to target receptors as well. Did you know our bodies contains an Endocannabinoid System? This system contains both CB1 and CB2 receptors, in addition to some enzymes that researchers are still discovering. Taking CBD may affect our bodies in a similar method that taking painkillers would.
CB1 and CB2 Receptors
CB1 receptors are mainly found within our Central Nervous System (brain and spinal cord). CB2 receptors can found (mainly) in our peripheral nervous system (nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord, and some immune cells). When you ingest CBD, it is made available for use. Exactly how CBD is used by the Endocannabinoid System is still up for debate, interestingly enough. Experts aren’t completely sure how CBD interacts with the ECS or it’s receptors. Researchers are confident CBD doesn’t attach to CB receptors the way they know THC does. Some believe that cannabinoids, like CBD, bind to a receptor that hasn’t yet been discovered.
It also contains enzymes that manufacture and degrade endocannabinoids. What is an endocannabinoid? The two most popular endocannabinoids are:
- anandamide (AEA)
- 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG)
Our bodies produce these on their own. They help keep everything running smoothly and efficiently.
Studies on CBD and Pain Responses
Some studies show that CBD helps dull out pain responses, similar to how painkillers can dull out pain. CBD regulates pain by stimulating the reuptake of adenosine, which can boost adenosine levels in the brain. This will block feelings of pain. Furthermore, CBD may also dull pain signals from reaching the brain by binding to TPRV1, which is responsible for pain and inflammation.
Can I Take CBD with Painkillers?
Before mixing any medications, you need to speak with your doctor first. They should be your most trusted source of medical advice, and they know you and your situation better than any online article ever will.
As great as taking a natural product like CBD and mixing it with a pharmaceutical opioid may sound, the bottom line is: we don’t know enough about the interactions between CBD and painkillers to know the right answer.
A researcher in 2019 discovered that adults who take prescription opioids for severe pain are more likely to have increased anxiety, depression and substance abuse issues if they also use marijuana. While we don’t exactly what cannabinoid within the marijuana was causing the bad reaction, we have to keep in mind that CBD is in marijuana, too. It could be any number of things, like THC, responsible for the negative reaction. It also could be the CBD.
We just don’t know enough about the interactions between CBD and painkillers to be able to answer the question, “Can I mix CBD with painkillers?” It may be okay, it may not be okay.
Conclusion | Mixing CBD with Painkillers
For those who like to skip to the bottom for their answers, here it is: we don’t know enough about mixing CBD with painkillers to determine if it is safe or not. For this reason, I cannot ethically endorse doing so.
What I can recommend is to give CBD a try. If it works for you, then great! You can ditch the harsh opioids and try for a more natural approach. If It doesn’t work, then it doesn’t work. No harm, no foul, right? Will you be in awe at what CBD can do for you?