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 with drug interactions by doing this.
Let’s take a closer look into taking CBD oil 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.
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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.
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Even though the Food and Drug Administration 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. This is why you should be concerned about drug interactions. We’ll get more into this later.
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.’
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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.’
The bad part about most painkillers is the fact that they negatively affect liver enzymes. This results in a liver that is working harder than it needs to when processing substances you consume.
Some clinically prescribed medications, can be quite harsh on the liver and kidneys. These are our bodies internal filtration system, and vital for us to survive.
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Potential drug interactions between CBD and painkillers might result in illicit problematic interactions. If you are on prescription medication and curious about supplementing with CBD use, you should consider speaking with your doctor to help avoid adverse side effects.
How Does Our Body Process CBD Products?
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This system contains both CB1 and CB2 receptors, in addition to some enzymes that researchers are still discovering. Taking CBD oil may affect our bodies in a similar method that taking painkillers would.
CBD oil is also proving to be more affective, and more safe, than many over the counter medications are. This, obviously, makes CBD oil safe for many to use and your don’t need a prescription.
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.
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Experts aren’t completely sure how CBD oil 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 oil, bind to a receptor that hasn’t yet been discovered.
Others believe CBD interacts with receptors that we haven’t even discovered yet.
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.
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Studies on CBD and Pain Responses
Some studies show that CBD helps dull out pain responses, similar to how painkillers can dull out chronic pain. CBD oil 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.
For example, if we apply a topical CBD balm to an area, the CBD will penetrate the skin and indirectly stimulate these different receptors.
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 the potential for any drug interactions better than any online article ever will.
As great as taking a natural product like CBD oil 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 oil.
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.
When dealing with prescription drugs and prescription medications, you need to be extra careful. There is a very good reason prescription drugs are a controlled substance, and the adverse affects from a poorly processed drug metabolism could be quite bad for your health.
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. Drug interactions may, or may not, occur depending on the medications you are currently prescribed.
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?
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