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can you take cbd oil with antidepressants

What You Need To Know About CBD If You Take Antidepressants

There’s no denying that CBD, aka cannabidiol, was the reigning trend of last year, and shows no signs of stopping. From edible products and tinctures, to bath and beauty products, CBD was (and is) everywhere. Though touted as a natural, holistic, and safe way to manage a variety of health issues, you may be wondering if you can take CBD and antidepressants together. And while CBD is touted as an all-natural supplement with some evidence that it can be good for your health, it’s possible that your CBD latte can still impact the efficacy of different medications — including antidepressants.

According to statistics from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness in any given year. Furthermore, as NBC News reported, a 2016 study revealed one in six people in the U.S. take some type of psychiatric medication, with antidepressants being the most widely prescribed. Limited research has shown that CBD may help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and sleep issues, as well as lower levels of inflammation in the body, though this research (and the dosages needed for these effects) is nowhere near conclusive. And that means you need to be careful if you’re choosing to consume it.

“Generally speaking, you can safely use CBD supplements when you’re taking antidepressants. However, there are a couple concerns,” Peter Grinspoon, M.D., an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, and the author of the memoir Free Refills: A Doctor Confronts His Addiction, tells Bustle. “The first concern is that CBD isn’t regulated by the FDA. You have to be careful that the CBD you’re getting is from a reliable supplier. For example, Consumer Reports recently put out an article on how to go shopping for CBD because they’ve done tests, and found some [supplement] formulations had no CBD. Some were inaccurately labeled, and other formulations even had some THC in them.” (THC is the cannabis compound that, unlike CBD, can get you high.)

The recent passing of the bipartisan Farm Bill legalized the production of hemp on an industrial scale for the first time in the U.S. — which means it’s that the CBD industry will only continue to grow. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean there will be more oversight or required research.

So, what can potentially happen if you take CBD when on antidepressants? Unfortunately, because there’s a limited amount of studies to draw from, Grinspoon says, “CBD does have hypothetical drug interactions; the question is whether these are clinically important or not.”

The reason for this is that CBD inhibits two main enzyme systems, Grinspoon explains. Enzymes are proteins that speed up chemical reactions in the body, and play an important role in functions like digestion and respiration. They also help you metabolize antidepressants. “One system is the same one that grapefruit inhibits — the technical name is the CYP34A enzyme system. So, just like grapefruit juice, CBD can cause your body to have higher doses of benzodiazepines [anti-anxiety medications], or certain antipsychotic medications,” Grinspon explains.

What’s more, Grinspoon says that CBD also inhibits “the system that metabolizes a lot of serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants, and antipsychotics as well.” Meaning, taking CBD supplements while on these psychiatric medications could hypothetically interfere with how these medications are metabolized.

Despite this, Grinspoon explains that this is typically not a large cause of concern for a majority of people on antidepressants or other psychiatric medications. “Certainly, if someone is on a very delicately balanced medical regiment, CBD could knock that out of whack because of the two different enzyme systems it inhibits. In terms of actual clinical practice, I haven’t heard any stories of people having clinical decompensation because of adding CBD to their regime,” he says.

When it comes down to it, Grinspoon says that the potential interactions should be regarded as more “hypothetical than real,” and that the side effect profile of CBD is “very minimal.” Of course, it’s always good to have a conversation with your physician about potential interactions, and to disclose any prescribed or over-the-counter medications and supplements you are taking. At the end of the day, using CBD supplements while on antidepressants is an individual choice, but it’s important to go in informed.

Readers should note that the regulations and data surrounding marijuana, CBD, and other related products are still developing. As such, the information contained in this post should not be construed as medical or legal advice. Always consult with your doctor before trying any substance or supplement.

There’s no denying that CBD, aka cannabidiol, was the reigning trend of last year, and shows no signs of stopping. From edible products and tinctures, to bath and beauty products, CBD was (and is) everywhere. Though touted as a natural, holistic,…

Can you take CBD Oil with antidepressants?

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Note: This CBD Benefits Guide has been co-authored by Dr Andres Maldonado MD, in line with the ‘Vape and Juice Medical Review Policy’. See our Medical Editorial Team.

Can you take CBD Oil with antidepressants is a question you are going to be tapping into your search engines if you are considering using CBD to help with depression.

CBD is a cannabinoid that is widely used as it is thought to help with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Some decide to use the oil in conjunction with medication, which should always be done with caution and on the advice of your own doctor – more on that later.

This is a cannabinoid which is still very much being researched to understand the potential benefits and exactly how it works in the body. Early research and animal studies look promising.

“Based on the published data, the endocannabinoid system evidently gives novel ideas and options in the field of antidepressant treatment, however further studies are needed to determine which group of patients could benefit from this type of therapy” [1]

What do antidepressants do?

There are several types of antidepressant which are used to treat both clinical depression and conditions such as OCD, PTSD, Anxiety Disorder. Depending on the severity of your depression you may be given these drugs. It might be that you try a few before you find the one that works for you, as they all come with their own side effects.

Antidepressants are thought to help balance the neurotransmitters in our brains. These are chemicals which control and affect our mood and emotions. By balancing these chemicals you should see better sleep, improved appetite and focus, and of course, a more uplifted mood.

While the meds treat the symptoms, they don’t solve the cause. There is much we do not know about the psychopathology mechanism of depression, for that reason treatment with antidepressant is not 100% effective. Cannabinoids are studied because of the interaction with the CBD receptors and how they could represent potential therapeutic options.

The diagnostic criteria is clear in the psychiatric book DSM-5. If you are diagnosed with depression you must seek psychiatric help for antidepressant treatment.

Why might CBD oil help depression?

Antidepressant like effects

Studies using animal models have found that CBD has a potential use as an anxiolytic-like and anti depressant like compound. CBD is thought to act in a similar way to the prescribed drugs. While studies have been ongoing into the subject, more human trials are needed.

Serotonin enhancer

When you have depression you will likely have low serotonin, the feel good hormone which is made in your gut and brain stem. CBD is thought to help encourage your body to use its own serotonin levels

Sleep better

Poor sleep can often go alongside depression. Insomnia or trouble falling and staying asleep may cause problems with stabilising your mood. CBD may help you to wind down and drift off.

Anxiety relief

Anxiety is like depression’s best friend. They often go together. Studies have found that CBD may help to reduce these feelings. Particularly when it comes to public speaking or stressful situations.

Read more at this study which references the effects [2]

Drug interactions – Can you take CBD oil with antidepressants?

That might all sound great, but can you take CBD oil with antidepressants – is it safe? CBD oil is natural, however it has active ingredients which may interfere with medication.

You should always chat with your doctor to learn about the potential interactions. Care should be taken, for example due to the interaction with tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).

NHS web portal “Both cannabis and TCAs can cause an abnormally fast heartbeat (tachycardia) and high blood pressure (hypertension). There’s also a risk of other side effects, such as confusion, restlessness, mood swings and hallucinations.”

Fortunately, these antidepressants are not as widely used as the first line of treatment.

The most used are the SSRIs, however, through research, we didn’t found much information about any interaction on PubMed .

An example interaction may be that the CBD could slow down how quickly the liver processes medication. This could then lead to a build up of antidepressants in the body. There may be other interactions with specific medication, so always consult your doctor.

If you decide to use CBD instead of meds, then ALWAYS discuss it with your doctor before making any changes. You shouldn’t come off medication without asking for your own doctors advice first.

Dr Andres Maldonado, tells us “I have seen some patients who are heavy consumers of marijuana, which is part of their depression. CBD contains very little or zero THC, however in my medical opinion, if you are a heavy consumer of marijuana and depressed, then any component of the cannabis should be avoided.”

Not everyone with depression needs medication. As we said, those with mild depression probably won’t be offered drugs unless treatments such as therapy have not helped. In which case, CBD could be an option to help manage symptoms, such as low mood, poor sleep, anxious feelings and low serotonin.


[1] Poleszak E, Wośko S, Sławińska K, Szopa A, Wróbel A, Serefko A. Cannabinoids in depressive disorders. Life Sci. 2018 Nov 15;213:18-24. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2018.09.058.

[2] de Mello Schier AR, de Oliveira Ribeiro NP, Coutinho DS, et al. Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2014;13(6):953-960. doi:10.2174/1871527313666140612114838

Can you take CBD oil with antidepressants is question we put to the Doctor in our medically reviewed article.