Products containing cannabinoids could affect activity of prescription drugs, study finds

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The findings could help consumers avoid potential drug interactions

A new study conducted by researchers from Penn State found that products containing cannabinoids can affect the activity of other prescription drugs. The researchers explained this was true of popular CBD products like oils or creams, as well as marijuana, whether used medically or recreationally. 

“Unregulated products often contain the same active ingredients as medical cannabinoids, though they may be present in different concentrations,” said researcher Kent Vrana. “The drug-drug interaction information from medical cannabinoids may be useful as medical professionals consider the potential impact of over-the-counter or illicit cannabinoid products.” 

Identifying drug-drug interactions

The researchers’ goal with the study was to identify potential drug-drug interactions. This occurs when ingredients found in commonly used prescriptions could interfere with ingredients found in CBD or marijuana. 

This led to a list that consists of nearly 60 medications, all of which could be affected should consumers use them with a product that contains cannabinoids. The researchers compared prescribing information of popular cannabinoid products with the prescribing information of the various prescription medications. Prescribing information details for consumers how to use their medication, and highlights any potential side effects that could occur. 

The researchers explained that the therapeutic index is what medical professionals need to consider when prescribing medication to patients using products with cannabinoids. The therapeutic index is the safety of the medication, which ensures that patients are taking proper levels that won’t cause them harm. Cannabinoids can alter the therapeutic index and ultimately change how the medication affects consumers. 

Moving forward, the researchers hope that these findings can open up a dialogue between consumers and their healthcare professionals to ensure that medications don’t interfere with any other supplements they’re taking. Every product counts -- whether it’s a CBD oil or marijuana. The more the doctor knows, the better they can tailor the treatment options so consumers receive optimal benefits. 

Though the list of drug-drug interactions is ever-changing, the most up-to-date information is available here.

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