In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not CBD oil interacts with oxycodone or Atifan (lorazepam). There is no known drug interaction between CBD (cannabidiol) and Ativan (lorazepam). However, both can cause sedation and drowsiness.
Does CBD Oil Interact With Oxycodone Or Ativan?
CBD (cannabidiol) is becoming one of the most popular over the counter supplements. As such, we have been receiving many questions regarding potential drug interactions. In our following question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not CBD oil interacts with oxycodone or Ativan (lorazepam).
I started recently taking CW HEMP OIL 28mg per dose. I take 5mg/325mg oxycodone twice a day and lorazepam 0.5 mg for anxiety if needed. Are any of these interactions with the CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is one of the major constituents of the cannabis plant. Depending on the cannabis species and chemovar (i.e. chemical variation), CBD can make up nearly 40% of the active constituents in extracts.
What Is CBD?
CBD, unlike THC, is considered to be non-euphoric and therapeutically beneficial for the treatment of pain, inflammation anxiety etc.
The mechanism of action of CBD is complex, but is thought to bind to receptors that can cause desensitization of pain and can inhibit the inactivation of the endogenous cannabinoids (naturally occurring the the body) such as anandamide, and therefore increase its concentration.
CBD Drug Interactions
Most of what we know in regard to drug interactions come from clinical trials of commercially available prescription products that contain CBD or synthetic versions of it. One such drug is Sativex. The trials for these drugs don’t list any specific drugs that may interact but do mention how cannabinoids, such as CBD, can affect metabolizing enzymes.
Both THC and CBD have been shown in studies to metabolized by the cytochrome P450 system of metabolizing enzymes and could potentially inhibit them. In fact, studies have shown CBD inhibition of the following metabolizing enzymes:
If any of these metabolizing enzymes are inhibited, drugs that are substrates for them may potentially have their concentrations increased (due to a decrease in metabolism).
CBD Interactions With Oxycodone And Ativan
CBD With Oxycodone
Oxycodone is known to be metabolized by a variety of enzymes, including:
There is therefore a risk of increased oxycodone concentrations in the body when taken with CBD, due to inhibition of metabolism. This could potentially increase sedation with the drug and as well as increase the risk of respiratory depression. However, this risk appears to be low.
Most studies which show that CBD can affect metabolizing enzymes use extremely large doses, much more than most individuals would be taking. One such study used over 250mg CBD per dose! Most individuals would be using closer to 3 to 30 mg per dose and lower doses aren’t associated with significant metabolizing enzyme inhibition.
CBD With Ativan
Ativan (lorazepam) is not thought to be metabolized by any CYP enzymes, but is instead metabolized by liver glucuronidation. Therefore, there doesn’t appear to be any potential interactions between Ativan and CBD. However, as CBD can cause mild sedation, caution is advised when combining with other sedating drugs, such as Ativan.
There is a theoretical interaction between CBD and oxycodone, where oxycodone concentrations could be increased, but the risk appears to be low and has never been documented. Nevertheless, you should be sure to speak with your doctor before adding CBD to your medication list if you take oxycodone.
CBD is not thought to interact with Ativan as Ativan is not metabolized by CYP enzymes. It is a sedating drug however and use with CBD might lead to additive sedation.
CBD (Cannabidiol) With Ativan (Lorazepam) Interaction
No known interactions but watch out for potential sedation.
I have been taking 0.5mg of Ativan (lorazepam) mid-day and at night for about 6 years to help me with anxiety due to shortness of breath. Can I try CBD oil twice a day with this? I would like to wean off lorazepam if hemp oil helps with this and insomnia.
At a glance
- There is no known drug interaction between CBD (cannabidiol) and Ativan (lorazepam).
- However, both can cause sedation, drowsiness and dizziness so caution must be taken when combining them.
There are no known interactions between Ativan (lorazepam) and CBD (cannabidiol). However, both can increase sedation and somnolence (feeling of sleepiness).
Therefore, caution is advised when using both together and you should not operate heavy machinery or take part in activities that require mental alertness until you know how both medications affect you.
Below, I discuss CBD, Ativan and potential interactions in more detail.
What Is CBD (Cannabidiol)?
Cannabidiol, often referred to simply as ‘CBD’, is one of the many constituents of marijuana and is known to be an active component in regard to activity with our endocannabinoid system.
Unlike THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD is thought to be ‘non-psychoactive’ in that it doesn’t cause a ‘high’ or euphoria. Nevertheless, it certainly does affect the central nervous system as studies show it can be beneficial for symptoms of anxiety and can cause sedation.
CBD has been investigated for a wide variety of therapeutic effects, including:
- Chronic Pain
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Huntington’s Disease
In addition, CBD may make high THC preparations more tolerable for individuals as it can ‘attenuate’ or reduce the ‘high’ experienced without reducing potential medicinal effects.
CBD Side Effects
CBD is very well tolerated in most individuals and is not associated with dependence or withdrawal symptoms, even after extended use.
Although CBD can cause sedation and a general feeling of tiredness, it is not associated with respiratory depression and has been used safely with CNS depressants such as opioids and benzodiazepines. Nevertheless, CBD can cause additive drowsiness when used with other medications with similar side effects (e.g. lorazepam).
The overall side effect profile of CBD is minimal, especially at doses that are used in over the counter products (~3-15 mg) per dose.
Even high doses of CBD are considered well-tolerated. The prescription product Epidiolex, which comes in a concentration of 100 mg/ml and is used for rare seizure disorders, provides a high amount of CBD and lists the following side effects in the prescribing information for the drug:
- Decreased appetite (16-22% incidence)
- Diarrhea (9-20% incidence)
- Sedation (3-6% incidence)
- Lethargy (4-8% incidence)
- Somnolence (23-25% incidence)
- Sleep disturbances (5-11% incidence)
CBD Drug Interactions
There is a lack of information regarding interactions with CBD products and it appears that some may be dose-related (meaning higher doses increase the risk of interaction) (14). Potential interactions stem from the fact that CBD may inhibit certain CYP metabolizing enzymes in the liver, including:
When a metabolizing enzyme is inhibited, it cannot break down a drug as effectively or as quickly, leading to increased concentrations. This can increase the risk of side effects.
A good example of this is the interaction between Lipitor, a cholesterol-lowering medication, and clarithromycin, an antibiotic. Clarithromycin can inhibit CYP 3A4, which is responsible for metabolizing Lipitor. This increases concentrations of the drug, putting individuals at risk for serious side effects, such as rhabdomyolysis.
It should be noted that most interaction studies with CBD have been only done in animals and the extent of potential interactions in humans isn’t well known.
Ativan (lorazepam), the drug in question regarding CBD interactions, is not metabolized by CYP enzymes, but rather by liver glucuronidation. As far as we know, CBD has no effect of Ativan concentrations in the body.
Lastly, the concern with combining CNS depressants together is the risk of respiratory depression. Opioids and benzodiazepines are well associated with it. CBD products, however, are not and are generally considered safe in that regard.
Ativan (lorazepam) is a rapid-acting benzodiazepine medication and is used primarily for the treatment of anxiety disorders.
It has several advantages over other benzodiazepines, including:
- It is not metabolized by CYP liver enzymes and has fewer potential drug interactions when compared to medications that are.
- It does not have active metabolites and therefore doesn’t accumulate in the body. This can be beneficial in certain populations, such as the elderly.
The most common side effects of benzodiazepines, like Ativan, are as follows:
- Memory impairment
- Impaired motor coordination
- Shallow breathing (high doses)
Taking CBD With Ativan
As discussed, there are no known interactions between CBD and Ativan. However, it is important to know that both can cause sedation and a general feeling of fatigue, which could be additive if taken together.
It is important to let your doctor know all the medications/over the counter products you are taking so you can be appropriately monitored.