Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of several chemical compounds, called cannabinoids, found in the cannabis plant. Another cannabinoid is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound in marijuana that makes you high.
Some studies indicate CBD—and other cannabinoids—may have an anticoagulant effect by suppressing production of blood platelets, which is an obvious concern for anyone with a bleeding disorder. Another issue is how CBD interacts with other medications, which is uncertain and needs more study.
What is CBD oil?
Last October, a New York Times headline asked a question many people across the country have had on their minds: “Why Is CBD Everywhere?” CBD oil, scientifically known as cannabidiol oil, has been heavily marketed as a cure-all for everything from inflammation and chronic pain to anxiety and insomnia. For people with bleeding disorders, CBD oil may seem appealing to try. But what is it exactly, and how much evidence is there that it actually works?
Little research has been done into the health effects of CBD. However, more studies are underway, and health agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization agree more research is needed. In the US, just one prescription drug has been approved that contains CBD as its active ingredient: Epidiolex, which reduces seizures in people with two rare forms of epilepsy.
CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant and added to oils, creams and balms, liquids for vaping, pills and even candies like mints and gummies.
Currently, conclusive studies indicate that CBD can be used in place of anticoagulants such as Warfarin. As such, it would be right to say that CBD is not a medically-sanctioned blood thinner. Rat studies indicate CBD’s possible anticoagulant effects. But these studies only validate the anticoagulant activity of cannabinoids, such as cannabinol (CBN) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
While we can’t conclusively prove all of CBD’s benefits, we do know that it’s a safe, non-psychoactive way to approach several conditions. And while that’s generally true, CBD does have its fair share of potentially concerning effects that arise from its interaction with various systems in your body. Particularly, medical experts have concerns about its blood-thinning capabilities. While multiple studies suggest CBD may contribute to blood thinning, the big question remains: Is CBD a blood thinner?
Many anticoagulants can cause prolonged bleeding, unusual bruising, and gum bleeding. But certain medications such as Dabigatran, Edoxaban, and Heparin have no known interaction with CBD. Still, the effects of combining these medications and CBD is still unclear. Seeking your doctor’s advice before using CBD and blood thinners together, therefore, may prevent any unexpected side effects.
Can CBD Be Used in Place of Conventional Blood Thinners?
You may ask why it is important to consult your doctor before using an anticoagulant together with CBD. Prescribed medications are absorbed differently by your body and may respond differently when combined with other substances, such as CBD. Your doctor will help you create a viable plan of using the two together, most likely by adjusting your daily intake of CBD. But keep in mind that your doctor may also tell you to avoid CBD entirely. And you should follow all professional medical advice when it comes to your CBD regimen.
CBD products can be taken in several ways. CBD oil can be taken through sublingual administration (placing under the tongue), vaping, or capsules. Your doctor will help you evaluate the various forms of CBD administration and establish one that is likely to cause the least effect when combined with blood thinners.
Different blood thinners work differently; some thin the blood by preventing blood cells from sticking together in your blood vessels. However, most blood thinners are antiplatelets and anticoagulants, meaning that they work by increasing the time it takes for blood clots to form. Some common anticoagulant blood thinners are Warfarin, Heparin, and Enoxaparin.
Dabigatran is another oral anticoagulant that isn’t metabolized through the CYP450 system. What’s more, this blood thinner is one of the few identified with no drug-drug or drug-food interactions. It can be considered a viable substitute for Warfarin. Nevertheless, you should always consult a health practitioner before using any anticoagulant alongside CBD, even a Warfarin substitute.
CBD has been touted for a wide variety of health issues, but the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically don’t respond to antiseizure medications. In numerous studies, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and, in some cases, it was able to stop them altogether. Videos of the effects of CBD on these children and their seizures are readily available on the Internet for viewing, and they are quite striking. Recently the FDA approved the first ever cannabis-derived medicine for these conditions, Epidiolex, which contains CBD.
Some CBD manufacturers have come under government scrutiny for wild, indefensible claims, such that CBD is a cure-all for cancer, which it is not. We need more research but CBD may be prove to be an option for managing anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain. Without sufficient high-quality evidence in human studies we can’t pinpoint effective doses, and because CBD is currently is mostly available as an unregulated supplement, it’s difficult to know exactly what you are getting. If you decide to try CBD, talk with your doctor — if for no other reason than to make sure it won’t affect other medications you are taking.
Is cannabidiol legal?
Side effects of CBD include nausea, fatigue and irritability. CBD can increase the level in your blood of the blood thinner coumadin, and it can raise levels of certain other medications in your blood by the exact same mechanism that grapefruit juice does. A significant safety concern with CBD is that it is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement, not a medication. Currently, the FDA does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements. So, you cannot know for sure that the product you buy has active ingredients at the dose listed on the label. In addition, the product may contain other (unknown) elements. We also don’t know the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for any particular medical condition.
Cannabidiol (CBD) has been recently covered in the media, and you may have even seen it as an add-in booster to your post-workout smoothie or morning coffee. What exactly is CBD? Why is it suddenly so popular?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis (marijuana). While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. While CBD is a component of marijuana (one of hundreds), by itself it does not cause a "high." According to a report from the World Health Organization, "In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD."