Is It Safe To Take CBD and Zoloft?
CBD has developed a cult following in the wellness community for its holistic benefits. While many people are interested in using CBD, it may not be a valuable option for people who are already using certain medications.
If you’re currently taking Zoloft, there are a few things you need to know about the way CBD and Zoloft may interact with each other. Although CBD’s wellness benefits are helpful to many people, they may not be safe to pursue if you’re currently using an antidepressant drug.
CBD Can Affect the Way Some Medications Work
If you’ve ever taken prescription medication, you’ve likely seen warnings about potential interactions on the label. Some medications, like birth control, can’t be taken with supplements like St. John’s Wort or saw palmetto. While these supplements are fine on their own, they don’t play well with the active constituents of birth control.
Many medications cannot be taken with alcohol. You cannot take benzodiazepine drugs with many kinds of pain relief drugs because of the way their effects stack. It’s always a balancing act, and people who need multiple medications to treat numerous concerns have to work with their doctors to find safe combinations.
Supplements and medications can interact in two different ways, and interactions should be avoided whenever possible.
By Exacerbating Their Side Effects
Many medications have side effects. The majority of people find that the side effects don’t dramatically alter their quality of life. They can work with their doctor to come to a conclusion about the way the benefits stack up against these side effects.
CBD, St. John’s Wort, kava, and melatonin all work to make their users feel more relaxed. When used with medications that cause drowsiness or sedation as a side effect, these supplements may amplify the degree of sleepiness users feel.
It may be dangerous to amplify feelings of fatigue or drowsiness, especially for medications intended for use during the daytime. Falls, automobile accidents, and injuries are more likely to occur when an individual is less alert.
By Modifying Their Absorption
The body metabolizes all medications and supplements through the liver. The liver can only produce so many enzymes necessary to metabolize drugs and supplements at one given time. When you use CBD and another medication at the same time, the two compete for these enzymes.
When this happens, the body can wind up with too much or too little of a particular drug in the bloodstream. Both outcomes can have serious consequences. If you have too little of a necessary medication in your bloodstream, your body can’t effectively use it for its intended purposes. If you have too much of a drug in your bloodstream, it may pose overwhelming or dangerous side effects.
Penn State researchers identified 57 medications that may interact with cannabinoids like CBD. Most doctors would advise against using CBD with these medications.
The only exception would be the use of cannabinoid-based medications like Epidiolex that are medically necessary for treating an underlying disorder. In those cases, doctors monitor patients closely for signs of potential negative interaction.
Can You Take CBD and Zoloft Together?
Zoloft, the brand name for sertraline, is not on the list of 57 medications that cause dangerous interactions. It does, however, cause sleepiness or changes in sleep patterns as a side effect.
Since CBD also works to promote sleep, the two may cause a strong and undesirable sedative effect when used in unison.
Using CBD with Zoloft may cause fatigue, confusion, dizziness, or difficulty with concentration. Side effects are usually more pronounced in seniors. If you’ve already used CBD in conjunction with Zoloft, avoid any activities that involve significant amounts of alertness and concentration, such as driving. Stop using CBD. Its effects will typically wear off within 12 hours.
Most doctors would not advise patients to use CBD in conjunction with Zoloft. There may be exceptions for cannabinoid-based medications used to treat an underlying medical issue, like Epidiolex for the management of seizures. Doctors usually make assessments on a case-by-case basis in these scenarios.
What About Other Antidepressants?
Other antidepressants, like Prozac, Celexa, Paxil, and Lexapro, have similar side effects to Zoloft. These medications are all selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. It’s best to regard them all the same way. CBD is just as likely to amplify the side effects of these antidepressant medications.
Tricyclic antidepressants like Tryptizol, Anafranil, Allegron, Tofranil, and Gamanil also shouldn’t be used in conjunction with CBD. CBD can amplify the concentrations of these medications in your blood, leading to extreme versions of their side effects. Side effects of TCAs include high blood pressure, seizures, and accelerated heart rate. This isn’t a chance worth taking.
Do All Forms of CBD Cause Interactions?
CBD is most commonly taken as a sublingual tincture. Drops are placed under the tongue and pass into the bloodstream without first passing through the digestive system. This form of CBD gets to work quickly.
Alternatively, CBD can be taken in the form of a softgel capsule. These capsules are similar to any other supplement that people might use for wellness.
Some people prefer to vaporize CBD concentrate. Inhalation allows users to experience effects rapidly, but it may not be the best delivery method due to its potentially negative impact on cardiovascular health.
CBD in any form can cause interaction with certain medications. The only thing that changes from form to form is how quickly those interactions will take place. Orally ingested CBD will cause a delayed onset interaction, as it takes the body longer to process and utilize CBD in this form.
Interaction with sublingual CBD usually begins to occur within an hour as the CBD starts to take effect. Interactions related to inhaled CBD will begin nearly instantaneously. They’re most noticeable when users are already experiencing side effects from antidepressant medications like drowsiness. CBD can amplify that feeling within minutes, dramatically altering the user’s alertness.
The concern isn’t so much with the form of CBD as it is with the way CBD works. Because it reaches so many systems in the body and can inspire so many effects, there is no form of CBD users with antidepressants can take while reliably avoiding amplified side effects or compromised absorption.
Is CBD Safe on Its Own?
CBD is generally recognized as safe for most people, as long as it isn’t used in conjunction with prescription medications. Side effects from CBD use are rare and mild, and studies have demonstrated that humans can tolerate doses of up to 1,500 mg of CBD daily.
CBD does not have the potential for abuse or dependency, nor does it cause cognitive impairment. It’s fundamentally different from THC, the active constituent of cannabis that binds to receptors and produces a high.
CBD by itself is not a regulated or controlled substance. As long as the CBD product does not contain any residual traces of THC, it’s legal for use in all 50 states.
If You’re Taking Medications, You Should Always Ask Your Doctor Before Using Supplements
Many medications and supplements create the potential for interaction. If you’re currently taking any prescription medications, you shouldn’t take any supplements (including CBD) without first seeking approval from your doctor.
In some cases, you might be able to ring up your pharmacist. They’re often aware of potential interactions and will be able to give you advice.
Can People With Depression Use CBD?
Not everyone with depression uses antidepressant medications as a part of their treatment plan. If you’re using managed therapeutic or wellness approaches to cope with the symptoms and source of your depression, CBD obviously won’t cause any negative interactions with these forms of treatment.
That said, CBD is not an antidepressant. It’s a wellness supplement that often works to boost mood. It won’t treat or cure depression. People often use CBD simply because they enjoy the support it provides and the way it makes them feel.
Some mental health professionals have found merit in using CBD as part of a care plan for managing symptoms of anxiety or helping to treat those recovering from substance use disorders. CBD is not currently officially recognized for its direct benefits to the source of depression.
If you’re under the care of a mental health professional for depression treatment and you aren’t currently using any medications, speak with your mental healthcare professional about the possibility of incorporating CBD into your wellness plan and follow their advice. If you’re living with anxiety, CBD may be beneficial. It just doesn’t offer any benefits specific to depression.
Sources:Interaction of St. John's Wort with oral contraceptives: effects on the pharmacokinetics of norethindrone and ethinyl estradiol, ovarian activity and breakthrough bleeding | National Health Institutes