Blood Thinners and CBD Oil Interaction
Updated: Mar 27, 2021
CBD oil is making headlines for its use in treating hypertension and heart disease, so naturally, if you suffer from a hemostasis disorder, you may be wondering if CBD could be of any help in treating your condition.
Although CBD oil has been shown to be relatively safe, it should be used cautiously with some blood thinning medications, including one of the most commonly prescribed anticoagulants.
If you are considering combining CBD oil and blood thinners, or simply want to discover if it’s a safe option, here is everything you need to know.
Effects of CBD on Blood Clotting
The effects that CBD oil has on blood clotting are not well understood, but it is thought that a few factors come into play. First, is CBD oil’s impact on blood flow.
CBD oil can aid the circulatory system by dilating blood vessels. This allows the blood to flow quicker, and in turn, can make the occurrence of blood clots less likely. A 2017 study found that just a single dose of CBD significantly reduced the blood pressure of subjects at rest and in stressful situations.
Broad- or full-spectrum CBD oil in particular may be a useful tool in preventing thrombosis, or the formation of blood clots. A study on the anticoagulant effects of cannabis found the cannabinoids (tetrahydrocannabinol) THC and cannabinol (CBN) to be effective anti-thrombotic, doubling the amount of time it took for blood clots to form in obese and lean rat test subjects compared to the control group.
Both CBN and THC are present in full-spectrum CBD oil, which contains all of the hemp plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes. Full-spectrum CBD oils will typically have 0.3% THC or less, which is in line with federal regulations. If you’d rather not have THC in your CBD product, but still are after the anticoagulant effects of CBN and CBD, a broad-spectrum CBD oil is the way to go. Broad-spectrum CBD products contain all the cannabinoids and terpenes of the hemp plant except THC. If you aren’t sure whether you’d like a full- or broad-spectrum product, a good place to start is researching your state’s laws on cannabis, THC, and CBD.
Interactions Between CBD and Blood Thinners
Although CBD oil has been found to be generally well-tolerated and free from side-effects, it can interact negatively with some pharmaceuticals. Often referred to as the ‘grapefruit effect,’ CBD oil is one of a number of natural substances that can slow down the system the body uses to process toxins.
This system is known as the cytochrome P-450 enzyme system and is made up of liver enzymes that break down certain medications into smaller parts so your body can more easily process them. When the P-450 enzyme system is inhibited by a compound like CBD, other medications typically broken down by those liver enzymes remain in the system for longer than is desired, making it more likely that you will experience the side effects of that unprocessed medication.
As you’ll see in the table below, not all pharmaceuticals are processed by the cytochrome P-450 enzyme system. So, while you may need to take care when combining CBD oil with a blood thinner like Warfarin, for example, users of Heparin face fewer risks.
Ultimately, it’s important to consult with your doctor before using CBD oil if you take any blood thinning medication. This will allow your doctor to make adjustments to your medication, taking into account any changes that CBD oil may have in its processing time.
As a starting point, here is a list of some of the most commonly prescribed blood thinners and what we currently know about their interaction with CBD oil.
How to Safely Take CBD and Blood Thinners Together
When combining CBD oil and blood thinners, there are a variety of factors that come into play. Your health, weight, and general tolerance can all influence how likely you are to experience interactions. Because there are so many variables to consider, you should first speak to your doctor about the possibility of adding CBD oil to your medication regimen. Together you can create a plan to ensure there is minimal disruption to your system.
In order to further minimize the risks of an adverse reaction between CBD oil and your anticoagulant, it’s suggested that you start with a lower dose than what is recommended for your chosen CBD product, and slowly increase the dosage over time if needed. This not only allows you to build a tolerance to CBD oil, but it also provides your doctor with the time and flexibility to decrease the dosage of your blood thinners if required.
Safest CBD Oils to Take with Blood Thinners
With so many varieties of CBD oil available to you, how do you know where to start? If you’re looking for a safe CBD oil to combine with blood thinners or are turning to CBD oil as a preventative measure against blood clots, there are a few things to consider ensuring you’re making the smartest and safest purchase possible.
First, choose your CBD delivery method. You can buy CBD oil in a wide number of forms including capsules, vapes, edibles, and drops. While vaping CBD will deliver the fastest results, drops are more discreet with longer-lasting effects, and capsules offer a user-friendly, familiar option for people who are new to CBD. When deciding on a method it is worth noting that any format that’s processed through the digestive system will take longer to show effects and as such may lose some of its potency.
After you have chosen the preferred method for your CBD delivery, look for a high-quality CBD product that has been organically grown, sustainably sourced, and third-party lab tested. Reading the lab reports, also called Certificates of Analysis, will ensure the product you purchase is in fact the safest CBD oil to take with blood thinners. A Certificate of Analysis should tell you if the CBD product you’ve contains herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals, or chemical additives.
When you have your CBD oil product, figuring out your ideal dosage is the last step to making sure you’re using CBD safely. The safest way to take CBD oil with blood thinners is to start with a small dose and increase gradually over a period of time if needed. For additional personal guidance on CBD dosage, consider speaking with a naturopathic doctor who specializes in using CBD oil to treat medical conditions.
If you’ve spoken to your physician and are ready to choose a CBD oil, check out the Best CBD Oil Products to Buy.