CBD oil has been shown to possess antimicrobial properties, particularly useful in attacking bacteria that are resistant to traditional antibiotics. CBD oil has been shown to kill treatment-resistant bacteria. Can it replace or bolster antibiotics? This article answers whether you can take antibiotics alongside CBD products. While CBD oil is generally considered safe, is it okay to use while on antibiotics? Get the answer here.
CBD Oil and Antibiotics – August 2022
Antibiotics are used to prevent or treat specific types of bacterial infections. In some cases, they are prescribed for an infection that keeps coming back or causes an increased risk of complications.
However, antibiotics are not effective against viral infections, such as the common cold or flu (1 ) .
Can CBD Be Taken With Antibiotics?
There is no known interaction between CBD (cannabidiol) and antibiotics. However, there is a potential risk when combining CBD and antibiotics, as both are metabolized (broken down) through the cytochrome P450 enzyme system (2 ) .
Due to how antibiotics are metabolized, the concentrations of these drugs could potentially increase when taken with CBD.
The CYP450 liver enzymes are responsible for breaking down toxic compounds, including over 60% of any over-the-counter or prescription drugs consumed.
Certain substances can affect processing times within this system, making drugs metabolize faster or slower than they would on their own.
Cannabidiol can inhibit the cytochrome P450 system’s ability to metabolize certain drugs, leading to an overall increase in processing times , resulting in potentially higher levels over a longer period of time (3 )
Antibiotics use the cytochrome P450 enzyme system and can interact with CBD, as reiterated by authors Eileen Konieczny, RN, and Lauren Wilson, in their book, Healing with CBD (4 ) .
Until studies that specifically look at how CBD interacts with antibiotics are completed, talk with a doctor to make sure there are no CBD drug interactions with other medications currently taken.
CBD Oil As Antibiotic: What the Research Says
CBD oil has been shown to possess antimicrobial properties, making it another tool for fighting infection.
Although it is not well-understood how CBD oil fights bacteria, studies have confirmed CBD’s antibiotic properties, which are particularly useful in attacking bacteria that have become resistant to traditional antibiotics.
One such study investigated how various cannabinoids, including CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), affect pathogenic bacteria (5 ) .
In the said study, each cannabinoid was tested against six strains of the antibiotic-resistant superbug, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). All cannabinoids showed potent activity against a variety of MRSA strains.
The results of the study indicated that CBD has proven to be effective at fighting one of the most treatment-resistant strains of bacteria the field of medicine has ever seen.
Then, the researchers at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience discovered in 2019, through a series of test-tube experiments, that CBD could kill numerous strains of bacteria, including treatment-resistant strains like VRSA , VISA , and MRSA (6 ) .
These strains have developed resistance to other existing Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved antibiotics over the years. However, they did not develop any resistance to CBD.
In one of the experiments, the researchers found that despite exposing the strains to CBD for 20 days, this cannabis compound was able to outmaneuver the entire process of superbug development.
Moreover, CBD was found to be effective at disrupting biofilms, a microscopic conglomeration of bacteria, mucopolysaccharides, and waste products and act as a physical barrier that prevents antibiotics from working against the bacteria growth that leads to difficult-to-treat infections. This breakthrough in microbiology could ultimately lead to the development of new treatments.
Lead author, Mark Blaskovich, stated there was no doubt CBD possessed a unique mechanism that worked against bacteria resistant to other antibiotics. He admitted, however, that he and his team still could not explain how this mechanism works.
A later study , conducted in August 2019 by scientists from the United Kingdom, has shed light on the workings of that unique mechanism (7 ) .
In the said study, which was published in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, the authors examined the antibacterial effects of CBD and Escherichia Coli bacteria (E. coli)’s membrane vesicles, which the bacteria use to spread and communicate.
The researchers discovered that the antibiotic’s ability to prevent the release of those membrane vesicles is enhanced by CBD.
The results suggested that CBD could help fight specific bacteria as a tailored co-application with selected antibiotics.
The researchers concluded that CBD might help increase antibiotic activity and reduce antibiotic resistance when used in tailored co-application.
The results of the studies demonstrating CBD’s antibiotic properties are especially exciting for the CBD community.
However, it is essential to note that researchers still do not know what made CBD powerful at fighting the infections during the experiments.
All the research was carried out in a lab, in test tubes and on bacteria cultures, not on humans.
To date, there has been no study that recommends taking CBD with antibiotics. Neither is there a study that suggests CBD can replace antibiotics in the treatment or prevention of some types of bacterial infections.
Further research needs to be conducted to study the long-term side effects and resistance of CBD as an antibiotic.
Before taking CBD or any CBD products to treat or prevent any infection, do research and consult with a doctor experienced in cannabis use for advice.
CBD Oil and Antibiotics: Is It More Effective to Take Them Together?
As medical researchers are constantly discovering new health benefits of CBD, the compound has become one of the most exciting therapeutic products of this century. However, 100 years before CBD came on everyone’s tongues, antibiotics gave medicine a completely new face — becoming a staple of healthcare.
What happens when you take these two compounds together?
Are they a perfect match or a dreadful combo?
People supplement CBD for many reasons, whether it’s to support their overall well-being or tackle specific health conditions, such as sleep disorders, mood swings, muscle pain, inflammation, and more.
So, when your doctor prescribes you antibiotics, it’s understandable that you’ll ask them if you can take them together with CBD oil.
Understanding the interactions between CBD and pharmaceutical substances will help you make a well-thought-out decision on how to best run your treatment.
Of course, consulting a doctor is always better if you want to get professional advice, so treat this article only as an educational piece.
What Are Antibiotics?
Antibiotics are antibacterial medications that are prescribed to millions of people across the world every year. They are recommended as a treatment for a wide range of bacterial infections. Doctors use them to either treat or prevent further bacterial infections from being triggered.
Even in the modern world, antibiotics are essential for saving us from often lethal bacteria that would otherwise cause the death of many people back before antibiotics were invented in 1928.
Studies on antibiotics and their mechanisms indicate that certain chemical compounds can interfere with their efficacy, and as such, you should always consult your doctor before taking antibiotics alongside any other medicines or supplements.
CBD As Antibiotic: What Studies Say
There’s evidence that CBD possesses antimicrobial properties, which makes it a potentially useful tool for fighting infection.
Although the mechanism behind these effects isn’t well understood yet, studies have confirmed that CBD provides similar protection to antibiotics — especially against treatment-resistant bacteria that have become resistant to conventional methods.
One study analyzed how different cannabinoids, including CBD and THC, interact with pathogenic bacteria.
The authors tested each cannabinoid against six strains of the antibiotic-resistant super bacteria, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). All cannabinoids showed increased activity against all strains of the MRSA bacteria.
The study concluded that CBD could be effective at fighting one of the most treatment-resistant bacteria in the field of medicine.
Another study from the researchers at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience found that CBD could kill numerous strains of bacteria in test-tube experiments — including VRSA, VISA, MRSA, and other treatment-resistant strains.
Interestingly, these strains developed resistance to all FDA-approved antibiotics over the years, but not to CBD.
CBD was able to outmaneuver the whole process of superbug growth despite exposing the strains to it for 20 days.
The research team found that CBD effectively disrupted biofilms, a microscopic mass of bacteria, mucopolysaccharides, and waste products that act as a physical barrier preventing antibiotics from inhibiting the bacteria growth — resulting in difficult-to-treat infections.
It seems that CBD uses a unique mechanism that works against bacteria resistant to other antibiotics.
A 2019 study from the UK has provided a deeper insight into that mechanism.
The said study examined the antibacterial properties of CBD on Escherichia Coli bacteria (E. coli) — specifically on its membrane vesicles, which the bacteria use for growth and communication.
The authors learned that CBD might help increase antibiotic activity and reduce the resistance of bacteria when used in tailored co-application.
Can You Take CBD and Antibiotics Together?
As mentioned above, CBD can enhance the activity of antibiotics, translating into higher efficacy against treatment-resistant bacteria. But, considering that CBD meddles with the system of enzymes that is responsible for metabolizing pharmaceuticals (including antibiotics), the answer requires more careful analysis.
How CBD Affects Drug Metabolism
Let’s shed some light on how CBD interacts with antibiotics. This comes down to understanding how CBD affects our body’s Cytochrome P-450 System, which processes potentially dangerous toxins.
Many of us aren’t aware of this system, but it’s a paramount component of the human body. If we lacked CYP450, we could be exposed to an array of toxic chemicals on a daily basis.
Over 60% of the drugs we consume are metabolized by CYP450, which is where things get pretty hazy.
This unique system is located in the liver and contains 50 enzymes that work to remove potentially dangerous compounds. Depending on the type of the drug and its dosage, CYP450 requires a different period of time to break down these substances. Certain drugs have a direct impact on the speed of the system’s metabolism.
CBD & Cytochrome P450 System
CBD is actually a potent inhibitor of CYP450. In other words, it can change the way the system metabolizes certain drugs that it encounters — including antibiotics.
When it comes to taking CBD and antibiotics together, the interaction between these two substances could result in taking less or more antibiotics than required — carrying the risk of overdose.
Fortunately, such hardcore interactions aren’t common. In fact, no study has yet found that regular doses of CBD compromise the liver’s ability to metabolize antibiotics. If anything, as the above studies, indicates, CBD could strengthen the effects of antibiotics.
However, this can only happen when you apply the right dose of both compounds.
Here’s where a consultation with a holistic doctor experienced in cannabis use may help.
When to Consult a Doctor
If you approach CBD and antibiotics irresponsibly, it could potentially lead to negative side effects. Since CBD affects CYP450’s ability to metabolize medications — either speeding it up or slowing it down — you could end up with higher doses of the drug in your system than what is considered safe.
You can easily minimize that risk by consulting your doctor first. Your doctor should be able to analyze your current dose of CBD and antibiotics — and adjust them so that they can benefit from one another without causing negative interactions.
This should be the first thing that you do before taking CBD with any medication.
Benefits of Taking CBD Oil with Antibiotics
CBD oil and antibiotics both fight infection, but they use different mechanisms to achieve their goals.
While antibiotics vary in their method of targeting bacteria, they all have one general function — wiping out the elements of bacterial cells that don’t occur in human cells. This is an incredibly complex way of tackling infection; it destroys all bacteria in the body, including the good bacteria that help your gut healthy. Certain bacteria can also become resistant to antibiotics over time.
CBD has demonstrated antimicrobial properties, showing itself as another useful tool for fighting infection. While we still need a better understanding of how CBD oil does it, studies have concluded that CBD is particularly effective against treatment-resistant bacteria.
At the same time, CBD can support the growth of healthy bacteria (probiotics), improving your digestive health, and thus can help with problems such as IBS.
In the aforementioned study on the antimicrobial effects of CBD and THC, each cannabinoid was highlighted as “showing potent activity” against the bacterium, with authors noting that “activity was exceptional against some of these strains, in particular, the multidrug-resistant (MDR) SA-1199B and also against EMRSA-15 and EMRSA-16, the major epidemic methicillin-resistant S. Aureus strains occurring in U.K. hospitals.”
In simple words, CBD was proven to be effective at killing one of the most treatment-resistant strains of bacteria medicine has seen.
If you combine CBD oil and antibiotics in the right dosages, you can achieve a potent, two-pronged approach to tackling bacteria-driven diseases. Or, if your doctor deems it right, they can recommend a highly concentrated form of CBD as a monotherapy.
The Side Effects of Using CBD Oil with Antibiotics
CBD oil may inhibit your liver’s ability to metabolize certain antibiotics, especially clarithromycin (Biaxin) and erythromycin. It’s important to keep in mind that these two antibiotics can be prescribed on their own or as a combination of antibiotics. That’s why it’s important to read product labels and talk to your doctor.
Since CBD may slow down the breakdown of these antibiotics, higher concentrations can circulate in the bloodstream — causing negative side effects.
The negative reactions to taking CBD oil and antibiotics as clarithromycin include:
- Mood swings
- Stomach pain
Does CBD Interact with All Antibiotics?
While any medication can interact with CBD, not every product within that category will — and the same goes for antibiotics. Not every antibiotic will be impacted by CBD, and sometimes, it can even enhance the antibiotic’s effects.
There’s one good way to find out if CBD can cause negative interactions with your medication.
How to Tell If CBD Will Interact With Your Medication
Most doctors will tell you not to eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice when taking certain medications.
That’s because grapefruit juice interacts with CYP450 in a similar way to CBD.
Therefore, if your medication has a grapefruit warning on it — or your doctor suggests that you abstain from eating grapefruit for the time of your treatment — you probably should consult your purchase of CBD oil with a medical professional who is experienced in using cannabis.
Key Takeaways On CBD Oil and Antibiotics
Taking CBD oil and antibiotics together can have a positive effect on the efficacy of the latter — that’s especially good news for people with infections.
However, it’s essential to note that scientists still don’t know what exactly is responsible for the mechanism behind CBD’s high efficacy.
All the research was conducted in a lab, using test tubes and bacteria cultures. More clinical human trials are needed to confirm the preliminary findings.
To date, no study has recommended combining CBD with antibiotics — nor there has been a paper that would definitely discourage from doing so.
Before taking CBD oil to treat or prevent infection, do your research and consult your doctor to establish the right CBD dosage and routine so that you avoid the negative interactions with your antibiotic.
Did you take CBD and antibiotics together? Was it good or did you experience any side effects? Share your stories in the comments below!
- Blaskovich, M., Kavanagh, A. M., Elliott, A. G., Zhang, B., Ramu, S., Amado, M., Lowe, G. J., Hinton, A. O., Pham, D., Zuegg, J., Beare, N., Quach, D., Sharp, M. D., Pogliano, J., Rogers, A. P., Lyras, D., Tan, L., West, N. P., Crawford, D. W., Peterson, M. L., … Thurn, M. (2021). The antimicrobial potential of cannabidiol. Communications biology, 4(1), 7. (1)
- Karas, J. A., Wong, L., Paulin, O., Mazeh, A. C., Hussein, M. H., Li, J., & Velkov, T. (2020). The Antimicrobial Activity of Cannabinoids. Antibiotics (Basel, Switzerland), 9(7), 406. (2)
- Kosgodage, U. S., Matewele, P., Awamaria, B., Kraev, I., Warde, P., Mastroianni, G., Nunn, A. V., Guy, G. W., Bell, J. D., Inal, J. M., & Lange, S. (2019). Cannabidiol Is a Novel Modulator of Bacterial Membrane Vesicles. Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 9, 324. (3)
- McDonnell, A. M., & Dang, C. H. (2013). Basic review of the cytochrome p450 system. Journal of the advanced practitioner in oncology, 4(4), 263–268. (4)
- Zendulka, O., Dovrtělová, G., Nosková, K., Turjap, M., Šulcová, A., Hanuš, L., & Juřica, J. (2016). Cannabinoids and Cytochrome P450 Interactions. Current drug metabolism, 17(3), 206–226. (5)
Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
Antibiotics and CBD Oil: Safe to Take Together?
With new health benefits constantly being discovered, CBD oil has been one of the most exciting medical developments of this century. But almost 100 years before cannabidiol came into the spotlight, antibiotics completely revolutionized medicine and have held their place as a staple of healthcare since.
Together, could this combination be a powerful dream team? Or a match made in hell?
People around the world take CBD oil for a range of conditions; whether for sleep, mood, muscle repair, pain relief, or inflammation control, it can become an important part of your daily routine. Understandably then, if you are told you need to take antibiotics, you’ll want to know whether you can continue to use CBD oil.
Understanding the potential advantages and disadvantages of using CBD oil in conjunction with antibiotics will help you to make an informed decision on how best to carry out your treatment. But as always, this article serves only to educate and should not be substituted for medical advice. Always consult your doctor before using CBD oil with antibiotics.
CBD Oil and Antibiotic Interaction
CBD oil is widely considered to be a safe product that is well tolerated by the majority of people and carries a low risk for side effects. However, when combined with certain pharmaceutical medications, care must be taken. This is due to the relationship between CBD oil and the cytochrome P-450 enzyme system.
Located in the liver, the P-450 system contains more than 50 enzymes that help your body break down toxins. Many common medications are processed through this system, though common antibiotics like penicillins are actually inhibitors of this system as well. The only antibiotics processed by the P-450 system are clarithromycin (Biaxin) and erythromycin.
If you’re taking either of these antibiotics, CBD oil could slow down the time it takes your body to process them in what is referred to as the ‘grapefruit effect.’ (Grapefruit also inhibits the P-450 system.) This inhibition increases the amount of time the medication’s active ingredient is present in your system, and can make it more likely that you’ll experience side effects.
Generally speaking, it isn’t necessarily unsafe to take CBD oil and antibiotics together, but it’s important to understand how the combination could affect you. So, talk to your doctor before you begin using CBD oil and antibiotics together. You can also consult a naturopathic doctor who specializes in using cannabidiol to treat certain medical conditions.
Effectiveness of Using CBD Oil and Antibiotics Together
CBD oil and antibiotics both fight infection, but they don’t do it in the same manner.
While different types of antibiotics vary in their method of fighting infection, they all have a general function: targeting the elements of bacterial cells that aren’t present in human cells. This is an incredibly thorough method of fighting infection; it wipes the slate clean, so to speak, destroying all bacteria in the body, even the good bacteria (probiotics) that keep your gut healthy. Your medication will also exclude any bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics.
CBD oil has been shown to have antimicrobial properties, making it another tool for fighting infection. While we don’t yet understand how CBD oil fights bacteria, studies have confirmed that this is the case, and that it is particularly useful in attacking bacteria that have become resistant to traditional antibiotics.
One such study investigated how various cannabinoids, including CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), affect pathogenic bacteria. Each cannabinoid was tested against six strains of the antibiotic-resistant superbug MRSA. All of the cannabinoids showed “potent activity” against the bacterium, with researchers noting that “activity was exceptional against some of these strains, in particular, the multidrug-resistant (MDR) SA-1199B” and also “against EMRSA-15 and EMRSA-16, the major epidemic methicillin-resistant S. aureus strains occurring in U.K. hospitals.” In other words, cannabidiol was proven to be effective at fighting one of the most treatment-resistant strains of bacteria medicine has seen.
If you can get the dosages right, using CBD oil with antibiotics can offer a powerful, two-pronged approach to fighting bacteria-generated illnesses. Or, after consulting your doctor, you may choose to try using a high-concentration CBD product on its own to fight infection at first. This will preserve the good bacteria in your body and may help reduce the growing number of treatment-resistant bacteria in the world today, which come as a result of unnecessary and incorrect usage of antibiotics.
Side Effects of Using CBD Oil with Antibiotics
As mentioned above, CBD oil may slow down your ability to metabolize clarithromycin (Biaxin) and erythromycin. It’s important to note here that these two antibiotics can be prescribed on their own and may also be included in medications that contain a mixture of antibiotics. This is why it’s important you read your labels and consult your physician.
Since CBD slows the breakdown of these antibiotics, your chances of experiencing their side effects could increase.
If combining CBD oil and clarithromycin, you might be more likely to experience side effects like:
- Mood changes
- Stomach Pain
If combining CBD oil and erythromycin, you could have a higher chance of experiencing side effects like:
- Stomach pain
- Liver disease
- Muscle weakness
CBD Oil for Side Effects of Antibiotics
Antibiotics have saved hundreds of millions of lives since penicillin was first discovered in 1928, but they come with some side effects, too.
Until CBD oil’s antimicrobial effects are better understood, its greatest use in combination with antibiotics may be mitigating their side effects.
|Generic Name||Common Side Effects||CBD Oil|
|Amoxicillin||Nausea; vomiting; stomach pain||Combats nausea and vomiting and reduces the experience of pain|
|Azithromycin||Nausea; vomiting; stomach pain||Combats nausea and vomiting and reduces the experience of pain|
|Clindamycin||Nausea; vomiting; joint pain||Combats nausea and vomiting and reduces the experience of joint pain associated with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis|
|Cephalexin||Nausea; vomiting; stomach pain||Combats nausea and vomiting and reduces the experience of pain|
Because CBD oil has properties that counter the most common side effects of antibiotics, many people report that when combining the two, they don’t experience any side effects at all. While this is only anecdotal, it is certainly worth considering.
Best CBD Oils to Use with Antibiotics
If you are using CBD oil and need to take a course of antibiotics, speak to a medical professional to discuss the best way forward. Once you have the thumbs-up from your physician, it’s time to choose your CBD product!
To make sure you’re shopping with high-quality CBD oils brands, look for third-party lab testing and Certificates of Analysis. Certificates of Analysis give you the chance to see exactly what is in your CBD product, especially in the way of potency and safety. Finding an organic CBD product will further ensure you’re getting premium CBD oil without any dangerous pesticides or herbicides.
You may also want to think about the method you’ll use to take CBD. If, for example, you have a chest infection, you may feel more comfortable taking your CBD oil in capsule form as opposed to using a vape pen. Explore what your CBD brand of choice has to offer, and reach out to them for the most accurate information about how long it will take the effects to set in, and how long they will last for.
CBD Oil Dosage
Because the amount of CBD oil required to show effects depends on a number of factors like your metabolism, age, and weight, there is no one dose that can be applied across the board.
It’s best to start with the lowest recommended amount that appears on your product. From there, the dose can be adjusted up or down as needed. With no significant side effects, no intoxicating effects, and no risk for overdose or addiction, you confidently experiment with dosage and concentration until you find what works best for you.