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delta 8 medication and prescription interactions

Delta 8 & Other Medications and Prescriptions

Will Taking Delta 8 Interfere with My Prescription Medications or Other Treatments?

An impressively large number of frequent CBD enthusiasts are now giving delta 8 THC a try to see what this highly unique cannabinoid can do for them.  As we learn more about delta 8, we’re finding out its various properties that can promote desirable effects within the body.  But it’s so new to the scene that there remains a lot that we don’t know for certain.

Generally, delta 8 is considered likely safe, and this comes from the fact that cannabinoids are nontoxic to the human body.  However, one question that we’re still unsure about is how safe delta8 is when taken with other prescription medications.

What We Know About Delta 8, and What We Don’t

CBD has been widely popular for well over a decade at this point, which means that we’ve been able to study it intensively for over ten years.  As a result, we have a good deal of information about the exact mechanisms that are at work when we consume CBD in terms of how it is utilized and metabolized by the body.

For instance, we know that cannabidiol inhibits CYP3A4, which is an enzyme that needs to be present abundantly in the body to aid in breaking down a number of popular prescription medications, including antidepressants and opioids.

Delta 8 has the unfortunate circumstance of simply being too new for there to be an enormous wealth of research behind it, compared to what we have with cannabidiol.  This means that we have yet to see any studies about delta 8 and prescription drugs specifically.

It’s safe to assume that as time goes on and delta 8 continues to grow in popularity, researchers will uncover more about it, including its effects on other medications specifically.  For now, we can only work with what we know about cannabinoids that behave in a similar manner.

THC and Prescription Drugs: Is there an Interaction?

Many people are surprised to learn that THC can negatively interact with certain medications, including:

  • Benzodiazepines
  • Opioids
  • Antidepressants
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Blood Pressure Medications
  • Blood Sugar Medications

CYP3A4 is, as we said, the enzyme that is needed to break down these medications, and THC, like CBD, seems to suppress it in the body.  This means that the drugs that we take may not break down as quickly as they would if we were not taking THC.  This could potentially be dangerous, because if the drug isn’t breaking down before the next dose, we’re allowing higher levels of the medication to enter the body, and in some cases, this could lead to toxicity.

THC may also produce additive effects with certain medications, meaning that the effects of THC can add to the effects of other medications.  An example is benzodiazepines.  With both substances having sedative like effects that slow down processes of the nervous system, taking both THC and a benzodiazepine drug, such as Xanax or Valium, could cause the nervous system to slow down to such an extent that the person finds themselves feeling extraordinarily drowsy.  This could be dangerous if, say, a person has to drive.

Also, THC could even raise levels of specific drugs in the body, with some of these drugs becoming dangerous if they are present in higher-than-normal amounts in the bloodstream.

How Delta 8 and Delta 9 Differ

The above information describes the potential effects of THC on common medications, but comes from research done on delta 9 THC, not delta 8 THC.

  • Delta 9 THC has been studied more extensively over the years because it’s the dominant compound in marijuana and has been a widely used substance for decades.
  • Delta 8 is simply so new that researchers have not yet compared it to delta 9 or studied its independent effects on metabolization and other processes involved when we take medications.
  • Delta 8 is unique from delta 9 in that it’s a degraded form of delta 9, meaning that as delta 9 THC ages, it becomes delta 8.
  • Delta 8 is weaker than delta 9, and so there is a reason to believe that its potential interactions with prescription drugs would be milder, but this has yet to be shown in studies, and so we cannot say.

How to Safely Maintain a Delta 8 Routine While on a Prescription Medication

So, because we can’t say for certain the effects delta 8 has on prescription drugs, it’s important to be as cautious as possible.  Here are some tips that will help you be as careful as possible.

Tip #1: Speak with Your Doctor

First, you should always talk to your doctor about taking delta 8, and be clear about what medications you are on.  Ask your doctor questions about the potential for an interaction, and make sure that he or she is up to date on current research about delta 8 THC.

Tip #2: Start with a Small Amount of Delta 8

If you’re taking a medication and have your doctor’s approval to begin a delta 8 routine, start with a very small amount to avoid a serious interaction.  After monitoring how you feel, you can consider increasing your dosage.

Tip #3: Take Them at Opposite Times of Day

It may be best to take delta 8 at the opposite time of day that you take your medication.  For instance, if you take your medication in the morning, take your delta 8 during the evening hours.  This way you can avoid both of the substances peaking in the body at the same time, which would theoretically put you at the most risk of an interaction.

Tip #4: Monitor the Effects Carefully

Make sure to monitor how you feel when you combine these substances and seek medical attention if you have any concerning side effects.

Tip #5: Avoid Grapefruit

Grapefruit inhibits CYP3A4, and so consuming it while also taking delta 8 can greatly interfere with your body’s ability to metabolize medications.

Tip #6: Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol is known to interact with many medications, so avoid drinking alcohol if you’re already taking both delta 8 and a prescription drug.

What We Know So Far Overall

While there is a lot that we don’t know about delta 8, it’s safe to assume it behaves similarly to delta 9 in terms of how it metabolizes and interacts with certain drugs. Therefore, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re taking prescription medications, always talk to your doctor before starting a delta 8 routine.  While delta 8 is likely safe overall, you need to be sure that it won’t interact with a drug that you are presently taking.

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