How do painkillers work? How does CBD work? Can you take CBD and painkillers? How can we categorize the different painkillers? All this we cover here in our article about CBD and Painkillers.
Whether you are suffering from period pains, a hormonal headache or just a hangover, you will probably want to know if you can take CBD and painkillers at the same time together. Traditionally, you may have always reached for the painkillers when pain strikes, but if recently you’ve moved on to CBD, then this is certainly a valid question.
1. Different painkillers and how they work!
It’s common to reach for an over-the-counter painkiller if you’re experiencing headaches, muscle soreness, joint pain, or even period cramps. They can all be effective at relieving this pain.
However, some painkillers may be a better fit for you than others, and all of them have specific instructions that must be followed carefully in order to be taken safely. In more severe cases of pain, like after surgeries or injuries, your doctor may also prescribe a prescription painkiller. Here is a list and a short description of the different types of painkillers:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
These work by inhibiting the cyclooxygenase enzyme (COX enzyme). This prevents prostaglandins from forming.
Prostaglandins are responsible for inflammatory reactions in the body. By blocking prostaglandins, they reduces inflammation and the pain that comes along with it.
- Acetaminophen, also sometimes referred to as paracetamol, works differently from the NSAIDs.
Acetaminophen is a central acting drug, meaning it works centrally in the brain towards pain pathways. Though the exact mechanism of how acetaminophen works is unclear to researchers, it may work by inhibiting the COX pathway in the central nervous system.
Prescription Pain killers:
These drugs work by a completely different mechanism than over-the-counter pain medications. Throughout the body, there are endogenous opioid receptors. Opioids interact with these receptors in a way that results in analgesia, or pain relief.
The long and the short of this is that endogenous opioid receptors are simply a group of receptors in the human body. Generally, when an agent binds to this group of receptors, pain is diminished.
Neumann says opioids are most frequently prescribed to treat pain from serious injuries or fractures, pain after surgeries or operations, and chronic pain for patients with cancer.
Now, THC binds to the CB1 receptors. This is how THC produces its therapeutic effects. It is also how THC produces its euphoric, psychoactive effects.
Unlike THC, CBD has a low binding affinity with the cannabinoid receptors. This means that CBD cannot directly activate these receptors to produce the therapeutic effects of THC, anandamide, or 2-AG. Instead, CBD binds to different receptors and activates them to produce its therapeutic effects.
Cannabidiol (CBD) has the ability to delay the reabsorption of important neurotransmitters or brain chemicals. As a result, CBD gives these chemicals more time to stay in your body so their effects can last longer.
Before mixing any medications, you need to speak with your doctor first. Officially there is not enough research on CBD oil taken with other pain medication so we can not say anything for sure here in this blog – however….
What we can recommend is to give CBD a try. If it works for you, then great! You can get rid of the over-the-counter painkillers you are already taking and try a more natural approach. If It doesn’t work, then it doesn’t work. If you are on prescription painkillers you CAN NOT just stop abruptly with them. You MUST come off your opioids slowly and over a few weeks or months depending on how long you have taken them. There can be harsh side effects and bad withdrawal symptoms if you stop opioids from one day to the next.
4. CBD and medication interactions!
A number of medications, including CBD, are broken down by the same large family of liver enzymes, called CYP450.
CBD inhibits some enzymes in this family. This makes them break down certain drugs more slowly, which could potentially increase side effects unless your doctor adjusts the dose. On the other hand, CBD induces other enzymes in this family, which speeds the breakdown of certain drugs so they may potentially be less effective unless the dose is increased.
As examples, you may experience increased side effects of CBD is used along with these drugs:
- Antidepressants (such as fluoxetine, or Prozac)
- Medications that can cause drowsiness (antipsychotics, benzodiazepines)
- Macrolide antibiotics (erythromycin, clarithromycin)
- Heart medications (some calcium channel blockers)
There is still a lot of uncertainty about how CBD interacts with drug-metabolizing enzymes in the body. The doctors know that there are some drug-metabolizing enzymes that are affected by CBD, some that are not, and many others where we just don’t have any information yet.
If you still choose to go ahead and take a full spectrum CBD product, we recommend that you keep minimum of 2 hours between your medication and the CBD product.