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Does CBD Oil Interact with Prednisone?

Last updated: June 05, 2020

Prednisone is a medicine used to treat inflammatory conditions. Unfortunately, it is not 100 percent effective because it comes with an array of side effects. That is why patients are opting for natural options like CBD oil. Research on the impact of CBD on inflammations is ongoing, but its potential is pretty high. Unlike Prednisone, CBD is safe as it has minimal side effects. If you have just learned about these benefits, you are probably wondering whether it is safe to use these two drugs together.

What Is Prednisone?

Prednisone belongs to a category of medicines known as corticosteroid, which are prescribed as anti-inflammatory drugs. Inflammation is an integral part of the human’s natural process of fighting infections, healing wounds, and getting rid of damaged cells. It improves the working of the immune system and makes it efficient in fighting pathogens. The side effect of the process results in pain, redness, and swelling.

In the short term, inflammation reminds us to take good care of our bodies as we heal. However, if the system forgets to switch off the response, serious issues might occur. When it gets to the worst-case scenario, inflammation might contribute to several conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease.

How Does Prednisone Help Inflammation?

The drugs in the class of corticosteroids work by imitating the pathways of a hormone known as cortisol. Cortisol comes from the adrenal glands, and the body uses it to react to stressful situations. The hormone manages functions like immune response and metabolism. When they mimic cortisol, corticosteroids slow down the action of the immune system. When it lessens immune responses, the harm to the tissues that had been attacked by inflammation is lowered.

Doctors may prescribe prednisone for an array of conditions like:

  • Skin disorders
  • Arthritis
  • Allergies
  • Autoimmune disorders like lupus and multiple sclerosis

Prednisone Side Effects

Thanks to its mechanism of action that involves mimicking the pathways of cortisol, prednisone may result in severe side effects like: 

  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Increased risk of infections
  • Restlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Mood changes

Prolonged use of prednisone might lead to severe effects like:

  • Glucose intolerance
  • Increased risk of osteoporosis
  • Weight gain
  • Stunted growth especially in kids
  • High blood pressure

Because of the extent of the side effects, many people prefer replacing their prednisone prescription with natural options like CBD. The latter is useful for inflammation and is safe to use.

How Does CBD Help to Manage Inflammation?

CBD is a popular and highly researched compound. Most of the work highlights its potential advantages. Its anti-inflammatory properties are widely recognized. CBD curbs inflammation by altering the body’s endocannabinoid system. The pathway is made up of enzymes, cell receptors, and endocannabinoids.

There are two kinds of endocannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. CB1 is in the nervous system.  CB2 is distributed in the body, but is mostly concentrated in the immune system. The endocannabinoid system maintains the body’s balance, such as managing pain, immunity, and anti-inflammatory.

The function is roused when the endocannabinoids ascribe to cannabinoid receptors. They fit together like how a key would fit into the corresponding lock. Plants that have cannabinoids like THC have the same structure as the endocannabinoids. Therefore, they can match the receptors and produce similar reactions.

CBD works differently from conventional endocannabinoids. Rather than ascribing into these receptors straight away, it changes how they impasse to other molecules, thus making them less effective. When you use CBD oil, it amends the way the endocannabinoids in your body attach to the CB2 receptors in the immune system. That way, the inflammatory response is turned off. That way,

CBD is comparable to prednisone. Both treatments overpower the immune system by mingling with its cells. However, CBD lacks the adverse side effects that prednisone displays. It doesn’t mean that CBD doesn’t have any side effects, only that they aren’t as bad as those of prednisone.

Does CBD Interact with Prednisone?

Anyone suffering from severe inflammation and is using prednisone might consider shifting to CBD. As such, you must understand the effects of the interaction. Since CBD is extracted from a plant, it is easy to think that it has minimal side effects. While this is true, CBD might interact with other drugs. It implies that you must be cautious when including CBD in any existing medication.

When you take any medicine like CBD, it lands in the digestive tract through the hepatic portal vein. CBD ends up in the liver, where it is metabolized by an enzymatic process known as the cytochrome P450. The method utilizes an array of enzymes, including CYP3A4. The enzyme breaks down a quarter of the drugs, including prednisone and CBD.  

Since CBD requires CYP3A4, it means that other medicines that are metabolized by the same enzyme will be broken down more slowly. Therefore, CBD might increase the concentration of other drugs such as prednisone, thus increasing the risk of side effects. Before taking any medication with CBD, you should ask your doctor. Alternatively, if your doctor warns you against eating grapefruit with your medication, you should also avoid using CBD. This is because CBD interacts with many of the medicines that grapefruit juice does. So, if the doctor tells you to avoid grapefruit, don’t use CBD too.

If you have been using prednisone or any other glucocorticoid medicine, you shouldn’t stop taking it abruptly. Preventing this kind of drug without gradual tapering might lead to chronic withdrawal signs. Common symptoms include:

  • Joint pain
  • Muscle tenderness
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Fever

Therefore, talk to your doctor about your switch to CBD so that they can recommend the right dosing. Many times you will have to stop the dosing over some days. So, patience will be vital here. You can look for various ways of relieving the effects without using drugs when making the shift. The process is worthwhile because using CBD will give you better relief with fewer side effects.

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