Inform Your Doctor if Using CBD Products

Inform Your Doctor if Using CBD Products

Cannabinoid Products and their Potential Interactions with Prescription Medications

cannabinoid products

The rising popularity of cannabinoid products, such as medical and recreational cannabis, has brought attention to their potential interactions with prescription medications. It is essential for individuals using these products to inform their doctors about their use, as these interactions could have serious health consequences. Penn State Health, a renowned medical institution, has shared valuable advice on this matter.

When it comes to cannabis use, whether recreational, prescribed, or medical marijuana, it is crucial for your doctor to be aware of your usage. According to Kent Vrana, head of the pharmacology department at Penn State College of Medicine, “A problem in Pennsylvania is that you can get a medical marijuana card without any involvement by your [primary care physician], meaning your doctor may have no idea you’re using if you don’t say something.” Therefore, individuals must take the initiative to communicate openly with their healthcare providers about their cannabinoid product usage.

One of the common misconceptions is that all cannabinoid products offer the same experience. However, there are distinct differences to be aware of. Recreational marijuana, for instance, contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which induces a psychoactive “high” feeling. On the other hand, cannabidiol (CBD), often available over-the-counter, offers medicinal properties without the euphoric effects. Despite its potential benefits, the scientific understanding of CBD is still limited, even though it has been proven safe and effective in the treatment of seizure disorders and may have applications in some cancer treatments.

While prescription CBD is considered safe when used appropriately, it is crucial to exercise caution when using other unregulated CBD products like oils, lotions, or gummies. These products may not have received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and could potentially contain harmful substances. In fact, the lack of FDA regulation in the CBD industry has led to the description of the market as “the Wild West” by Vrana.

To address the need for information on potential interactions between cannabinoids and prescription medications, Vrana and Paul Kocis, a clinical pharmacist at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, conducted research in collaboration with computer science students from Penn State Harrisburg. The result of their work is a web-based application called the CANNabinoid Drug Interaction Review ( This tool aims to increase awareness and enhance safety by providing valuable information about possible drug interactions. It is available in 11 languages and has gained popularity in over 80 countries.

According to Kocis, there is a lack of awareness regarding potential interactions between cannabinoids and prescription medications. The CANN-DIR tool bridges this knowledge gap and can be easily used by both medical professionals and patients. Through the tool, they hope to enhance patient safety and ensure better outcomes for everyone.

Some prescription medications that can interact with cannabinoids include certain antidepressants, anticonvulsants, sedatives, and narcotics. It is essential for individuals using these medications to be informed about potential interactions to prevent any adverse effects. For instance, the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin) is one common medication that can be affected by cannabinoids, potentially causing excessive bleeding in patients.

The research and development of the CANN-DIR tool by Penn State Health highlights the importance of considering potential interactions between cannabinoids and prescription medications. By improving awareness and providing access to crucial information, patients and healthcare professionals can work together to ensure patient safety and avoid any harmful consequences.