Is CBD a Blood Thinner?
Posted on July 15th, 2020
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is extensively studied for its potential health benefits and medical uses. While some of its aspects are yet to be proven scientifically, CBD already shows potential for its skincare, pain relief, and stress relief benefits. And if you have difficulties sleeping, many people recommend adding CBD to your routine.
While we can’t conclusively prove all of CBD’s benefits, we do know that it’s a safe, non-psychoactive way to approach several conditions. And while that’s generally true, CBD does have its fair share of potentially concerning effects that arise from its interaction with various systems in your body. Particularly, medical experts have concerns about its blood-thinning capabilities. While multiple studies suggest CBD may contribute to blood thinning, the big question remains: Is CBD a blood thinner?
What Are Blood Thinners?
Blood thinners are medications, taken orally or intravenously, to prevent blood clots from forming. Clots can block the flow of blood to your heart, brain, and lungs. While blood clotting is a vital process in your body, too much clotting can trigger potentially dangerous complications.
Different blood thinners work differently; some thin the blood by preventing blood cells from sticking together in your blood vessels. However, most blood thinners are antiplatelets and anticoagulants, meaning that they work by increasing the time it takes for blood clots to form. Some common anticoagulant blood thinners are Warfarin, Heparin, and Enoxaparin.
How Do Blood Thinners Work?
Different enzyme systems metabolize different medications in your body. Specifically, most medications are metabolized by the cytochrome P-450 system, commonly known as the CYP450 system. This system of enzymes is found within your liver; it’s responsible for metabolizing and processing the chemicals that are contained in most medications. This system contains approximately 50 distinct enzymes that address your blood’s workings. The CYP450 system is essential when it comes to drug prescription and establishing the right dosages.
Anticoagulant Effects of CBD
Full-spectrum CBD products such as CBD oil contain a range of cannabinoids and terpenes but have a THC concentration of 0.3% or less. As such, these products contain traces of CBN and THC alongside CBD. In-vitro tests conducted to establish the effect of a cannabis extract on thrombin (enzyme in the blood that causes clotting) activity gave an IC50 value of
9 mg/ml compared to
2 mg/ml for THC . This means that CBD has a greater effect on your body’s clotting system than THC does.
In a separate study, researchers used a cannabis extract to treat obese and lean lab rats. Results indicated that half of the clotting times recorded were two times greater than the control groups (rats that were not treated with the cannabis extract). These studies indicated that the cannabinoids CBD, THC, and CBN have an anticoagulant effect.
Other studies have also indicated that CBD oil affects anticoagulants and platelets by inhibiting their production, thereby increasing blood clotting times.
CBD and Blood Thinners
Studies suggest an interaction between CBD and Warfarin, the most common anticoagulant on the market. The CYP450 system largely metabolizes Warfarin, and CBD appears to inhibit enzymes belonging to this class. This is because it competes as a substrate for the CYP450 system, which may inhibit the system’s activity.
Specifically, CBD may act as a potent competitive inhibitor for all the enzymes in the CYP450 system, which may cause Warfarin to stay in your bloodstream for too long since its breakdown is impaired. As such, taking CBD may increase Warfarin plasma concentration in your body, as well as the INR (time taken for your blood to clot). This could potentially cause bleeding complications.
Is It Safe to Use CBD and Blood Thinners Together?
Blood thinners are a common prescription for people with various medical conditions. And many people turn to CBD oil for relief of some symptoms from chronic medical conditions. While individuals may take these two substances for different reasons, you must be extremely cautious, since not all blood interacts positively with CBD.
Now, we aren’t telling you to throw away your CBD if you are taking blood thinners: instead, you must consult your doctor if you wish to use CBD products.
Many anticoagulants can cause prolonged bleeding, unusual bruising, and gum bleeding. But certain medications such as Dabigatran, Edoxaban, and Heparin have no known interaction with CBD. Still, the effects of combining these medications and CBD is still unclear. Seeking your doctor’s advice before using CBD and blood thinners together, therefore, may prevent any unexpected side effects.
Essentially, CBD can have an additive or synergistic effect with blood thinners. “Additive” would mean that the resultant effect of using the substances together is the combined power of their individual effects. On the other hand, “synergistic” would mean that using the substances together would have a greater effect than the sum of their individual effects. That means that CBD could effectively increase the potency of your prescribed blood thinner, which could be dangerous.
You may ask why it is important to consult your doctor before using an anticoagulant together with CBD. Prescribed medications are absorbed differently by your body and may respond differently when combined with other substances, such as CBD. Your doctor will help you create a viable plan of using the two together, most likely by adjusting your daily intake of CBD. But keep in mind that your doctor may also tell you to avoid CBD entirely. And you should follow all professional medical advice when it comes to your CBD regimen.
Is It Possible to Safely Use CBD and a Blood Thinner?
Provided an anticoagulant isn’t metabolized by your CYP450 system (which also metabolizes CBD), there is a possibility that it can be used together with CBD without causing undesirable effects such as prolonged bleeding. Potentially acceptable anticoagulants include Apixaban and Rivaroxaban.
Dabigatran is another oral anticoagulant that isn’t metabolized through the CYP450 system. What’s more, this blood thinner is one of the few identified with no drug-drug or drug-food interactions. It can be considered a viable substitute for Warfarin. Nevertheless, you should always consult a health practitioner before using any anticoagulant alongside CBD, even a Warfarin substitute.
Now, even if your doctor clears CBD use with blood thinners, the safest approach is to start with a lower than recommended dose for your particular CBD product. If medically permitted, you can increase the dosage gradually, with time, if necessary to achieve your desired effects. Factors such as weight, health, and general tolerance to medication are all variables to consider if you wish to add CBD to your medication regimen.
What Is the Best Way to Take CBD When Using Blood Thinners?
CBD products can be taken in several ways. CBD oil can be taken through sublingual administration (placing under the tongue), vaping, or capsules. Your doctor will help you evaluate the various forms of CBD administration and establish one that is likely to cause the least effect when combined with blood thinners.
Are There Any Side Effects When Using CBD and Blood Thinners?
Depending on your prescribed blood thinner, you may experience various side effects after CBD use. For blood thinners whose interaction with CBD is known (such as Warfarin), undesirable side effects are more likely to occur. Some of these include:
- Prolonged bleeding, including nosebleed, heavy menstrual bleeding, and even internal hemorrhage
- Brown or red urine
- Unusual and frequent bruising
- Black or bloody stool
- Chronic stomach pain
- Vomiting blood
- Unusual tiredness, weakness, or dizziness
- Joint pain and discomfort, especially if you’re injured
These side effects are serious and require immediate medical attention.
Other mild or less serious side effects including:
- Diarrhea and loss of appetite
Can CBD Be Used in Place of Conventional Blood Thinners?
Currently, conclusive studies indicate that CBD can be used in place of anticoagulants such as Warfarin. As such, it would be right to say that CBD is not a medically-sanctioned blood thinner. Rat studies indicate CBD’s possible anticoagulant effects. But these studies only validate the anticoagulant activity of cannabinoids, such as cannabinol (CBN) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Given the limited studies on its anticoagulant activity, CBD cannot be termed as a blood thinner. As such, you should consult a medical practitioner before considering CBD as a possible replacement for any blood-thinning drug. You must also be aware of the possible side effects that may arise from adding CBD to your medication routine. While it may still be beneficial to use CBD products alongside blood thinners, only your doctor can determine the safety of this plan. And, even if you’re allowed to add CBD to your routine, you must consider your health, weight, and the dosage of the CBD product to be used before starting a new routine.While some studies suggest CBD may contribute to blood thinning, the question still remains: Is CBD a blood thinner?
Blood Thinning Properties of Medical Marijuana
Blood Thinning Properties of Medical Marijuana
Many states and cities throughout the nation have started legalizing the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. While this recent, holistic therapy movement has been welcomed with open arms by the many people suffering from debilitating physical and mental conditions that medical marijuana could help alleviate, there are a number of serious concerns that also need to be closely paid attention to. First of all, it should be noted that there is a distinct possibility that medical cannabis could affect some bodily ailments negatively. On top of this, special care should be taken when using medical marijuana while on certain other prescription medications because, in some cases, cannabis can drastically change the way that these medicines affect the body.
One of the most worrisome sets of medications to keep in mind when used in conjunction with marijuana are blood thinners. This is due to the fact that cannabis has some interesting properties that can affect the way that traditional blood-thinning medicines work. Does marijuana thin your blood? This is an important question to consider! Let’s take a closer look at the connection between cannabis and blood thinners below
What is a blood thinner?
Unlike what the term might seem to imply, a blood thinner doesn’t actually “thin” the blood. Instead, a blood thinner is actually any substance that has either anticoagulant or antiplatelet properties. Anticoagulant compounds (which include common medications such as warfarin or heparin) prevent the body’s process of creating blood clots. In cases where blood clots are already in existence, anticoagulants also prevent them from growing larger. Substances with antiplatelet properties (such as aspirin) work slightly differently by preventing platelets, which are a type of blood cell, from sticking together and forming a blood clot.
What medical conditions are blood thinners used to treat?
Blood clots can cause a surprising amount of serious medical problems. Blood clots found in your veins, arteries, lungs, and/or heart can cause circulatory blockages and in some serious cases, heart attacks, strokes, and even death. Blood thinners are commonly used to treat:
- Atrial fibrillation or other conditions that cause abnormal heart rhythms
- Heart valve replacements
- Congenital or other serious heart disorders
- Select chronic blood vessel or heart diseases
- Increased blood clot risks after certain surgeries
What are the dangers of using blood thinners?
Blood thinners are very helpful at preventing blood clots but they can also promote excessive bleeding if not taken properly. This is why it is incredibly important to always follow the directions of your blood thinner medication very closely. Most doctors make it very clear to their patients about how quickly their anticoagulant and antiplatelet medicines can cause abnormal and potentially deadly effects when used in conjunction with certain other medications, foods, vitamins, and alcoholic beverages. It is of the utmost importance to be honest with your health care providers on all of the supplements, medications, and regular lifestyle choices you indulge so that they can monitor you for any potential dangers. Regular blood tests are almost always needed when taking blood thinners consistently in order to confirm their effectiveness and to make sure that the body is not in any dangers of excessive bleeding.
Is marijuana a blood thinner?
To keep it simple and straightforward, cannabis has indeed been shown to have some anticoagulant properties and can certainly act as a blood thinner within the body. Marijuana does this by directly affecting the way that blood platelets clot together. However, due to the overall lack of scientific studies on the topic, cannabis researchers are still not completely sure of the underlying mechanism that is behind this effect.
Is CBD oil a blood thinner ?
Just like cannabis, CBD oil also has blood-thinning properties. This is true even if the CBD oil in question is derived from the hemp plant instead! There have also been a number of cases that have shown that CBD products can directly affect the way that the body reacts to certain blood thinners such as warfarin, ibuprofen, or naproxin. CBD oils seem to affect the way that these medications are broken down by the body. Most notably, CBD seems to block the metabolism of the above blood thinners in the liver by affecting a group of enzymes known as cytochrome P450. This CBD oil and cytochrome P450 interaction causes other blood thinners to build up in higher levels within the body and prolong their effects. If gone unchecked, this reaction could easily result in excessive bleeding or an internal hemorrhage!
Can you switch to medical marijuana or CBD oil as an alternative to your current blood-thinning medicines?
More scientific research still needs to be conducted in order to confirm how effective and safe medical cannabis can be as an alternative option to traditional blood-thinning medicines. This is why if a particular patient wants to switch their current blood thinners with medical marijuana, they need to do so with caution under the watchful eye of an experienced doctor. Since cannabis has blood-thinning properties, many medical professionals have already told their patients on blood thinners to completely avoid using products that contain any marijuana compounds. However, many of their concerns are due to the lack of scientific research available to confirm the way that cannabis use affects the manner that other blood thinners work.
Either way, you have to be very transparent with your doctors if you are already on blood-thinning medications and are thinking about using medical marijuana as an alternative. There is no need to really worry about any potential “backlash” from your health providers based on the past negative stigma surrounding marijuana when comes to ensuring that you aren’t chancing any serious health issues
Why is there such a lack of knowledge on the connection between marijuana, hemp oil and blood thinners?
The lack of information available on the complicated interactions between cannabis, hemp products, and blood-thinning medications is primarily due to the fact that the United States’ federal government considers marijuana a Schedule 1 drug. A Schedule 1 compound includes any drug that the national government considers to have no medicinal value at all. This legal factor makes it notoriously difficult to legally research marijuana and its derivative products in our country. Luckily, there still have been some recent studies conducted over the past decade (usually in other countries). And while many of these research projects have started to indicate the positive possibilities of medical marijuana therapy, the US government has still not fully caught up with this potential news and changed their scheduling of cannabis. Hopefully, this confusion will all soon change and open up medical marijuana to more people that are in need.
Hopefully, by this point, you should be able to easily answer any friend of yours that asks “Does marijuana thin blood?” If you live in the state of Florida, feel as if you need some more clarification on this subject, or have any other questions on anything related to medical cannabis treatments, please contact us at BioFit as soon as possible! It would be our pleasure to help you get more knowledge about one of the newest developments in the medical world: marijuana! Please give us a call today if you are interested!If you live in Miami and you need some clarification about the blood-thinning properties of medical marijuana, please contact us at BioFit! ]]>