CBD and Zofran (Ondansetron) – November 2020
Can one take CBD with Zofran, and are there any interactions that should cause some concerns? Find out how CBD can help with nausea, vomiting, and other health issues.
Is it Safe to Combine CBD and Zofran?
Zofran is an antiemetic (anti-nausea) medication that works by blocking the neurotransmitter serotonin from binding to its receptors. Inhibiting the activity of serotonin has been established to reduce nausea and vomiting in clinical studies of both animals and humans.
Zofran is potentially dangerous to take CBD while on a Zofran prescription. While CYP2D6 and CYP3A4 metabolize Zofran, CBD blocks both of these enzymes, which results in an increased amount of Zofran that enters the bloodstream. Thus, CBD may also slow down the body’s ability to clear the antiemetic drug from one’s system.
Having the drug in one’s system for an extended period could also lead to life-threatening or fatal side effects, such as serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome happens when one takes medications that cause high levels of the chemical serotonin to accumulate in the body. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include muscle rigidity, diarrhea, headache, and heavy sweating.
Meanwhile, a study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology showed the effect of combining a cannabis-based medicine with standard antiemetic therapy, such as Zofran. Results indicated that the drug combination was well tolerated, and it provided more protection against delayed chemo-induced nausea.
Mostly, the patients in the study were able to use less Zofran gradually. They felt better within a period of three to five days after chemotherapy, as compared to taking Zofran alone. The non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD interacts with serotonin release receptors and has been shown to help alleviate nausea and vomiting. However, the study was only done on a few patients, and not all cancer types were represented. Thus, more extensive clinical trials are necessary to validate the initial results.
There have been reports from some people taking CBD that it has helped them lessen their use of conventional anti-nausea medications like Zofran. Still, combining CBD and Zofran may pose risks. One should never combine CBD and Zofran without the express knowledge, advice, and strict supervision of a medical professional.
How Zofran Helps with Nausea and Vomiting?
Zofran is used to help treat nausea and vomiting in surgical patients and those undergoing cancer treatment with chemotherapy. It is sometimes prescribed to treat severe nausea and vomiting in pregnant women as well, although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved Zofran for this purpose.
Zofran works by inhibiting the activity of a neurotransmitter, a chemical that relays messages within and between nerve cells. As an antagonist, Zofran prevents the neurotransmitter from binding to its receptors. The result of inhibiting the binding of serotonin to its receptors has been shown to alleviate nausea and vomiting.
Before starting a Zofran therapy, one should inform his or her doctor if there is a personal or family history of Long QT syndrome. The term Long QT refers to an abnormal pattern seen on an EKG (electrocardiogram). LQTS is a heart rhythm disorder and can cause sudden and uncontrollable arrhythmias (problems with irregular heartbeat).
A 32-mg intravenous dose of Zofran may affect QT interval prolongation, which may result in abnormal and potentially fatal heart arrhythmia. Serious side effects of Zofran include blurred vision or temporary vision loss lasting from a few minutes to several hours. Slow heart rate, difficulty in breathing, shivering, anxiety, and agitation may also be experienced.
People who take Zofran may also feel like they might faint, or they would urinate less than usual, if at all. Zofran may also impair one’s cognitive function, judgment, or reactions. Thus, when these side effects manifest, one should stop taking Zofran and consult with a doctor immediately.
Can CBD Help with Nausea and Vomiting?
There have been no clinical studies on humans to examine the properties of CBD by itself to regulate nausea and vomiting. However, a study found that a mixture with a ratio of equal parts of CBD and THC was very effective at treating nausea and vomiting. Meanwhile, some animal studies have shown promising results for using CBD alone to help alleviate these conditions.
Anandamide, a fatty acid neurotransmitter, directly impacts nausea and vomiting, as high levels of anandamide seem to help improve symptoms. Experts believe that CBD helps to stop the body from metabolizing anandamide. Thus, anandamide levels in the brain increase.
Managing Nausea and Vomiting with Cannabis
Cannabis can provide relief to patients who experience nausea as a result of chemotherapy, radiation, or other recognizable reasons. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) all show potential benefits both in research labs and in the homes of patients experienced with cannabis.
Cannabis use for nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy or radiation is recognized by some physicians who do not otherwise recommend cannabis. Cannabis is a natural, effective, and well-tolerated by most people. Still, patients should know where their medicine is grown and prepared, and use only third-party lab-tested cannabis that is free of contaminants.
It is best to consult with a healthcare provider before taking CBD oil if one is currently taking any prescription medications. Besides helping one decide whether CBD is safe to take, a medical professional can also offer some advice regarding appropriate CBD dosing that would not cause any adverse effects. A safe way to commence one’s CBD therapy is with a low dose of CBD and only moving to high doses gradually until the desired effect is achieved.
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Can one take CBD with Zofran, and are there any interactions that should cause some concerns? Find out how CBD can help with nausea, vomiting, and other health issues. Is it Safe to Combine CBD and Zofran? Zofran is an antiemetic (anti-nausea) medication that works by blocking the neurotransmitter serotonin from binding to its receptors. Inhibiting the activity of serotonin has been established to reduce nausea and vomiting in clinical studies of both animals and humans.
Your Favorite Relaxation Habit Might Be Secretly Screwing With Your Meds
Yep, even OTC cold meds.
Considering that Martha Stewart now co-hosts a stoner-friendly TV show with Snoop Dogg (thank you, Potluck Dinner Party), it’s pretty safe to say that smoking weed is no longer a habit you need to hide from your mom. (Or your doctor, for that matter.)
But as medical marijuana (and, let’s be real, casual marijuana) use continues to rise, have you ever considered the fact that your weed pen might actually be screwing with some of the other medications you take? Yep, kind of scary.
“There are literally hundreds of of chemicals in the cannabis plant, including the psychoactive chemicals that give us a traditional marijuana high and chemicals that just happen to be in the plant,” says Timothy Brennan, M.D., director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai West and Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospitals. “All of those, of course, are free to interact with prescription, over-the-counter, or any other medications one might be using.”
In fact, some of the compounds in cannabis can trigger certain enzymes that impact the way your body processes medications, Brennan explains. (This isn’t limited to cannabis; if you’ve ever seen a note to avoid grapefruit on your pill bottles, that’s because grapefruit can have the same effect.)
Related: 5 Women Who Use Pot In Their Everyday Lives Share How They Do It
“The problem is that cannabis is still listed as a Schedule I drug through the Drug Enforcement Agency,” he says, which effectively means that researchers aren’t supposed to study it. “That makes it’s very challenging for physicians and medical scientists to do any research on cannabis.”
So, where does that leave you? If you’re going to use marijuana (prescribed or otherwise) while you’re taking other drugs, “being truthful and open with your physician about your medication use is the most important thing, because you could be setting yourself up for potential marijuana drug interactions,” says Brennan. “It could at least plant the seed in a doctor’s mind that if you are suffering from certain side effects related to your other drugs the doctor can investigate if cannabis might be causing that.”
That said, there are a few types of drugs to watch out for if you’re planning on smoking pot.
Antidepressant Medications, or SSRIs and SNRIs
“The key point here is that cannabis is fundamentally a psychoactive compound,” says Brennan. “People use it because it exerts its action on the brain, on the central nervous system receptors.” But antidepressant medications—the most common of which are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), like Zoloft (or sertraline) or Celexa (or ditalopram), and serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), like Cymbalta (or duloxetine)—also exert psychoactive effects on some of the same receptors.
“The challenge for people who have mood disorder or depression is that every time they’re using cannabis, they’re taking another psychoactive drug,” says Brennan. “And that can make it very challenging for a patient or physician to figure out what drug is actually having an effect on what.” Plus, he adds, the cannabis could actually negate the positive effects of prescription medication.
This is what it’s like to suffer from depression:
Anti-Anxiety Medications, or Benzodiazepines
Anti-anxiety medications like Ativan (Lorazepam), Klonopin (Clonazepam), or Xanax (Alprazolam) are all part of a class of medications called benzodiazepines, says Brennan. “Again, you have two psychoactive compounds interacting with each other in the brain,” he says. “If somebody’s really struggling with anxiety, I’d like to know what products are going in their brain so I can better understand how I’m medicating them. But if they’re smoking cannabis at the same time as using Ativan or Klonopin, it’s really hard to figure out what’s going on.”
A lot of people will smoke marijuana and say, “This is the only thing that helps my anxiety!” Other people will say they’re never more paranoid than when they smoke pot. That’s true for prescription drugs, too—people have different reactions to different products. “The challenge with cannabis is there’s no scientific data out there to say it tested against Ativan or Klonopin—the data doesn’t exist,” says Brennan.
Related: ‘How I Told My Partner That I’m HIV-Positive’
You’re already aware that mixing alcohol with sleeping pills is a bad idea. Same goes for pot. “This depends on how much cannabis someone is using and what effect cannabis has on them, but mixing any product that with the opportunity to sedate someone or alter their consciousness is potentially dangerous,” says Brennan. “When you combine cannabis with a sedative hypnotic like Zolpidem or Ambien, I think people could perhaps find themselves in a very usual psychological state.”
If you’ve been prescribed sleeping medication, whether you use it regularly or just to get through those tough red-eye flights, you’re better off sticking to just the prescription medication for the duration of the dose, versus mixing it with cannabis or any other drugs.
Related: 5 Signs Your Exhaustion Is A Symptom Of A Much Bigger Problem
Allergy and Cold Meds
You might think that allergy and cold medicines like Benadryl (diphenhydramine) or Mucinex (guaifenesin) are NBD because you can grab them straight off the drugstore shelves—but if you take them with marijuana, they could have unanticipated effects.
“Benadryl, or allergy and cold meds, are sedative products,” says Brennan. “Some people can take them and go about their day, others take one dose and they’re on the couch for the rest of the day. I think it’s really important for people to remember that cannabis is not a harmless product, and we don’t know how it might interact with even over-the-counter drugs.”
So if you’re sick, stick to just one drug (the cold meds, please) if you want it to work its magic as fast as possible.
Smoking pot can mess with cold medicines, anti-depressants, and more. Experts share potential marijuana drug interactions and how to avoid them.