For those who take certain medications, it’s worth asking about the relationship between CBD topicals and blood thinners. If you’re suffering from muscle and joint pain, a topical cream may be able to help reduce inflammation. But if there’s any risk of a bad interaction with other medication, don’t trade one ailment for another.
The best advice is for you to speak with your physician about the medications you take and how CBD will affect them. Oftentimes, doctors will order blood tests and physicals to see how your body reacts to the combination of cannabidiol with a blood thinner.
In short, don’t gamble with your health. Speak to a doctor about taking CBD first. In many cases, combining blood thinner medication with a light topical doesn’t pose a health risk. However, only your doctor can tell you for sure.
The more you know about these compounds, the easier it will be to make a decision about what to do. Let’s take a look at the relationship between CBD topicals and blood thinners.
The Grapefruit Warning
If you take blood thinners, you shouldn’t eat certain foods, specifically those which either thin blood or encourage more clotting. Doing so will offset the blood thinner’s role in your body. Simple enough, right?
One such food is grapefruit. For whatever reason, citrus fruits like this one have the ability to offset medications like felodipine and nifedipine in a way where the drug is not properly absorbed by enzymes. In the worst cases, this can lead to toxic doses.
Why does this happen?
Cytochrome P450 3A4
All living creatures have cytochromes in their bodies. They play a crucial role in oxidizing and clearing out certain compounds at the end of bodily processes, preventing the residual buildup of waste in the body.
Cytochromes are categorized by letter, then by number to identify how they work and what they normally metabolize. In humans, the most prominent cytochrome in drug interactions is called P450, or CYP3A4 for short. These cytochromes send electrical signals across the brain to trigger the release of enzymes and put a natural stop to certain processes.
This ability to trigger enzymes and metabolize other compounds is what makes CYP3A4 of interest in CBD interactions.
How Drugs Affect Cytochromes
Medication doesn’t always imbue your body with new chemicals to tackle challenges. In most cases, drugs just help your body produce substances on its own.
As mentioned earlier, enzymes exist to stop natural processes. This may seem like your body is working against you, but the consequences of drawn-out, unchecked growth can cause mutative diseases and other health risks. Enzymes are important, but sometimes slowing them down can help more.
By delaying the enzymes, drugs prolong the production of hormones and other growth. They weaken the cytochrome for a short while, allowing other substances to absorb into the body.
Grapefruit & Cytochromes
Like CBD, grapefruit inhibits CYP3A4 to allow the body to produce hormones for longer. While this is great for the hormones, it might not be for other drugs in the body.
When grapefruit slows the cytochrome down, the body can no longer metabolize the blood thinner medication as it did before. Depending on the drug, it can either absorb too quickly or trickle in too slowly. Either way, the drug doesn’t work as intended, and it can pose a health risk.
In short, if your prescription label mentions grapefruit, talk to your doctor before taking CBD topicals. Phew, we made it through that part.
Why Topicals Might Be Different
Unlike oral ingestion of CBD, such as with a vape pen or tincture dropper, topicals generally can’t penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream. Is it possible? Sure, but not likely.
Topicals are only meant to provide localized relief, and they do so by taking advantage of your body’s expansive endocannabinoid system (ECS). As one of Mother Nature’s oldest evolutionary systems, the ECS plays a big role in keeping you healthy and happy.
With receptors all throughout the body, taking CBD can affect a variety of different systems. One of the organs that contain cannabinoid receptors is your biggest organ—the skin. When you put CBD topicals on your skin, those receptors trigger absorb the cannabinoids and begin slowing down the inflammatory response that can cause pain.
This is what makes CBD oil an effective method for anti-inflammation, and it’s why more and more people are choosing it as an alternative to pain relief patches and pill-based medication—CBD is not psychoactive, non-toxic, and simply doesn’t pose the same health hazards as other common medications (like Fentanyl).
Should You Use a CBD Topical?
As mentioned earlier, if you take a blood thinner medication, it’s worth talking to your doctor—they’re going to give you a more accurate answer than some internet blog—but there are communities out there where people ask questions about this kind of thing.
So you’ve talked to your doctor and you feel confident about using CBD as a topical. What’s next? Should you buy the cheapest CBD topical you can find on Amazon? Can’t hurt, right?
Wrong. You should always invest in quality CBD products. At the very least, they’re going to work as intended so you don’t waste your money. There are plenty of horror stories about people buying CBD for the first time only to write it off as a fad product with no value. There’s no good reason to buy subpar products—get something good the first time.
How can you know what’s going to work? There are a few indicators of good products.
Read Lab Reports
Because there’s so little regulation on CBD supplements, it’s easy for anyone to sell whatever they can get for cheap. This results in poorly grown hemp, dry powder isolates without any terpenes, or even products that don’t contain real CBD!
The answer to this is to obtain documentation that shows exactly what is in the product. Lab reports do exactly this—they detail CBD percentages, as well as the presence of toxic chemicals, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, heavy metals, and mycotoxins. Lab reports are a great way to know what you’re paying for.
When a vendor furnishes lab reports, it is proof that their products have been tested for quality and truly contain the supplements they promise. Lab reports aren’t cheap, so if your vendor has them, you can take confidence that they have your best interests at heart.
What’s Everyone Else Saying?
Reviews may not be as trustworthy as they were a few years ago, but they still matter. Read what people have to say about the effectiveness of the vendor’s products and the level of customer service they received. Happy customers usually mean quality products. Usually…
Check the vendor’s inventory to see which kinds of products would work best for you, make an order, and give it a try.
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