CBD is a cannabinoid compound naturally found in the cannabis plant (commonly called the weed). This non-psychoactive chemical compound has a relaxing and calming effect on the body. Thus, it is becoming increasingly popular for its usage in the treatment of anxiety, chronic pain, sleeping disorders and even skincare.
CBD is commonly used in the form of plant extracted oil diluted with any carrier oil or in the form of pills in varying dosage levels.
As evidenced by the growing scientific research on CBD, a lot of people consider CBD to be a safer alternative for treating anxiety and pain. But how safe is it to consume along with existing SSRI medications, which are used to treat conditions like anxiety and depression? One would need in-depth information for informed usage.
CBD And SSRI Interaction
Before understanding how CBD and SSRI interact, it is necessary to understand how these two compounds work.
CBD reacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors of our central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system, respectively. While the exact mechanism of CBD is not known, it is understood with this interaction, CBD can alter the serotonin signals in our body. Serotonin is an important chemical compound related to various human body functions such as memory, mood regulation, cognitive abilities, and emotional responses and is often called the happy chemical.
Low serotonin levels can cause anxiety, depression and conversely, higher levels of serotonin can reverse such symptoms.
SSRI stands for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. What the usual SSRI medications do is inhibit serotonin reuptake by neurons and thus increase the serotonin levels in the body. Medications like sertraline and fluoxetine are SSRI prescription-only drugs that help improve mood by increasing serotonin levels in the brain.
Both SSRIs and CBD have a similar effect on our bodies. Hence, some people might be able to replace SSRI usage with CBD.
So, the effects of their interaction could be harmless and safe for consumption. But there remain two important concerns when one wants to take CBD with anti-depressant medications.
CBD is not FDA approved yet and one will have to be careful to source it from reliable suppliers and be wary of the right dosage for consumption.
The second concern would be that CBD could interfere with the metabolization of the SSRI medications. The effects of CBD can be similar to that of grapefruit as both interfere with cytochromes P450 enzymes involved in drug metabolism.
There is very little research into the actual effects of CBD and SSRI mixing, and any assumption made on their interaction is more hypothetical than real. All the existing research shows that CBD has a very minimal side effect. So taking it along with your SSRI medication should be made after consultation with one’s doctor.
CBD For SSRI Withdrawal
A phased reduction of SSRI usage and CBD intake can be used to slowly go off the SSRI medication without having to undergo the withdrawal effects.
CBD Vs SSRI For Anxiety
Some anti-depressant and anxiety medications like benzodiazepines are addictive. CBD is a better alternative that is a nonaddictive and nonpsychoactive compound and is fairly effective in treating anxiety.
Anxiety medications can also cause side effects like drowsiness, agitation, insomnia and so on, which is very minimal with CBD consumption.
Several studies, both on humans and animals, have shown that CBD is effective in treating anxiety.
CBD also offers a holistic treatment option and is found to be beneficial for various purposes like alleviating cancer symptoms, reducing acne, neuroprotection, protecting cells from alcohol degeneration, and so on.