Potential Adverse Drug Events and Drug-Drug Interactions with Medical and Consumer Cannabidiol (CBD) Use
Cannabidiol (CBD) is ubiquitous in state-based medical cannabis programs and consumer products for complementary health or recreational use. CBD has intrinsic pharmacologic effects and associated adverse drug events (ADEs) along with the potential for pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic drug-drug interactions (DDIs). Given CBD use among patients with complex conditions and treatment regimens, as well as its expanded consumer use, awareness of potential safety issues with CBD is needed. Prescribing information for federally approved products containing CBD were reviewed. Data on ADEs and DDIs were extracted and summarized. Nearly one-half of CBD users experienced ADEs, which displayed a general dose-response relationship. Common ADEs include transaminase elevations, sedation, sleep disturbances, infection, and anemia. Given CBD effects on common biological targets implicated in drug metabolism (e.g., CYP3A4/2C19) and excretion (e.g., P-glycoprotein), the potential for DDIs with commonly used medication is high. General clinical recommendations of reducing substrate doses, monitoring for ADEs, and finding alternative therapy should be considered, especially in medically complex patients. CBD is implicated as both a victim and perpetrator of DDIs and has its own ADE profile. These effects should be considered in the risk-benefit assessment of CBD therapy and patients and consumers made aware of potential safety issues with CBD use.
Potential Adverse Drug Events with Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) Due to
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. While the safety of THC and cannabis has been extrapolated from millennia of recreational use, medical marijuana programs have increased exposure among medically complex individuals with comorbid conditions and many co-prescribed medications. Thus, THC should be recognized as a pharmacologically complex compound with potential for drug-drug interactions and adverse drug events. This review summarizes potential adverse drug events related to THC when combined with other medications. Metabolic drug-drug interactions are primarily due to THC conversion by CYP3A4 and CYP2C9, which can be impacted by several common medications. Further, CYP2C9 polymorphisms are highly prevalent in certain racial groups (up to 35% in Caucasians) and increase the bioavailability of THC. THC also has broad interactions with drug-metabolizing enzymes and can enhance adverse effects of other medications. Pharmacodynamic interactions include neurological effects, impact on the cardiovascular system, and risk of infection. General clinical recommendations for THC use include starting with low doses and titrating to desired effects. However, many interactions may be unavoidable, dose-limiting, or a barrier to THC-based therapy. Future work and research must establish sufficient data resources to capture medical marijuana use for such studies. Meanwhile, clinicians should balance the potential risks of THC and cannabis and the lack of strong evidence of efficacy in many conditions with patient desires for alternative therapy.