Does CBD Oil Thin Your Blood

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Does CBD Thin Your Blood? A question that has been messaged to me multiple times over the past month, I wanted to cover off whether CBD thins your blood, how different products might affect this The short answer is – no, in most cases cannabis and specific cannabinoids do not seem to act as strong blood thinners. Is CBD oil good for you? Bad for you? Something in between? What are the side effects of CBD oil?

Does CBD Thin Your Blood?

A question that has been messaged to me multiple times over the past month, I wanted to cover off whether CBD thins your blood, how different products might affect this and why this is important for you.

As you take CBD oil, one of the side effects is it can increase the quantity of coumadin, which is known to thin your blood. Coumadin, also known as Warfarin Sodium, is an anticoagulant, which means it thins the blood and extends the time it takes to clot the blood. As you can imagine, there are many medical reasons why this might be wanted.

CBD has been shown in multiple studies to dilate blood vessels, which in turn helps the circulatory system, such as this test which showed a small quantity had a significant impact on the test subjects blood pressure in stress situations.

Another test, performed on an obese rat (again, another reason why we need more human testing as most of the tests are based on rats currently) showed that the cannabis extract had the anticoagulant effect they were aiming for.

Grapefruit Effect

For anyone who hasn’t heard of the grapefruit effect, it is that taking a grapefruit when having a blood thinner medication can have an effect on the medicine working. The main medicines that are affected by eating grapefruits include statins, calcium channel blockers, entocort, cyclosporin and cytotoxic medicines. It should be stated that this isn’t a definitive list, there are many more, which is why you must speak to your doctor.

It affects the medicine by increasing the amount in your blood, which can obviously have side effects or change the way it is meant to work.

The same effects have been seen when taking CBD oil, therefore if you are taking any of these medications then it might not be recommendable to have CBD oil.

Considering all of these factors, this is why it is even more important that the brands are held to account and deliver the quantities they state on the pack. As it stands, they are registered as food supplements rather than medicine, meaning the regulations are more relaxed, so you should read up on the third party lab test results and only opt for reputable brands. Ignore anything which is being produced in China, I promise you that!

Is There A Difference Between Topical & Oral?

Absolutely, in most tests, when taken topically (on the skin, such as a cream), it didn’t thin your blood, meaning you could gain all the benefits associated with a CBD cream without the worry of what it might do if on medication. Having said that, people who are taking CBD oil sublingually are normally after a very different treatment than if they are using a cream.

None Before Tattoo’s

Just the same as being told you can’t take painkillers or drink alcohol before getting a tattoo, as the blood becomes very thin, pours out and makes it much harder for the artist, the exact same has been witnessed with CBD oil. Obviously, this is a frustration for people who were hoping to take it to calm their nerves before getting this procedure done.

Just the same, you might want to consider this if you are having any work done or an operation. It might help to calm your nerves, but the doctor will have to know about this and will most likely to tell you not to take any in the days leading up to this, but once again, you should speak to a medical professional beforehand.

Does That Mean It Is A Bad Thing?

No, absolutely not, this could be opening up huge new opportunities to tackle some of our biggest health issues, such as strokes and heart disease. Having said that, we need a huge amount more test studies to be taken before anyone can state one way or the other.

Is cannabis a blood thinner?

Ever wondered how cannabinoids like THC or CBD affect your blood? It may seem like a weird question, but it is a vitally important one for anyone taking anticoagulant medications and considering using cannabis. It turns out that this issue has been under-researched and could have significant impacts on patients who may be at greater risk of heart attacks and strokes.

What is a blood thinner?

It is not uncommon for patients at a high risk of blood clots and strokes to receive medications called “anticoagulants” or “antiplatelet drugs”, often generically referred to as “blood thinners.” These drugs do exactly what you might expect – prevent blood from forming a clot. It is important to note that while clotting is good and necessary when you have a cut or injury, forming a clot inappropriately can be highly dangerous. Blood clots can greatly interrupt blood flow to the surrounding tissue, causing serious damage to important organs, and sometimes death. Some common examples of anticoagulant blood thinning medications on the market include warfarin (Coumadin), heparin, apixaban (Eliquis), and enoxaparin (Lovenox). One of the most common examples of an antiplatelet drug is aspirin.

How do blood thinners work?

Blood thinners typically act in one of two ways – as anticoagulants or antiplatelets. But before we explain how these drugs work, it is important to understand a couple of things about blood clotting in the human body.

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Blood consists of several primary constituents including plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Whenever we injure ourselves and break a blood vessel, causing bleeding, platelets start to attach to the damaged tissue and act as a kind of cork that plugs the hole in the blood vessel. 1

Blood thinners disrupt the blood clotting process in one of two ways. Anticoagulants typically slow down the process of blood clotting by interrupting clotting factors, whereas antiplatelet drugs prevent platelets from coming together to form blood clots in the first place.

Typically, “blood thinners” refer to anticoagulants, though you may find the term “blood thinner” applied to either anticoagulants or antiplatelet drugs.

Does weed thin your blood?

The short answer is – no, in most cases cannabinoids do not seem to act as strong blood thinners. There are very few case studies that report anticoagulant effects in cannabis patients, and the ones that do exist involve using cannabis with traditional anticoagulant medications. 2

While the general concensus is that phytocannabinoids (derived from the cannabis plant) do not cause anticoagulations, there has been only one study that found that THC, CBD and CBN could thin the blood of obese rodents. Preclinical rodent studies are challenging to interpret, however, as the results very often don’t directly scale to the human biological system. In this study the authors speculated that cannabinoids may be inhibiting an enzyme in blood plasma called thrombin, which promotes blood clotting. Additionally, the authors noted that THC (and CBD for that matter) are known to interact with receptors known as PPARy 3 , which are highly present in blood vessels. Lastly the authors note that certain endocannabinoids like anandamide may promote clotting, but these tests were in vitro (aka in a laboratory test-tube), not in a living animal. 4

There have also been reports that synthetic cannabinoids, aka spice or K2, may cause blood thinning due to contaminants found mixed with the cannabinoids. Basically, rat poison designed to work by making rodents bleed to death is occasionally mixed with synthetic cannabinoids, either accidentally or as a cutting agent, which can cause coagulopathy (aka inappropriate clotting). In this case, hundreds of patients were seen in emergency departments in 2018 with signs of bleeding with no known cause. It was later found that many of these patients had been consuming synthetic cannabinoid products, and these products were contaminated with rat poison. This is yet another cautionary tale regarding synthetic cannabinoids and another reason why cannabis regulations allowing for safe access to cannabis are so important. 5 6

Is it safe to use THC with blood thinners?

This is a tricky one given the lack of research. In general patients taking anticoagulants often have cardiovascular issues, which can be problematic with cannabis use as THC is known to cause changes in heart rate and blood pressure. This effect is particularly strong with smoking or vaping THC products, but can also happen with edibles. So it follows that THC should likely be avoided if a patient is taking blood thinners.

If a patient is taking anticoagulants, that could indicate that their cardiovascular system may not be in the best of health to begin with. This can be problematic with cannabis use, in particular THC which is known to cause changes in heart rate and blood pressure. Generally, patients with high risks of strokes, heart attacks and other cardiovascular dysfunction are those most commonly prescribed blood thinners. Since THC carries its own risk of exacerbating cardiovascular issues in susceptible users and should likely be avoided if a patient is taking blood thinners. 7

As far as THC’s anticoagulant effects are concerned, there is very limited evidence that THC may act as an anticoagulant by inhibiting thrombin, but that evidence is in rodents and stems from only one study mentioned previously. The real concern about THC in this population is actually related to blood pressure, heart rate and heart rhythm; an older heart may be even more susceptible to these changes. 8 9

CBD and Blood Thinners

As mentioned previously, CBD is a known PPARy receptor agonist, causing vasorelaxation and lowering blood pressure. CBD is also known to interfere with the normal function of certain enzymes already inside of us, known as cytochrome P450 enzymes. These CYP450 enzymes are all over our bodies and play important roles in metabolizing food and drugs. Cannabidiol is a known inhibitor of some CYP enzymes, leading to an increased risk of pharmaceutical drug interactions. And CBD is not alone in this effect. Many other phytocannabinoids do carry this potential to interfere with liver enzymes – though all of them do so with lesser potency than CBD. In simple terms, CBD can slow the body’s ability to break down common medications – including blood thinners.

There are multiple case reports available which detail situations in which patients have experienced herb-drug or drug-drug interactions between CBD and a common anticoagulant, warfarin (Coumadin). In one instance, a 46-year-old male patient required a nearly 20% reduction in their warfarin dose after beginning Epidiolex, a pharmaceutical containing CBD isolate in a liquid solution. In another instance, a 44 year-old male patient required a 30% dose reduction in warfarin after starting to use CBD oil. There was, however, one case report where this drug interaction did not occur. 10 11 12 13 14

These drug interactions highlight some important lessons. First, it is important to recognize that pharmaceutical interactions with cannabis are very real and can be dangerous if not monitored properly – especially in the context of drugs like blood thinners. However, there is a flip side to this drug interaction issue. Oftentimes, if a patient and their physician are aware of these potential interactions, it’s possible a patient could choose to continue using anticoagulants and cannabis together. This combination would likely warrant close monitoring of the anticoagulant effects, and would certainly require increased communication between the patient and the medical provider. But if monitored properly, it’s possible that the dose of patient’s anticoagulants could be reduced, possibly reducing the risk of serious negative side effects from those medications while still deriving benefit from the cannabinoids.

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Bottom line: Talk to your healthcare provider

So what does all of this mean? Is marijuana a blood thinner?

According to the miniscule amount of research that has been performed so far on this topic, it is possible that cannabinoids like THC or CBD could act as anticoagulants, and the endocannabinoid system is involved in platelet aggregation. However, it appears this effect may only be in certain contexts, for instance, in the rodent study that identified anticoagulant effects of THC, CBD and CBN, the rodents were obese rodents in a simulated Type-2 diabetes model. In that scenario, cannabinoids exhibited anticoagulant effects by inhibiting the blood clotting signaling compound thrombin. However, we do not know how that would scale up to humans with Type 2 diabetes or other conditions. 15

We do know that cannabinoids can interact negatively with blood thinning medications, either by inhibiting their breakdown and elevating their concentrations in the body or by preventing their activation. In both cases, this can be extremely dangerous for patients, as coagulation of blood is a fine balance of clotting and bleeding, and the result of managing these medications poorly can be as serious as death. This is why it is so important to talk to a healthcare professional if you plan to try using cannabis in combination with anticoagulant and antiplatelet medications. Your physician can arrange regular blood tests to monitor for interactions with other medications and take appropriate steps as needed to keep you safe.

So for now, the jury is still out. There is a tiny bit of preclinical evidence that cannabinoids may affect blood’s ability to clot, but a lot more research is still needed. However if you combine cannabis products, especially CBD, with your anticoagulant or antiplatelet medication, be sure to take extra caution to monitor the effects with your doctor.

What Are the Side Effects of CBD Oil?

Is CBD oil good for you? Bad for you? Something in between? What are the side effects of CBD oil?

Cannabidiol, or CBD oil, is an extract from the cannabis plant. It has boomed in the wake of the legalized marijuana movement, now that businesses can grow and sell the substance freely in several states.

Advocates market CBD oil typically as a health supplement, and they do so comprehensively. It has started showing up everywhere from web banners to smoothie shops. While it has few recreational properties, CBD oil’s boom in recent years is through the quasi-medical field. Like turmeric, ginseng and tinctures, CBD oil promises to ease a wide variety of ailments without the invasiveness of pharmaceutical drugs.

The question is… what is it really doing to you?

Does CBD Oil Work?

Cannabidiol is one of the two active ingredients in marijuana, but on its own is not enough to get you high. It can, though, help you feel better under the right circumstances.

While doctors and researchers take CBD oil’s role in medicine seriously, much of its profile has been raised by salesmen who make extravagant promises that no medicine (no less supplement) could hope to fulfill.

Some CBD oil salesmen promise that their product can cure everything from anxiety to cancer. They cram it into every product that can soak up a liquid, including gummies, shampoo, toothpastes and even pills for your cat. In the low-water mark for any “medical” supplement, you can now buy it at many juice bars and coffee shops as an additive that can somehow take your banana-strawberry smoothie to 11.

All of which is a shame, because this associates CBD oil with the bottomless deceit that is the world of medical supplements. Yet the substance has some early promise. As noted on Harvard Medical School’s website, CBD oil has some evidence linking it to treatment for epilepsy, seizures, chronic pain and arthritis.

There isn’t enough evidence to say that the oil definitely does help with these things, nor that simply cramming some in a milkshake will do the slightest bit of good, just that doctors are optimistic about their research. For more information on the medicine of CBD oil, see our article here.

What Are the Side Effects?

That’s how CBD oil might help. But can it hurt? Usually, no. It is generally not habit-forming, and most side effects are minor.

According to a report by the World Health Organization, “CBD appears to have little effect on conditioned place preference or intracranial self-stimulation… [It] exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.”

“To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

In other words, there is no evidence at the moment that CBD oil tends to be either physically or psychologically habit forming.

Dangerous Side Effects of CBD Oil

There are some known real risks to CBD oil, however. Be absolutely certain to consult a doctor before using CBD oil if any of the below apply to you.

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It can lower your blood pressure and interact with medication.

Mostly, CBD oil is benign. Its side effects might leave you feeling unwell for a little while, but they will pass. But this is a medication, even if it is marketed carelessly, and that means it can have a powerful effect on your body.

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CBD oil can act as a blood thinner and in doing so it can lower your blood pressure. For someone who has issues with blood pressure this can pose very real risks.

It can also interact with medications through “the exact same mechanism that grapefruit juice does,” according to an article on the Harvard health blog. While rarely a significant concern, on certain medications these interactions can be harmful or even deadly, according to the FDA. If you have blood pressure issues, are taking prescription drugs or have ever been warned about ingesting fruit juice, citrus or fermented products, consult your doctor before touching CBD oil.

It can make Parkinson’s disease worse.

Some research indicates that CBD oil can exacerbate the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. This research is ongoing, but patients should avoid the product until more definitive results come out.

Mild Side Effects of CBD Oil

Most of the side effects of CBD oil are moderate. Unless you fall into one of the specific categories above, the odds are that this is a generally benign product with limited negative consequences, according to one research paper. Most of those include:

It can cause nausea and general sickness.

Nausea and gastrointestinal issues are a pretty common side effect of CBD oil. This can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness and other symptoms associated with a digestive problem (think how you would feel after eating something that disagreed with you). In part, some people simply don’t digest CBD oil well. This is not uncommon with oils and supplements.

However, this is also often caused by the fact that this is an unregulated supplement. There are no standards for dosage and safe measurement, so it’s quite possible that you could get an amount far in excess of what your body can handle. At this point, your body will simply flush it out. Unpleasantly.

It can cause drowsiness and light-headedness.

This side effect should come as no surprise. Doctors have long looked at cannabis as a treatment for sleep disorders, and CBD oil is no exception. Putting you to sleep is a feature, not a bug. Just don’t be surprised if your CBD latte doesn’t pack the caffeine punch you expected.

It can cause loss of appetite and dry mouth.

Ironically, perhaps, for a cannabis product, CBD oil has been linked to loss of appetite in some people. Along with dry mouth, it can simply leave you feeling unpleasant after ingesting. As with most other side effects, this will pass in time.

Is CBD Oil Legal?

Like all things marijuana, the legal status of CBD oil is ambiguous and highly state-dependent. While many states have legalized it for production and sale, this still violates federal law. The Department of Justice has currently decided not to prosecute individuals for possession and sale of marijuana products in states where this is legal, but that’s a discretionary act.

Once again this gets complicated. When extracted from cannabis, CBD oil counts as a marijuana product. However, in some cases growers can produce CBD oil from hemp. The 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act made this form of CBD oil production legal under federal law.

Cannabis-extract CBD oil is typically legal in states that have also legalized recreational marijuana, however its status is usually complicated.

CBD oil in all forms is regulated as a medical supplement, because this is typically how it is advertised. As a result, only five states currently have no significant restrictions on its sale and consumption. Every other state has either restricted it through marijuana laws or limits the sale of CBD oil in some form, whether through food and drink regulation, medical regulation or other forms of restriction.

In short, there’s a different answer for this question for every single state. Make sure to research the laws of your state carefully, and for more information check out our article here.

The Bottom Line

Like most supplements, CBD oil rarely does what it promises. It does have some early medical potential, and doctors may prescribe it for patients at risk of seizure or with inflammatory issues. However, as an over-the-counter oil or when infused into a snack cake it probably won’t do you much good. You may see some benefits in connection with CBD oil’s anti-anxiety or sleep aid properties, but the odds are that any real improvements are largely psychosomatic.

Still, if it works for you there’s probably no harm in it either. Unless you fall into one of the specific categories listed above, CBD oil’s side effects are generally mild and of limited duration. Like with all medical changes, alert your doctor if you begin taking it regularly, but otherwise it will probably do neither harm nor good.

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