In a new study conducted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, researchers have discovered potential interactions between Cannabidiol oil (CBD oil) and common anti-epilepsy drugs. According to the Birmingham Business Journal, researchers set out to determine the viability of using CBD oil, a derivative of the cannabis plant, as a treatment for epilepsy. Researchers also sought to determine any potential interactions between CBD oil and patients’ currently prescribed anti-epilepsy medicine.
The study consisted of examining the blood levels of 81 patients enrolled in the CBD trials, 39 adults and 42 children. Researchers found that when taking CBD, there was typically an increase in the level of the anti-seizure medication found in the patient’s blood. This increase was found to be outside of the normal therapeutic range for the drug. A small number of patients also saw an increase in liver enzymes, which researchers say is a precursor for potential liver damage. While the extent of these negative side affects was relatively small, further research is still needed.
Cannabis oil has been at the forefront of state politics across the country as advocates for its medicinal uses have strongly supported its decriminalization. The Alabama state legislature passed “Leni’s Law” last April, making it legal to use CBD oil to treat seizure disorders and other severe medical conditions. Since then, researchers have sought to determine the impact that CBD oil could have on a patient’s drug regimen. With very little data to go on, it is imperative that the oil be researched and treated like any other drug placed on the market.
Tyler Gaston, assistant professor in the neurology department in UAB’s School of Medicine, pointed out that it is essential that physicians are aware of any potential side effects resulting from CBD oil.
“If CBD oil gets FDA approval, physicians will need to know about any potential interactions before they prescribe. Right now, health care providers don’t know what to check for. Our study found a few interactions, which now need to be confirmed and disseminated to providers so they can monitor their patients appropriately.”
While UAB’s study was able to determine a few interactions between CBD oil and other drugs, researchers stressed that additional, in-depth studies are needed. The next step for researchers is to compare patients using CBD oil with a placebo to those using CBD oil with other drugs. This would allow researchers to confirm this study’s findings under controlled conditions.