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cbd oil and ibuprofen

CBD vs Ibuprofen for Managing Pain

Ibuprofen is one of the go-to medications for pain relief. However, there is growing interest in the potential of cannabidiol as an alternative. We’re taking a look at the available research to see how CBD performs in terms of dealing with pain. Let’s dive in.

Conventional medicine will tell you that ibuprofen is one of the most effective means of treating pain. Since the 1960s [1] , it’s been the go-to medication for run-of-the-mill malaises like headaches, toothaches, and back pain.

On the flip side, you have cannabidiol, a promising compound from the cannabis plant. CBD, as it’s most commonly known, has been a subject of study for several conditions, including pain. But, unlike ibuprofen, it does not have approval from medical experts yet.

Regardless, CBD remains in conversation as a natural, versatile compound with intriguing effects. But, how effective is it really? This article aims to answer that question.


How Ibuprofen Works

Ibuprofen is one of the most common forms of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Additionally, it is effective in eliminating fever and headaches.

Ibuprofen works by reducing the hormones that cause both pain and swelling. It inhibits the release of prostaglandins [2] , chemical compounds responsible for controlling inflammation and blood flow.

Ibuprofen specifically targets the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes by decreasing their activity. These two enzymes trigger inflammation and fever [3] .

But, when it comes to benefits, ibuprofen goes beyond just pain control. It’s proven to be effective against rheumatoid arthritis and diseases, minor musculoskeletal injuries, and fever, and it also helps prevent the formation of blood clots.

CBD vs Ibuprofen

We now have a general idea of how ibuprofen works. So, let’s shift our attention to CBD and how it operates in the body.

CBD primarily interfaces with the body via the endocannabinoid system. It doesn’t bind directly to innate receptors in this system (CB1 and CB2), but it can enhance natural endocannabinoid levels and benefit the system in other ways [4] . The ECS is responsible for regulating several major functions, including sleep, pain, immune system response, and appetite. Thus, any compound capable of boosting this system’s efficacy is deemed worthy of exploration.

But, if ibuprofen is so effective, why would we even be courting CBD for its potential? Well, because taking ibuprofen carries several risk factors that are definitely worth taking into account. According to the FDA, NSAIDs including ibuprofen may increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, even with short-term use [5] . Symptoms may arise within a few weeks.

Ibuprofen is derived from propionic acid, the same fatty acid present in processed food. It is primarily used to fight off mould and bacteria, and may severely irritate the skin upon direct interaction. However, the FDA deemed it to have little toxicity [6] in humans.

As for CBD, it is extracted from the hemp plant with the help of a solvent like ethanol or carbon dioxide. The cannabidiol is then transformed into oil, topical, or capsule gel form for consumption.

CBD vs Ibuprofen

Can You Take CBD and Ibuprofen Together?

On the one hand, you have a fast-acting synthetic drug with known side effects and health risks. On the other, you have an organic substance that’s perceived to have its own benefits—without the risks [7] . Looking at it on paper, combining the two isn’t such a bad idea.

And it may not be. This 2019 study [8] , for one, reports no direct interactions between ibuprofen and CBD. However, that isn’t the case with other NSAIDs like naproxen and celecoxib. Experts advise against the co-administration of cannabidiol and these aforementioned drugs.

The likelihood of side effects may vary between individuals. Your best bet here would be to consult your doctor before taking CBD alongside ibuprofen.

Is CBD a better alternative to ibuprofen when it comes to managing pain? Or will it only worsen the situation? Read on to find out.

5 Common Drugs To Avoid When Taking CBD

By Evelyn Valdez

August 27, 2019 in CBD Blog

Table of Contents:

CBD or cannabidiol has been recently popularized due to its numerous medical benefits. The recent passing of the Farm Bill in 2018 has spurred a lot of public interest since CBD provides an alternative to many drugs today. This has caused a significant amount of research to prove CBD’s legitimacy and place in the medical industry.

CBD oil has been used to treat and help many medical illnesses ranging from issues such as pain and inflammation to anxiety. Even though some may doubt CBD’s effectiveness since it can have positive effects in many different ways, many studies have shown that CBD has been both productive and safe to consume.

However, like anything we take into our bodies, there are some unintended risks and side effects when not used properly.

5 Over-the-counter drugs that compete with CBD

Drugs to avoid with CBD

Drug Name Working Ingredient Purpose Compete with CBD
Tylenol Acetaminophen Mild pain and fevers Yes
Advil Ibuprofen Reduce Pain Yes
Motrin Ibuprofen Pain and fever reducer Yes
Walgreens Wal-Finate Chlorpheniramine Allergy relief Yes
CVS Allergy Relief Chlorpheniramine Allergy relief Yes

1) Tylenol

Tylenol Acetaminophen CapletsTylonel is one of the most commonly used pain relievers. This over the counter medicine’s main ingredient is acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is used to treat mild pain and fevers.

Acetaminophen conflicts with CBD when taken together. Both are processed through CYP450, making each drug less effective when processed.

2) Advil

Advil Ibuprofen TabletsHave you heard anyone say take an advil when something is wrong? Advil is one of the most commonly purchased over the counter medicines. The working ingredient in Advil is ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is used to reduce the hormones that cause inflammation.

Ibuprofen is one of the drugs that interacts with the CYP450. When a drug like Advil and CBD are both ingest, they compete to accomplish the same goal, reduce pain.

3) Motrin

Motrin Ibuprofen TabletsMotrin is Advil’s direct competitor. Similar to Advil, their working ingredient utilizes ibuprofen. Ibuprofen has been a staple when treating pain. Similar to Advil, Motrin is processed through the CYP450. The efficiency of the CYP450 is diminished when multiple drugs are run through its system. CBD targets a lot of the same problems.

4) Walgreens Wal-Finate Allergy Relief Tablets

Walgreens Wal-Finate Allergy Relief TabletsWalgreens is one of the largest pharmacy chains in America. Their Walgreens brand allergy relief tablets known as Wal-Finate Allergy Relief Tablets is widely used for common allergies. The working ingredient in their product is chlorpheniramine. Chlorpheniramine is an antihistamine and is processed through the CYP450. By taking CBD with this allergy relief tablet, the effectiveness can be diminished.

5) CVS Health 4-Hour Allergy Relief

CVS Allergy Relief MedicineSimilar to how Advil and Motrin are rivals, CVS is the leading competition with Walgreens. Both powerhouses have their own brand of medicine. CVS Health 4-Hour Allergy Relief uses the active ingredient chlorpheniramine to combat allergies as well. CVS brand allergy medicine is also under the list of drugs that can conflict with CBD when both taken.

The Cytochrome P-450 System

The Cytochrome P450, also known as CYP450, is an enzyme family that can be found in the liver. Enzyme’s purposes are to break down specific things. Cytochrome P450 job is specifically to break down drugs that are introduced into our body.

This enzyme is involved in metabolizing over 60% of drugs.

Doctors use CYP450 to gauge the appropriate dosages of medications based on the processing time it takes for the drugs to be active in the system. They calculate the averages of how fast the drugs are processed through the Cytochrome P450.

If only one drug is being ingested and the CYP450 system is healthy, then these averages provide accurate dosage information. Certain substances or an unhealthy CYP450 system can affect the processing times by either making drugs metabolize slower or faster than they would on their own.

Accurate dosage information depends on what drug is being ingested and if the CYP450 system is healthy and optimal. Different or multiple substances along with an unhealthy CYP450 system can dramatically change the time the specific drug’s processing time.

Scientists recommend to only take in one active drug at a given time in order to optimize your systems efficiency.

Here is a common list of drugs that are taken in our society. You might recognize many of these drugs as either over the counter drugs or prescribed medicines. The following drugs interact with the CYP450 system.

The following drugs interact with the CYP450:

  • Steroids
  • HMG CoA reductase inhibitors
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Antihistamines – allergy relief medicines like CVS / Walgreens Allergy-relief
  • Prokinetics
  • HIV antivirals
  • Acetaminophen – Tylenol
  • Immune modulators
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Antiarrhythmics
  • Antibiotics
  • Anesthetics
  • Antipsychotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-epileptics
  • Beta blockers
  • PPIs
  • NSAIDs – ibuprofen medicines like Advil / Motrin
  • Angiotensin II blockers
  • Oral hypoglycemic agents
  • Sulfonylureas

Why should these drugs be avoided with CBD?

Clinical research has found that CBD inhibits the CYP3A4 and CYP2D6 enzymes. These enzymes are found in liver along with the CYP450. These enzymes can alter the way your body processes drugs. Since CBD may inhibit those enzymes, this can ultimately slow down the metabolization of drugs.

CBD can decrease the lifespan of the prescribed drug when it is induces a CYP enzyme. This thus causes more of the enzyme to be produced.

The CYP450 system metabolizes over 60% of prescribed drugs that enters the system. CBD or cannabinoids may inhibit the enzymes found in the system. This means that prescribed drugs can have a slower time to metabolize, ultimately affecting how your body takes in those drugs.

Final thoughts

The reason why this is important is to ensure that you are receiving the optimum benefits of whichever medicine or supplement you are taking. Although taking these drugs while taking CBD is not dangerous or detrimental, taking both can slow or lower the efficiency.

This is counterproductive because you do not want to be taking more drugs or medicine than your body needs and overload your body. For a full list of drugs, check out our CBD drug interactions article which explains everything you need to know about CBD and other drugs.

Whenever something is wrong, you should always discuss with your primary physician whether or not a medicine is right for you. Every medicine interacts with different medicines in different ways. This will help alleviate risks and bad reactions that CBD or any other drugs may have.

Certain drugs compete with the same body systems that CBD interacts with. Avoid stacking these together!