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. If you have a heart condition, you should speak to your doctor before using medical marijuana. Learn how cannabis and blood thinners interact.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Is Marijuana a Blood Thinner?
Nearly 3 million Americans rely on blood thinners each year to prevent and control blood clots, but some people are now looking to medical marijuana as a potential replacement or supplement. The compounds found in cannabis may hold great promise for individuals with heart and blood vessel conditions, but medical experts still have some concerns.
If you still have questions after reading this post, Green Health Docs can help. We offer medical marijuana card certification in numerous states, and our licensed physicians can answer all your questions and help you to get approved. Green Health Docs has clinics located in multiple states across the country, and GHD even offers telemedicine evaluations. Contact Green Health Docs today. We are here 7 days a week to help.
What Is a Blood Thinner?
A blood thinner doesn’t actually thin your blood; it’s a substance that has anticoagulant or antiplatelet properties. These medications are designed to prevent blood clots, which is important as clots can clog arteries, prevent oxygen from reaching vital organs, and even lead to life-threatening events like a heart attack or stroke.
Anticoagulants are compounds that prevent clots from forming and prevent existing clots from getting bigger. Medicines like warfarin and heparin are examples of anticoagulants.
Antiplatelet substances prevent platelets in your blood from sticking together to form clots. Over-the-counter aspirin is an example of a medication with antiplatelet properties.
Blood thinners—whether anticoagulant or antiplatelet—are used to treat a variety of conditions that are caused, threatened, or exacerbated by blood clots. Examples include:
- Abnormal heart arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation
- Congenital heart disorders
- Certain chronic blood vessel diseases
- Ischemic heart disease
- Heart valve replacements
In addition, if you’ve undergone a surgery that may increase your risk of clotting, your physician may recommend a blood thinner as a preventive measure.
Is Marijuana a Blood Thinner?
Marijuana has been shown to have some anticoagulant properties and may act as a natural blood thinner. Not much research has been done to examine the reasons why, but cannabinoids appear to impact the ways in which platelets clot.
As a result, some patients are turning to marijuana as a replacement for their conventional blood thinner, as marijuana doesn’t have the side effects of many pharmaceutical drugs. Even aspirin can damage the stomach if used regularly, but cannabis appears to have no such long-term effects.
Still, doctors advise caution, especially for patients with a significant heart condition. The full anticoagulant effects of marijuana are not fully understood, and some patients may benefit more than others. In addition, each strain of cannabis has a unique profile of cannabinoids and terpenes, and not all cannabis plants affect the blood in the same way.
Can Medical Marijuana Replace Your Blood Thinners?
More research is needed to determine if marijuana can safely replace blood-thinning medications. We do know that marijuana has anticoagulant properties, but it’s yet to be determined whether cannabis can prevent clotting with the same effectiveness as conventional medications.
If you want to pursue medical marijuana as a natural alternative to blood thinners, you should always do it under the supervision of a physician. Your doctor can monitor your blood pressure, platelet levels, and other vitals, and they can perform other tests to check for clotting. They might also make specific dosage recommendations and monitor the effects of different marijuana strains that you try.
Is It Safe to Use Medical Marijuana With Blood Thinners?
Blood thinners and cannabis are both well-tolerated on their own, but combining them can have unexpected outcomes. That’s why it’s so important to speak with your doctor before mixing the two.
Some medical professionals are concerned about the potential dangers of mixing pharmaceutical blood thinners with cannabis. It appears that marijuana inhibits the metabolism of the blood thinner, thereby increasing the anticoagulant effect.
While more blood-thinning might sound like a good thing, remember that a certain amount of clotting is necessary. Without it, we would bleed uncontrollably at the slightest blood vessel injury. Excessive bleeding and internal hemorrhages can result from high anticoagulant levels in the body.
A knowledgeable physician can help you to find the right dosage to stay safe. It depends on the marijuana strain and the type of blood thinner. For instance, a recent case review found that people using marijuana while on warfarin should reduce their drug intake by 30% to avoid a bleeding risk.
Is CBD Oil a Blood Thinner?
Cannabidiol (CBD) may also have blood-thinning properties, even when it’s derived from hemp instead of cannabis. This is of particular concern because CBD requires no subscription, is not subject to federal regulation, and is typically not consumed under a doctor’s supervision.
If you’re not on blood thinners, CBD won’t likely present any risk. However, once again, there is some concern for individuals who use CBD and traditional blood thinners concurrently. CBD has been shown to interact with blood-thinning agents like naproxen, ibuprofen, and warfarin. As with cannabis, CBD appears to block the drugs’ metabolism, leading to higher levels of the drug inside the body.
This seems to suggest that CBD is partly to blame for marijuana’s effect on blood thinners. CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis, and it interacts with the same cannabinoid receptors as THC.
How to Consume Marijuana When You’re On Blood Thinners
The manner in which you consume marijuana—smoking vs. edibles vs. vaping, etc…—can impact your level of risk if you have a heart condition that requires blood thinners. CDC data suggests that smoking accounts for nearly 80% of adult marijuana use, but inhaling smoke into the lungs can be hazardous for someone with a heart or blood vessel condition.
Marijuana affects the cardiovascular system regardless of how it’s consumed, but smoke-free ingestion is the safest bet for someone at risk. Edibles, tinctures, and capsules are available, offering all the anticoagulant properties without the smoke inhalation. Just note that when consuming edibles, you must be very careful about your dosage. Because edibles are partially digested and metabolized by the liver, they are far more potent than smoked marijuana flower.
Making Sound Decisions Regarding Marijuana & Blood Thinners
To recap, medical marijuana has some blood-thinning properties, but it can be difficult to predict how it will fare when used alongside or in place of traditional blood thinners. If you’re thinking of using marijuana for its anticoagulant qualities:
- Always do so under the supervision of a doctor
- Be especially cautious if you have an existing heart condition
- Avoid smoking if other consumption methods are available
Finally, note how marijuana affects your heart. If you notice palpitations, increased heartbeat, or other heart-related symptoms, see your doctor right away.
Green Health Docs has physicians located in states throughout the U.S. Our doctors can help you to make an informed decision as to whether medical marijuana might be right for you. Our doctors are authorized to provide medical marijuana certifications in their respective states, so you can register as a patient and discover the benefits for yourself. Depending on where you live, you might even be able to obtain your medical marijuana card online.
As long as you maintain professional supervision, follow your doctor’s advice, and watch out for any unusual symptoms, you should be able to consume safely whether you’re already on blood thinners or looking to preserve your cardiovascular health naturally.