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.
Keywords: adverse drug events; cannabidiol; cannabis; drug–drug interactions; safety.