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Can you take CBD Oil with antidepressants?

Note: This CBD Benefits Guide has been co-authored by Dr Andres Maldonado MD, in line with the ‘Vape and Juice Medical Review Policy’. See our Medical Editorial Team.

Can you take CBD Oil with antidepressants is a question you are going to be tapping into your search engines if you are considering using CBD to help with depression. 

CBD is a cannabinoid that is widely used as it is thought to help with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Some decide to use the oil in conjunction with medication, which should always be done with caution and on the advice of your own doctor – more on that later. 

This is a cannabinoid which is still very much being researched to understand the potential benefits and exactly how it works in the body. Early research and animal studies look promising. 

“Based on the published data, the endocannabinoid system evidently gives novel ideas and options in the field of antidepressant treatment, however further studies are needed to determine which group of patients could benefit from this type of therapy” [1]

What do antidepressants do? 

There are several types of antidepressant which are used to treat both clinical depression and conditions such as OCD, PTSD, Anxiety Disorder. Depending on the severity of your depression you may be given these drugs. It might be that you try a few before you find the one that works for you, as they all come with their own side effects. 

Antidepressants are thought to help balance the neurotransmitters in our brains. These are chemicals which control and affect our mood and emotions. By balancing these chemicals you should see better sleep, improved appetite and focus, and of course, a more uplifted mood. 

While the meds treat the symptoms, they don’t solve the cause. There is much we do not know about the psychopathology mechanism of depression, for that reason treatment with antidepressant is not 100% effective. Cannabinoids are studied because of the interaction with the CBD receptors and how they could represent potential therapeutic options.

The diagnostic criteria is clear in the psychiatric book DSM-5. If you are diagnosed with depression you must seek psychiatric help for antidepressant treatment.

Why might CBD oil help depression?

Antidepressant like effects 

Studies using animal models have found that CBD has a potential use as an anxiolytic-like and anti depressant like compound. CBD is thought to act in a similar way to the prescribed drugs. While studies have been ongoing into the subject, more human trials are needed. 

Serotonin enhancer

When you have depression you will likely have low serotonin, the feel good hormone which is made in your gut and brain stem. CBD is thought to help encourage your body to use its own serotonin levels 

Sleep better

Poor sleep can often go alongside depression. Insomnia or trouble falling and staying asleep may cause problems with stabilising your mood. CBD may help you to wind down and drift off. 

Anxiety relief

Anxiety is like depression’s best friend. They often go together.  Studies have found that CBD may help to reduce these feelings. Particularly when it comes to public speaking or stressful situations. 

Read more at this study which references the effects [2]

Drug interactions  – Can you take CBD oil with antidepressants?

That might all sound great, but can you take CBD oil with antidepressants – is it safe?  CBD oil is natural, however it has active ingredients which may interfere with medication. 

You should always chat with your doctor to learn about the potential interactions. Care should be taken, for example due to the interaction with tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).

NHS web portal “Both cannabis and TCAs can cause an abnormally fast heartbeat (tachycardia) and high blood pressure (hypertension). There’s also a risk of other side effects, such as confusion, restlessness, mood swings and hallucinations.”

Fortunately, these antidepressants are not as widely used as the first line of treatment.

The most used are the SSRIs, however, through research, we didn’t found much information about any interaction on PubMed.

An example interaction may be that the CBD could slow down how quickly the liver processes medication. This could then lead to a build up of antidepressants in the body. There may be other interactions with specific medication, so always consult your doctor.

 If you decide to use CBD instead of meds, then ALWAYS discuss it with your doctor before making any changes. You shouldn’t come off medication without asking for your own doctors advice first. 

Dr Andres Maldonado, tells us “I have seen some patients who are heavy consumers of marijuana, which is part of their depression. CBD contains very little or zero THC, however in my medical opinion, if you are a heavy consumer of marijuana and depressed, then any component of the cannabis should be avoided.”

Not everyone with depression needs medication. As we said, those with mild depression probably won’t be offered drugs unless treatments such as therapy have not helped. In which case, CBD could be an option to help manage symptoms, such as low mood, poor sleep, anxious feelings and low serotonin. 


[1] Poleszak E, Wośko S, Sławińska K, Szopa A, Wróbel A, Serefko A. Cannabinoids in depressive disorders. Life Sci. 2018 Nov 15;213:18-24. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2018.09.058.

[2] de Mello Schier AR, de Oliveira Ribeiro NP, Coutinho DS, et al. Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2014;13(6):953-960. doi:10.2174/1871527313666140612114838


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