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Cannabidiol

Brand names: Epidiolex

What is cannabidiol used for?

  • Cannabidiol is used to help control certain kinds of seizures.

Before taking cannabidiol, tell your doctor:

  • If you are allergic to cannabidiol; any part of this medicine; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.

This medicine may interact with other drugs or health problems.

Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take cannabidiol with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take cannabidiol?

  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take cannabidiol. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert until you see how cannabidiol affects you.
  • Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
  • Do not stop taking cannabidiol all of a sudden without calling your doctor. You may have a greater risk of seizures. If you need to stop cannabidiol, you will want to slowly stop it as ordered by your doctor.
  • Talk with your doctor before you drink alcohol or use other drugs and natural products that slow your actions.
  • This medicine may affect cannabis (marijuana) lab tests. Tell all of your health care providers and lab workers that you take cannabidiol.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan on getting pregnant, or are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks to you and the baby.

How is cannabidiol best taken?

Use cannabidiol as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

  • Measure liquid doses carefully. Use the measuring device that comes with cannabidiol. If there is none, ask the pharmacist for a device to measure cannabidiol.
  • Do not use a household teaspoon or tablespoon to measure cannabidiol. Doing so could lead to the dose being too high.
  • Be sure the oral syringe is dry each time you use it.
  • Take with or without food as you have been told by your doctor.
  • If the adapter has not been put in the bottle when you get it, follow how to prepare the bottle as you have been told or read the package insert.
  • Keep taking cannabidiol as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
  • Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.

What are the side effects of cannabidiol that I need to call my doctor about immediately?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
  • Signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
  • Patients who take cannabidiol may be at a greater risk of having thoughts or actions of suicide. The risk may be greater in people who have had these thoughts or actions in the past. Call the doctor right away if signs like low mood (depression), nervousness, restlessness, grouchiness, panic attacks, or changes in mood or actions are new or worse. Call the doctor right away if any thoughts or actions of suicide occur.

What are some other side effects of cannabidiol?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

  • Feeling sleepy.
  • Not hungry.
  • Weight loss.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Feeling tired or weak.
  • Trouble sleeping.

These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If overdose is suspected:

If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

How do I store and/or throw out cannabidiol?

  • Store upright at room temperature. Do not freeze.
  • Store in original container.
  • Keep lid tightly closed.
  • Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
  • After opening, throw away any part not used after 12 weeks.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.

Consumer information use and disclaimer

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
  • This medicine comes with an extra patient fact sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it with care. Read it again each time cannabidiol is refilled. If you have any questions about cannabidiol, please talk with the doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take cannabidiol or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to cannabidiol. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Source: Wolters Kluwer Health. Last updated May 19, 2020.