Background: Cannabidiol (CBD) serves as a promising medicine, with few known adverse effects apart from the potential of drug interactions with the cytochrome P450 system. It has been hypothesized drug interactions may occur with chemotherapeutic agents, but no supporting evidence has been published to date.
Case: A 58-year-old female with a history of bilateral breast carcinoma in remission, was treated with tamoxifen for breast cancer prevention for over 6 years. CBD was instituted to treat persistent postsurgical pain, inadequately managed by alternate analgesics. It was postulated that CBD may diminish tamoxifen metabolism by CYP3A4 and 2D6 to form active metabolite endoxifen, which exerts the anticancer benefits. Endoxifen, tamoxifen, N-desmetyltamoxifen and 4-hydroxytamoxifen levels were collected while the patient chronically received CBD 40 mg/day, and after a 60-day washout. Upon discontinuation of CBD 40 mg/day, it was observed that endoxifen levels increased by 18.75% and N-desmethyltamoxifen by 9.24%, while 4-hydroxytamoxifen remained unchanged.
Conclusion: CBD at a low dose of 40 mg/day resulted in the potential inhibition of CYP3A4 and/or CYP2D6. Patients receiving CBD and interacting chemotherapeutic drugs, such as tamoxifen, require monitoring to identify possible subtherapeutic response to treatment. Further pharmacokinetic studies are required to ascertain the dynamics of this drug interaction.
Keywords: CYP2D6; CYP3A4; cannabidiol; drug interaction; tamoxifen.