Can You Take 5-HTP And CBD Together? A Clinician Explains
Written By Kobi Nathan, Pharm.D., M.Ed., CDP, BCGP, AGSF
Sleep Disorders
March 7, 2024

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) and CBD offer unique benefits, from mood stabilization to pain relief, but can you take them together to experience synergistic positive effects?

This article will examine 5-HTP and CBD closely and weigh the benefits and potential risks of using them together.

The short answer:

Can you take 5-HTP and CBD together?

Yes, it is possible to take 5-HTP and CBD together.

But check with your doctor first to ensure there are no drug interactions or potential worsening of existing medical problems.

Let’s dive in to get the details…

Key Takeaways

  • 5-HTP and CBD individually enhance mood and promote relaxation by impacting serotonin levels.
  • Combining 5-HTP with CBD may offer synergistic mental health and well-being benefits.
  • Starting with low doses of both substances and adjusting based on personal response can optimize their benefits.
  • Due to the potential for adverse effects and drug interactions, talk to your doctor first before starting these supplements, especially if you have medical conditions.

Understanding 5-HTP

5-HTP, a compound your body makes from the naturally occurring amino acid tryptophan, plays a crucial role in serotonin production. This brain chemical regulates mood, anxiety, sleep, pain sensation, and appetite.

It may even help with treatment-resistant OCD when taken with other nutrients.

I write about that here.

After consuming foods rich in tryptophan, like turkey or eggs, your body converts tryptophan into 5-HTP.

From there, 5-HTP is transformed into serotonin.

This pathway is fundamental because it provides a natural method to increase serotonin levels.

5-HTP in dietary supplement form comes from the African plant Griffonia simplicifolia.

When taken orally, 5-HTP is absorbed well, with about 70% of the chemical entering the bloodstream.

This version of 5-HTP can easily cross the blood-brain barrier, which then results in its conversion to serotonin in the brain.

 Exploring CBD Benefits

Shifting focus to CBD, you’ll find it’s a versatile compound derived from the cannabis plant, known for its potential to alleviate pain, reduce anxiety, and support overall wellness.

Many people turn to CBD to manage a variety of health conditions, appreciating its holistic approach to healing.

One of the key benefits of CBD is its ability to influence serotonin levels in the brain.

Researchers think that CBD can achieve this by suppressing cytokine-induced degradation of tryptophan.

By doing this, CBD increases tryptophan levels in the brain, which in turn increases serotonin concentrations.

Moreover, CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties contribute to its pain-relieving effects, making it a popular choice for individuals dealing with chronic pain or inflammation.

CBD is theorized to modulate pain signals through its binding of CB1 and CB2 receptors throughout the body.

CB1 receptors, in particular, are abundant in the central and peripheral nervous systems.

The pain mediation pathway is concentrated in the peripheral nervous system, and it makes sense that CBD may dampen pain signals by binding to these receptors.


Potential Side Effects


While CBD offers numerous health benefits, it’s also important to consider its potential side effects.

Though generally well-tolerated, some individuals may experience stomach upset, especially when they’re new to CBD or taking higher doses.

This discomfort typically eases as your body adjusts, but it’s something to be mindful of.

Another common side effect you might encounter is drowsiness.

Since serotonin plays a key role in sleep regulation, increasing serotonin levels through CBD use can lead to feelings of sleepiness.

This effect can be beneficial if you’re using CBD to help with sleep issues, but it might be inconvenient during the day or when you need to stay alert.

It’s also worth noting that everyone’s body chemistry is different.

What causes side effects in one person might not affect another similarly.

Paying attention to how your body responds and adjusting your dosage accordingly is key to minimizing these potential side effects.

Always start with a low dose and increase gradually as needed to see how you react.

Remember, while these side effects are possible, they’re not guaranteed, and the benefits of CBD often outweigh these minor inconveniences for many users.


In 1989, at least 30 people died, and over 1500 were sickened due to an outbreak of eosinophilic myalgia syndrome (EMS).

This condition presented as severe muscle pain, but also affected the skin, blood, and organs.

White blood cells were also elevated in those suffering from EMS.

The source of this outbreak was traced to a contaminant called Peak X, found in tryptophan supplements made by a specific manufacturer.

The FDA then pulled all forms of tryptophan from the market.

As an alternative, 5-HTP, the precursor to serotonin, was introduced into the market, which has since become popular and a household name.

It should be noted that Peak X has also been found in some 5-HTP supplements, and EMS has been discussed in some case reports where people had taken high doses of 5-HTP.

Due to its serotonergic effect, 5-HTP must not be taken with other supplements or prescription medications that can increase serotonin levels in the brain.

Particularly, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as sertraline cannot be taken with 5-HTP.

Doing this can lead to potentially fatal events such as serotonin syndrome, a condition marked by toxic levels of serotonin.

Also, 5-HTP can interact with many other medications for pain, migraine, and blood pressure.

This list of medications can be extensive.

So, again, it is highly recommended that you talk to your doctor before taking CBD or 5-HTP, especially if you are thinking about taking them together!

Synergistic Effects

When taken together, 5-HTP and CBD may create synergistic effects that may significantly enhance your well-being.

Simply put, a synergistic effect occurs when two or more compounds’ total or combined effect exceeds their individual effects.

So, optimizing the beneficial effects of CBD and 5-HTP with lower doses is possible, thereby minimizing the chances of adverse effects.

My recommendations for CBD and 5-HTP

Full transparency – Geriatric Academy is compensated if you purchase any products from the links below. Thank you for supporting this reader-supported website!

With the plethora of CBD companies out there, it can be overwhelming trying to find a reputable, credible seller that provides CBD of the highest quality.

I highly recommend Joy Organics CBD products.

You can check them out on their official company website by clicking here.

Use code GA20 for a 20% discount on any softgel capsule, gummy, or tincture.

Like CBD, there are many options to choose from when purchasing 5-HTP.

I recommend the seller Toniiq, and you can purchase their 5-HTP from Amazon here.


In conclusion, you now have a clearer picture of how 5-HTP and CBD can potentially benefit your well-being.

While they each offer unique benefits, their combined synergy might be the game-changer you’re looking for.

Remember to always start with lower doses and listen to your body’s response.

Side effects are possible, but you could unlock a more balanced, serene state of mind with careful use.

It’s all about finding what works best for you.

However, before taking these, TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR to make sure they will not interact with any of your medications or worsen your existing medical problems!

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