THIS IS HOW MARIJUANA INTERACTS WITH MEDICATIONS

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There are tons of reasons to love marijuana. It offers a plethora of benefits even though scientists have only uncovered the surface of what this plant is capable of. Still, you shouldn’t think that it goes well with all medications like avocado and literally everything. After all, even chamomile tea doesn’t.

No matter how often you smoke, eat, or vape cannabis, you’ve got to know basic things about its interactions. Even if you use cannabis just recreationally and don’t take other meds on a regular basis, someday you might need common Ibuprofen to get the fever down or you’ll be prescribed some antidepressant drugs.

WHAT MIGHT POSSIBLY GO WRONG?

Cannabis flowers are in a form of pills.
The combination of cannabis and some medications may be harmful for your health.

Mixing cannabis with some meds wouldn’t be a good idea. Here is a list of what could happen:

SOME MEDICATIONS (LIKE CERTAIN ANTI-MYCOTIC AND PROTON PUMP INHIBITORS) INTENSIFY THE EFFECTS OF MARIJUANA, ESPECIALLY ITS PSYCHOACTIVE COMPOUND THC.

If your only reason to use cannabis is getting high, you might feel tempted to take advantage of this fact. You shouldn’t, you simply can’t calculate how much cannabis you need to achieve the optimal level of euphoric heights while using a certain medication that is supposed to boost the intensity of your high. You run the risk of overdoing it and get some unwanted side effects like paranoia or increased anxiety.

CERTAIN DRUGS REDUCE THE EFFECTS OF CANNABIS OR, IF YOU WANT TO TALK SCIENCE, THEY DECREASE THE BIOAVAILABILITY OF THC.

Sounds not scary at all? Well, not for those who expect certain therapeutic benefits from cannabis. Especially if they are hoping to alleviate the symptoms of nausea, pain, or anxiety. For instance, if such patients happen to use cannabis concurrently with medications like phenobarbital, primidone, or rifabutin, they will need a higher dose of marijuana.

CANNABIS CAN INCREASE THE EFFECTS OF CERTAIN MEDS.

Due to the way cannabis goes through metabolizm in the body, it might enhance the effectiveness, as well as toxicity, of certain meds. How dangerous it could depend on what exactly you are taking.

In some cases, physicians might exploit it. For example, you can use cannabis simultaneously with some antiemetics and antispasmodics. Also, it can strengthen the effects of medications used for lowering intraocular pressure in patients with glaucoma.

CANNABIS CAN REDUCE THE EFFECTS OF CERTAIN MEDS.

Smoking cannabis can increase drug clearance from the body, thus diminishing its efficacy. Examples? Clozapine, theophylline, olanzapine, etc.

The risks are self-evident, all the more so if you take medications for a critical illness and have no idea that smoking a joint or two might be dangerous for your health.

HEART MEDICATIONS

Pills are in a form of heart.
Using cannabis together with statins might increase the blood pressure.

Over 2 million Americans with heart diseases report having used cannabis. However, commonly prescribed heart medicines such as blood thinners and statins interact with cannabis. Their potency gets changed because liver enzymes break down cannabis.

What might happen? When you use cannabis with statins, it might lead to increased blood pressure. If you mix marijuana with blood thinners, it might result in excessive bleeding and bruising because the proper clotting doesn’t take place.

It doesn’t mean that you can’t use them simultaneously, but you should adjust the dosage of such meds and THC levels accordingly under your doctor’s supervision. For example, the amount of warfarin, a common anticoagulant, you must cut by at least 30%, while also using a cannabis strain with a lower amount of THC. However, it might still be risky as metabolic rates vary, influencing the drug absorption rates.

Sadly, warfarin is one of the few heart medications that have studies in combination with cannabis. Anyway, if you use other drugs whose interactions with marijuana with no research, you shouldn’t experiment and put your health at risk.

BETA BLOCKERS

When you mix beta blockers with cannabis, the results might be unpredictable. This class of drugs is used to lower blood pressure by suppressing the effects of adrenaline. At the same time, THC, the psychoactive cannabis compound, is a known vasodilator. In other words, it makes blood vessels widen, which also leads to a drop in blood pressure.

Thus, the major risk about this interaction is a double effect, but it’s not as simple as it may sound. After smoking cannabis, the heart can make up for the significant drop in pressure (beta blockers intensify it) and start pumping the blood faster, which might bring about fluctuations in blood pressure. And that is something any sufferer from hypertension would like to avoid at all costs.

So, in short, mixing beta blockers with cannabis is a controversial issue. You’d better be cautious. 

NSAIDS

A pill with NSAIDs.
A combination of cannabis and NSAIDs will give you a stronger pain-relieving effect.

As we all know, people mostly use NSAIDs for alleviating pain. You can use cannabis for the same purpose. So what can you expect when you mix them? According to a few studies, there will be a synergistic effect. A double blow to your pain! In the meantime, some NSAIDs like indomethacin and aspirin antagonize the high from THC. Just have it in mind and don’t blame your local dispensary for selling you “weak” weed – the concurrent use of NSAIDs might explain it.

ANTIBIOTICS

Marijuana doesn’t seem to have serious interactions with most antibiotics. With that being said, it still matters why you have been prescribed antibiotics in the first place. If you have bronchitis, pneumonia, laryngitis, tonsillitis or the like, smoking cannabis isn’t what your immune system will like.

OPIOIDS

Cannabis has the potential to become a real savior during the opioid crisis we’re witnessing these days. It turns out that THC enhances the effectiveness of opioids. Low doses of cannabis in combination with low doses of morphine, for instance, can be used to successfully treat acute or chronic pain.

As a rule, opioids alone in high doses cope with pain, but physicians prefer prescribing lower doses because they know full well that consequences can be disastrous. With additive analgesic effects from cannabis, the risks of potential addiction to opioids and developing life-threatening side effects of opioids can be minimized.

Still, more research is needed. There are fears that the simultaneous use of opioids and cannabis might affect the central nervous system in a negative way, leading to exacerbated anxiety and depression. In any case, self-medicating using the combination of opioids and marijuana would be a mistake. You can do it only after your physician’s approval and supervision. 

CANCER DRUGS

There is some evidence that suggests that cannabis might help the body retain chemo drugs in a more efficient way and cancel multidrug resistance. Still, anti-cancer drugs vary, and one needs to know the interaction with the exact medication to be 100% sure that its interaction with cannabis will be beneficial.

ANTIDEPRESSANTS

Colorful pills with smiling faces.
Mix of cannabis and antidepressants may lead to increased anxiety or even a panic attack.

Cannabis brings about sedative effects, which might add to the dizziness already related to the use of antidepressants. To put it mildly, too much sedation is generally unsafe. Besides, some drugs of this class might lead to tachycardia when you use it together with marijuana.

In turn, it can trigger a panic attack or increased anxiety, which is not acceptable for people diagnosed with depression. 

When used with Prozac, cannabis might make you feel nervous, jittery, and overly excited or in other words cause hypomania.

ANTIPSYCHOTICS

It’s not safe to use cannabis with antipsychotics as the latter are dangerous drugs that can potentially lead to long-term negative consequences. The results would be unpredictable.

If you think about skipping a few doses of antipsychotics to use cannabis, it will also be a bad idea for the fear of developing antipsychotic withdrawal syndrome.

Individual reports about such an interaction vary greatly. Some people even complain that antipsychotics totally ruined their ability to feel any positive emotions (for good).

No matter how much you want to mix antipsychotics with cannabis, you should definitely stay clear of such experiments with your health.

WHAT ABOUT OTHER MEDICATIONS?

Cannabis plant and hand with medications.
We recommend to visit your doctor before mixing cannabis products and medications.

When it comes to alcohol and its interactions with virtually any approved medication, it’s easy to find the information about their safety. Alas, it’s quite the opposite in the case of marijuana. Only some interactions have studies so far due to legal issues, and more research is ultimately needed.

To be safe, always consult your physician and do your own research online before you simultaneously use cannabis with other meds. If you’re not sure about the consequences, simply don’t do it. Yes, we all know that there is no lethal dose of cannabis, but it might interact with other drugs in a deleterious way

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