Cannabis and Prescription Drug Interactions

It’s important to understand how adding cannabis can interact with the medications and supplements we’re already taking.

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When we feed ourselves substances, certain foods, nutritional supplements, and even medications, we are attempting to improve our health and mitigate disease. This is why it’s important to understand how adding cannabis can interact with the medications and supplements we’re already taking so we don’t hinder their effects or create an adverse reaction.  

As of now, there hasn’t been a sufficient number of studies conducted that assess the interactions between cannabis prescribed medications to draw any formal conclusions. However, we have made a few discoveries that can point us in the right direction regarding further research, as well ensuring that patients have as much useful information as possible. 

One of the most important effects of cannabis to note is its ability to modulate blood pressure and heart rate. Anyone with hypertension or other heart condition who is taking a class of medications known as beta blockers, which can alter heart rate and blood pressure, should avoid cannabis unless they speak with their medical practitioner first. We currently don’t know enough about their interactions with one another, and any medication taken to help balance heart rate should never be taken lightly as an increased risk of heart attack risk or other cardiovascular event may occur. 

A common effect of cannabis is its ability  to induce somnolence or sedation. This is usually quite harmless, often helping patients suffering from sleep disorders get rest at night. However, if a patient is already on a medication that sedates, combining it with cannabis may lead to over-sedation or other unpleasant side-effects such as slurred speech, slowed motor skills, constipation, or a range of cognitive impairments. Using cannabis and a sedative must be closely monitored until more studies can confirm how safely it interacts with sedative hypnotic drugs or anxiolytics.  

(Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors [SSRIs] & Serotinin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors [SNRIs]) These are medications used to treat a variety of psychiatric disorders, most especially anxiety and depression. 

Balancing the disrupted chemistry of an individual’s brain is not an easy task. When we take anti-depressants, we are ensuring our thoughts don’t linger on the negative aspects of life which is extremely important to maintain mental health for day-to-day living. If anything were to throw neurochemistry off balance, the risk of suicide and other mental health issues increases. Just like with any medication taken along with an anti-depressant, cannabis use should be carefully monitored when taken with these drugs too. However, there exists a great deal of anecdotal evidence as well as several surveys that indicate cannabis can possibly replace anti-depressant medications if dosed correctly. A talk with a mental health professional can help you decide if you’d like to supplement or replace an anti-depressant with cannabis.

The same idea regarding cannabis use and anti-depressants can be applied to cannabis use and antipsychotic medications. Again, neurochemistry can be hard to balance and must be done so safely. Always be careful combining medications that cause fluctuations in mood. 

While the medical community continues to discover more and more about the interactions between various medications and cannabis, take into consideration the general information we’ve thus discovered before consuming the plant in any form. Treat it like any other medication, with the knowledge that it can possibly create either negative or positive effects depending on its synergy with both your current medications and body or brain chemistry.

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