Marijuana and Antidepressants: How Do They Interact?
Marijuana produces euphoric effects. It also reduces stress and controls anxiety. These effects are some of the reasons why people use cannabis, especially those who deal with mental health problems. Some users even combine marijuana and antidepressants, noting that it significantly improved their symptoms.
But physicians caution against combining marijuana and antidepressants. Although some patients find this combination beneficial, there have also been reports of adverse side effects as well. Some users even ended up in the hospital worse off than before.
What do experts say about combining marijuana and antidepressants?
We lack research on the interaction between marijuana and antidepressants. But one study showed that using marijuana and antidepressants (tricyclic antidepressants) produced delirium as well as increased heart rate. This effect may have something do to with the metabolism of both substances, which resulted in the increased heart rate.
Another study reviewed literature, studies, and reports on combining antidepressants and illicit substances. Although they found few reports on significant adverse effects, researchers cautioned against the use of cannabis with antidepressants.
They point to several factors that might contribute to this lack of reports:
- The adverse side effects may be rare.
- The side effects were not recorded. If there were, these side effects were not disclosed to their physicians.
- The adverse side effects may be caused by one drug, but not the other. So they can’t conclude that the side effects were caused by drug interaction.
- The side effects were not severe enough to warrant reporting
The researchers conclude that it’s still best to err on the side of caution than to take a risk.
What are the possible drug interactions between marijuana and antidepressants?
Marijuana improves mood. Some users even claim they experienced no significant side effects on a combination of marijuana and antidepressants.
However, there are drug interaction risks between marijuana and antidepressants. Some of them include:
- Hypomania, characterized by hyperactivity as well as excitement.
- Increased heart rate or tachycardia.
- Increased panic attacks, anxiety, and paranoia.
- Lethargy and drowsiness.
- Gastrointestinal problems.
- Muscle twitches and spasms.
Marijuana, which is already a potent sedative, amplifies the effects of sedatives and makes the patient’s condition worse.
Is there a safe way to use a combination of marijuana and antidepressants?
To be on the safe side, do not mix marijuana and antidepressants. You put your health and safety at risk when you combine the two. You also make it difficult for your physician to fully assess your mental health.
If you’re on antidepressants and using marijuana as well, you need to tell your doctor. Let him or her know how much and how frequent you use marijuana so they’re aware and can make better decisions.
If you’re thinking of adding marijuana to your current antidepressants, doctors suggest that you wait for about a month and a half to let the antidepressants take effect.
Marijuana does benefit some patients with mental health issues, but our bodies are built differently. One might react positively to the combination, while others might not. So it’s always better to be cautious and safe.