How does cannabis interact with mental health medication ?
Whilst more and more people are using cannabis for medicinal relief, the rules and regulations around its use are still in a bit of a middle ground and different in different states. One concern is the potential for it to interact dangerously with prescribed medications, although to date there have been no recorded fatalities linked to marijuana use.
In this post, we take a look at how marijuana interacts with mental health medication and things to look out for. We also introduce you to some of the major risks associated with combining cannabis and CBD with antipsychotic medication in particular.
What is in cannabis?
To understand how things interact, we need to know what things are going to be combined so it will be useful to know what cannabis is made up of exactly. There are thousands or perhaps even hundreds of thousands of strains of cannabis out there and each one is made up of hundreds of compounds. Many of these compounds have medicinal properties, with THC and CBD being the major compounds.
THC and CBD are also known as cannabinoids and are the most plentiful of the compounds that constitute the cannabis plant. Cannabis can be both psychoactive and non-psychoactive meaning that if you are using medication and thinking about using cannabis you will need to pay attention to the type of cannabis you’re planning on using. Just because one strain has been fine for you, it doesn’t mean every strain will be.
How does cannabis affect mental health?
For the majority of people cannabis has the effect of making them feel calmer, less anxious, and also having an improved mood as well as being relatively safe. Nevertheless, some people react differently and for some using cannabis regularly can lead to a variety of unpleasant side-effects. One area of particular concern in terms of unwanted negative effects is in the area of mental health. It can also have unexpected consequences in terms of its interplay with other medications.
In the area of mental health concerns, some people are more vulnerable than others. For example, people with a personal or family history of mental illness are more likely to experience negative effects as a result of heavy cannabis use than those without this background. Cannabis use can also reduce the effectiveness and even the potency of other medications. One way in which this can manifest itself is making you feel overly sedated if you happen to already be taking a separate medicine sedative.
As doctors are likely to prescribe medications to provide relief from a variety of mental health issues and help patients deal with symptoms they may be having, it is important to let them know if you do wish to continue to use marijuana. Continuing to smoke or consume cannabis when on prescription medication can actually worsen your condition and can trigger unpredictable or even volatile reactions. If you don’t tell your doctor, it can also make it more challenging for them to diagnose you properly.
You should also seek to make yourself aware of the types of medicines and pharmaceuticals that other people have found to work in a safe and pleasant manner when used with cannabis and, conversely, those pharmaceuticals which should not be taken in conjunction with cannabis. Next, we will outline some of the drugs people have commonly combined with cannabis use and what sort of affect these can have when combined with cannabis.
What drugs are commonly taken with cannabis?
A major area where people will often combine cannabis consumption with other pharmaceuticals is those on antidepressants. However, even though more and more people are prescribed anti-depressants, there is a surprising lack of research into how cannabis interacts with antidepressants. This is particularly surprising given the wide body of research that has been carried out looking into the relationship between mental health issues and cannabis use.
There are 4 major groups of antidepressants typically proscribed to aid those suffering from depression. As a rule of thumb, it is likely that older antidepressants carry an enhanced level of risk in comparison to more modern antidepressant medications. Below are the major antidepressant groupings currently being prescribed:
|Group 1: Tricyclics High potential interaction risk with cannabis
· Allegron (Nortriptyline)
· Anafranil (Clomipramine)
· Tryptanol (Amitriptyline)
· Tofranil (Imipramine)
· Prothiaden (Dosulepin)
|Group 2: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) – High potential interaction risk with cannabis
· Zoloft (Sertraline)
· Aropax (Paroxetine)
· Cipramil (Citalopram)
· Prozac (Fluoxetine)
· Luvox (Fluvoxamine)
|Group 3: Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) High potential interaction risk with cannabis
· Aurorix (Moclobemide)
· Nardil (Phenelzine)
|Group 4: Newer Antidepressants (Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)): Low to moderate potential interaction risk with cannabis
· Avanza (Mirtazapine)
· Effexor (Venlafaxine)
· Edronax (Reboxetine)
What are the side-effects of using marijuana whilst on antidepressants?
Unfortunately, there has not been enough research into the interplay between antidepressant medication and cannabis use. However, there have been a number of recorded cases where side effects have been reported. In medicine, these effects are known as ‘contraindications’, which simply means they are an indication not to use a certain kind of treatment. Some of the reported side effects have included:
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Headaches and migraines
- Increased heart rate
- Mental confusion
- Twitching muscles
As you can tell from the shorter list of newer antidepressants and the number of side-effects that combining cannabis with antidepressants can have, using the two in combination can be dangerous. It can even have the effect of worsening a mental health condition that it might have helped with before being put on medication that is also designed to help.
Cannabis produces a calming effect as it engages the body’s neurotransmitters and central nervous system which means it has a very similar effect to sedatives including Valium, antidepressants, and even alcohol. As a result, when they are used together, especially when stronger cannabis strains are used in conjunction with antidepressants, the nervous system can be massively depressed. Therefore it is important to exercise caution when using sedative drugs and try to avoid this combination if possible.
How does marijuana interact with antipsychotic medication?
Antipsychotic medications are commonly prescribed for people who suffer from schizophrenia and can also be prescribed to people who experience psychotic episodes, delusions, and hallucinations. The 4 main antipsychotic drugs that are prescribed are probably Abilify, Geodon, Seroquel, and Zyprexa and essentially have a tranquilizing effect. The effects of these drugs can be severely altered because of the CBD content of cannabis.
Whilst CBD has many benefits, the way it works with the body means it is not a good combination with antipsychotic medication. CBD interacts with the enzyme cytochrome P450 and ultimately deactivates it. This means that certain doses of CBD can intensify how antipsychotics interact with the body and intensify the side effects they themselves carry. This concoction can then lead to potentially serious complications and adverse reactions.
The reason the enzyme cytochrome P450 is so important is because a number of antipsychotic medications introduce this to the body and when it is not broken down properly it produces toxic compounds. Because CBD deactivates this enzyme it prevents it breaking down as it should do. If you have been smoking weed or using CBD oil whilst on antipsychotics make sure to consult a doctor, especially if you start feeling confused, feel overly sedated or notice your motor function has slowed down.
What do you do if you want to use marijuana and you are on medication?
As you can see, continuing to use cannabis products whilst on medication can be problematic. However, sometimes people who are on medication for a long time and this can make them want to continue or take back up cannabis use. If you are in this situation, it is a good idea to seek counseling as you are far more likely to reduce your cannabis consumption by seeking additional support. Speaking to someone is a great way to make sure you resist taking unnecessary risks.
If you are a regular cannabis user and about to be prescribed a new medication you should be sure to actually speak to your doctor about it and don’t be afraid to be honest with them – that’s what the Hippocratic Oath is for! Make sure you make them aware of the true level of your use so that they can properly advise you about the impact this might have on the medication they are prescribing you.
You should also not immediately reach for you green if the medication doesn’t work straight away. Medication can take a while to take effect, even as much as 8 weeks so don’t give up on your medication before you’ve given it a chance. If you do decide to risk using cannabis alongside your medication, make sure you take notice of its effects on your body. Again, if things take a turn for the worse then make sure to seek medical help and be honest with healthcare professionals.
Everyone responds differently to cannabis and any drug so combining the two will always lead to varied results in individuals. However, even if you couldn’t imagine giving up cannabis for a long period, sometimes it might be necessary to avoid any potential health risks linked with its combined use with medication.
What are the best alternatives to cannabis and CBD oil when on medication?
If you really and truly can’t countenance the idea of giving up your CBD or cannabis use then you could look into the benefits of adding hemp oil into your diet. Hemp is a form of cannabis that is low in both THC and CBD and there are many oils made solely from the hemp plant’s seeds which have absolutely 0 THC or CBD in them but still come with positive effects on mood and general wellbeing.
Although the following hemp seed oils have no CBD or THC in them and should be perfectly safe to use whilst on medication it is still important to check this with your doctor first as everyone and every medication is different. Once you have the okay, here are 10 of our favorite hemp seed oils that can be a great way to improve how you feel from day-to-day.
#1 Best Hemp Seed Oil for Dry Skin: Just Hemp Foods All Natural Hemp Seed Oil
A common side effect of many medications is dry skin. Fortunately, hemp oil is full of fatty acids which make it a great natural moisturizer that reduces irritation on the skin. This hemp seed oil will lead to positive effects on even the driest of skin types if consumed regularly. The good news is hemp seed oil does the best things for you when added to your regular daily diet and is in no way addictive.
The other major benefits of this hemp oil are that: it is vegan and non-GMO; it is full of more protein than you’ll get out of chia or flax seed oils; it really soothes your skin from pain caused by dryness; it has anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce scarring, and; you can also drizzle it over salads to give them a delicious nutty flavor. This is a great value hemp oil that will leave your skin looking and feeling nourished.
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#2 Best Organic Hemp Seed Oil: Canada Hemp Foods’ Certified Organic Hemp Seed oil
Just because something is made from cannabis doesn’t mean it is going to have psychoactive effects or even contain other common cannabinoids like CBD. This oil fits the bill in that respect and is 100% organic made from certified Canadian grown hemp. This oil is also particularly rich in omega oils 3 and 6 in comparison to other hemp seed oils on this list. These oils are a great addition to a healthy diet and help to foster cardiovascular health and prevent heart disease.
Other pros of this hemp seed oil are that: it is a great source of plant-based protein that is also particularly easy for the body to digest; its delicious flavor adds to all sorts of meals, from smoothies to soups; it can help speed up your metabolism, and; it is suitable for consumption by all from children to the elderly even if they would never dream of touching cannabis, making it a safer option for people forced to take medication and needing to stop using CBD oil.
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#3 Best Hemp Seed Oil for Improved Wellbeing: OntoBeauty’s Organic Hemp oil Drops
Our mood is so important to how we experience the world but often something completely out of our control. However, hemp oil can actually be a beneficial weapon in addition to your diet to help boost your mood and general well-being. It can also have a calming effect when you are feeling stressed. This hemp seed oil is the perfect dietary supplement to help give you a lift whether you are feeling low or just need a bit of a boost.
Other pluses about this hemp seed oil are that: it helps to reduce feelings of anxiety; its regular use can decrease hormonal imbalances helping to improve feelings of serenity; it can also benefit with more physical matters thanks to its pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects, and; it helps you feel healthy in mind, body, and soul to really ensure you can tackle the challenges thrown up by negative emotions.
#Hemp_Seed_Oil #Improved_Mood #Wellbeing #Organic #Omega_Oils
#4 Best Hemp Seed Oil for Anxiety: House of Healing’s Hemp Seed Oil
Anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and social anxiety disorders, are suffered by nearly 1 in 5 Americans. This means that most people will know someone who might be able to benefit from the positive effects of hemp oil. This particular hemp oil does not come cheap but it is well worth the extra cost as each serving contains 83 mg of premium hemp seed oil that helps the body to create a regulatory buffer against situations that usually create anxiety.
The other major benefits of this hemp seed oil are that: the tropical flavor is delicious and made with all natural ingredients; it contains a month’s worth of doses for twice daily use; it is made in an FDA registered facilities which build confidence that you are getting the highest quality hemp oil, and; it comes with a money back guarantee if you aren’t happy with the results making it free to try. The downside of this oil is that it is a lot more expensive than other oils on this list.
#CBD_Free_Oil #Hemp_Seed_Oil #Anxiety_Relief #Flavored_Hemp #Hemp_Products
#5 Best Hemp Seed Oil for Pain Relief: House of Healing’s Pure Hemp Seed Oil
This supersize hemp seed oil bottle is great for people who suffer from ongoing pains, whether they are minor aches or chronic pains. If taken 3 times a day it can really help to reduce pain and inflammation and can be topped up if you ever find yourself experiencing intense pain. This oil is made in the USA in an FDA approved facility so you can sure of the consistent quality of its contents. It is also 100% certified organic.
Other major pros of this particular oil are that: it has a delicious peppermint flavor making it easier to add your daily routine; it is made without pesticides and herbicides; you will be truly impressed by its anti-inflammatory properties; it works faster than many of the other oils on this list due to its strength, and; it is also a really helpful aid for a good night’s sleep. The downside of this oil is that it is very expensive but that is because it is a bigger bottle.
#Hemp_Seed_Oil #Insomnia #Pain_Relieving_Oil #Anti_Inflammatory_Oil #Hemp_Seed
#6 Best Value Hemp Seed Oil: Nutiva’s Organic Cold-Pressed Unrefined Hemp Seed Oil
If you are looking for value, then you should look no further than this 128 ounce mega-bottle of hemp-seed oil. This is made using a basic cold-pressing method which helps keep the costs down but still lets you reap the rewards from this omega-rich hemp seed oil. It also packed full of antioxidants that will keep you feeling healthy and add a spring to your step knowing you’ve got plenty more oil where that came from!
Other great things about this value pack of hemp seed oil are that: it tastes really nutty and people will wonder what it is that makes your salad dressing taste so great; it is vegan, non-GMO and certified organic; it will provide a natural source of energy when added into your daily diet; and it contains no THC or CBD so is safe to use with other medications. This is surprisingly high-qaulity for the price and the amount you get.
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Acceptance of cannabis use has led to a growing understanding of its health benefits. However, there is still not enough research into how it reacts with other medications. This means that, unfortunately, if you are prescribed antipsychotics, many antidepressants, and sedatives, you will likely need to stop using cannabis whether you smoke it or are a regular CBD user. However, everyone is different and you should speak to your doctor if you are thinking to risk using both medication and cannabis products at the same time.
One thing you can consider trying is hemp seed oil as there are is no CBD or THC in most of these products (although make sure to check the label as some variants do contain both). Ultimately, hemp seed oil is an entirely different product to cannabis or CBD oil but comes with many health benefits that will compliment rather than work against the benefits of any medication you may need to take for a period f time.