Marijuana is undeniably a safe and effective medication for many people, and it’s known to treat a wide range of conditions, from multiple sclerosis to glaucoma.
But many stoners take other prescription drugs, too. Some prefer cannabis therapy alone, but for others that’s not a reasonable option; some people have no choice but to take old-fashioned meds.
Which raises a question: How do weed and prescription pills interact? Are there any drugs you shouldn’t take with pot?
The answer, as always, depends.
As a general rule, people with certain conditions should probably avoid using cannabis frequently or should consider quitting. Serious heart problems may not mix well with THC, for example.
Even if you don’t have a heart condition, you should talk to your doctor about all your meds, including weed, and keep an eye on how they affect you. It couldn’t hurt to keep a daily log of treatments, effects, and side effects.
What drugs shouldn’t you mix with marijuana?
First, be careful when combining cannabis and alcohol. You’ll definitely get more messed up, and this can affect your judgment and motor skills. Most of that comes from the booze, but the combination can amplify the effects. Mix only in moderation.
Marijuana can increase the risk of bleeding, especially in people with bleeding disorders such as hemophilia. Be careful if you have one of these conditions or if you take meds that increase the risk of bleeding.
There’s limited information about how cannabis interacts with diabetes, or with diabetic medications, but the existing evidence is split: Some researchers think marijuana could be beneficial to diabetics, while some say it could raise blood sugar levels.
Weed can also lower blood pressure, so if you take meds that do the same, or have a condition that causes low blood pressure, you need to be careful.
People with liver disease should use pot cautiously, and the same goes if you use drugs that could cause liver damage. Weed may also interfere with the way the liver produces certain enzymes, and that could lead to severe (if rare) adverse reactions.
If you use barbiturates, antipyrine, or central nervous system depressants, be careful with marijuana. Apply the same caution if you take estrogen therapy, if you take immunosuppressants, or if you have an auto-immune condition.
Cannabis can cause seizures in some people (though many epileptics depend on it for treatment), so be careful if you have a seizure disorder or take anti-seizure meds. And mix cautiously with p-glycoprotein-regulated drugs.
You’ll notice, if you search for medical advice on adverse interactions, that the words “careful” and “caution” are used repeatedly. Few if any meds can never be mixed with marijuana, though people with some conditions, such as asthma, allergies, and lung disease, may need to avoid weed altogether.
Whether you choose to combine your meds, stick to pot alone, cut back, or quit, make sure your decision is based on one thing: whatever is best for your health.
And make sure you talk to a doctor or pharmacist about anything you take, including medical marijuana. Weed is an important tool in the healthcare system, but it’s equally important to know all the facts.