A lot of people who use cannabis medicinally are doing so with the goal of cutting back on or eliminating their use of more traditional pharmaceuticals, but as much as it is an incredible plant, cannabis just can’t treat or cure everything – sometimes other medicine is required.
So, the question is: is it safe to combine cannabis with your prescription or non-prescription medications?
Can I Take Other Medicine with Cannabis?
Cannabis combinations can cause a variety of effects depending on the type of medication:
- Extra sedation. Some cannabis strains make you relaxed and sleepy, and depending which OTC you add to the mix, you can find yourself hyper-tranquilized. Obviously, sleep meds are one drug that could have this effect, but don’t forget about antihistamines (particularly the ones not marked “non-drowsy”), too. Avoid these combinations: too much sedation can slow heart and respiratory rates with dangerous results. Alternatively, they can result in tachycardia, or extremely high heart rate.
- People with diabetes will want to be particularly careful about using cannabis alongside the medication they take to control their blood sugar levels. Cannabis can reduce the effectiveness of diabetes medicine, which can result in unexpected fluctuations. (This could be particularly detrimental if you’re prone to “the munchies”.)
- Cannabis can increase your blood pressure – especially strains with energizing effects (sativas). If you’re taking medication for a cardiovascular condition or symptom, you’ll want to avoid cannabis – it can cause tachycardia very quickly.
- Cannabis is known for its ability to help people struggling with mental conditions such as depression, bi-polar, and PTSD. People taking medicine for anxiety or OCD could experience increased drowsiness when adding cannabis, while other medicines can cause the opposite effect.
Learn more about the many
Benefits of Medical Marijuana
Can I Use CBD With Other Medication?
CBD is another cannabinoid compound found in cannabis, which doesn’t cause psychoactivity the way THC does. The main issue with combining CBD and other medicines involves the liver. Research has shown CBD blocks enzymes that break down most pharmaceuticals, keeping your body from properly removing the latter. This can cause some nasty side effects.
The Final Tally
Ultimately, it’s best to avoid using cannabis if you’re on other medication, though there is an exception to this recommendation: if you speak to your doctor and let them know you’re using cannabis – to treat symptoms of the same condition or another – they might be able to alter your prescription to account for this natural treatment. Mood and other mental concerns are an excellent example of this balance of cannabis and pharmaceuticals, which is growing more and more acceptable in medical circles.
In terms of OTC medicines for which you don’t need a prescription, please use your best judgement. If you’re unsure how the two medicines will interact, wait at least four hours after taking a Tylenol (or whatever) before using cannabis.
Fun Factoid: Can pain medicine counteract THC?
Surprisingly, you may have the high-fighter you need sitting in your bathroom cabinet. Some studies have shown aspirin and ibuprofen decreases production of an enzyme called COX-2, which THC increases. The coolest part? You’ll probably still get the medical benefits of the cannabis, because all COX-2 does is manage memory!
Want to try treating your symptoms with cannabis, before seeking out pharmaceuticals?
Give one of these incredible medical strains a try: