Can You Consume Cannabis While Taking Antibiotics

mix marijuana with antibiotics

You must have heard that combining other drugs with antibiotic therapy can be detrimental to your health. Most health professionals might even advise you to stop other treatment regimes while using antibiotics because of drug interactions and side effects.

But before you judge cannabis users for continuing THC and CBD usage even while on antibiotics, you should get some facts straight. Sure, many drugs operate through similar pathways in the body, making them impossible to combine with antibiotics, but not cannabis. Recent studies have brought the beneficial aspects of marijuana usage to light, even down to its antibacterial properties.

Even though there isn’t extensive research material on the interaction between marijuana and antibiotics, the trials conducted have shown that such interactions and their side effects are minimal. Of course, you still have to inform your doctor of your cannabis usage if you will be getting antibiotic prescriptions. You don’t want to risk the adverse effects for a few days of Purple Haze goodness.

Here are more of the specifics on taking weed and antibiotics.

Picture of cannabis buds in a glass jar.
The benefits of using cannabis have come to the light in the past few years. Even the US government agrees!
Source: Budding unsplash

Understanding Antibiotics

There are several disease-causing pathogens in the world, and the most popular ones include:

  • Bacteria,
  • Fungi,
  • Viruses, and
  • Parasites.

Of the pathogens listed, only viral infections don’t have a specific therapeutic agent, since the human immune system is supposed to be able to take care of them. Antibiotics form the most important aspect of treatment against bacterial infections, as they help the body get rid of different types of bacteria by:

  • immobilizing them,
  • impeding the growth of bacteria, or
  • killing them outright by destroying the bacterial membrane.

Thus, antibiotics have been a staple in treatment for decades. However, cases of antibiotic abuse have resulted in the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, like the Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA). These bacteria will prove difficult to treat since they are already resistant to the most common antibiotics.

Different types of antibiotics include the penicillins (amoxicillin, ampicillin), metronidazole, erythromycin, streptomycin, gentamicin, bacitracin, cephalosporins, quinolones, and sulfonamides. Their prescription varies with the kind of bacterial infection (pneumonia, enteritis), the severity of the infection, the patient’s medical history, the mechanisms of action of the antibiotics, and the potential drug interactions.

Potential Risks and Benefits of Mixing Cannabis and Antibiotics

Potential Benefits

As we stated earlier, recent studies into the use cases for marijuana in therapy have brought up an interesting finding. Cannabis products could possess antibacterial properties, making them effective in health conditions like arthritis, diarrhea, and vomiting. Some experts even suggest that marijuana’s antibacterial activity could be the answer to the growing issue of antibiotic resistance.

But that’s beside the point. Remember CBD and other non-psychotropic cannabinoids? Yes, they are the major cannabinoids that give marijuana its antibacterial activity. Some studies have shown that CBD and CBG have been effective against urinary tract infections like Pseudomonas infections and also enhanced the antibiotic efficacies of kanamycin and vancomycin in Staphylococcus and E. coli treatments. Simply put, your CBD Moby Dick Medical buds could even enhance the efficacy of antibiotics against specific bacteria!

But for now, there are not enough research studies to conclude the interaction between cannabis and antibiotics. On the other hand, most researchers still feel there is only a negligible level of interaction between marijuana and antibiotics, so, to some extent, you are not in much danger of continuing your medical cannabis intake along with antibiotics.

Potential Risks

As much as there are no severe side effects in taking antibiotics and weed, the major risks lie in the fact that cannabinoids can slow down the body’s metabolism of drugs, particularly in the liver. CBD has been found to affect some liver enzymes, especially those involved in detoxification; inactivation of such enzymes can lead to the accumulation of antibiotics in the body.

If antibiotics accumulate in the body, they reach toxic levels faster and the common side effects begin to manifest as adverse reactions that could be life-threatening. One other potential risk of taking cannabis with antibiotics is that most cannabis users prefer to smoke it. Smoking generally impedes the healing process, and its adverse effects are most prominent when the individual is treating a mouth or respiratory infection.

Crushed cannabis buds on paper.
Smoking weed might not be the best way to take cannabis with antibiotics. How about you try weed tinctures?
Source: Wesley Gibbs unsplash

Can Cannabis Reduce the Effectiveness of Antibiotics?

As we said earlier, there isn’t enough research material to conclude on antibiotics and their interactions with cannabis. While one party of researchers believes both should not be combined, the other group is of the opinion that cannabinoids in fact help, rather than impede, antibiotic therapy with their antibacterial potential.

So, short answer: no, so far, there has only been a small amount of interaction between cannabis and antibiotics. Long answer: there could be even more effects of cannabis on antibiotics–both positive and negative–but the research and evidence available are not conclusive enough.

The bottom line is to ensure that your doctor is aware of your cannabis intake so that they can advise you on whether to stop the marijuana or continue it with your antibiotic prescriptions.

Risks of Using Cannabis While on Antibiotics

The biggest issue you can encounter if you mix weed with antibiotics is the side effects, which could range from mild to severe. We already established that cannabinoids could prolong the duration of antibiotics in the body, even promoting their build-up to toxic levels. This is because CBD and THC impair the activity of the cytochrome p450 enzyme class that handles drug breakdown in the liver.

Consequently, the accumulated antibiotics can lead to any of the following side effects:

  • Nausea,
  • Vomiting,
  • Yeast/fungal infections, and
  • Allergic reactions.

In severe cases, you might find issues with muscle tendons and even liver toxicity. Also, since the enzyme activities are affected, THC and CBD breakdown is also reduced and you might experience the following side effects associated with weed overuse, even when you didn’t use above your recommended dosage.

  • Paranoia,
  • Anxiety and depression,
  • Hallucinations,
  • Confusion, and
  • Dry mouth and eyes.

Whenever you notice any of the symptoms listed above, you should discontinue your cannabis intake immediately and inform your physician.

Doctor advising elderly patient on cannabis usage.
Taking cannabis goes beyond recreation. Medical marijuana helps relieve many disorders, even in the elderly.
Source: National Cancer Institute unsplash

Antibiotics and Cannabis Interactions: Common Concerns

For now, there are no significant reports of adverse effects in the interactions between antibiotics and marijuana. We could almost say that it’s safe to use antibiotics with cannabis, but the clinical trials and research findings on the subject matter are still insufficient.

From the limited clinical evidence, we can glean that macrolide antibiotics are most likely to give undesirable results when you combine them with cannabis. Macrolide antibiotics include erythromycin and azithromycin, and their side effects when combined with weed products could be quite severe.

One thing is sure, though. THC and CBD are quite compatible with a wide range of antibiotics since they don’t operate along similar pathways. However, research into their metabolites has not been enough to rule out adverse side effects when combined with antibiotics. You can’t rule out the negative side effects that might arise from taking weed with antibiotics, so you should ensure your doctor is aware of your cannabis intake before starting any antibiotic treatment.

Conclusion

As it stands, there’s nothing wrong with continuing your cannabis intake with antibiotics. But to be on the safe side, it is best to take cannabis through non-smoking routes–cannabis edibles, tinctures, and powders–instead of smoking or vaping cannabis. Smoking has been associated with delayed healing or recovery, and you want to be off your antibiotic treatment as soon as you can. Consult your physician on the best treatment plan if you have to combine weed and antibiotics.

Just starting your cannabis experience? There’s no better way than to have your own private supply of cannabis plants, fresh from nature–or your indoor setup, as you may prefer. CBD strains like buds from Candy Kush autoflowering seeds will give you a tranquil experience that is best for beginner users, while old-timers might prefer the more intense ‘highs’ associated with THC-based strains like feminized Sour Kush seeds.

Growers Choice online is a one-stop shopping experience for your feminized and auto flowering seeds. Check our stores here for high-quality cannabis seeds in the US today!

FAQs

Can you smoke weed on antibiotics?

Yes, you can smoke weed on antibiotics. Even though smoking is not the best route for taking cannabis with antibiotics, it is safe, especially if you aren’t treating strep throat or lung infection.

Can you smoke weed with amoxicillin?

Yes, smoking weed with amoxicillin is not such a bad idea. Since cannabis compounds like THC and CBD operate via different pathways from many antibiotics, you can smoke weed along with amoxicillin.

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