Antidepressants and Cannabis: What You Need to Know

Marijuana and Antidepressants: What You Need to Know

There is no denying that there are several health benefits of cannabis use. We’re talking physical, mental and emotional perks. Cannabis can make you feel more relaxed, less stressed, and it can even help with medical conditions ranging from schizophrenia to cancer. Which is why cannabis is being used more and more in the medical world as a part of patient treatment, as well as more socially in states where recreational marijuana use has been legalized. But what about people dealing with depression? Are there risks when mixing marijuana and antidepressants?  What about CBD oil and antidepressants?

According to statistics from a few years ago, there are approximately 20 million Americans using marijuana. And as policies across states change and more states are legalizing marijuana use, you can safely assume that medical and/or recreational usage will become more accepted and more frequent in our society.

Which is why it’s so important to know any risks of cannabis consumption, especially if you are taking other medications such as antidepressants; as well as the effects of mixing CBD oil and antidepressants. After all, mixing any drugs comes with risks and it’s crucial you know what may happen to your body in the immediate aftermath as well as the future.

How do Antidepressants Work?

Depression is a common but serious medical condition that affects how you act, think and feel. It is a mood disorder that is caused by certain brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, which control your mood. When those chemicals are not balanced or are altered, your mood is negatively affected. Which is where antidepressants become invaluable.

Typically, these medications work by affecting the neurotransmitters in some way. The most common antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These drugs work by increasing the amount of serotonin (the feel-good chemical), which is naturally produced by your brain, but is often produced in lower quantities in people with depression. SSRIs also often come with fewer side effects than other antidepressants, which is why they are so commonly prescribed as the first line of defense against depression. Sounds safe and straightforward, right?

What Happens when You Mix Cannabis and Antidepressants?

Cannabis is an herbal drug that has also been shown to naturally increase serotonin in the brain, which is why you so often feel really good when you use marijuana. But in some cases, too much THC can lead to feelings of anxiety, paranoia and stress, which is the opposite effect you hope to have if you are battling depression and other mood disorders. So, while the cannabis itself might not be negatively interacting with antidepressants, it may be getting in the way of positive results.

That said, there is still a lot we don’t know about marijuana and antidepressants. There are very few scientific studies that have proven this negative relationship between cannabis and antidepressants. A simple search on Google Scholar or PubMed yields very few results and very little information.

In 2010, researchers reviewed what little literature they found and published a report titled Psychotropic Medications and Substances of Abuse Interactions in Youth in the journal Substance Abuse. The report noted that there are “potential interactive adverse effects between psychotropic medications and substances of abuse in youth,” but this drug-drug interaction has received very little attention to date.

Perhaps the biggest risk is that using more than one drug at a time, whether those drugs are prescribed or recreational, may make it challenging to identify the root of any side effects and to properly manage the dosage and treatment plan. Be sure to speak to your medical professional openly and honestly about cannabis and antidepressants, and how this might affect you. The best way to ensure you are protecting your health and achieving the best results is to be vigilant about what you put into your body, and be careful to monitor the impact any drugs have on your mental, physical and emotional state.

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