Is It Safe to Mix Weed and Antibiotics?
Medical Cannabis Card Providers often advise against mixing antibiotics with other medicines, but what are the risks of weed and antibiotics together? Medical marijuana users want to stay safe, but it can be hard to stop using marijuana for chronic health conditions.
But mixing weed and antibiotics may present dangers.
To understand why, it’s important to know what interactions can happen and how using cannabis can impact the body. It’s also a good idea to know what alternatives there are.
Read on to learn more about the impact of weed and antibiotics at the same time.
How Does Cannabis Affect the Body?
Some of the ways that cannabis and the chemicals in it affect the body are obvious. THC and CBD can help you relax, relieve pain, and increase appetite. But some of the other ways that using marijuana interacts with the body aren’t as well-known.
One of the ways that marijuana interacts with the body is to inhibit a liver enzyme called cytochrome P450. Under normal circumstances, that doesn’t make much of a difference. But it does affect how your body breaks down antibiotics like troleandomycin, erythromycin, and miocamycin.
Using marijuana impacts many parts of your body at once. Your liver, kidneys, brain, nervous system, and more all feel the effects in different ways.
Cannabis May Help
In fact, some research suggests that certain combinations of cannabis and antibiotics may be more effective than antibiotics alone. Some compounds in cannabis seem to have an antibiotic effect on their own, even.
Australian scientists researched whether cannabidiol could kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and found that certain strains of the compound could. If the research bears out, cannabis could become an antibiotic medicine in its own right.
It might also mean a future where cannabis and antibiotics come packaged together, to get better results.
But the research on cannabis and antibiotics is still pretty limited.
Type and Method of Cannabis Use Matters
Of course, the method you use to consume cannabis can also affect your body in different ways. Smoking and vaping can irritate your throat, lungs, and sinuses. This can cause problems if you take antibiotics to treat a respiratory infection.
If you prefer to take cannabis through edibles, or concentrates, it’s a good idea to keep in mind how they can change your digestion. If your stomach is irritated, or you’re having digestive problems, it can impact how well your body absorbs antibiotics.
The type of cannabis you consume can also play a role. You may already know that Indica and Sativa strains give you different results. These differences can extend to when you’re sick and on medications, too.
It’s good to understand how cannabis interacts with your body generally, but what about specifically with antibiotics?
How Weed and Antibiotics Mix in the Body
The good news is that in general, using marijuana and antibiotics together doesn’t seem to cause very dangerous interactions. What researchers find is that cannabis can intensify certain side effects, but not serious ones.
Because cannabis inhibits some liver enzymes, it can mean that you feel more nauseated when you take some antibiotics. You might also experience more diarrhea or other upset stomach symptoms.
Fortunately, no research to date shows any risk of overdose or other serious complications to mixing weed and antibiotics. But the research is pretty limited, especially since cannabis isn’t legal everywhere.
Check With Your Doctor
If you’re worried about potential interactions between antibiotics and cannabis, your doctor can give you advice. Your doctor can let you know if interactions between cannabis and other medications you might be taking could become worse with antibiotics in the mix.
In general, if you aren’t sure if the medications you take will interact, you should ask your doctor for advice on the topic. For example, using marijuana while you take SSRIs and some anti-anxiety medicines can be very dangerous.
A study done at Pennsylvania State University found interactions with several medications. If you take that antibiotic, definitely talk to your doctor first. The only antibiotic that worked very differently when mixed with cannabis was Clindamycin.
But what should you do if your doctor advises you not to smoke weed on antibiotics?
Alternatives For Marijuana and Antibiotics
If you want to avoid mixing weed with antibiotics, there are some alternatives. Of course, you can cut back on using marijuana without replacing it. That’s not ideal for many medical marijuana users, because the symptoms the marijuana treats come back.
In the short term, consider switching to a CBD (cannabidiol) product instead of full cannabis. CBD tinctures and other products activate many of the receptors that broad-spectrum cannabis does. The key difference is that it doesn’t affect as many organ systems.
If you do switch to CBD while you take antibiotics, make sure that you use the smallest dose you need. CBD may interfere with liver metabolism at high doses. However, you don’t usually need a high dose to get the right effects.
Consider Cutting Back
While it’s not ideal to stop using marijuana altogether while you take antibiotics, you might be able to get by with just cutting back. Most of the recorded interactions between cannabis and antibiotics are mild.
Unless you’re taking Clindamycin, it might be okay to consume cannabis and antibiotics carefully, instead of not mixing them at all.
Smoking weed less may be enough to prevent bad side effects. Cutting back by about a third or even half is a good idea, even if your doctor doesn’t think there’s a risk.
Always Use Caution When Mixing Weed with Other Medicines
While the interactions between weed and antibiotics aren’t severe, it’s definitely a good idea to check with your doctor before mixing the two. If you smoke weed on antibiotics, make sure to do so carefully.
If you have questions about using marijuana safely, contact us to get opinions and advice from qualified providers.