Why weed shouldn't be mixed with prescription medications

Published Jul 21, 2020 01:00 p.m. ET
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Now that so many people are using cannabis full time, we’re running into issues that were never so prevalent before. We rely on modern medicine to keep ourselves alive, and it’s the reason that we are fortunate enough to live in a time where we have such a high life expectancy. Unfortunately, that usually means long lists of various prescriptions throughout our lives, but they play a vital role in our survival.

Things have changed drastically since cannabis has entered the world of medicine as a legitimate treatment that is supposed to help with many of the same conditions and ailments that we would treat with prescribed pharmaceuticals, as we now know that there can be problems when you mix these two kinds of substances.

1. It may enhance the less enjoyable side effects

When prescribed medications are taken, it’s generally to quell some out of control symptoms like pain, nausea, or inflammation, and the majority of pharmaceuticals that are on the market today come with a long list of potential side effects. They might upset your stomach, cause annoying symptoms like vertigo, or they can make you feel drowsy and unmotivated.

Since we also know that using cannabis can cause all of the above described adverse effects and more, it would make sense to assume that these sensations and issues could be exacerbated if you were to add cannabis on top of prescribed medication. Even if you aren’t experiencing adverse symptoms pre-cannabis, using it will increase the likelihood of it happening, and that isn’t a risk that everyone is willing to take.

2. It could render your prescribed treatment ineffective

When your doctor sends you home with prescribed antibiotics, diabetes, or heart medication, or any other life-saving treatment, you will diligently follow the doctor's orders because you want to heal what ails you, but introducing cannabis to the equation can reduce the chances of your medicine working as planned. In many incidences, researchers have found that cannabis can reduce the effectiveness of the medication, and when your life depends on it, that’s just not something that you should mess around with.

3. There is no way to know for certain what will happen

Right now, researchers all over the world are looking into the potential effects that we should know about when it comes to combining drugs. So far, we’ve discovered that you can take antibiotics with weed with no ill effects on the effectiveness of the medicine, but when it comes to other lifesaving prescribed treatments, anything is possible.

You could try combining drugs several times over and notice no ill effect, and then suddenly take a little bit more one day and find that your heart medication stopped working. It is entirely possible to get completely different results no matter how many times you replicate this kind of experiment, so while you can build a comfortability with what each drug does for you, there is no guarantee that there won’t be long term consequences.

Is combining drugs ever safe to do?

Some consumers swear by the benefits of using cannabis in conjunction with their prescribed treatments, and this is especially true among cancer patients who use it to manage the adverse effects of radiation and chemotherapy while reducing pain, but there is always a slight risk to consider when you decide to start combining drugs.

The only real way to be as safe as possible is to attempt self-treatment with the oversight of your family physician, who can monitor you for progress or regression. This is an essential component of the safe mixing of prescribed medicine and cannabis, and without the extra help, there is a much greater risk that will vary in severity depending on your condition and medication, so it’s always best to be cautious, and to weigh all of the benefits against the risks of such an experiment before diving right in.

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