What Happens When You Mix Zoloft and Weed?
Zoloft is one of the leading prescription medications used to treat depression. But as more states legalize medicinal and recreational cannabis, marijuana is becoming a popular depression treatment in its own right. What happens, though, when you combine Zoloft and weed?
if you still have questions after reading this post, Green Health Docs can help. GHD offers medical marijuana card certification in numerous states, and their licensed physicians can answer all your questions and help you to get approved. Green Health Docs has clinics located in multiple states across the country, and GHD even offers telemedicine evaluations. Contact Green Health Docs today to get started.
How Zoloft Works for Depression
Zoloft (known generically as sertraline hydrochloride or just sertraline) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It works by balancing serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that’s sometimes referred to as “the happy chemical” or “the feel-good chemical” because it’s associated with feelings of well-being. By increasing serotonin production, Zoloft and similar drugs work to counteract depression.
In order to understand the adverse reactions that can occur when mixing sertraline with marijuana, you first need to understand the side effects that can occur with Zoloft alone:
- – Insomnia
- – Drowsiness
- – Dizziness
- – Agitation
- – Indigestion
- – Diarrhea
- – Paranoia
- – Panic attacks
- – Sweating
- – Shaking
- – Decreased libido or sexual dysfunction
These side effects vary from person to person, but they may be exacerbated in some cases by cannabis use.
Mixing Zoloft and Marijuana
Drugs.com identifies Zoloft as a drug that interacts with marijuana. The interaction is “moderately clinically significant,” meaning that the combination of drugs should be avoided under normal circumstances.
Combining the drugs may promote or worsen the sertraline side effects listed above. This can happen because cannabis inhibits certain enzymes in the liver that metabolize SSRIs. As a result, you’re left with a higher concentration of the drug in your blood and more potential for adverse reactions. It’s the same reason why your doctor tells you not to eat grapefruit while taking antidepressants.
There’s another reason why this combination of drugs may increase the likelihood of side effects. SSRIs and weed both increase serotonin production, and that can lead to a condition known as serotonin syndrome. This condition most commonly occurs when multiple serotonin drugs are combined, and it’s characterized by many of the symptoms listed above, including drowsiness, diarrhea, and panic attacks.
Who Is Most at Risk?
Certain populations are especially vulnerable to the effects of Zoloft combined with marijuana. Elderly patients may experience impaired thinking, judgment, and motor coordination.
People who drive or operate heavy machinery for a living should avoid mixing these drugs as well, as the combination can affect mental alertness. At the very least, see how the drugs affect you before proceeding with your work.
People with bipolar disorder and similar mental illnesses should avoid combining cannabis use with prescription SSRIs, as cannabis may contribute to worsened manic episodes.
Can Cannabis Treat Depression by Itself?
If cannabis and SSRIs make for an unstable combination, it’s worth examining whether cannabis alone can treat depression. The answer is complicated.
Reseachers at McGill University analyzed the effects of marijuana on rats’ serotonin levels. At low doses, serotonin increased. At high doses, serotonin levels dropped significantly. Based on this research, it appears that marijuana’s mood-boosting properties are best at the microdosing level. For many chronic depression sufferers, this may be insufficient to sustain long-term well-being.
Other research has shown that cannabidiol (CBD) may have greater potential as an antidepressant than whole-plant cannabis. CBD is just one of over 100 cannabinoids in marijuana, but when isolated and used independently, it may help to trigger the neuroreceptors responsible for improved well-being. Because symptoms like panic and paranoia are more closely associated with THC (a separate cannabinoid), CBD may be able to trigger the positive antidepressant effects without the unwanted side effects. CBD research, though, is still in its early stages, and we don’t know the long-term impact just yet.
Before quitting an SSRI like sertraline, it’s very important that you discuss it with your doctor. Quitting cold turkey can lead to withdrawal symptoms including heightened depression and even suicidal thoughts, and changing or abandoning treatment might not be the best course of action for every user.
The Real Reason for Caution With Zoloft and Weed
Despite the potential dangers, there are few reports of major adverse interactions stemming from marijuana and Zoloft use. Most users can manage both drugs in moderation without experiencing painful side effects, and in fact the reason why SSRIs are favored by physicians is because they tend to get along well with other drugs.
The biggest concern isn’t the possibility of side effects. The most significant reason to avoid mixing marijuana and SSRIs is that it puts your treatment at a disadvantage. When you have multiple mood-altering drugs in your body, your doctor can’t tell how well—or if—the antidepressant is working. That makes it all the more difficult to prescribe you the accurate dosage and promote your long-term mental health.
For that reason alone, it’s best to avoid using Zoloft and marijuana simultaneously.
Should I Use Zoloft and Weed Together?
Depression can be a severe psychological condition that jeopardizes a person’s mental and physical health and overall quality of life. Zoloft (sertraline) is an SSRI (selective serotonin uptake inhibitor) commonly prescribed to treat depression and anxiety. In light of many states recently decriminalizing marijuana for medical or recreational purposes, some physicians may also prescribe this drug for similar reasons as Zoloft.
There are both benefits and drawbacks of using either of these substances alone, so would it be safe to use the two in combination? Taking antidepressants while smoking or ingesting weed is not uncommon, but that doesn’t mean there are no risks involved.
Many experts contend that combining antidepressants and weed can raise the risk of adverse mental and physical complications. For example, some studies have shown that this combination can accelerate heart rate and lead to panic attacks. Other unwanted symptoms can include the following:
- Heart palpitations
- Cardiovascular problems
- Persistent dizziness
- Serotonin syndrome
- Sleep disturbances
- Tight chest and difficulty breathing
- Restlessness and irritability
- Severe anxiety
Zoloft and Weed for Anxiety or Depression
Clinical research has revealed that when Zoloft and weed interact, they can produce adverse reactions, not unlike an overdose on sertraline. Moreover, while it is not uncommon for marijuana alone to cause anxiety, there may be an increased risk of severe anxiety and panic manifesting when the two substances are combined. As a result, using these drugs together can lead to prolonged and less effective treatment of psychiatric conditions like depression, stress, and anxiety.
Using Zoloft and weed in conjunction can trigger unpredictable reactions, and instead of inducing a pleasurable high, this habit only serves to worsen the condition of the individual using them. In fact, taking antidepressants with marijuana can undermine the entire treatment process and result in serious mental health problems, such as prolonged depression or anxiety.
Although either of these substances can be used to treat such problems effectively, when combined, the therapeutic value of either drug may be compromised. The problematic symptoms related to this coupled use may not be easily recognizable at first. Still, the risk of adverse effects can increase the longer these two drugs are used regularly.
The Case for Marijuana as Medicine
There are a few reasons why some people prefer to use cannabis instead of SSRIs to mitigate depression or anxiety symptoms. For example, if a person is covered by health insurance, they may soon discover that marijuana is more cost-effective and easily accessible than an SSRI. Or, they may choose marijuana over antidepressants because they consider it a more organic substance with less potential for dependence.
That said, most of marijuana’s reported effects on relieving adverse emotional symptoms are anecdotal. Few studies have addressed this subject, let alone have found compelling evidence for these claims. Still, for those who praise its benefits based on personal experience, marijuana may serve as a therapeutic remedy that can help keep depression, anxiety, and stress in check.
It’s critical to note, however, that marijuana does not work for these purposes for everyone. Some people do not react well, and encounter increased anxiety, panic, and paranoia, which can be severe.
Can Zoloft and Weed Use Be Life-Threatening?
There is no clinical evidence that the combination of marijuana and antidepressants can prove lethal. However, the interaction between these substances can lead to a higher concentration of sertraline in the body, which can cause a severe and potentially life-threatening condition known as serotonin syndrome.
Serotonin syndrome is characterized by a collection of symptoms that may manifest due to the use of certain substances that increase serotonin levels in a person’s system. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and commonly include agitation, high body temperature, sweating, increased reflexes, tremors, and diarrhea. In severe cases, serotonin syndrome can lead to more traumatic effects, such as seizures, heart arrhythmia, high fever, and death.
Also, when these substances are used together, the risk of heart attack increases significantly, and suicidal thoughts or behaviors can occur if depression or anxiety becomes severe.
Getting Treatment for Depression and Marijuana Abuse
Although marijuana is not thought to cause as much harm as other drugs or alcohol, it can be habit-forming and interfere with the action and effectiveness of prescription medications. If you have been prescribed Zoloft for depression or anxiety and have found yourself unable to stop using marijuana despite multiple attempts, we urge you to seek professional help as soon as possible.
Just Believe Recovery uses a comprehensive, individualized approach to addiction that includes therapies and activities clinically-proven to be beneficial for the recovery process. Through behavioral therapy, counseling, group support, and other services, our programs are specially designed to address all aspects of a person’s mental and physical health and well-being.
You do not have to battle mental illness or drug abuse alone any longer. Contact us today and discover how we help people achieve their dreams by breaking free from the cycle of addiction for life!
⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Can You Mix Zoloft and Alcohol?
Smoking and antidepressants pharmacokinetics: a systematic review
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A randomized trial of sertraline as a cessation aid for smokers with a history of major depression
Objective: Evidence that major depression can be a significant hindrance to smoking cessation prompted this examination of the usefulness of sertraline as a cessation aid for smokers with a history of major depression. Specifically, sertraline's efficacy for smoking abstinence and its effects on withdrawal symptoms were evaluated.
Method: The study design included a 1-week placebo washout, a 9-week double-blind, placebo-controlled treatment phase followed by a 9-day taper period, and a 6-month drug-free follow-up. One hundred thirty-four smokers with a history of major depression were randomly assigned to receive sertraline (N=68) or matching placebo (N=66); all received intensive individual cessation counseling during nine clinic visits.
Results: Sertraline treatment produced a lower total withdrawal symptom score and less irritability, anxiety, craving, and restlessness than placebo. However, the abstinence rates did not significantly differ between treatment groups: 28.8% (19 of 66) for placebo and 33.8% (23 of 68) for sertraline at the end of treatment and 16.7% (11 of 66) for placebo and 11.8% (eight of 68) for sertraline at the 6-month follow-up. No moderating effects of single or recurrent major depression, depressed mood at baseline, nicotine dependence level, or gender were observed.
Conclusions: Sertraline did not add to the efficacy of an intensive individual counseling program in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. However, given that the end-of-treatment abstinence rate for the placebo group was much higher than expected, it is unclear whether a ceiling effect of the high level of psychological intervention received by all subjects prevented an adequate test of sertraline.
On zoloft smoking
Zoloft And Marijuana: Can One Smoke Weed On SSRI Antidepressants?
Depression is a serious mental disorder that not only affects a person psychologically but physically as well. Apart from antidepressants like sertraline, many doctors prescribe medical marijuana for anxiety and depression treatment. But what happens when one combines sertraline and marijuana? This article highlights the side effects of mixing CBD and Zoloft pill. Read along further to discover the risks of smoking weed with antidepressants and the treatment procedure.
Side Effects of Zoloft and Marijuana Interaction
Medical marijuana and cannabis’s therapeutic properties are being studied for the last few years to determine how effective it is for various conditions. A study found that cannabis works as an effective antidepressant at low doses. Cannabidiol, a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa, has been shown to possess antidepressant and anxiolytic properties. The studies of animal models showed anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects when cannabidiol was taken in small doses.
However, when it is combined with other drugs and medicines, it can cause various adverse reactions. One research conducted about psychotropic medications and substance of abuse interactions concluded that combining CBD with antidepressants may cause serious health risks and mental disorders. Some clinical studies reveal that increased heart rate can be one of the possible Zoloft common side effects of mixing it with CBD. The risk of panic attacks also increases by combining sertraline and weed.
Other serious health problems triggered by this combination are:
- Continuous dizziness
- Extreme drowsiness
- Difficulty concentrating
- High Blood pressure
- Serotonin syndrome
- Prolonging recovery
- Sleep disorders (Somnipathy)
- Cardiovascular Issues
- Tight chest and labored breathing
- Extreme restless and irritability
- Severe anxiety
- Respiratory depressant reactions
- Motor coordination issues
- Impairment of attention
- Impairment of judgment and thinking
- Decreased mental alertness
Can You Take CBD Oil and Zoloft?
Taking CBD oil and Zoloft can cause a drop in blood pressure and the severity of other adverse reactions. Based on the study about CBD oil’s therapeutic potential, its low doses can prove to have a therapeutic effect for several disorders. However, when patients use it with antidepressants, it may reduce the medicine’s effectiveness and cause adverse reactions. This interaction is also shown to affect how the body absorbs this antidepressant medication and increases the processing times.
Sertraline and Cannabis Combination For Anxiety Treatment
According to clinical surveys carried out, when CBD and sertraline drug interact, they can cause severe adverse reactions, which are similar to antidepressant overdose. There is a more significant risk of rising anxiety and nervousness with the mixture of the two substances, especially when the dose of CBD is increased. As a result, mixing Zoloft and marijuana often leads to prolonged treatment of psychiatric ailments such as self-deception, stress, and anxiety.
The study about the potential drug interactions of cannabis found out that proceeding to consume cbd and Zoloft may generate unpredictable reactions. These side effects can worsen the condition of the patient. Consuming CBD while being on SSRIs can reverse the treatment process. It may lead to severe health disorders and hyperactivity ailments. Weed and Zoloft combination may result in extended depression therapy. Epidemiological researchers claim that the two drugs’ interaction slows down the treatment, increases anxiety, and raises health hazards. Intake of antidepressant drugs such as sertraline aids in curing anxiety, depression disorder, along with mental confusion.
The practice of smoking pot when a patient has already started antidepressant treatment may backpedal the process. Sertraline drug interactions with CBD have adverse effects on the health of the patient. The initial symptoms of these adverse reactions are not obvious and easily recognizable. But the adverse effects considerably have multiple psychoactive outcomes, especially for elders and other high-risk individuals.
Are Zoloft and Weed a Deadly Combination?
Although there are no clinical proofs of Zoloft and marijuana being deadly, smoking pot with it can cause serious problems. The interaction of both substances results in a higher concentration of serotonin in the blood and can cause serotonin syndrome, as described in the recent study. This can cause complex paranoia, panic attacks, and a highly stressful situation.
The Centers for disease control and prevention have mentioned that cannabis may show possible side effects and changes the way the medication works when used with some prescribed drugs. Many people have encountered the traumatic consequences of smoking weed on antidepressant medications.
Medical experts speak about the damaging effects of Sertraline drug interactions with weed. These outcomes are usually unnoticed at the initial state but may prove deadly. The researchers have found out that Zoloft and weed together increase heart attack risk by four times. This combination can simulate suicidal thoughts too. Also, mixing weed with an SSRI can result in poor concentration and lead to deadly accidents.
Who is the Most Vulnerable from This Interaction?
Taking Zoloft and marijuana together may cause different outcomes for different individuals. This can be because of their underlying health conditions or certain other factors. Some people are more vulnerable to the serious side effects of this interaction. These are further discussed below:
The elderly patients may experience worsened adverse reactions to this interaction. This may include impaired thinking, difficulty in decision making, impaired motor coordination, and other effects.
People Suffering From Certain Mental Illnesses
Individuals with bipolar disorder, paranoia, manic episodes, and other similar mental illnesses may experience severe adverse reactions such as increased paranoia, panic attacks, and manic episodes.
People Who Operate Heavy Machinery
People who operate heavy machinery and other similar professions that require mental alertness are at more risk to suffer from the consequences of this interaction. It can result in dangerous accidents, and caution should be taken before thinking about taking these drugs.
Don’t Smoke Weed on Sertraline
Some people start to use cannabis instead of prescribed SSRIs because medical cannabis is cheaper than those medicines. But a lot of studies concluded that there are several adverse effects of taking Zoloft and weed. The study published on NCBI claimed that cannabis Sativa compounds have antidepressant-like properties, but that is dependent on the levels of serotonin in the central nervous system.
Antidepressant medication increases the serotonin levels in the brain. This means that when weed is taken with any antidepressant medication, it will have an increased effect, which can mimic an overdose and cause subsequent serious adverse reactions. So, it is no help in smoking cannabis while taking sertraline. All the studies that show the effectiveness of medical marijuana are carried out in a controlled environment and still require extensive research to term it successful. Consuming Zoloft and alcohol or marijuana can interfere with the potency of the antidepressant and is risky.
Remember, cutting off marijuana is essential while using antidepressants because it helps cure depression and other mental disorders only without weed consumption. If a patient decides to taper off antidepressant medication, switching to weed abruptly or using it during the discontinuation period is not advisable.
Ask a doctor about safe and effective sertraline alternatives in this case.
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Published on: October 4th, 2018
Updated on: December 18th, 2020
Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.
8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care. He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.
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