anxiety-medication-and-marijuana

Cannabis and Anxiety Medication- Should You Consume Them Simultaneously?

August 16, 2022

According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), 6.8 million adults, or 3.1 of the U.S. population suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). However, only 43.2% of those suffering undergo treatment.

A lot of people have also started turning to cannabis for anxiety relief, but what about the prescription medicine? If you already take medication for anxiety, should you continue taking it with marijuana or completely? Is the herb even a viable treatment option? 

Keep reading to find the answers to these questions and more. 

Anxiety Symptoms and Medication

Anxiety can be classified into a few different types, each exhibiting different symptoms. Let’s look at some common types of anxiety.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a common type of anxiety disorder characterized by exaggerated worry or anxiety about the smallest things in everyday life. This can happen at any time and for no particular reason. In progressive stages, sufferers are in a constant state of worry, letting the disorder affect their life. 

Common GAD symptoms include restlessness, overthinking, muscle tension,  inability to concentrate, insomnia, fast heartbeat, fatigue, etc. 

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder is often referred to as social phobia. It is identified by a heightened feeling of self consciousness in a social setting. A person suffering from social phobia finds it hard to mingle with their peers and feel uncomfortable in social settings. Further, it’s not easy for people to talk to anyone without the fear of being judged. 

Common symptoms include shaking, trembling, expecting the worst outcomes from everything, constantly worrying about embarrassing oneself in front of people. 

Also Read: Marijuana and Anxiety - Tips and Tricks To Overcome Your Paranoia While You're High

Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is also a common form of anxiety, affecting about 1 in 100 adults. It is misportrayed as simply the obsession to clean and organize everything, however there is much more to it. 

Sufferers often feel the need to follow specific patterns while doing tasks to keep things from going wrong. It also decreases their capacity to deal with situations and conduct themselves in a social setting, causing nervousness. Patients of OCD also have the compulsive desire to do things repetitively. For example, washing the hands. 

Panic Disorder

As the name suggests, people who suffer from this disorder often panic and worry to no end. As a result, their quality of life is impacted, and they live in uncertainty of tomorrow. 

Sufferers deal with recurrent symptoms of panic attacks such as shaking, sense of terror, hot flashes, feeling out of breath, excessive sweating, etc. 

How Is Anxiety Treated?

Anxiety is most commonly treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs. An SSRI is a kind of antidepressant that regulates the reabsorption of serotonin by neurons. Basically, it increases the availability of serotonin, thus regulating mood swings. SSRIs have many drawbacks:

  • Abruptly stopping the use of SSRI may cause withdrawal symptoms.
  • They work only for as long as you consume them.
  • Common side effects include reduced sex drive, diarrhea, and nausea. 
  • Anxiety medication works by regulating the central nervous system’s activity. This makes you feel relaxed, but also relaxes your muscles, making you feel at a loss of energy.

Furthermore, different individuals may have extra side effects to deal with, which is why many people with anxiety are turning to other forms of treatment such as medical marijuana. 

However, if you wish to do the same, it is advisable to get medical advice first as you shouldn’t try treating anxiety (or any other medical issue) on your own. If you are looking for an experienced 420 doctor in San Diego to talk to, visit the Medical Cannabis Card San Diego website. They offer online consultations with state certified doctors so you can clear all your doubts and start consuming cannabis safely and responsibly. 

Can You Consume Marijuana With Anxiety Medication?

In certain cases, the chemicals in marijuana and prescribed medication may lead to dangerous interactions. While there are no exclusive studies conducted to understand the interaction between the two, there are multiple other reasons why using marijuana and anti-anxiety medications is not advised by doctors. 

  • Both anxiety medications and cannabis work by increasing the serotonin in your body. Using both of them together may lead to an overdose of serotonin in the body, which is a serious medical problem. The medical term for it is serotonin syndrome, and can be fatal in its severity. Common symptoms include:
    • Insomnia
    • Diarrhea
    • Shivering
    • Headache
    • Irritability 
    • Confusion
    • Restlessness
    • Rigid muscles
    • Dilated pupils
    • Rapid heart beat 
    • Excessive sweating
    • Increased blood pressure
    • Affected muscle coordination
  • Mild cases of the interaction between the two involve hallucinations, dizziness and nausea. However, the interaction may become severe and require medical attention in some cases. 
  • Since anxiety medications such as Prozac are mood altering medications, using it with cannabis which is also a mood altering herb makes the job of a doctor difficult. It will not be easy to determine your progress or the effectiveness of the prescribed medication.

  • Cannabis is effective in relieving anxiety at lower doses only.  The effects worsen at higher doses. So, if you are using it with anti-anxiety meds, it will be hard to determine which one caused the side effects.
  • Hypomania is one of the most common side effects of mixing cannabis and prozac. The symptoms can be mild to moderate and include hyperactivity, racing thoughts and lack of sleep. 
  • Cannabis may intensify the side effects of anti-anxiety meds like Zoloft. So, you may experience mild to moderate nausea and dizziness. 

It is very common among people to mix antidepressants such as Prozac and Zoloft with marijuana. Cannabis in itself relieves anxiety and there’s no harm in using the same while having a breakdown. You may even use cannabis with prozac, zoloft or luvox without any consequences but it is risky. It is always best to consult a professional before using the combination or if you feel anything unusual when mixing the two. 

Conclusion

Cannabis interactions are unpredictable. On one hand you may not feel any difference. On the other hand, the interaction may need medical attention. This does not mean that cannabis and anti-anxiety medication together are bad news. However, it’s best to consider all the possible factors and situations that you might face. 

The side effects of cannabis and anxiety medications may vary from mild to moderate. Fatal cases are rare but not an exception. The wise choice here would be to avoid using Prozac, Zoloft or other anxiety medications with cannabis without professional guidance. This is the best option for someone dealing with intense cases of anxiety, depression or other clinical mental health conditions. So, to answer if you can use cannabis with anxiety medications, you must visit your doctor and discuss it in regards to your individual factors. 



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