How does marijuana interact with prescription drugs?

Denver MMJ Doctors (Metro Multidisciplinary Doctors)

@mmdclinic (mmdmedicaldoctors.com)

Can Medical Cannabis be used instead of all my prescriptions?

Although all the medical benefits of cannabis are beneficial, there are drugs that it cannot replace. Blood pressure medication, blood thinners, antidepressants, anxiolytics, seizure medications and chemotherapeutics are examples of regularly prescribed medications that should be part of your prescription along with medical marijuana.

Marijuana Slows Down the Metabolism of Prescription Medication

Most of the cannabis-drug interactions can be mapped back to liver metabolism. Our livers have essential Cytochrome P450 enzymes (shortened CYP450) that metabolize the substantial majority of medications that we take. Cannabinoids like THC and CBD are likewise metabolized by these enzymes.

The performance of your CYP450 enzymes can be modified by various other medications, as well as in the case of cannabis, this can cause your various other drugs to obtain metabolized more slowly. Because of this, your prescription medicine will certainly continue to be in your system longer and at higher degrees than meant, which can in some cases create unwanted adverse effects.

The bright side is that this usually only takes place at extremely high doses, and CBD seems the major contributor. Cannabis is just a plant yet it can still have undesired repercussions (specifically when taken with other drugs).

marijuana and prescription drugs

How does marijuana interact with prescription drugs?

It doesn’t matter if it is a prescription drug or a recreational drug, all drugs have compounds that interact with other compounds, adverse interactions with cannabis appear rare. As example of drugs interaction there is caffeine, which most people take on a daily basis. Caffeine have 82 known interactions with other substances.

It is difficult to determine the relevance of a drug interaction, some of them are not harmful but given the number of variables it could change. We can divide these interactions in three main categories:

  • Low risk (Minimally clinically significant), you can consider taking an alternative drug, always monitoring, and taking steps to avoid the interaction risk.

  • Moderate (Moderately clinically significant), in this case the best option is to avoid this type of combinations, using it just in special circumstances.

  • Major (Highly clinically significant), avoid combinations, in any case the risks in this interaction are higher than the benefits.

Before stopping your medications you must consult it with your healthcare provider. If you want professionals to tell you more about changing to a marijuana treatment avoiding dangerous interactions click here.

People diagnosed with depression can be prescribed antidepressants, very little research has been made taking prescribed drugs while using marijuana. Antidepressants side effects can be similar to those produced by marijuana use, including the following:

  • Nausea

  • Panic

  • Anxiety

  • Drowsiness

  • Confusion

  • Dizziness

  • Tachycardia

  • Restlessness

  • Mood swings

  • Hallucinations

The following is a list of some of the compounds that have major interaction with cannabis and whose mixture should be avoided:

However, there are other kind of risks to consider when mixing drugs and cannabis, antidepressants could be less effective or take longer to work, this could set the treatment on and off protocols, prolonging recovery. Patients with diabetes should be careful when their medication is set to lower blood sugar levels, as marijuana helps regulate blood sugar the effectiveness of the treatment could be compromised, we recommend measuring your blood sugar level while using metformin or a similar treatment and cannabis.


Remember there are newer medications and research is needed, talk to your doctor if you want to consume cannabis while on medication. For more information about the medical marijuana treatment, and how it can help with your condition contact us. You can also call us at (720) 477-4920, any time between 10am-6pm Monday through Friday.