“Can I Mix Weed With Antibiotics?” Yes, But it Could be Problematic
Feb 28, 2020 · 5 min read
During a July 2019 Gallup poll, they found 12% of American adults claimed they use marijuana.
With so many people using cannabis, whether recreationally or for medical ailments, it makes sense that so many people are wondering, “Can I mix weed with antibiotics?”
While there’s little information available on this topic, generally speaking, it’s not usually advisable to consume other drugs with prescription medication. This holds especially true when little research has been done to prove the way the drug interacts with the medicine.
Using marijuana w hile on antibiotics isn’t advisable. However, it might not be as dangerous as some would suspect. While you shouldn’t take any of the information you find here as medical advice, this information should give you a better idea of what to expect if you decide to use cannabis while taking medicine.
What are Antibiotics Exactly?
You’ve likely taken antibiotics at one point or another. But what exactly are they?
Antibiotics either kill or stop the growth of microorganisms. Doctors will generally prescribe these drugs to fight bacterial infections.
Some antibiotics target a specific type of bacteria, while others are used to treat multiple bacterial strains. This is why these drugs are so commonly prescribed in modern medicine.
One of the problems with antibiotics is that frequent use can be problematic. Doctors and researchers are having trouble with antibiotic-resistant bacteria as a result of this overuse. And this is why we still have problems like bacterial staph infections.
Since antibiotics are so prevalent in the United States, it’s essential to know whether or not they can be used with cannabis. These drugs help millions of people every year. However, with cannabis use becoming so common, the question about using antibiotics with marijuana must be answered.
To get the full story, High Times recently asked Terry Roycroft, the president of Canada’s Medicinal Cannabis Resource Centre Inc. (MCRI) several questions. Let’s explore what he said to get a better idea of the big picture.
Is Combining Weed With Other Drugs Dangerous?
Roycraft says, “There’s a number of drug interactions for numerous everyday things. For example, even with caffeine, there are 82 drug interactions out there and some of them are moderately severe to severe.”
While many advise steering clear of drinking alcohol while taking antibiotics, the only two medications that demand one to avoid drinking are metronidazole and tinidazole. However, other things are capable of producing an adverse interaction with antibiotics — for example, grapefruit.
Grapefruits can impact how the body metabolizes some medications. This includes some antibiotics we use to treat some stomach, respiratory, and other infections. Roycraft states that this fruit can be used to safely navigate combining weed with antibiotics.
Roycraft explained, “The reality is that there [are] very little interactions with cannabis. In fact, the antibiotics are not on the contra-indicator list [the list of symptoms or conditions that makes a procedure inadvisable] with cannabis.”
The fact of the matter is that while there could be some interactions, any effects someone feels when combining cannabis with antibiotics will be mild. Some doctors are even analyzing whether some antibiotics will work better when combined with marijuana.
Roycraft delved further into this idea, saying, “For instance, when we’re treating someone that’s on pain medication and we introduce cannabis, we will cut their [antibiotic] dose in half immediately and they get the same benefits as they would, and the same reactions as if they were taking the full amount.”
While any interactions are mild, someone taking antibiotics with marijuana will still feel the combination.
Medical nurse Jessie Gill specializes in medical marijuana. She explains how marijuana could interact with some macrolide antibiotics. She wrote on Quora, “Marijuana inhibits a specific enzyme in the liver, cytochrome p450. This enzyme is used in many medications — including some antibiotics.”
Gill went on to say, “What this means is that the effect of the medications will be increased. That also means you’d be at a higher risk of experiencing side effects and adverse reactions from the antibiotics.” She advises using causing when combining medicines, including marijuana.
Can I Combine CBD With Antibiotics?
CBD and antibiotics might actually offer some benefits. This non-psychoactive chemical compound derived from cannabis and hemp plants has been displayed some remarkably effective anti-bacterial properties.
According to a study at The University of Queensland Australia, some Australian scientists found that CBD kills numerous bacteria strains, including some that traditional antibiotics find resistant. However, more studies are necessary to determine whether or not the potent cannabinoid can replace some antibiotics.
Dr. Mark Blaskovich, the senior research chemist at the Centre for Superbug Solutions, had this to say during a Newsweek interview:
We still don’t know how it works, and it may have a unique mechanism of action given it works against bacteria that have become resistant to other antibiotics, but we still don’t know how. So far, we have only shown it works topically, on the skin surface. To be really useful, it would be good if we could show that it treated systemic infections e.g., pneumonia, or complicated tissue infections, where you have to give it orally or by intravenous dosing. A very preliminary study didn’t show that it works in these difficult models.
Dr. Blaskovich also had this to say about the study:
Given cannabidiol’s documented anti-inflammatory effects, existing safety data in humans, and potential for varied delivery routes, it is a promising new antibiotic worth further investigation. The combination of inherent antimicrobial activity and potential to reduce damage caused by the inflammatory response to infections is particularly attractive.
So is Consuming Cannabis on Antibiotics Safe?
While there is a risk of increasing the side effects of your medications, it seems that there’s not much risk associated with mixing cannabis and antibiotics. Even though some caution must be taken, the potential adverse side effects aren’t necessarily severe.
Would someone using medicinal cannabis be told to stop using cannabis if they need to take antibiotics? It’s unlikely.
The majority of medical professionals are using grapefruit as a guide for cannabis use with antibiotics. If you shouldn’t eat grapefruit or drink its juice with an antibiotic, you probably shouldn’t mix cannabis with the medication.
Need help getting started with medical marijuana? Choosing CannabisRxHealth as your medical consultants makes getting an MMJ card as easy as 1, 2, 3. Contact us for an appointment, get evaluated and card-certified, and take your card to the dispensary.
With so many people using cannabis, whether recreationally or for medical ailments, it makes sense that so many people are wondering, “Can I mix weed with antibiotics?” While there’s little…
Using Marijuana While on Antibiotics… Is it Safe?
Can you use marijuana if you’re on antibiotics? Unsurprisingly, this is an increasingly common Google search as more and more people turn to cannabis for their daily form of therapy.
Unfortunately, little reliable information is available on the topic. Generally speaking it’s not wise to consume other drugs (i.e. alcohol) along with an antibiotic prescription. Cannabis is a natural plant though, so doesn’t that mean it’s ok?
In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about using marijuana while on antibiotics. We’ll talk about available scientific research, and also about the effects of CBD on antibiotics. Of course, it’s important to point out that the following information was independently researched. None of the information herein should be taken as medical advice.
What are Antibiotics – And How Do They Affect Your Body?
An antibiotic is a vague term describing anything that can either kill or stop the growth of microorganisms. Usually, doctors prescribe antibiotics to fight off bacterial infections.
Antibiotics come in a variety of forms. Some target very specific types of bacteria, whereas others tackle multiple bacterial strains. (This is actually why people can sometimes have problems with antibiotics. Some strains of bacteria are good for the body, but some antibiotics can kill off everything in their path).
Antibiotic prescriptions are very common in modern medicine. Ever heard of Penicillin? There’s a reason why this antibiotic is heralded as one of the most important medical discoveries of all time.
However, frequent use of antibiotics can present problems. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria is an ongoing issue for doctors and researchers. It’s also the reason we’re still dealing with things like MRSA and other types of bacterial staph infections.
Regardless, antibiotics are still some of the most common prescription drugs in the United States. And the truth is, they help millions of people every year defeat illnesses that would have proved deadly a century ago.
Cannabis and antibiotics
Of course, marijuana use is also very common here in the U.S. (and indeed all across the globe). For many people, cannabis is a crutch that supports health, happiness, and general quality of life.
But what happens when cannabis users have to take an antibiotic? Is it safe to take both at the same time? Before we answer that question, let’s take a look at how marijuana compounds interact with various medications.
How Cannabis Interacts with Medication
By and large, cannabis has a reputation as a safe drug – at least in terms of things like toxicity and overdose potential. Surprisingly, however, the plant’s interaction with other forms of medication is not a popular area of research.
It’s important to remember that everything your body ingests has a chemical and/or physiological consequence. In other words, anything you put in your body will invoke some sort of biological response.
Cannabis’ interaction with prescription medications is difficult to catalog. However, we are somewhat aware of the effects cannabis has on the human body in general.
We know, for example, that smoking cannabis can associate with symptoms of bronchitis. We also know that there is a contraindication between cannabis use and acute psychosis.* In terms of specific information on the use of marijuana and antibiotics, however, little research is available.
That said, Dr. Perry Solomon of HelloMD claims that there are no reports (to his knowledge) of interactions between cannabis and antibiotic medications.
There have been no reports that I know of [regarding] interactions between antibiotics and cannabis.
Perry Solomon, M.D. | Chief Medical Officer of HelloMD
So is it safe to use marijuana with antibiotics? Probably. But that is certainly not a guarantee, and it certainly shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. When in doubt, speak with your physician.
Answering the Question: ‘Is it Safe to Use Marijuana with Antibiotics?’
As we discuss above, there are essentially no clinical studies that offer data on the safety of cannabis when mixed with antibiotics. That said (and as supplemented by Dr. Solomon’s statement above), there are also no medical reports (that we’re aware of) of anyone suffering adverse-effects from using marijuana while taking antibiotics. Of course, this is an ongoing concern for medical cannabis use in general; we are still suffering from a shocking lack of research.
Interestingly enough, cannabinoids are known to have antibacterial properties of their own (not to be confused with ‘antibiotic properties). In fact, one study highlights the “potent activity” of five major cannabinoids (THC and CBD included) against “a variety of [clinically relevant] MRSA strains.”
That said, it is possible that the physical act of smoking cannabis may irritate parts of the respiratory system that are prone to bacterial infection. In a situation such as this, it would hypothetically be possible for cannabis use to affect the activity of antibiotic medications. Of course, there are alternatives for consuming marijuana that don’t involve the inhalation of smoke.
Edibles as an alternative to smoking cannabis
Edibles are simply any type of food that contains an infusion of cannabis derivatives (typically THC or CBD). When you read the word ‘infusion,’ you might tend to think of some kind of chemical experiment. Unnatural, harmful chemicals put into your food by some big company.
It’s not exactly like that.
On the contrary, edibles are typically safe to consume – you can even make them in your own kitchen. In fact, a good cannabutter or infused cannabis olive oil can be used to cook virtually anything. Of course, if you’re not partial to edibles there’s always the option of CBD (and other types of cannabis) oils.
CBD oil as an alternative to smoking cannabis
People are increasingly using CBD oil and other forms of cannabis oil as a natural form of pain relief . Oils are also known to work well for things like anxiety, inflammation, sleep issues, and day-to-day stress. And of course, the FDA recently approved Epidiolex, which is a prescription CBD oil used to treat two rare forms of epilepsy.
CBD oil encourages your body to produce its own endocannabinoids, which may play a role in the functioning of a healthy immune system. In other words, there is the possibility that CBD oil and other cannabis oils might work to improve immune health, thereby reducing the need for antibiotic medications. Of course, there is no research to currently back this idea up.
Final Verdict – Is it Safe to Use Cannabis While On Antibiotics?
Cannabis use does not appear to have adverse effects when consumed along with antibiotics. Of course, be sure to speak with a doctor before continuing normal marijuana use along with a round of antibiotic drugs. Doctors are (generally) there to look out for your best interest, so be open about your cannabis use.
Laslty, it never hurts to do your own research and consider all the facts. We reiterate the fact that the information in this article is purely informative, and should not be taken as medical advice.
A Word on Marijuana Use and Antibiotics (By Daniel J. Isaacman, M.D)
Whenever one consumes more than one drug at a time, drug-drug interactions are always a possibility. A given drug can interfere with both the absorption and metabolism of another drug. While there are not many reports of such interactions between CBD and various antibiotics, one should be aware that the possibility does exist.
A system of enzymes in the body known as the P-450 system is responsible for metabolizing CBD. Drugs that cause P-450 drug interactions are known as either inhibitors or inducers of these enzymes. An inducing agent can increase the rate of another drug’s metabolism by as much as two- to threefold that develops over a period of a week.
The importance of inducing agents
When one consumes an inducing agent with another medication, the dosage of the other medicines may need to change since the rate of metabolism is increasing, and the effect of the medication is reducing. This can lead to a therapeutic failure of the medicine.
Conversely, if a medication is taken with an agent that inhibits its metabolism, then the drug level can rise and possibly result in a harmful or adverse effect. Information regarding a drug’s CYP450 metabolism and its potential for inhibition or induction can be found on the drug label. It is also accessible through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or manufacturer’s websites.
Understanding which antibiotics are inducers and which are inhibitors is the job of your physician, so it is always important to consult a physician if you are using CBD and plan on taking an antibiotic or an antifungal medication. A list of drugs that are categorized as inducers or inhibitors is provided here . Make sure your doctor is aware of your CBD use so he/she can advise you on whether or not this antibiotic might alter the metabolism of your CBD and thus alter its drug effect.
'Can you smoke marijuana while taking antibiotics?' In this article, you'll find the best possible answer to this increasingly asked question.