Drugs Q & A

Can You Take Cbd And Zoloft (Sertraline) Together?

Depression and anxiety are like flip sides of the same coin, being depressed often makes us anxious, and anxiety often makes us depressed. It’s also possible to have both depression and anxiety at the same time: A worldwide survey from 2015 found that 41.6 percent of people reported having both major depression and an anxiety disorder during the same 12-month period.

There are several medications with a broad therapeutic range, such that they can be used to treat anxiety disorders, depression, or, in some cases, both at the same time. While some patients may respond to a single antidepressant therapy that is effective in treating both disorders, others will require the combination of more than one drug.

However, the danger of drug-to-drug interaction is an important aspect that must not be ignored especially when combining prescription medicines with emerging natural remedies for mental health disorders.  

What is Zoloft?

Zoloft is a brand of sertraline, a medication used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (bothersome thoughts that won’t go away and the need to perform certain actions over and over), panic attacks (sudden, unexpected attacks of extreme fear and worry about these attacks), posttraumatic stress disorder (disturbing psychological symptoms that develop after a frightening experience), and social anxiety disorder (extreme fear of interacting with others or performing in front of others that interferes with normal life).

Zoloft is also used to relieve the symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder, including mood swings, irritability, bloating, and breast tenderness. Sertraline is in a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It works by increasing the amounts of serotonin, a natural substance in the brain that helps maintain mental balance.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical in the Cannabis sativa plant, also known as cannabis or hemp. One specific form of CBD is approved as a drug in the U.S. for seizures. Over 80 chemicals, known as cannabinoids, have been found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most famous ingredient in cannabis. But CBD is obtained from hemp, a form of the Cannabis sativa plant that only contains small amounts of THC. CBD seems to have effects on some chemicals in the brain, but these are different than the effects of THC.

CBD oil has shown promise as a treatment for some mental health disorders, such as anxiety disorders, leading many people who live with these conditions to become interested in this natural approach. Proponents of CBD oil and other CBD products claim that it can be used to treat conditions such as chronic pain, inflammation, migraines, epilepsy, autoimmune diseases, depression, and anxiety.

In a Brazilian study, 57 men received either oral CBD or a placebo 90 minutes before they underwent a simulated public speaking test. The researchers found that a 300-mg dose of CBD was the most effective at significantly reducing anxiety during the test.

Can you take CBD and Zoloft together?

No, taking Cannabidiol (CBD) with Zoloft together can increase the risk of unwanted side effects such as dizziness, fatigue, confusion, or difficulty concentrating. The side effects of using CBD and Zoloft are usually more severe in the elderly.

Do not combine CBD with Zoloft together without first discussing it with your doctor. Once you and your doctor have selected an antidepressant or anxiety medication, you may start to see improvement in a few weeks, but it may take six or more weeks for it to be fully effective. Talk to your doctor or therapist about coping with symptoms as you wait for the medication to take effect.

Some medications have quite pronounced side effects, such as weight gain or changes in libido, while others have relatively low side effects. So ask your doctor to give you an idea of what you might expect. While you’re at it, also ask if there are any side effects that, if experienced, should be reported immediately, or that might be dangerous. Keep in mind that individuals vary from one to the next in terms of how pronounced the side effects are, or if they experience them at all. Getting clear with your doctor on potential side effects – common and rare – will help to set your expectations for how you might be impacted. As well as help you decide if this is the right path for you.

What are the side effects of  CBD and Zoloft?

Zoloft may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

•          nausea

•          diarrhea

•          constipation

•          vomiting

•          difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep

•          dry mouth

•          heartburn

•          loss of appetite

•          weight changes

•          dizziness

•          excessive tiredness

•          headache

•          nervousness

•          uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body

•          sexual problems in males; decreased sex drive, inability to get or keep an erection, or delayed or absent ejaculation

•          sexual problems in females; decreased sex drive, or delayed orgasm or unable to have an orgasm

•          excessive sweating

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

•          seizures

•          abnormal bleeding or bruising

•          agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, confusion, fast heartbeat, shivering, severe muscle stiffness or twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

•          headache, weakness, unsteadiness, confusion, or memory problems

•          rash

•          hives

•          swelling

•          difficulty breathing

Zoloft may decrease appetite and cause weight loss in children. Your child’s doctor will watch his or her growth carefully. Talk to your child’s doctor if you have concerns about your child’s growth or weight while he or she is taking this medication. Talk to your child’s doctor about the risks of giving sertraline to your child.

Though it’s often well-tolerated when used alone, CBD can cause side effects, such as dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue. CBD can also interact with other medications you’re taking, such as blood thinners. Another cause for concern is the unreliability of the purity and dosage of CBD in products.

CBD and Zoloft may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone (1-800-332-1088).


Dr. Oche Otorkpa PG Cert, MPH, PhD

Dr. Oche is a seasoned Public Health specialist who holds a post graduate certificate in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, an MPH, and a PhD both from Texila American University. He is a member of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK. He authored two books: "The Unseen Terrorist," published by AuthorHouse UK, and "The Night Before I Killed Addiction."
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