What is a drug interaction?
Drug interactions involve combinations of medications with other substances that alter the medication’s effect on the body. This can cause the medication to be less or more potent than intended or result in unexpected side effects.
If you use multiple drugs, have certain health conditions, or see more than one doctor, you should be especially mindful of your medications. You also need to make sure that each of your doctors knows all of the drugs, herbs, supplements, and vitamins you’re using.
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana or Cannabis refers to a group of three plants with psychoactive properties, known as Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. When the flowers of these plants are harvested and dried, you’re left with one of the most common drugs in the world. Some call it weed, some call it pot, and others call it marijuana.
As weed becomes legal in more areas, names for it are evolving. Today, more and more people are using the term cannabis to refer to weed. Some argue that it’s a more accurate name. Others feel it’s more neutral compared with terms like weed or pot, which some people associate with its illegal use. Also, the term “marijuana” is falling out of favor due to its racist history.
Cannabis is usually consumed for its relaxing and calming effects. In some U.S. states, it’s also prescribed to help with a range of medical conditions, including chronic pain, glaucoma, and poor appetite. Cannabis sativa contains many active compounds. The best known are delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the primary ingredient in marijuana that makes people “high.”
How does Cannabis work?
The human body naturally produces some cannabinoids through the endocannabinoid system. They act in a similar way to neurotransmitters, sending messages throughout the nervous system. These neurotransmitters affect brain areas that play a role in memory, thinking, concentration, movement, coordination, sensory and time perception, and pleasure.
The receptors that respond to these cannabinoids also react to THC and other cannabinoids. In this way, cannabinoids from an outside source can change and disrupt normal brain function. THC appears to affect areas of the brain that control:
- memory and attention
- balance, posture, and coordination
- reaction time
Due to these effects, a person should not drive a car, operate heavy machinery, or engage in risky physical activities after using cannabis.
THC stimulates specific cannabinoid receptors that increase the release of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that relates to feelings of pleasure. THC can also affect sensory perception. Colors may seem brighter, music more vivid, and emotions more profound.
List Of Drugs That Interact With Marijuana Cannabis
In this era when more and more areas are starting to legalize weed for both recreational and medicinal uses, understanding and identifying the drugs that can interact or affect the way marijuana affects your body is very important. The list of medications and recreational drugs that can interact with marijuana and lead to serious or unwanted side effects include:
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Chlorzoxazone (Parafon Forte)
- Cisapride (Propulsid)
- Clarithromycin (Biaxin)
- Clonazepam (Klonopin)
- Clopidogrel (Plavix)
- Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune)
- Dalteparin (Fragmin)
- Diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others)
- Diltiazem (Cardizem)
- Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
- Disulfiram (Antabuse)
- Enflurane (Ethrane)
- Enoxaparin (Lovenox)
- Fexofenadine (Allegra)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Halothane (Fluothane)
- Ibuprofen (advil, motrin, others)
- Indinavir (Crixivan)
- Isoflurane (Forane)
- Loperamide (Imodium)
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
- Lovastatin (Mevacor)
- Methoxyflurane (Penthrane).
- Naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, Others)
- Phenobarbital (Donnatal)
- Triazolam (Halcion)
- Warfarin (Coumadin)
- Zolpidem (Ambien)
This list is not complete and many other drugs may interact with marijuana. This includes other prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.