While some healthcare professionals think the combination is harmless and may even be beneficial, others caution it could be harmful. All cannabis use has some risks to consider.
As cannabis, or weed, becomes legal in more states across the United States, more questions about its safety in a wide variety of situations are emerging.
For instance, many people use cannabis to relieve pain. So, it’s understandable that people wonder whether they can also use cannabis when they’re sick with an infection and have been prescribed antibiotics.
Research and information about how cannabis affects the body and how it interacts with medications are new and incomplete. In many cases, it can also be confusing. When it comes to the safety of mixing cannabis and antibiotics, there’s some debate among experts.
Keep reading to learn more about how weed can affect your course of antibiotics and the best way to take these important medications.
THC vs. CBD
THC and CBD are compounds found in cannabis plants. They’re both popular for pain and stress relief. However, there are two key differences:
- Unlike THC, CBD will usually not produce a high (except in especially large doses).
- Due to U.S. legislation, CBD is more wildly available and often less expensive than THC. There are many states where THC is still illegal but CBD sales are permitted.
Cannabis is known for a variety of effects. Many people use medical cannabis to relieve symptoms like chronic pain, digestive issues, and anxiety.
However, the effect of cannabis on some health conditions is still largely unknown. Cannabis has only recently started to become legal for use in the United States.
There is some evidence to suggest that taking THC and antibiotics together is generally safe. However, keep in mind that very little research has been done, and what we currently have has produced mixed results:
Some researchclaims that some strains of cannabis have antibacterial properties and could be useful alongside antibiotics when you’re dealing with a tough infection.
- Other information indicates that cannabis could slow down the way your body processes antibiotics, making it harder for antibiotics to work and prolonging your infection.
- It’s also possible that mixing cannabis and antibiotics could
increasethe risk of side effects from both.
Finally, there’s a chance that mixing THC and antibiotics might not have much effect at all. Most evidence is anecdotal. Overall, it’s a good idea to use caution when taking THC and antibiotics together.
Keep an eye on your symptoms
Some medical professionals have expressed concerns that taking THC with antibiotics could increase the risk of unpleasant side effects of both. If you use THC while taking antibiotics, it’s best to keep an eye out for increased side effects and to stop using THC if you experience any.
Side effects of THC might include:
- out-of-character behavior
- memory impairment
Side effects of antibiotics might include:
Rarely, antibiotics can lead to very serious side effects, including tendon issues and liver toxicity. These effects have not been linked to combining THC use and antibiotics.
Can you smoke while taking antibiotics?
Smoking cigarettes can slow down your body’s recovery and healing time. You might feel sicker for longer if you smoke while taking antibiotics.
Smoking cannabis while taking antibiotics is still being studied. As with other methods of consuming cannabis, there’s not enough research to fully determine how safe it is to use while taking medication.
It’s a good idea to be cautious and pay attention to how you feel. If you smoke cigarettes or cannabis, talk with your doctor and let them know your concerns about smoking while taking antibiotics. They can’t report your cannabis use to authorities, but they can help you get the best treatment.
Although CBD is often thought of as a milder alternative to THC, it might have a higher risk of side effects when mixed with antibiotics.
CBD has the potential to alter how your body metabolizes antibiotics. CBD changes the way your liver produces certain enzymes. This can slow down the speed your body processes an antibiotic.
As a result, you’re left with higher levels of that antibiotic in your bloodstream than the recommended dose. This raises the risk of side effects, including serious ones.
However, this is also largely unstudied. More research is needed to see how serious this effect is and to determine the amount of CBD needed to cause it. Additionally, research is needed to see whether the specific antibiotic you’re taking makes a difference.
Want to get involved?
There’s still a lot we don’t know about how cannabis affects the body. If you want to help researchers answer questions like these and more, check out ClinicalTrials.gov to learn more about what clinical studies are currently looking for participants.
Make sure to always discuss joining a clinical trial with your doctor, especially if it would involve any change to your ongoing treatments.
It’s important to take any antibiotics prescribed to you and to take them in the most effective way. This includes taking precautions while you take antibiotics, such as:
- finishing your entire course of antibiotics, even if you start to feel better
- not drinking alcohol
- not using fiber supplements
- not taking your antibiotic with orange juice or milk
- taking your antibiotic at the same time every day, or as close to it as you can
- avoiding too much sun exposure
Talk with your doctor if you have any other questions about parts of your diet or lifestyle that may interact with your antibiotics.
Always inform your doctor about your cannabis use
It’s common to avoid talking with your doctor about cannabis use. Cannabis can feel like a taboo subject, even in U.S. states where recreational use is legal.
However, it’s important to tell your doctor if you use cannabis. You won’t get in any trouble, no matter what state you live in. Your doctor doesn’t need to know for legal reasons, and they can’t legally report you just for using it.
They need to know so they can ensure any medications you’re prescribed are safe to use with cannabis, and so they can give you the best and most accurate medical advice.
Medical science still doesn’t have a complete picture of the effects of cannabis or what happens when you combine it with other medications. This includes the safety of mixing cannabis and antibiotics.
While some healthcare professionals feel it’s perfectly safe and might even be beneficial, others caution it has the potential to increase the risk of unpleasant and dangerous side effects.
For right now, it’s a good idea to exercise caution and talk with your doctor if you use cannabis while taking antibiotics. Pay attention to any symptoms you experience, and stop taking cannabis right away if you feel anything unusual or unpleasant.