January 9, 2023 08:00 am ETEstimated Read Time: 5 Minutes
We all know that cannabis and prednisone can affect our bodies differently when used separately. But if you’re dealing with a pretty nasty bout of an inflammatory reaction, perhaps you are curious about what happens when you combine them.
Is it safe and particularly beneficial to do so? Or will it enhance the frustrating side effects commonly associated with prednisone use? We did some digging to find out the potential risks and benefits of combining cannabis and prednisone. Here’s what we found out.
What Is Prednisone?
Prednisone is a medication that belongs to a class of drugs known as corticosteroids, commonly used to treat inflammation. It can treat a wide range of conditions, including allergies, cancers, asthma, arthritis, skin conditions, and other autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Common side effects include:
Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
Prednisone works best with short-term use. It can cause serious side effects such as osteoporosis (bone loss leading to weakness and increased fracture risk), skin fragility, glaucoma, or cataracts with long-term use. For most people, however, the health benefits of short-term prednisone use outweigh the potential risks.
How Does Prednisone Work?
Prednisone works by suppressing the immune system response, which helps to reduce inflammation. It does this by binding to specialized receptors on cells, which prevents the release of inflammatory substances. This action can help to relieve symptoms such as swelling, pain, and redness. In addition, prednisone decreases the immune system’s response to prevent organ transplant rejections.
What Are Potential Risks Associated With Taking Prednisone?
Since corticosteroids’ primary mechanism involves suppressing the immune system, infections are more likely to develop in patients who take them. Prednisone users should avoid being around sick people, crowded places, and sharing food and drinks if they have been taking it for a long time. Furthermore, patients taking certain potentially dangerous medicines, like Coumadin (warfarin) or Lasix (furosemide), should discuss with their healthcare providers whether they can take these drugs along with prednisone.
You should also speak to your doctor if you are pregnant, thinking of becoming pregnant, or breastfeeding, as research shows using prednisone while pregnant has been linked to birth defects and low birth weight. Also, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking prednisone and tapering off high dosages. Sudden discontinuation of corticosteroids can result in adrenal failure or even death.
Are There Any Risks of Using Cannabis and Prednisone Together?
Although the latest research shows that cannabis and prednisone can be used simultaneously with minimal risk for interaction, there are still some possible risks associated with combining them. This is because cannabis and corticosteroids influence the same physiological region of the brain, which increases the likelihood of enhanced adverse effects. For example, cannabidiol (CBD) has properties that interact with corticosteroids.
Apply For Your Medical Marijuana Card Today
Veriheal has satisfied hundreds of thousands of patients nationwide
Get approved or your money back
Appointments available on-demand
Customer support available 24/7
As part of the process of drug metabolism, the body uses the cytochrome P450 enzyme CYP3A, which allows our bodies to make use of the medications we take. The enzyme appears along the critical pathways of the body’s gastrointestinal tract, primarily in the liver. There, the active ingredients of drugs change into simpler forms our cells can use. Moreover, since CBD breaks down in the liver, it might affect how other substances break down there as well.
So, while corticosteroids suppress CYP3A, CBD also suppresses CYP3A. In turn, this may exacerbate the systemic side effects of corticosteroids.
It should also be noted that patients should choose safe consumption methods throughout their treatment process since smoking cannabis may contribute to decreased bone density (especially if you’re on steroids), increasing the likelihood of fractures and osteoporosis. The best option for these patients is to consume cannabis edibles or vaporize flower instead of smoking.
Simply put, no. Prednisone, for example, is a potent and effective corticosteroid widely used with extensive scientific and clinical understanding. Nevertheless, while there is evidence of the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids, research exists mainly in cultured cells (test tubes) or mice due to the decades-long prohibition of marijuana.
For years, prohibition prevented the study of the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis alone, which raises the question of whether humans would benefit from it exclusively. Using cannabis to treat inflammation is likely to yield the best outcome when used along with conventional treatment, not in place of it.
Although more research may help us understand the full extent of how these two substances work together, it seems that cannabis and prednisone are powerful allies against inflammation. While it is promising that the two work well together with minimal risk for interaction, always consult your doctor or pharmacist before starting or stopping any medications. The last thing you want is to experience any unpleasant side effects and dangers associated with abruptly stopping corticosteroid therapy.
Note: The content on this page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be professional medical advice. Do not attempt to self-diagnose or prescribe treatment based on the information provided. Always consult a physician before making any decision on the treatment of a medical condition.
Lemetria Whitehurst is a cannabis nurse educator and writer specializing in cannabis science and culture. Her career in the medical industry spans more than two decades where she began her career as a pharmacy technician before becoming a registered nurse. As an avid reader
and researcher, she is passionate about educating others about cannabis’ medicinal properties.
Suddenly, the world of magic mushrooms is almost as complicated as that of learning about cannabis. Shrooms or “magic” mushrooms have gained traction as a hallucinogenic therapeutic application for several different mental health circumstances such as depression and migraines—particularly when microdosing. It’s not just liberty caps anymore, folks. There are many different varieties and types…
Edibles are arguably one of the best means of recreational cannabis consumption—you get to eat a treat AND experience a long-lasting high. But it’s easy to end up dealing with some unwanted side effects due to the variability in the onset of these THC-packed goodies, which come in the form of brownies, cookies, gummies, chocolate,…
If you’re reading this, you are either a recreational cannabis veteran who has seen a handful of cannabis smokers passing out from puffing a joint and can’t seem to figure out why. Or, you are a newbie who wants to give recreational or medical cannabis a shot, and the burning question on your mind is,…
When you decide that you are going to dabble in cannabis cultivation, you have many different decisions to make. You’ll have to decide whether you’re growing indoors or outdoors, as well as in soil, or the route of hydroponics. You’ll also have to pick what type of planters to use, what grow medium to use,…
A survey illustrates psychedelics’ rapid rise, Herer Brands sues Daniel Herer, and Hulkamania comes to cannabis. Let’s dive into this week’s canna-news. Psychedelic Use Reaches Record High A new national survey conducted by Monitoring The Future found that psychedelic use is at an all-time high amongst U.S. adults. Conducted in 2022, the survey included approximately…
The statements made regarding cannabis products on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Cannabis is not an FDA-approved substance and is still illegal under federal law. The information provided on this website is intended for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It is not intended as medical advice and should not be considered as a substitute for advice from a healthcare professional. We strongly recommend that you consult with a physician or other qualified healthcare provider before using any cannabis products. The use of any information provided on this website is solely at your own risk.