July 10, 2023 09:25 am ETEstimated Read Time: 9 Minutes
Many use cannabis for its pain-relieving properties. Smoking flower, or having a cup of cannabis-infused tea, can be just the thing to help you deal with the symptoms ofchronic pain. There are many who choose to use cannabis to combat pain and it is even used when one has a cold or the flu to clear the head and relax the muscles, making one feel a little better. Cannabis is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, which is another reason for its continued increase in global consumption.
However, what happens when antibiotics are involved? Many pain andinflammatory-based conditions or illnesses may have a treatment plan that includes antibiotics. Which is how many people know that it’s vital to be careful of drug interactions, especially when antibiotics are involved. This also explains the reason for your doctor inquiring to know which medications one is currently consuming, or even meds recently consumed. Read on to learn more.
While cannabis has proven safe and effective in helping to relieve an array ofconditions and illnesses, if the condition or illness requires antibiotics, is marijuana use safe, too? Antibiotics have been known to render certain medications less effective when consumed simultaneously due to their interactions. When treatment plans are complicated by consuming interacting drugs, includingcannabinoids, either drug levels can become altered. This may potentially pose a health risk.
However, a2014 systematic review study suggests that major cannabinoids like Cannabidiol (CBD), Cannabinol (CBN), andTetrahydrocannabinol (THC) interactions with pharmaceutical drugs are generally low risk according to the available data, but further research is still necessary to determine the specific effects of metabolites and other effects. Certain medications can still be used with caution in conjunction with cannabinoids, so it’s important to tell your doctor about cannabis use first. So, in light of this possibility between antibiotics and cannabis, let’s assess the impact on effectiveness and risks.
What Are Common Antibiotics?
Antibiotics are often used to treat and prevent the contraction or spread of bacterial infections, not viral infections such as the common cold.According to the NHS, antibiotics are used in order to (1) clear up a problem such as acne, (2) prevent spread of conditions such as chlamydia, (3) speed up recovery in conditions such as a kidney infection or post-surgery and (4) reduce risks of serious infections and subsequent complications such aspneumonia as well as post-surgery risks. The NHS and theCDC also advise selective antibiotic use in order to minimize the spread of drug-resistant organisms.
There are hundreds of antibiotics with the potential to react with medical cannabis.Penn State News published a study that identified 139 common pharmaceutical medications that have the potential to cause adverse reactions when smoking marijuana. However, just because they only identified 139 out of hundreds does not mean that there is no risk of negative interactions among the rest. The following pharmaceuticals are the top ten most commonly used types of antibiotics, which will be looked at against the Penn State list.
Combination: Amoxicillin and Clavulanate
Combination: Sulfamethoxazole and Trimethoprim
Dr. Kent Vrana, a professor and the chairman of pharmacology at the College of Medicine, along with Paul Kocis, compiled a shorter list of 57 medications based on the fact that they may not operate as intended alongside cannabis consumption.On the list these professionals compiled, the only antibiotic listed on the narrowed list is clindamycin. This also points out that the available pharmaceutical data this study draws from are still limited and incomplete, among other study limitations.Other safety data show such interactions likely pose a low but not insignificant risk.
Dr. Vrana and the rest of the research team wanted to provide physicians with comprehensive information to make safe prescription choices for the sake of their patients. Dr. Vrana stated that “it’s important for medical professionals to consider the list when prescribing medical cannabinoids and how it may affect other medications a patient is taking.”
Will Cannabis Reduce the Effectiveness of My Antibiotics?
You don’t want to see the effects of the antibiotics you’ve been given neutralized, nor have higher or lower levels of prescriptions or medical marijuana than intended. If your doctor prescribes an antibiotic, they want you to take the full course of medication to make sure your infection is killed completely and also reduce the odds of developing antibiotic resistance in your body.
What Are the Risks of Using Cannabis While on Antibiotics?
The antibiotics will probably still be effective based on limited data to date, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t without risk. It’s important to understand that different drugs usedifferent metabolic pathways in the liver. The metabolic pathway that processes cannabinoids is the same one used by many prescription drugs to process enzymes, including some antibiotics.
Particularly, smoking cannabis while taking antibiotics could further compromise your conditions. Other cannabis products like CBD oil, edibles, or vaping may be a better option, if you’re avoiding smoking while taking antibiotics.
The somewhat longer answer is that one can’t be sure since satisfactory testing and research has not yet been conducted on cannabis and its full effects on the body, including its interactions with other pharmaceutical medications. It’s important to remember that every person is different, too. However, this is also not to say that cannabis use on its own is risk-free. There areshort-term adverse events like dizziness, tiredness, dry mouth, and cognitive distortion, particularly associated with overuse.
Alternatives to Marijuana While on Antibiotics
While the cannabis plants likely may not negatively interact with antibiotics, some may choose to consider alternatives to marijuana while being on antibiotics. One viable solution could be consuming cannabidiol (CBD) isolate products instead and avoiding full- and broad-spectrum CBD products. By doing this, the risks are reduced as additional psychoactive and intoxicating cannabinoids are reduced.Additionally, scientists have found that CBD could one day become an antibiotic of its own.
A study conducted in Australia, led by Mark Blaskovich, found that CBD “killed all the strains of bacteria they tested in a lab, including some which were highly resistant to existing antibiotics.” What’s even more impressive when considering CBD as an antibiotic candidate is that the study found no build-up of resistance, even after 20 days of consuming CBD. The researchers also found that CBD has excellent activity against biofilms (this could potentially include dental plaque); against four Gram-negative bacteria (including the bacteria responsible for gonorrhea,meningitis, and airway infections like bronchitis and pneumonia); and reaffirmed it was effective against MRSA bacterium.
Acmella oleracea, also known as electric daisy, which has the ability to block pain receptors in nerve endings while also reducing inflammation throughout the body. A2019 review study confirmed the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activities of Acmella and demonstrated its promise for pain management for chronic degenerative diseases.
You should first consult with your doctor before doing so, but it will probably be okay with them to take antibiotics and consume cannabis. This also presumes you are not worsening a lung infection with inhalational methods, and are aware of the side effects of antibiotics and potential adverse events of cannabis as well. Healthcare professionals are the experts on the antibiotics being prescribed, and they’ll be able to tell you with authority whether or not it will be appropriate for you.
Remember that despite the legal status of cannabis where you live, bringing questions to yourdoctor is always encouraged and your conversations are confidential—with or without a medical marijuana card. Your doctor will provide you with medical advice without legal judgment. Also, remember that if you are still uncertain after consulting your primary physician, you can get a second opinion.
Lastly, cannabis users should consume carefully and in moderation at first, while avoiding consumption methods that involve combustion and switching to CBD-only products for the duration of the antibiotic course to minimize adverse effects of high-THC cannabis.
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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.