Mixing Marijuana And Antidepressants: What You Need To Know

By WeedMaps NewsShelley Levitt, provided exclusively to Benzinga Cannabis.

You don’t need a study to recognize that mood elevation is one of the prime reasons people consume marijuana. It is, after all, called “getting high.”  Still, studies do exist, such as one in the journal Depression and Anxiety that notes that easing anxiety is among the top five symptoms for which people in North America use medical marijuana.

When a blue mood persists or anxiety is chronic, however, many people choose to take an antidepressant medication, such as fluoxetine (Prozac), citalopram (Celexa), or sertraline (Zoloft). According to the American Psychological Association, nearly 8% of people between the ages of 20 and 39 have taken prescription antidepressants in any given month. 

If you’re already among this population, or you’re considering trying a prescription antidepressant and you’re a regular cannabis user, you’ll probably want to know how these meds and weeds interact. Do they enhance each other? Undermine the benefits? Are there any dangers to continuing weed use while you’re on an antidepressant?

Daniele Piomelli, Ph.D., director of the University of California, Irvine, Center for the Study of Cannabis, said, “Truth be told, there is precious little work done” on this topic.

“There have been a few trials that looked at CBD or THC for anxiety and depression going back to the 1980s,” he said. “In general, the results have been positive, showing that cannabis has some effectiveness in countering mood disorders.” But, he added, the number of study participants was so small — just 25 in one case — “that it’s impossible to draw any medical conclusions.”

What we do know, he said, is that our built-in endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays an important role in mood regulation, including stress disorders and major depression. An endocannabinoid called anandamide, which has been dubbed “the bliss molecule,” is especially vital to our body’s ability to cope with stress in a healthy manner.

study that Piomelli led in 2015 demonstrated that anandamide heightens motivation and happiness. Now, he’s looking at whether an anandamide deficiency might be linked to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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