Antidepressants and Marijuana (Weed): Is There Any Harm?
There may by a negative link between some types of antidepressants and marijuana. Antidepressants are generally used to treat depressive disorders and research shows that people with depression tend to use illicit drugs more than the average population. Of those who do use drugs, it's likely many with depression also use marijuana. The key, however, is that most people don't report this use to their doctor, so there is less information on antidepressants and marijuana than for other drug interactions.
There are some case reports though involving weed and antidepressants that show some types of antidepressants are negatively affected by marijuana – sometimes dramatically so. Types of antidepressants include:
- Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Other (various)
It's also important to note chronic use of more than small amounts of marijuana acts as a depressant and this depressant effect can reduce the efficacy of antidepressants.
TCA and MAOI Antidepressants and Marijuana
Tricyclic antidepressants and marijuana can be a dangerous combination as both drugs can cause tachycardia – an increased heart rate. Tachycardia can be very serious, possibly fatal, and require emergency, medical attention. Tachycardia has been seen even in those who use marijuana regularly.
Tricyclic antidepressants and marijuana have caused:1
- Tachycardia severe enough to require intensive care
- Extreme restlessness
- Mood swings
- Chest and throat pain
MAOI antidepressants and weed may also have adverse interactions. It appears marijuana affects how MAOIs work in the body but the full effect is not known.
Modern Antidepressants and Marijuana
Weed and modern antidepressants such as SSRIs and SNRIs are thought to interact less frequently and less severely than in TCA or MAOI antidepressants. Weed may increase the antidepressant levels in the blood and possibly increase sedation effects. It's important to note though, significant study has not been done on modern antidepressantand marijuana interactions.2