THC Abuse and Drug Interactions
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Marinol is currently the only prescription medication available in the US that offers THC in a pill form. There are no official studies on the interaction risks associated with THC, because the evidence is almost entirely anecdotal and marijuana is not a clinically consistent drug.
THC and Antidepressant Use
Some information is starting to emerge concerning patients who mix marijuana with benzodiazepine antidepressants such as Zoloft or Valium. According to the article entitled “Marijuana and Antidepressants Don’t Mix” (USA Today, January 24, 2001) Dr. Gabriel Nahas, a research professor at New York University Medical Center and editor of Marijuana and Medicine, states that while scientists struggle to point to the exact cause of the interaction concerns, the evidence all suggests that this kind of interaction is dangerous and, “The effects on the patient can be very confusing, disorienting, and dangerous.”
This same report states that combining THC with antidepressants can create a wide range of disturbing and potentially dangerous effects including the following:
- Emotional volatility
- Impulse control problems
- Accelerated heartbeat
Pharmacologists like Nahas refer to marijuana as a “dirty drug,” because it contains so many different chemical components. In addition to THC the average marijuana plant may contain as many as 65 other cannabinoids – chemicals that affect THC’s function and add additional side effects. This makes it impossible for scientists to know exactly which symptoms are caused by which interactions.
Risks of Combining Marijuana with Recreational Drugs
Marijuana normally has a calming effect on users, especially when smoked instead of ingested. Some recreational drug users use marijuana to calm themselves down after taking stimulants such as cocaine, amphetamine or speed. While the exact pharmacological risks of this kind of use cannot be tested, any drug that allows or encourages increased use of dangerous stimulants or hallucinogens must be considered dangerous. Mixing marijuana with alcohol greatly increases the intoxicating effect and may cause the user to consume dangerous levels of alcohol.
Marijuana as a Gateway Drug
Marijuana has long been considered a gateway drug by addiction experts. Users develop a tolerance to marijuana smoke quickly. This means that they will need to smoke more each time to achieve the desired effects. A plateau is eventually reached, and users will not be able to smoke enough to feel as high as they once did. This may then cause them to try other drugs such as heroin or PCP. Those drugs are both physically and psychologically addictive and carry a high risk of overdose.
Confidential Marijuana Addiction Help
Marijuana advocates often cite evidence to support their belief that the drug is not addictive. While it is true that pot does not result in the same kind of intense physical addiction as stimulants, opiates or benzodiazepines, it can create a powerful psychological addiction.
If you are concerned about your use of THC or have additional questions about the risks associated with combining marijuana with other drugs, please call our toll-free helpline right away. Our counselors are standing by twenty four hours a day to answer any questions you have about marijuana addiction, interaction concerns and how to get pot out of your life for good. Call today.