Clinical depression can be a severe psychological problem that compromises a person’s mental health and quality of life. Most doctors will prescribe antidepressant medication, such as Zoloft (sertraline), for the treatment of depression or anxiety. In light of many states legalizing marijuana, some doctors will also prescribe this drug for similar purposes.
When either of these is used alone, they may come with both benefits and risks. But is it safe to use the two in conjunction?
Potential Zoloft and Weed Interaction Effects
Many experts believe that combining an antidepressant such as Zoloft and weed can increase the risk of adverse mental and physical effects developing. For example, some research has shown that this combination can result in increased heart rate and panic attacks. Other problems may include the following:
- Heart palpitations
- Cardiovascular issues
- Persistent dizziness
- Extreme drowsiness
- High blood pressure
- Serotonin syndrome
- Sleep disorders
- Tight chest and difficulty breathing
- Extreme restlessness and irritability
- Severe anxiety
Zoloft and Weed for the Treatment of Anxiety or Depression
Clinical surveys have revealed that when Zoloft and weed interact, they can induce adverse reactions similar to a Zoloft overdose. Moreover, while marijuana on its own has been known to cause anxiety, there may be a more significant risk of severe anxiety, panic, and nervousness occurring when the two substances are mixed. As a result, combining these drugs can lead to the prolonged (and less effective) treatment of psychiatric issues such as stress, depression, and anxiety.
Using Zoloft and weed together can trigger unpredictable reactions, and instead of producing a pleasurable high, end up worsening the condition of the person who uses them. In fact, using marijuana with antidepressants can impede the treatment process, and can result in serious mental health issues, such as prolonged depression or anxiety.
While these drugs can be used to treat these problems, when used together, any therapeutic value either would have had otherwise can be undermined. The initial problematic symptoms related to this combined use may not be easily recognizable, but the risk of adverse effects may increase the longer these two substances are used regularly.
The Case for Marijuana as Medicine
Some people prefer to use cannabis instead of SSRI’s to relieve symptoms of depression or anxiety for a few different reasons. One, if they don’t have health insurance, they may find that marijuana is cheaper and more easily accessible than an SSRI. Or, they may choose marijuana because they consider it a more natural substance with less potential for dependence.
That said, most of marijuana reported effects on reducing adverse emotional symptoms is anecdotal and not the subject of enough studies that produce compelling evidence for this. Still, for those who tout its benefits based on personal experience, marijuana may be a real remedy that can help keep emotional distress in check.
It’s important to note that marijuana, however, does not work in this way for everyone. Some people do not react well and end up experiencing increased anxiety, panic, and paranoia.
Can Zoloft and Weed Use Be Life-Threatening?
While there is no direct clinical evidence that the combination of marijuana and antidepressants can prove lethal, as noted, smoking weed with Zoloft can cause serious effects. The interplay of both substances can lead to a higher concentration of Zoloft in the blood.
Serotonin syndrome is a condition that is characterized by a group of symptoms that may manifest as a result of the use of certain medications or drugs that interact with the production of serotonin. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and commonly include agitation, high body temperature, increased reflexes, tremor, sweating, and diarrhea.
If serotonin syndrome occurs, in severe cases, this leads to more traumatic effects, such as seizures, irregular heartbeat, and high fever, and it does have the potential to be deadly. Other risks that may not be taken seriously at the onset of combined use is that a person’s risk of heart attack increases fourfold. Likewise, the risk of suicide may be increased if depressive or anxiety symptoms worsen.
Getting Help for Depression and Marijuana Abuse
Although marijuana is not believed to cause as much harm as many other drugs or alcohol, it can be habit-forming and interfere with prescription medications. If you have been prescribed Zoloft for depression or another reason and have found yourself unable to quit using marijuana despite attempts to do so, we urge you to seek professional help.
Recovery in Tune uses a comprehensive, personalized approach to addiction that includes therapies, services, and activities found to be vital to the recovery process. Through behavioral therapy, counseling, group support, and other modalities, our programs specially designed to treat all aspects of a person’s health and wellness.
You do not have to battle depression or drug abuse alone any longer. Contact us today and find out how we help people achieve their dreams by freeing themselves from the chains of addiction for life!