Marijuana, when used in combination with opiates, such as the prescription drug codeine, can cause potentially harmful interactions to the brain and body. Codeine is sometimes abused by mixing it with soda and hard candy in a concoction commonly known as “Lean” or “Purple Drank.” Lean in of itself is dangerous; however, using Lean and weed together can be even riskier and result in profound drowsiness, central nervous system depression, and confusion.
What Are the Effects of Codeine?
Codeine is an opiate sometimes prescribed to relieve mild-moderate pain and as a cough suppressant. It can be administered in tablet form, but it is also commonly found in prescription-only cough syrups, especially in combination with the pain reliever acetaminophen.
Although codeine is less potent than most other opiates, it has a similar action on the brain and can cause the user to feel relaxed and euphoric. And like other opiates, codeine can induce adverse side effects that can include the following:
- Profound sedation
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea and vomiting
Despite its potentially dangerous effects, the abuse of prescription cough medications containing codeine has become popular among teenagers and young adults. It has also been glamorized by hip-hop artists who combine the drug with soda and candy to decrease the bitter taste.
As noted, this combination results in an addictive cocktail referred to as Lean, among other slang terms. Also included may be promethazine, an anti-allergy medication commonly used to treat allergies, cold symptoms, insomnia, and nausea. Common side effects may include confusion and sleepiness, and the use of alcohol or other sedatives can make these symptoms worse.
Drinking this mixture is extremely risky, as demonstrated by many who have been hospitalized or have died due to complications.
What Are the Effects of Marijuana?
Marijuana is a mind-altering substance produced by the cannabis plant. The chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found naturally in weed is the primary ingredient responsible for its sought-after psychoactive effects. In addition to euphoria, marijuana can also produce feelings of relaxation, heightened sensory perception, increased appetite, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, accelerated heart rate, reduced blood pressure, and impaired memory and concentration.
The Dangers of Combining Codeine and Marijuana
Although some individuals may believe that codeine is relatively harmless compared to other opioids, in excessive doses, its use can lead to respiratory failure, coma, and even death. This risk is particularly high when codeine is combined with other CNS depressants, such as alcohol or other opioids.
And although it is not technically classified as a potent depressant, certain compounds in marijuana can depress the CNS and induce side effects such as lethargy and low energy. The depressant properties of weed make it dangerous to use in conjunction with codeine because it may cause a compounding of effects, resulting in worsened depression of the central nervous system.
Research has shown that the combined use of marijuana with opiates like codeine results in increased anxiety and depression compared to the use of opiates alone. The combined use of weed and codeine also increases the likelihood of substance use disorders. Studies have also revealed that marijuana users are much more likely to abuse prescription opiates and develop a prescription drug use disorder compared to non-users.
Like other opiate drugs, codeine has a high potential for abuse. As the frequency of codeine use increases, a tolerance can develop, a condition in which ever-increasing amounts of the drug are required to experience the desired effects. This pattern will eventually result in dependence, which can be especially challenging to deal with for those who also abuse marijuana. Results from a recent study suggest that 30% of marijuana users experience some level of dependence and will encounter withdrawal symptoms when the use of the drug is discontinued.
If you or someone you love is suffering from codeine and marijuana abuse, please reach out to Just Believe Recovery today to learn about the available polysubstance abuse addiction treatment programs that can be tailored to your specific needs. Due to the harmful and unpleasant symptoms associated with codeine withdrawal, the first step in recovery will likely be a medical detox, in which medical and mental health professionals can address any complications arising during the detox process followed by residential rehab.
Our approach to addiction treatment includes a variety of evidence-based services beneficial for the process of recovery. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Behavioral therapy
- Individual and family counseling
- Peer group support
- Substance abuse education
- Health and wellness education
- Relapse prevention
- Yoga and meditation
- Art, music, and adventure therapy
- Aftercare planning
- Alumni activities
Are you ready to reclaim the happy, healthy, and fulfilling life you deserve? If so, we urge you to contact us today and discover how we help people who need it most break free from the dangerous cycle of addiction and maintain long-lasting sobriety for life!