Depression can be a severe psychological condition that jeopardizes a person’s mental and physical health and overall quality of life. Zoloft (sertraline) is an SSRI (selective serotonin uptake inhibitor) commonly prescribed to treat depression and anxiety. In light of many states recently decriminalizing marijuana for medical or recreational purposes, some physicians may also prescribe this drug for similar reasons as Zoloft.
There are both benefits and drawbacks of using either of these substances alone, so would it be safe to use the two in combination? Taking antidepressants while smoking or ingesting weed is not uncommon, but that doesn’t mean there are no risks involved.
Many experts contend that combining antidepressants and weed can raise the risk of adverse mental and physical complications. For example, some studies have shown that this combination can accelerate heart rate and lead to panic attacks. Other unwanted symptoms can include the following:
- Heart palpitations
- Cardiovascular problems
- Persistent dizziness
- Serotonin syndrome
- Sleep disturbances
- Tight chest and difficulty breathing
- Restlessness and irritability
- Severe anxiety
Zoloft and Weed for Anxiety or Depression
Clinical research has revealed that when Zoloft and weed interact, they can produce adverse reactions, not unlike an overdose on sertraline. Moreover, while it is not uncommon for marijuana alone to cause anxiety, there may be an increased risk of severe anxiety and panic manifesting when the two substances are combined. As a result, using these drugs together can lead to prolonged and less effective treatment of psychiatric conditions like depression, stress, and anxiety.
Using Zoloft and weed in conjunction can trigger unpredictable reactions, and instead of inducing a pleasurable high, this habit only serves to worsen the condition of the individual using them. In fact, taking antidepressants with marijuana can undermine the entire treatment process and result in serious mental health problems, such as prolonged depression or anxiety.
Although either of these substances can be used to treat such problems effectively, when combined, the therapeutic value of either drug may be compromised. The problematic symptoms related to this coupled use may not be easily recognizable at first. Still, the risk of adverse effects can increase the longer these two drugs are used regularly.
The Case for Marijuana as Medicine
There are a few reasons why some people prefer to use cannabis instead of SSRIs to mitigate depression or anxiety symptoms. For example, if a person is covered by health insurance, they may soon discover that marijuana is more cost-effective and easily accessible than an SSRI. Or, they may choose marijuana over antidepressants because they consider it a more organic substance with less potential for dependence.
That said, most of marijuana’s reported effects on relieving adverse emotional symptoms are anecdotal. Few studies have addressed this subject, let alone have found compelling evidence for these claims. Still, for those who praise its benefits based on personal experience, marijuana may serve as a therapeutic remedy that can help keep depression, anxiety, and stress in check.
It’s critical to note, however, that marijuana does not work for these purposes for everyone. Some people do not react well, and encounter increased anxiety, panic, and paranoia, which can be severe.
Can Zoloft and Weed Use Be Life-Threatening?
There is no clinical evidence that the combination of marijuana and antidepressants can prove lethal. However, the interaction between these substances can lead to a higher concentration of sertraline in the body, which can cause a severe and potentially life-threatening condition known as serotonin syndrome.
Serotonin syndrome is characterized by a collection of symptoms that may manifest due to the use of certain substances that increase serotonin levels in a person’s system. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and commonly include agitation, high body temperature, sweating, increased reflexes, tremors, and diarrhea. In severe cases, serotonin syndrome can lead to more traumatic effects, such as seizures, heart arrhythmia, high fever, and death.
Also, when these substances are used together, the risk of heart attack increases significantly, and suicidal thoughts or behaviors can occur if depression or anxiety becomes severe.
Getting Treatment for Depression and Marijuana Abuse
Although marijuana is not thought to cause as much harm as other drugs or alcohol, it can be habit-forming and interfere with the action and effectiveness of prescription medications. If you have been prescribed Zoloft for depression or anxiety and have found yourself unable to stop using marijuana despite multiple attempts, we urge you to seek professional help as soon as possible.
Just Believe Recovery uses a comprehensive, individualized approach to addiction that includes therapies and activities clinically-proven to be beneficial for the recovery process. Through behavioral therapy, counseling, group support, and other services, our programs are specially designed to address all aspects of a person’s mental and physical health and well-being.
You do not have to battle mental illness or drug abuse alone any longer. Contact us today and discover how we help people achieve their dreams by breaking free from the cycle of addiction for life!