Combining Cannabis with Corticosteroids: Good or Bad?
Not even medical students get sufficient education on the endocannabinoid system, so how would the rest of the population know how to medicate themselves without running a risk? Doctors have a great understanding of pharmaceuticals and other medicinal therapies. Sometimes, there is a doctor that broadens his knowledge to study more on holistic healing therapies. If you are lucky, you might end up with a doctor that enlightened himself about integrative health therapy and herbal medicine too. But most often, the lack of information puts patients at risk and even more so when they decide to self- diagnose and self-medicate.
If you use cannabis for self-medication, is it vitally important to share that fact with your doctor. Cannabis is considered to be very safe, but some interactions can harm if you mix certain drugs with cannabis. Thankfully, it is not such a shameful thing to use cannabis anymore, and more doctors are open to the benefits it provides.
What Type of Steroids are there?
Even though there are many more studies done on the interaction of cannabis on other pharmaceuticals, it will only be fully explored the moment it is declassified from a schedule 1 drug status. Research is still difficult and there is no specific list of how marijuana interacts with all the different pharmaceuticals out there. In fact, this is to be true to many other herbal medications too. Herbal medication gets tested by the FDA under a different protocol. There is some information at the moment though, that points to the interaction of cannabis with certain medications. Some meds on this list include:
Anabolic steroids- used for some medical conditions, but illegally for building muscle mass.
Barbiturates – used as a sedative to relax the body
Benzodiazepines- used for seizures, anxiety, and a variety of medical conditions. It works on the central nervous system
Central nervous system depressants – these medicines include sedatives, tranquilizers, and hypnotics. It slows brain activity and makes them useful to treat anxiety, panic, stress, and sleep disorders
Corticosteroids – they are used for rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, lupus, allergies, and many other conditions
Dopamine antagonists – used for treating bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, and other conditions
What happens when you use marijuana and steroids together?
Both marijuana and steroids have an effect on the mental and physical functions of our bodies. Together, they might be quite dangerous in certain situations. To understand this, we need to look at the following first.
Can Cannabis be Abused?
Most marijuana consumers believe that it is not addictive. For the most part, they are completely correct. A very small percentage show tendencies to addiction. While THC is not physically addictive, it can become a psychological dependency for some.
Cannabis directly affects the same part of the brain that manages critical physiological functions. An emotional craving can sometimes be very stronger than rational willpower. The following physiological and psychological symptoms are experienced when cannabis is consumed:
Distorted sense of time
Anxiety in some
Depression in some
Short term memory issues
What about Steroid Abuse?
Steroids are very different from cannabis in the sense of physical and psychological addiction. Steroids replace naturally occurring chemicals in the central nervous system which forces the user to be dependent on a constant supply to avoid withdrawal. These withdrawal symptoms include:
Physical craving for the drug
Heart palpitations and arrhythmia
Many who use steroids suffer from anxiety disorders and addiction to other substances. They also could suffer from depression and self-esteem deficiency. People might use steroids to give them a competitive advantage. Over time, they become completely addictive and sudden quitting could be extremely dangerous.
Cannabis and Steroids create complications
Because steroids and cannabis interact with the same physiological areas, it could have negative complications. CBD is one cannabinoid that could potentially interact with corticosteroids. Hydrocortisone and prednisolone both inhibit the cytochrome P450 enzyme CYP3A, but CBD is a potent inhibitor of CYP3A. This could have an effect on systemic corticosteroid side-effects. CBD also inhibits other cytochromes, which alone or in combination, are involved in the metabolization of naproxen, tramadol, amitriptyline, and tofacitinib. As CBD mostly gets broken down in the liver, other substances broken down also by the liver would have an effect.
For most, cannabis is very safe. It carries fewer risks as many other drugs, steroids included. But it is wise to look at cannabis and a complex drug. This complex plant has many compounds from cannabinoids, to terpenes, and flavonoids. To make it even more complicated, all these can change from strain to strain.
It is nevertheless still far safer than other drugs with loads of therapeutic benefits. What makes it excellent, is that it can actually reduce the need to combine many meds and therefore reduce the risk for other medical complications.
Lack of knowledge destroys. There are no truer words than this. Update your knowledge constantly and keep your doctor in the loop.