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Is it safe to use marijuana while on antibiotics? You may have heard that it's not wise to mix alcohol with antibiotics, but what about weed? It's a natural plant, so it shouldn't be as bad as alcohol, right? It’s not quite clear.

If you're wondering about the drug interactions between marijuana and antibiotics, there is not much research into this. Use this guide as a starter and consult your physician before beginning a medical marijuana and antibiotics regimen.

What Are Antibiotics? 

Antibiotics are strong medications taken to kill or reduce the number of bacteria causing an infection. 

Antibiotics can treat everything from moderate infections like strep throat and urinary tract infections to severe conditions like sepsis. The type of antibiotic used depends on the bacterial infections.

Antibiotics can be taken in the following forms:

  • Capsules
  • Tablets
  • Liquids
  • Ointments
  • Creams

Usually, a doctor prescribes antibiotics, but some products like ointment and creams can be obtained over the counter.

How Do Antibiotics Work?

Antibiotics work by either destroying bacteria or slowing their growth through several methods. For example, they can either attack the cell wall or coating, affect bacterial reproduction, or block protein production in bacteria. 

Overusing antibiotics can work against the body when the bacteria build a resistance to the medications. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria are not affected by a specific drug. When this happens, then infections can be challenging to treat.

When taking antibiotics, always read the manufacturer's directions for safe use. Finish your prescription, even if you feel you don't need it anymore and the symptoms have subsided. If you don't take all your medication, some bacteria can live on and start the infection up again. 

Cannabis Use and Drug Interactions

As researchers learn more about cannabis, they learn about positive and negative interactions between the plant and other drugs. Understanding these interactions can help patients and doctors safely use cannabis for its therapeutic benefits.

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Generally, cannabis is a safe medicine in terms of toxicity and overdose risk. In some cases, cannabinoids and other compounds in the plant can affect certain medications. Marijuana is thought to affect medicines like morphine, ibuprofen, and anti-anxiety medications (SSRIs) negatively.

Unfortunately, there is little research or reports on how cannabis interacts with antibiotics. Does this mean that it's okay to use them together? Not really. While it may not lead to adverse effects, it's not a guarantee, and you should consult your physician first.

Is it Safe to Use Marijuana While Taking Antibiotics?

There are no definitive clinical studies offering guidance on cannabis and antibiotic use. However, there are no reports of patients experiencing adverse reactions from using cannabis while taking antibiotics. Unfortunately, the little research available does not provide enough information for patients and doctors to consider.

While there is little risk of using marijuana and antibiotics together, the risk is not entirely gone. Cannabis is believed to inhibit some enzyme production in the liver that is associated with antibiotic biosynthesis. If cannabis reduces this process, users may be more at risk of experiencing adverse effects from antibiotics such as erythromycin, troleandomycin, and miocamycin. Side effects can include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Cannabis’ Antibacterial Properties

Cannabinoids, however, are known for their antibacterial characteristics, and some have antibiotic properties. CBDA, CBN, CBG, CBG, and THCA have antibacterial properties. In one study, these cannabinoids proved effective against antibiotic-resistant MRSA bacteria strains.

Cannabinoids stopped MRSA bacteria from forming biofilms which help spread the bacteria from surface to surface. In addition, cannabis was found to destroy biofilms and kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria cells.

In a study from Denmark, CBD was found to improve the effectiveness of the antibiotic bacitracin when fighting Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. This pathogen has developed antibiotic resistance, making it difficult to treat. CBD may be a powerful therapy alongside traditional antibiotics.

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While cannabis may have antibacterial and antibiotic properties, smoking cannabis can irritate certain areas of the respiratory system that can be at risk for bacterial infection. In these cases, cannabis use may affect antibiotic medications. However, patients may be able to use other consumption methods other than inhalation. 

Patients may find the relief they need with medical marijuana in smokeless delivery methods such as cannabis capsules, edibles, tinctures, and transdermal patches. 

Final Thoughts on Marijuana and Antibiotics

Before mixing medical cannabis while taking antibiotics, consult with your doctor. While it shouldn't be a problem, it's always best to play it safe. As long as you use the correct consumption method and are aware of the adverse effects of marijuana and antibiotics, the risk for negative interactions should be lowered.

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