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Everyone feels down from time to time but, sometimes, those bad feelings can persist for weeks or months without an end in sight. Depression affects about 350 million across the world. Potential treatments can include talk therapy, prescription medication, and cannabis.
Wellbutrin is one of the most popular types of antidepressants. While research is limited, Wellbutrin and marijuana show some positive effects on symptoms of depression. But, what can happen when you mix Wellbutrin and marijuana together to treat depression? How does cannabis interact with this type of antidepressant?
What Is Wellbutrin?
Bupropion, also known as its brand name Wellbutrin, is primarily used to treat severe depression. It can be helpful in balancing certain neurotransmitters in a person's brain. It is considered a norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are another class of drugs used to treat depression.
Wellbutrin is thought to function as an atypical antidepressant, changing dopamine and norepinephrine activity in the brain to regulate mood. It can uplift a person's mood and provide feel-good feelings.
Some doctors may recommend this drug to patients who may not want to experience negative effects on their libido. However, Wellbutrin can have other side effects, including headaches, weight loss, dizziness, fast heartbeat, sore throat, nausea, and insomnia.
In some cases, Wellbutrin’s stimulating effects can worsen symptoms of anxiety and can also lead to weight gain. The drug has an increased risk of leading to seizures, especially when taken with alcohol.
Wellbutrin can be taken as a supplement with other antidepressants as a way to reduce the side effects of the other medications. It is known to energize patients and treat symptoms of ADHD. It has also been known to help people quit smoking.
How Does Wellbutrin Interact With Marijuana?
If you are currently taking Wellbutrin or considering asking your doctor about taking it, we recommend letting your doctor know of any other substances and medications you are using that can cause adverse interactions. Smoking marijuana when using antidepressants affects everyone differently but is not advised.
Health experts recommend stopping smoking cannabis for a few weeks or a month to determine the efficacy of the antidepressants, including Wellbutrin. This ensures you can attribute any potential side effects to only the drug and not any drug interactions with marijuana.
Stopping marijuana use when taking antidepressants like Wellbutrin for the first time can ensure you continue the treatment. If you continue to use marijuana, your symptoms of depression may not improve or even worsen. Using marijuana while on antidepressants, in the beginning, can make it hard to determine the antidepressant’s efficacy.
Based on anecdotal reports, marijuana and Wellbutrin use may have low or moderate interaction risks. Currently, there is not much information on adverse interactions between Wellbutrin and marijuana but people should still approach these substances with caution.
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In some cases, cannabis use can worsen the symptoms of depression or affect how the drug is metabolized in the body. Based on anecdotal evidence, side effects of consuming Wellbutrin and marijuana can include anxiety, paranoia, fast heart rate, insomnia, and headaches. However, more research is needed into the interaction between antidepressants and cannabis.
Study: Wellbutrin for Cannabis Withdrawal Symptoms
Wellbutrin can be prescribed to treat the symptoms of nicotine dependence. In a small-scale 2001 study on 10 cannabis smokers, researchers tested to see if the same effects could influence the symptoms of marijuana withdrawal.
Researchers gave 10 cannabis smokers 300 mg of Wellbutrin per day. They tested the effects when patients smoked cannabis (2.8% THC) five times per day for four days and when they smoked placebo cannabis five times per day for 13 days.
Researchers found that “Bupropion had few behavioral effects when participants smoked active marijuana.” However, during active marijuana withdrawal, patients felt more irritable, restless, depressed, and had trouble sleeping.
Taking Bupropion did not show promise in the treatment of cannabis withdrawal symptoms.
How to Safely Work With Cannabis Medicine
While there may be minimal adverse interactions between cannabis and Wellbutrin, we still recommend you consult a health care professional before taking the two drugs together. The reports and studies listed above are not considered individual medical advice.
High doses of THC can increase feelings of anxiety and paranoia, especially in patients with anxiety and depression. In low doses, THC can produce feelings of euphoria and relaxation. If using THC, start with the lowest dose possible (2.5-5mg) and gradually build up to your desired effects.
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Cannabidiol (CBD) may be a good option for those who don’t want to experience the adverse effects of THC. CBD has been known to ease anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders, without the intoxicating high.
Final Thoughts on Mixing Wellbutrin and Marijuana
Cannabis use has helped countless patients manage their pain, inflammation, and anxiety. However, everyone experiences cannabis differently. When other drugs are in the mix, it can cause adverse interactions.
Ultimately, a multi-faceted treatment plan in the treatment of depression should include a healthy diet, good sleep, regular exercise, and stress-relieving techniques. Cannabis and prescription drugs may only be a small part of the solution. To learn more about cannabis as medicine enroll in our Master of Marijuana Program.