Is it safe to mix cannabis and antibiotics?

 ***In case it wasn't clear, we at Vape Elevate are not doctors and none of the below should be treated as medical advice - always speak to your registered GP!***

The relationship between alcohol and antibiotics is long-established: it’s not recommended, but it’s not precisely pernicious either. In short, it’s good practice to keep both substances separate.

But what about cannabis-antibiotic relations?

We can’t say the same for cannabis and antibiotics. Cannabis research has been a persistent weak spot for the scientific community. While we’re aware that almost all chemicals have a biological effect on the body and undergo drug-on-drug interactions, we can’t be sure what the nature of these interactions is for cannabis.

However, we know that cannabis, due to the cannabinoid receptors in our bodies, isn’t known for its toxicity or overdose potential. It’s often noted for the contrary, even sometimes being touted for its antibacterial properties in its own right. Plus, cannabis is famous for its “light treading” regarding the body’s functions and chemical reactions.


Cannabis’s antibacterial properties

While not yet fully understood, there is verifiable proof of cannabis’s ability to stave off certain bacteria strains within the body.

One study highlights the “potent activity” of five major cannabinoids (THC and CBD included) against “a variety of MRSA strains.” Australian scientists even discovered that cannabidiol could stave off bacterial strains that were traditionally impervious to antibiotics.

It’s not entirely clear why cannabis is effective against certain strains of bacteria. Still, it likely has to do with the body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors. These are the natural cannabinoid receptors that exist in the brain and throughout the body. The use of cannabis activates these receptors and impacts several internal systems, including the immune system.

However, these studies do not suggest that cannabis works well alongside antibiotics, only that it likely has some antibacterial properties of its own.


Can cannabis negate or hinder antibiotics?

On the other hand, while cannabis is often therapeutic, we also know that there is a contraindication between cannabis use and acute psychosis. Still, that doesn’t suggest that it hinders the efficacity of antibiotics.

That said, the physical act of smoking cannabis may irritate parts of the respiratory system prone to bacterial infection. In a situation such as this, it would hypothetically be possible for cannabis to affect antibiotic medications’ activity.

Of course, there are alternatives for consuming marijuana that doesn’t involve the inhalation of smoke.

But first, what is an antibiotic?

An antibiotic is a drug that’s specialised for neutralising microorganisms in the body. Numerous strains of bacteria can cluster within the body and cause infection. Colds, ear infections, and sore throats are just some of the ailments brought on by these harmful bacteria.

Like many types of bacteria, there are, there are antibiotics to fight them off. However, the administration of antibiotics is a delicate process. It’s well known that any environmental changes or not completing the prescription can allow bacteria to flourish. After all, only one surviving bacteria is needed to recreate an infection.


Can cannabis interfere with prescribed medicine?

It’s not usually advisable to consume other drugs with prescription medication. A given drug can interfere with both the absorption and metabolism of another drug. Though cannabis is known to react somewhat negatively with many medications—including ibuprofen, morphine, and SSRIs—antibiotics are not recognized as contraindicated.

However, what little study has surfaced on cannabis-antibiotic interactions provided impressive results. Marijuana inhibits a specific enzyme in the liver, cytochrome p450. Many medications – including some antibiotics, use this enzyme. Since antibiotics can deal with a certain amount of p450, the antibiotic process can go awry if it’s not present in expected levels.

Suppose a sufficient amount of p450 becomes inhibited due to cannabis use. In that case, it’s expected that the effect of antibiotics will be higher. While this might initially be thought of as a positive side-effect, in reality, it only serves to heightened risks of adverse reactions and problematic side effects.

For patients with antibiotic prescriptions while using marijuana as a treatment, their medical team will often halve their prescribed antibiotic dose to counteract heightened potency.

It’s believed that macrolide antibiotics, such as Troleandomycin, would be especially prone to this interaction.


Can cannabis’s effect on antibiotics be minimised

Since we now know that cannabis can potentially alter antibiotic’s function for better or worse – it’s best to learn prevention techniques. While, for most, it’s best to abstain from cannabis use throughout an antibiotics prescription, some patients don’t have the option.

Fortunately, some scientifically backed “mitigation methods” can maximise the benefits of simultaneous cannabis and antibiotic usage.

Grapefruits can impact how the body metabolises some medications. This effect includes some antibiotics we use to treat some stomach, respiratory, and other infections. There are speculation and research that fruits can help in navigating combining cannabis and antibiotics safely.

As a result, some medical professionals suggest that their patients consume grapefruits alongside their cannabis and antibiotic intake. Moreover, grapefruits can be infused or mixed with CBD or THC oil.


Final thoughts

As we discuss above, there are virtually no clinical studies that offer data on the safety of cannabis when mixed with antibiotics. As a result, we can’t speak in reliable or sure terms regarding the cannabis-antibiotic relationship.

Still, cannabis is well-known for not being a volatile substance and rarely has any potent effects on the body. Moreover, it’s not particularly noted for its drug-on-drug interactions either.

As you can see from above, cannabis could have minimal positive and negative effects on antibiotics administration. However, while these negligible effects wouldn’t interfere with many other drugs’ efficacy, antibiotics are famously delicate and require almost complete equilibrium.

So, despite showing evidence of antibacterial properties, there’s no evidence to say this compounds the potency of antibiotics themselves.

Be sure to speak to a doctor or medical health professional before ingesting any substance or drug alongside prescribed medication. If you're still not sure, do your research to determine what you think is right for your body. There are numerous resources and professional assistance available for those interested in the ramifications of taking cannabis and antibiotics alongside each other.