Marijuana and antidepressants.

Discussion in 'Medicinal Marijuana' started by SpiralArchitect, Sep 22, 2008.

  1. SpiralArchitect

    SpiralArchitect The Cosmic Chronic

    I'd like this to be a comprehensive thread discussing marijuana and anti-depressants.
    Long story short, all my life I have been severely depressed. I'm not complaining, but I must admit, I have been dealt a shittier hand than many in life. I am grateful for what I do have, don't get me wrong, but I am skeptical about my true happiness and if I am lying to myself when I say I am 'content'.

    I have been on and off a variety of antidepressants since I was around 13 years old. The doctor I was seeing at the time gave me high doses (adult doses) and if one medication didn't seem to work after some time would simply switch me to another.

    I quit taking them when I turned around 17 because I felt like they were hurting me more than they were helping. For about a year and a half I self-medicated on any and all drugs until I had a complete meltdown. It was a revelation that couldn't have come at a better time, and although negative in reflection it was perhaps the most positive progression in my life.

    I have since quit self medicating myself with drugs and gotten rid of my desire to be 'out of it' all the time, but the urge is creeping back. My family has a long history of substance abuse and drug dependency so I think this has something to do with it. I've noticed in the past months my marijuana usage has slightly increased, as my depression begins to set back in. The gloomy, foggy, rainy days of Fall in Southeast Alaska don't help at all either and I fear when the dark and frigid winter sets in it may get worse... I've begun limiting myself to only getting high when I feel like I can enjoy myself and have a productive experience rather than just getting high to get high.

    I've never contemplated trying anti-depressants again until the past few days. It's been in my mind for weeks now, but I think I am at a point where I am ready to give it another go.

    I have setup an appointment with a local psychiatrist and within the next few days will be meeting with him. I plan to be open and honest about my past and current drug use. I'm skeptical about going back on the 'meds, but at this point in my life, I'm open for change and I want to get better.
    What I want to know, if anyone has any information, anecdotal or scientific, in regards to their particular antidepressants and their marijuana use; the effects between the two, their marijuana useage/particular prescription, studies, etc.

    Any and all information is greatly appreciated and others questions are welcome. :)
    However, I would not like this thread to be a debate about biomedical psychology.
    Thank you for your responses.
  2. Up In Smoke

    Up In Smoke Guest

    I can understand where you are coming. Without making this an after school special id like to give you one piece of advice. I do hope you act upon it as its helped wonders for me.


    For one, you may or may not think you are an insignificant soul on this vast planet, we'll with travel, you'll soon realize you are not. If you havent already figured that out, this will help immensely. This in turn will help you recognize your place on this planet.

    I'm not going to get into detail. As its worth finding out yourself. Its not as hard as you would imagine either. I have some pretty odd particulars I need to deal with on a day to day basis, and I got along just fine.

    I found a place to sleep at night, and worked during the mornings to supply food rent and fun money. The rest of the afternoon and evenings were in place for me. I didnt have anyone hinder me.
    2 people like this.
  3. Up In Smoke

    Up In Smoke Guest

    To stay on your topic, Marijuana itself is an anti depressant. Maybe mixing it with others doesnt culminate well?
  4. dirtbomb

    dirtbomb Hippie

    Pot works well with Serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. There are some new meds out there that can cause psychosis if used while smoking. Not sure if it qualifies as off-topic or not, but just to be safe, I'll simply say that it's the new one that they've been pushing to death on television advertisements.
    My shrink knows that I use small quantities of Marijuana to alleviate my symptoms. He hasn't issued any fatwas against it, unlike my former therapist who was very anti-Pot.
    The key here, is dosage. Marijuana raises Serotonin levels. If used habitually or in large quantities, though, your brain will stop making it, temporarily.
    I also come from a family with a long history of self-medication and depression, so I know exactly where you're coming from. My own drug journey started very early in life. If I had just stuck to weed, my life would probably be a lot happier than it is now. You live. You learn.
    One great thing you have on your side is that Alaska has decrim. That should take most of the anxiety of explaining your use to the Doctor.
    I hope this helps Bro.:) My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    2 people like this.
  5. gratefulvideofan

    gratefulvideofan New Member

    I have been smoking daily and been on and off SSRI Antidepressents for the last ten years. I don't find the Marijuana and SSRI's interfere with each other in any real way. All SSRI's do is affect the reuptake of seretonin effectively increasing the seretonin in the brain. There is a fairly new Anti-depressent called Cymbalta that effects both seretonin and dopamine levels and that is what I am on now. I don't find a problem smoking with Cymbalta. I will be switching to the latest drug this week which is Pristiq and should more directly deal with my specific problems. Your psychiatrist will probably insist that you quit smoking weed. Honestly it is the wise the to do when starting psychotropic medications so you can really tell how they are effecting you.

    Safe with weed in my experience


    Lorazipan (pans)

    I live near the drug companies so my Psych gets my meds for free!!!
  6. Buzzby

    Buzzby Buddhist Curmudgeon

    The problem is, clinical depression has nothing to do with a person's situation. People who have only suffered situational depression find this hard to understand. Clinical depression is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain and is at least partially determined by genetics. I took a three-week, long-planned vacation to England and Scotland when I was clinically depressed and was miserable the whole time.

    If you're depressed about something (situational depression), a change of scenery might do you a lot of good. If you're clinically depressed or in the grips of bipolar depression, what's happening outside your body doesn't make much difference.
    2 people like this.
  7. Buzzby

    Buzzby Buddhist Curmudgeon

    Marijuana is a mood elevator. That's not the same thing as an antidepressant. Mood elevators are short-acting. You get high, you feel better, you come down, you don't feel better. Anti-depressants are long-acting, often requiring several weeks of use before producing their greatest effect.
    5 people like this.
  8. dirtbomb

    dirtbomb Hippie

    I wouldn't mix Cymbalta or Lexapro with Cannabis. Both of those meds can induce severe paranoia or suicidal ideations on their own, without any help.
    If any drug should be made illegal, my vote would be Cymbalta. I tried to kill myself when it was prescribed for me.
    During the testing phase for this poison, one of the subjects in Eli Lilly & Co.'s research actually succeeded in their attempt to commit suicide. She had no indicative risk factors before taking it.
    I only learned about Lilly's preverications and distortions of test data after my nightmare with this shit.
    I'll wait to sue, once I see one of those lawyer blurbs on the tube when the class action comes out. I've got a lot of Attorney friends, but I hate talking about legal stuff with them.:)
  9. Vicki

    Vicki Cat Whisperer

    I have been on and off anti-depressants ever since I was 18. That's 23 years. :eek:

    I had been off them for a few years, then my Dad died in March of 2005. They put me back on Celexa, Buspar, and Ativan. I also toked while I took these meds. I was pretty drugged all the time. :(

    After a while, the same thing happened that always happens. I started hating the way the drugs made me feel, (and being like a zombie most of the time) so I tapered myself down, and stopped them all, but the Ativan that I still use for panic attacks, as needed only. I don't take the Ativan routinely now because I also take Vicodin for pain, as needed, and I have to be careful. Especially when marijuana comes into the mix. I try to stick to solely using marijuana for my pain and nausea, but there are times that it isn't enough.

    I know that marijuana does help my depression now. Probably not as good as an antidepressant, but I am sick of those drugs that screw with your head.
  10. Mushroom Man

    Mushroom Man Feeling eternal..

    Wow Spiral I didnt know we had so much in common. Although I do agree traveling does make me feel better, thats never the most reliable method, as Buzzby has already stated ( I traveled to Mexico for a week and hated it although knowing the whole time there was absolutely nothing to hate and i should have been enjoying it.) But hey sometimes a weektrip to somewhere with your buddies has its own therapeutic advantages.

    Back on topic, I used to feel taking anti-depressants and mixing weed with it was a bad combo, cause i STILL felt like shit. I heard some brands (symvastatin or whatever) are more effective then others, however I dont understand how that would work.
  11. gratefulvideofan

    gratefulvideofan New Member

    I've been on Cymbalta for 2 years and have a friend who has been on it longer than me. Works great for me. When starting any new drug while depressed suicidal idiation is always a risk.
  12. mizzOe

    mizzOe New Member

    I take Aropax (paroxetine) and blaze - it doesn't seem to have any negative effects. However, I don't think the aropax is working as well as it should (I started taking it while being off weed for about 6 weeks).
  13. Andrew87

    Andrew87 Sr. Member

    This is completely false.

    Yes, sometimes a major depressive episode will occur seemingly “out of nowhere” (your assertion that biochemical factors – as opposed to psychosocial – are the root of this is arguable, however) but to say that environmental stressors don't exert significant influence to an episode’s onset and duration is downright laughable.

    Any doc who uses meds as a first-line treatment for depression (provided no neuro-veg sx, SI and/or HI are present) has no absolutely no business practicing medicine – and you will find that a great deal of mental health professionals support this standpoint.

    You make a lot of great points in other areas of the forum, and normally I find your posts informative and thought provoking – but you’re way, way off with this one.

    No, this is just a theory. A theory which has many flaws, questionable motives, and is outright rejected by a number of psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals.

    Another important point – all the ‘chemical imbalance’ hype is grossly over-simplified when presented to the public (and is often presented as a fact, especially in drug company advertisements). There is a substantial level of controversy within the field over the chemical imbalance theory, it isn’t nearly as cut-and-dried as you claim it to be.

    Really? Then why have patients receiving therapy in addition to pharmacological treatment been repeatedly shown to be less likely to relapse than those receiving pharmacological treatment alone?

    Very few of even the staunchest supporters of biopsychiatric practice would dare argue that one’s environment “doesn’t make much difference” in regards to treatment.

    And to spiral: If you’re really at your wits end with the depression and dead-set on going the medication route, I’d say talk with your doctor about the possibility of trying a different class of meds (ironically, sometimes anti-depressants are not the best medications for depression treatment). How they’d interact with pot or other drugs is another story entirely, however – I’ve seen/heard/read mixed results.

    Also, and while I am certainly no doctor and can't say for sure, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that your depression could be substance-induced, at least based on what you’ve written here. Good luck.
    6 people like this.
  14. Vicki

    Vicki Cat Whisperer


    How are you doing now, Spiral? :)
  15. Cosmic_Smoke

    Cosmic_Smoke New Member

    You should ask the psychiatrist. They will have an idea, although its likely they'll say something like "Well, you shouldn't do drugs." There are definitely some drugs that interact with certain anti depressant. Sometimes the effects of certain recreational drugs can be completely blocked by anti depressants.

    When I was about 12, I was diagnosed with servere depression, and I started going to a psychiratrist once a week, and a psychologist twice a week. I also took MANY medications, including anti depressants, although not all at once, they were just chancged over the years. Anyway, for about 3 years I did all that, untill I started smoking pot at the age of 15. I DID smoke pot (and drink) while I took anti depressants, although I don't remember which. I didn't notice any side effects, although that could just mean I'm really lucky. Soon after I started smoking pot, I stoped going to doctors and taking meds, because pot worked for me, its made me a very happy person, and even if I cant smoke for weeks, I'm still very happy.
  16. Doobie_Howser_MD

    Doobie_Howser_MD New Member

    I think this is a great thread and I'm happy to share my experiences with you.
    • Lexapro (SSRI): I smoked weed and drank alcohol while on Lexapro all the time and did not have any adverse interacations.
    • Prozac (SSRI): The same as Lexapro.
    • Zoloft (SSRI): I was only on it for two weeks because it gave me heartburn. I can't remember if I smoked weed during that time, but I think I did, and if so there were no adverse interactions.
    • Effexor (SNRI): Please DO NOT BLAZE WHILE ON EFFEXOR. I was only on this drug for two days before I quit. I took one hit from my vaporizer and started feeling shaky and my heart rate increased dramatically. I was so messed up I couldn't stand up to take a shower. Other people have had similar results and this Erowid article talks about a guy who had to go to the hospital from mixing the two.
    • Cymbalta (SNRI): I just started Cymbalta today (Lexapro, Prozac, and Zoloft did nothing for me) and I'll post my findings once I blaze while on it. Hopefully there is no adverse interaction. I haven't read about any bad experiences caused by a Cymbalta/cannabis interaction, but I am worried because it is an SNRI like Effexor.
    In conclusion I would say that it's safe to smoke cannabis while on most if not all SSRIs. If you and your doctor have decided that you need treatment for depression/anxiety I would recommend Lexapro or Zoloft. Those two seem to work the best for the most people with the least side effects. Unfortunately, I'm not one of those people. Good luck, and I hope this information helps.
  17. icouldcareless64

    icouldcareless64 New Member

    I may not be the best person to ask for advice considering I do not know well about the effects of marijuana and SSRIs, but I'll give my story anyways. I just copied and pasted it from another thread discussing prozac and MJ. So it's Wednesday and not Tuesday and I'm still feeling vertigo.

    If you are taking Prozac I would highly recommend not smoking because of what happened to me. Please excuse me if I don't sound coherent right now because I'm about to tell you why.

    First off I'm 17, almost 18 in 2 months. I've been having a really tough time for about a year (started when I was a Junior and had a really hard schedule (3 APs, 2 honors which were all academic), was missing school due to stomach problems, and getting bad grades. This was really dramatic for me since I care about grades a lot (probably too much) and was used to getting good grades. I started to see a psychologist for anxiety issues and depression (which were probably in my life before junior year, but not so visible). So let me talk about my marijuana use:

    I'm not an experienced marijuana user, but I have smoked quite a bit (10 times or so) socially. My first time getting hi was last summer. I was also drunk while I smoked so I can't really pinpoint what was the hi and what was the alcohol. Not until 3 months ago, when my friend got off drug court, did I start to smoke socially on the weekends. The first time I did only marijuana (I was not taking any anti-depressants) was about 3 months ago. We smoked in a pretty safe spot and I felt a little paranoid but it was mild and I knew it was just the drugs. I smoked probably another 5 times until I started taking Wellbutrin, about 5 weeks ago. I took the 150 mg for a week and noticed the Wellbutrin didn't work out for me (started to get moody and agitated). So my doctor changed me to Prozac. I smoked a little 2 weeks ago and was fine while on Prozac. The problems didn't start to happen until last weekend. Friday I smoked about 2 bowls of some mids and a few hits from purp. I was REALLY scared (partly because we were doing it right outside my friends house on his curb in the back of my car). I was also socially awkward and just plain spacey. The next day I was feeling like my upper torso was going in circles when in fact it was not (which I later learned was vertigo). I thought that I just smoked too much. So came Saturday night I got the chance to smoke again. I tried taking it slower and not get as hi since there was a party going on with adults that approve of drinking but not drugs. I smoked half a bowl and was OUT. Everyone went inside where the adults were and I thought I was busted for sure. I sat down in a chair and just look straight for about 30 minutes. Everyone else was playing pool and having a good time. Then for the next hour or so I kept on wondering off to where my friends parents and friends were not. I started to spin in circles again and was envisioning myself like swooping down or falling over when in fact I was not. My friends mom finally confronted me and asked if I was okay because I look a little spacey. I told her I just had too much to drink. My friends said I was just socially retarded and socially inept. I got in a really depressed state because of this since its sort of what I've been feeling like lately for the past year and it was confirmed. The next day when I woke up I was spinning in circles again. I thought that I just had a little buzz and that it would go away. Well my condition worsened about Sunday afternoon. I started to feel irritable, restless, and twitch. I started to feel really depressed and considered going to a crisis hospital for strong suicidal thoughts. I also thought about binging on half a bottle of rum. I didn't sleep until 5 am Sunday night (technically Monday). I didn't go to school (haven't been going much lately anyways, because of piles of work) and sleep in to about 12. I had a 3 o'clock appointment with my therapist. I drove by myself decently even though I shouldn't of because of my state. The 45 minute appointment was full of me telling her how depressed I was and lying on why I was depress (since I don't want her to know I smoke) until the last 5 minutes. I told her I wasn't very honest and told her the state that I was in and why all while crying. She canceled her next appointment and called my mom to pick me up to take to the ER. I didn't think I was in such bad shape that it constituted going to the ER, but my mom and the therapist did. So I went to the ER last night and got a CAT scan, blood work, and urine sample. The doctor also looked at my pupils and said they were dilated. The tests were all normal and it showed I had no THC in my system. He thought that because my eyes dilated and THC didn't show up in the tests that I smoked angel trumpet. I'm 99.9% sure I smoked pure marijuana that was not laced with anything. I was dismissed after 3 hours. So I'm writing this 2:30 am Tuesday. I still feel loopy, vertigo, disoriented, and I'm twitching every once in a while. I feel like I'm going in slow-mo and I can't concentrate well. I'll tell you when I start feeling better.

    It could be that I have a disposition towards vertigo, but I think it just intensified the Prozac's side effect. It could be that I'm just freaking out or I'm not experience enough with marijuana. Personally I wouldn't mess around with 2 drugs (that work in the same way) and haven't been tested together. Also, if you are taking Prozac that probably means you are depressed (unless you are taking it to stop an addiction) and the marijuana may intensify this depression and/or anxiety. However, if you want to try it out take it in extremely small steps and judge how you are feeling. In no way am I trying to spite the marijuana community or those that use since I know there are millions that have no problem with the drug.

  18. InfectedWithMJ

    InfectedWithMJ Active Member

    I just took Cymbolta...and just far I'm OK... I even took Darvocet N and Cyclobenzaprine. I need all that for fibromyalgia.
  19. Chiefsnow

    Chiefsnow New Member

    I've dealt with depression and related symptoms since I was very young. I've had mixed results with mj and antidepressants. Antidepressants are tricky meds anyway, and adding chemicals into the mix are chancy whether or not they get you high. Care, calm, and moderation are huge keys in this battle.

    I think the main key is to communicate with the prescribing doctor. His job is to help you, not judge you. Until there's laws against eating 5,000 grams of saturated fats in processed foods in a 24-hour period, nobody's going to make me feel bad about consuming a couple of grams of mj a week, unless there's a valid medical reason for me stop. Keep up with your health, and remember the value of moderation.

    Having said that, there should be a sticky somewhere on this board to help people who are "freaking out," and need an advice thread until they're over it. I've not had to use it in quite a while, but I've a list of rules for myself, as should everyone, and I think they're fairly universal.
    2 people like this.
  20. Madamayo

    Madamayo New Member

    I was prescribed Zoloft shortly after my father passed away, and I stopped after I discovered weed. Anti-depressants are not good juju. I find marijuana effective enough for me, and for those days where I REALLY get stressed out and down in the dumps, my roommate will give me one or two of his klonipin.

    Other than that, I avoid all anti-depressants altogether.

    Originally Posted by Buzzby
    The problem is, clinical depression has nothing to do with a person's situation.

    I have clinical depression, and I greatly disagree. Whenever I go into a hospital, see somewhere that sparks a happy memory (I suffer from an inability to properly deal with grief), or even slightly hear a voice remind me of someone I miss, it i can feel the sadness build up in my head, almost like a tingly, painful sensation on the top of my neck. People, places, smells, tastes, sights, sounds, almost anything can bring on the feelings. I deal with it by stopping what I'm doing, breathing deeply a few times, and focusing on the matter at hand. Then, before I go to bed at night, I smoke a joint and essentially meditate. It greatly helps, as well as having people around me that I know and trust.

    A healthy environment and activity is the greatest treatment for clinical depression, however I don' know about manic depression.

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