Zoloft And Marijuana: Can One Smoke Weed On SSRI Antidepressants?

Last Updated: June 25, 2024

Dr. Norman Chazin Reviewed by Dr. Norman Chazin
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Cannabis is one of the most popular substances worldwide, ranking just behind alcohol and tobacco in the U.S., with approximately 17% of Americans using weed daily or almost daily.

While it is still unclear whether cannabis use directly increases the risk for depression or anxiety, studies have shown that individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) are twice as likely to use cannabis to cope with the condition. Unfortunately, clinical evidence suggests that cannabis use worsens depression’s overall prognosis.

This trend is particularly concerning for those managing their mental health with antidepressants such as Zoloft. if you are wondering: Can you smoke weed with Zoloft? In this article, we will explore the potential interactions and risks of mixing weed and Zoloft.

Antidepressants Interactions Overview

Antidepressants are a cornerstone in the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders, helping millions of people manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

However, these medications can interact with a variety of substances. The interaction between selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and antidepressants like Zoloft (sertraline) and cannabis is not fully understood. Still, there are concerns about increased side effects and altered drug effectiveness.

Let’s review Zoloft and marijuana interactions in depth:

Can You Smoke Weed While Taking Zoloft?

No, you should avoid mixing sertraline and weed. Even though there is limited research into marijuana and Zoloft side effects, the rule of thumb is avoiding mixing your antidepressants with other substances unless it’s strictly prescribed by your doctor.

Remember that the legalization of marijuana and its growing acceptance in culture doesn’t mean it’s risk-free, and you shouldn’t underestimate its potential health dangers. Chronic cannabis use leads to widespread alterations in cerebral function, causing changes in brain systems involved in:

  • Reward processing and stress response
  • Mood regulation
  • Cognition
  • Appetite
  • Pain perception
  • Inflammation

Sertraline and Marijuana Risks

Zoloft is an antidepressant that increases serotonin levels in the brain, helping to improve mood and reduce anxiety. It is commonly used to treat depression and anxiety disorders.

On the other hand, cannabis contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) that interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which affects mood, perception, and stress responses. THC is known for its psychoactive effects, while CBD has different impacts on the brain and body.

When smoking weed on Zoloft, their individual effects on the brain can overlap and possibly interfere with each other, leading to unpredictable changes in mood or increasing the risk of side effects like dizziness, confusion, or difficulty concentrating.

Interactions between Zoloft and marijuana use are listed below:

Zoloft Build Up

Research indicates that cannabis can suppress the activity of liver enzymes responsible for metabolizing Zoloft. This interference means that Zoloft is not processed and cleared from the body as efficiently, resulting in higher levels of sertraline in the bloodstream.

When Zoloft levels in the body exceed the intended therapeutic range, several adverse effects may appear. An excess can exacerbate Zoloft side effects such as nausea, dizziness, insomnia, increased anxiety, and sexual dysfunction.

Neurotransmitters Disruption

The interplay between dopamine and serotonin in the brain is complex, and the balance between these neurotransmitters is crucial for maintaining mood stability.

Marijuana induces a dopamine surge in the brain. When this increase happens during SSRI treatment, it can potentially disrupt the balance that SSRIs aim to achieve in serotonin levels. An excess of dopamine, relative to serotonin, may interfere with the intended mood-stabilizing effects of SSRIs.

Low serotonin function vs. dopamine hyperactivity can promote impulsive and aggressive behaviors.

Enhanced Side Effects

As we mentioned before, mixing Zoloft with weed may increase the probability of side effects. Common side effects of Zoloft include nausea, dizziness, dry mouth, changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, and increased anxiety or agitation.

Cannabinoids have been found to exhibit moderate anticholinergic effects. This means they can block the action of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter critical for memory, motivation, and attention. Acetylcholine inhibition causes drowsiness, confusion, and memory impairment.

Combined use of Zoloft and cannabis might significantly increase drowsiness, potentially impairing the ability to perform high-focus or coordination tasks.

Mental Health Decline

Increased dopamine activity from cannabis use can disrupt the balance between dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain. This imbalance might make Zoloft less effective in treating depression.

Additionally, the risk of a “bad trip” after smoking weed on Zoloft can induce feelings of paranoia and panic attacks, intensifying the actual symptoms Zoloft aims to ease.

Zoloft and Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana and recreational marijuana differ primarily in their intended use, dosage, and often in their THC to CBD ratios, with medical marijuana typically personalized to treat specific conditions under a doctor’s supervision-

They are often formulated to have a higher CBD content to provide therapeutic benefits without significant psychoactive effects. Recreational marijuana is usually higher in THC to produce a “high.” Despite these differences, they affect the body’s endocannabinoid system, making achieving stable and effective treatment outcomes harder.

Zoloft and Edibles

Marijuana edibles are food products infused with cannabinoid extracts. When consumed, the THC and CBD are metabolized by the liver, leading to a delayed onset of effects but a longer duration compared to smoking or vaping.

The psychoactive effects of THC can be more intense and longer-lasting in edible form, which can complicate marijuana interactions with medication. The delayed onset of edibles can lead to overconsumption, resulting in severe psychoactive experiences, which can be particularly dangerous under antidepressant treatment like Zoloft.

The same principle applies. Mixing edibles and Zoloft is a no-go.

Can You Take CBD Oil and Zoloft?

CBD oil is widely recognized for its potential therapeutic benefits, such as anti-inflammatory effects for arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and chronic pain syndromes, and neuroprotective effects for neurological disorders such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Oral consumption of CBD oil should be avoided since CBD can inhibit liver enzymes responsible for metabolizing the medication. This could potentially lead to higher levels of Zoloft in the bloodstream, which could increase the risk of side effects. Even though topical skin application of CBD oil for skincare purposes or pain relief is an option, check with your doctor first!

Zoloft and THC − Bottom Line

Some individuals opt for cannabis over prescribed SSRIs due to its lower cost. However, there is limited evidence about weed’s efficacy in managing depression and anxiety symptoms fully. Long-term use may also lead to marijuana addiction and dependence.

If you are already on antidepressant treatment, mixing THC and Zoloft can complicate your treatment course. Marijuana, especially THC, can disrupt neurotransmitter balance and potentially reduce Zoloft’s effectiveness. Also, you may experience more intense side effects.

If you are looking for extra support during depression treatment, explore proven medical alternatives such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or mindfulness practices. Avoid edibles and other marijuana supplements unless you have your doctor’s approval.

People Also Ask

Is weed good for anxiety?

Weed may provide temporary anxiety relief for some, but it can also increase anxiety in others. Its effects vary, so it’s not universally recommended for anxiety management. Always consult a healthcare provider.

Can I smoke weed on Zoloft?

It is not recommended to smoke weed on Zoloft, as it can interfere with the medication’s effectiveness and increase the risk of side effects.

Does smoking affect sertraline?

Yes, smoking weed can affect sertraline by potentially disrupting serotonin levels, reducing its effectiveness, and increasing side effects.


Page Sources

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  2. Pacek, L. R., et al. (2020). Rapid increase in the prevalence of cannabis use among people with depression in the United States, 2005–17: The role of differentially changing risk perceptions. Addiction, 115(5), 935-943. https://doi.org/10.1111/add.14883
  3. Langlois, C., et al. (2021). Down and High: Reflections Regarding Depression and Cannabis. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.625158
  4. Nasrin, S., et al. (2021). Cannabinoid Metabolites as Inhibitors of Major Hepatic CYP450 Enzymes, with Implications for Cannabis-Drug Interactions. Drug Metabolism and Disposition/DMD Online, 49(12), 1070–1080. https://doi.org/10.1124/dmd.121.000442
  5. Oleson, E. B., & Cheer, J. F. (2012). A Brain on Cannabinoids: The role of dopamine release in reward seeking. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine, 2(8), a012229.
  6. Seo, D., Patrick, C. J., & Kennealy, P. J. (2008). Role of Serotonin and Dopamine System Interactions in the Neurobiology of Impulsive Aggression and its Comorbidity with other Clinical Disorders. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 13(5), 383. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2008.06.003
  7. Website, N. (2024, April 16). Common questions about sertraline. nhs.uk. https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/sertraline/common-questions-about-sertraline/
  8. Grassin-Delyle, S., et al. (2014). Cannabinoids inhibit cholinergic contraction in human airways through prejunctional CB1 receptors. British Journal of Pharmacology, 171(11), 2767-2777. https://doi.org/10.1111/bph.12597
  9. Martinez, M. (2023, February 13). CBD may increase the adverse effects of THC in edible cannabis products, study shows. Johns Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/newsroom/news-releases/2023/02/cbd-may-increase-the-adverse-effects-of-thc-in-edible-cannabis-products-study-shows
Retrieved on June 25, 2024.

Published on: October 4th, 2018

Updated on: June 25th, 2024

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