Dangers of Combining Marijuana and Painkillers

Dangers of Combining Marijuana and Painkillers

There is a common misconception that marijuana does not have dangerous interactions with other drugs. The truth is that marijuana can increase the risks of sedative medications, and taking it with Prozac or Antabuse can lead to agitation, irritability and insomnia. Combining marijuana with painkillers, meanwhile, has its own set of risks. For example, combining marijuana and tramadol can cause seizures, and using marijuana with pain medicine can often cause a central nervous system (CNS) depression. This potentially fatal condition is especially risky for people who smoke sativa strains of marijuana. Still, the most common dangers often involve the effects on a user’s cognitive and physical functions and how that can add to the risks already inherit in narcotic pain relievers.

Marijuana-Related Overdoses

Painkiller abuse can easily lead to a deadly overdose. In fact, according to the government’s 2004 DAWN report, pain medicine is the most common cause of drug-related emergency room visits and it is present in 40% of all drug-related suicides. While pain medicine can affect decision-making on its own, marijuana can have an even greater impact on risky behavior. Marijuana can affect a user’s cognitive function and can result in dangerous risks, including the following:

  • Losing track of how many pain-medication pills were already consumed
  • Making risky decisions like driving under the influence, having unprotected sex or engaging in ill-advised stunts
  • Acting out in unsafe or disrespectful ways as a result of reduced inhibitions
  • Straining relationships with friends, loved ones and co-workers
  • Feeling paralyzed by marijuana-induced paranoia in emergency situations
  • Failure to recognize a possible overdose, drug interaction or allergic reaction

If you or a friend recently took pain medicine, watch out for warning signs such as a major drop in blood pressure, seizures, shock, respiratory problems and cardiac arrest. If any of these symptoms arise, call 911 immediately.

Treatment for Marijuana and Painkillers

Chronic marijuana use can often make the user lazy and it is not a good motivator for tackling a painkiller addiction. Furthermore, people who try to quit on their own often experience strong withdrawal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, chills, shakes, anxiety attacks, insomnia and muscle pain. That is why integrated professional treatment is the best way to address painkiller and marijuana addictions together while minimizing any discomfort. Professional rehab can help through a number of therapy techniques, including the following:

  • Taper a patient off drugs to reduce or eliminate the withdrawal symptoms
  • Tackle multiple addictions and conditions at once with an integrated approach
  • Create a personalized recovery plan that plays to a patient’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Examine what underlying mental or emotional causes might have initiated the substance abuse
  • Utilize behavioral therapies to avoid and resist drug use triggers
  • Address any co-occurring issues like insomnia, depression, anxiety or stress
  • Offer aftercare group therapy and counseling sessions

Professional treatment can help a person overcome multiple addictions and it also looks at drug use motivations, healthy lifestyle changes and other ways to regain control of one’s life.

Finding Integrated Addiction Treatment

Even if you struggle with multiple addictions, integrated treatment can help. Our addiction counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions about drug dependencies, rehab options and possible health insurance coverage. Please call our toll-free helpline now and discover how we can help.