When used with other drugs, prescription medication could have an adverse reaction. Such reactions could result in medical complications lowering the quality of life for patients. We explore such interactions in this article for cannabis and steroids.
Marijuana and steroids, when abused individually, lead to unwanted health consequences. When used together, their interaction is undoubtedly harmful to users’ health. For instance, steroid use is associated with abusing other substances, such as alcohol and marijuana.
For the most part, the effects of using both marijuana and anabolic steroids are unknown. Therefore, doctors who establish that their patients abuse marijuana sometimes refuse to prescribe pain medication with steroids.
What is Cannabis, and What Are its Uses?
Cannabis, commonly known as weed, herb, pot, ganja, marijuana, or Mary Jane, among other names, is derived from the dried flowers and leaves of Cannabis sativa. Some people roll it into cigarettes or blunts and smoke it for recreational reasons. It can also be taken in tea or mixed with foods such as brownies or cookies, while others use vaporizers.
Medical cannabis is now legal in some jurisdictions in treatment to manage pain, nausea, and other symptoms, especially among cancer and rheumatoid arthritis patients. In addition, Canadian Federal government laws allow marijuana extracts with minimal THC levels for prescription medications.
Effects of Taking Marijuana
The active ingredient in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive substance. It is often found in resin produced by female plants. There are over 500 chemicals in marijuana, with up to 100 being related to THC, and they are known as cannabinoids.
Animal studies suggest prolonged cannabis use could significantly change the central nervous system and cause various diseases. It is also known to cause anxiety, depression, and paranoia. It also causes certain mental disorders, such as schizophrenia.
What are Steroids?
Anabolic steroids are a synthetic form of testosterone. Scientifically, they are known as anabolic-androgenic steroids. Anabolic means they build muscles, while androgenic means they cause male sex characteristics.
Anabolic steroids are often abused to enhance athletic and sexual performance. They are also misused to alter one’s physical appearance. Steroids are categorized among Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drugs (APEDs).
Their harmful effects are documented, including:
- Heart attacks
- Kidney failure
- Liver cancer
- Psychiatric disorders.
Steroid Polypharmacy and Effects
Steroid use is associated with polypharmacy, where users abuse other substances, such as alcohol and marijuana. Using steroids with other substances is dangerous due to possible adverse reactions from drug-drug interactions. In addition, steroids are often injected, and users are predisposed to viral hepatitis and HIV because of sharing needles or using non-sterile techniques.
Androgenic steroids augment serotonin levels in the mood-determining areas of the central nervous system. It also affects dopamine levels in the brain’s reward system. Chronic use is associated with a dysfunctional reward system.
The use of both marijuana and steroids could lead to serious medical consequences. In addition, it could affect the quality of life for the user because the two substances have been documented to negatively affect the health of users and lower their quality of life.
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Is it Safe to Take Cannabis and Steroids Together?
Increased Marijuana Use
It is not safe to take cannabis and steroids together. Evidence suggests direct interaction between steroids and the endocannabinoid system, which determines the brain reward dynamics of marijuana. Usually, it suppresses the reward system, causing users to take more marijuana voluntarily.
Smoking weed while using steroids poses significant mental and physical health effects, leading to lowered quality of life. This article will highlight the impact of cannabis use and steroids and elucidate the health issues that could arise from taking the two together.
When smoked, THC and other cannabinoids leave the lungs and enter the bloodstream, taking them to other body parts, including the brain.
Common effects of taking cannabis include augmented sensory perception, altered perception, increased appetite, and laughter. Other people experience anxiety and fear. They may panic or develop distrust.
Marijuana, when taken in large doses, people could experience an acute psychosis, including hallucinations, delusions, and losing a sense of personal identity.
THC has a chemical structure similar to anandamide, a brain chemical. The similarity in structure makes THC change regular brain activity.
Withdrawal symptoms may appear in the form of:
- The physical appetite for the drug.
- Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia) and heart palpitations
- Depressive symptoms that thoughts of inflicting harm on self may accompany.
- Anxiety disorders that may be intense.
Endogenous cannabinoids, like anandamide, are neurotransmitters. Therefore, they send messages between nerve cells, also known as neurons. THC can attach to cannabinoid receptors on neurons and activate them, altering mental and physical function.
Steroids Use Disorder
Steroids are different from marijuana. They are physically and psychologically addictive. The drug replaces the natural chemicals found in the central nervous system putting its users in constant need due to withdrawal symptoms. It is also associated with polypharmacy.
Some underlying psychological issues found in people who abuse steroids are:
- People who use steroids have anxiety disorders.
- They are likely to have substance abuse and addiction disorders.
- They have self-esteem issues.
- They are likely suffering from depression.
Therefore, such individuals resort to steroid use to compensate for their lack. In addition, they may use steroids to gain a competitive edge in sports or improve their physique. However, most people become utterly dependent on steroid use after a short period.
Suddenly discontinuing steroid use after dependency can be dangerous. They are associated with depression that leads to suicidal ideation and attempts.
What are the Effects of Taking Steroids and Weed Together?
Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) are a synthetic form of testosterone. AAS use is associated with various physical side effects.
The Canadian federal government considers AAS a controlled substance. As a result, teenagers and athletes abuse them to attain certain body forms or compensate for perceived deficiencies.
The effects of AAS include:
- Breast development.
- Severe forms of acne
- High blood pressure
- Heart attacks
Psychological effects of AAS include:
- Increased aggression.
- Anxiety disorders
Evidence suggests that AAS is sometimes co-abused with marijuana. Polypharmacy occurs in up to 95% of users.
Reasons for polypharmacy include:
- To counter the adverse effects of AAS.
- Altered sensitivity to other abused drugs because the brain reward system is affected.
The endocannabinoid system targets anabolic-androgenic steroid hormones and can also affect the activity of sex hormones such as steroids. Therefore, AAS interferes with the brain reward system of cannabinoids.
AAS represses the endocannabinoid system leading to reduced drug-induced neurochemical and behavioural effects of THC. Consequently, it can increase voluntary cannabinoid intake.
Various risks are associated with high cannabinoid intake. Addiction is one critical risk for increased intake of higher doses of cannabinoids. Most importantly, it complicates smoking cessation by cannabis users.
At least one case report of concomitant abuse of AAS and marijuana leading to ischemic stroke. Researchers found the patient’s death unique because they could not establish common stroke indicators of arteriopathy, cardioembolism, or thrombophilia. The ischemic stroke and eventual death could solely be attributed to the AAS and cannabis polypharmacy.
Conclusion on Taking Marijuana With Steroids
There is limited medical information on the effects of concomitant AAS and cannabis use. Consequently, sometimes doctors refuse to prescribe pain medication containing steroids if they establish marijuana use. However, there is evidence that their interaction has adverse effects and could result in health problems.
This article gathers that AAS represses the endocannabinoid system from the limited evidence available. Consequently, marijuana users take more weed resulting in higher concentrations of cannabis. Increased intake of weed could have adverse effects on the body.
This finding implies that when a user takes both marijuana and AAS, it could increase marijuana intake due to a repressed rewards system. Consequently, it adversely affects the ability of the user to overcome addiction, notwithstanding the adverse health effects of increased intake of marijuana. However, the interaction of the two drugs is elusive and more studies are needed to elucidate the issue.
Moreover, medical complications could result from the interaction of the two drugs, increased intake of marijuana, and other yet-to-be-determined risks from interactions with other drugs. It introduces medical complications in managing substance abuse.
Therefore, it is best to keep cannabis use and steroid use separate. It is recommended to avoid using steroids if you are a cannabis user and instead use all-natural supplements like BioLyfe Muscle Booster pills or Zuzili ACV gummies to help you reach your physical goals.
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- El Scheich, T., Weber, A., Klee, D., Schweiger, D., Mayatepek, E., & Karenfort, M. (2013). Adolescent ischemic stroke associated with anabolic steroid and cannabis abuse. Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism, 26(1-2). https://doi.org/10.1515/jpem-2012-0057
- National Health Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, February). Are anabolic steroids addictive? National Institute on Drug Abuse. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/steroids-other-appearance-performance-enhancing-drugs-apeds/are-anabolic-steroids-addictive
- BioLyfe. (2022, October 17). Buy BioLyfe Muscle Booster Pills Online. Available at: https://biolyfebrands.com/product/muscle-booster-pills/
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- Zuzili. (2022, October 17). Buy Zuzili ACV Gummies Online. Available at: https://zuzili.com/acv-gummies
- National Health Institute on Drugs Abuse. (2020, July). How does marijuana produce its effects? National Institute on Drug Abuse. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/how-does-marijuana-produce-its-effects
- Online Steroids Canada. (2022, October 17). Buy Anabolic Steroids Online in Canada. Available at: https://onlinesteroidscanada.com/
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, February). Steroids and Other Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drugs (APEDs) Research Report. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/steroids-other-appearance-performance-enhancing-drugs-apeds/introduction
- Struik, D., Sanna, F., & Fattore, L. (2018). The modulating role of sex and anabolic-androgenic steroid hormones in cannabinoid sensitivity. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00249