Is Smoking Cannabis On Accutane Recommended?
Even though weed is safe; Cannabis, like alcohol, does though interact with a few natural and man-made medicines. Therefore, you should never assume that it is okay to combine weed with any drug.
Unfortunately, as many Doctors have a bias against cannabis, you will not be able to get a straight or accurate answer concerning weed’s interactions with any prescription or non-prescription medicines. So, I felt it was important to write this post, which will help you make the best decision on if you should continue smoking while you are taking Accutane.
As always, I am not a Doctor and am not giving any medical advice. This information here is curated from various sources on the web. My advice is to read this information and then do further research.
What is Accutane?
Accutane (AKA Isotretinoin) is a powerful medication (classified as an oral retinoid) that is used for the treatment of severe acne.
Accutane pills are taken for around four to six months and are used mainly for when acne has not responded to other more conservative treatments and for acne that can likely cause permanent scarring.
Accutane’s active ingredient is a mega dose of, naturally derived, vitamin A. However, just because it is natural does not make it perfectly safe. Too much vitamin A, like pretty much too much of anything can have damaging effects. That’s why you should not take vitamin A supplements while taking this drug.
It is known for being quite effective in that 50% of patients who take it once will never have to take it again. Only around .002% of people will have worse acne after taking Accutane.
It gives your body a massive amount of Vitamin A. Too much Vitamin A can cause problems. So, as always, be sure to take only the dosage that you are prescribed and only take it under doctors’ supervision. (Preferably a dermatologist) Some of the minor side effects of Accutane are chapped lips, dry skin, mild nosebleeds, and a dry mouth.
Rare-But Potentially Fatal Symptoms-Accutane is also known to cause a slightly increased risk of depression and suicidal thoughts. Luckily depression and suicidal thoughts only occur in less than one percent of all users.
The worst side effect of Accutane is that it can cause severe birth defects. As a result, never take Accutane during pregnancy, and when you are on it, be sure to use birth control. Additionally, a rare but potentially fatal side effect is blood clots, which could cause a stroke. Other notable potential issues are that it can affect the liver, which may cause an unsafe rise in cholesterol levels.
Accutane and Weed’s Side Effects
Like I said numerous times before as cannabis is technically illegal there are very few medical or any studies concerning cannabis. Therefore, any benefits or dangerous interactions from weed and Accutane and any drug are unknown.
I am pro-cannabis. However, weed and certain drugs can be dangerous, which is the same for alcohol. One notable example is that a cannabis smoker may need more anesthesia or a patient may prematurely wake up during surgery.
As a result, the only advice concerning mixing weed and Accutane was anecdotal or educated guessing. Left without scientific proof the biases of both the pro-cannabis and the anti-cannabis factions will likely state that weed is either bad for you or will not cause any harm.
Are There Any Scientifically Proven Side Effects?
There are not any known serious or adverse consequences of combining any type of cannabinoid with Accutane. (look for Dr. Randy Baker) This is even admitted by Doctors who most likely are anti-cannabis. For example, a Doctor who did not recommend combining the two stated that it ” Might “, cause problems. (Check out Dr. Pamela Pappas)
As I previously stated though, as no studies on the interaction between the two have been done, it does not mean that you can be guaranteed that combining the two will be safe.
Like with anything cannabis-related, it is quite hard finding any doctor even wanting to answer any question related to combining the two or combining any drug with weed. For example, on RealSelf.com they had two unanswered questions concerning this subject. The website Healthtap did though have a few doctors who were willing to address these questions.
The pros and Cons of combining Accutane and weed will be summarized below.
Dr. Randy Baker, a holistic medicine practitioner of 40 years admitted that, in general, cannabis has been known to interact with many drugs. However, the interactions are quite mild. I.E Like being extra sleepy Dr. Baker also states that there has not been a study linking any dangers of combining Accutane and weed and that you should be safe combining the two.
Dr. Ed Friedlander a pathologist with 44 years of experience stated that it should be okay to combine the two as any potential side effects would be quite mild. One negative side effect mention was that your airways may be constricted which can make it easier to choke as you are taking a bong hit. (This sounds bad. But, he did not stress that this would be life-threatening) However, this issue could be solved by edibles.
Dr. Pamela Pappas as a Psychiatrist with 42 years of experience did not recommend combining the two as doing so MIGHT potentially increase the chance of depression and suicidal ideation. The reason for her warning is that Accutane has been linked to causing depression and suicidal thoughts in some users. (<1%)
Cannabis, for some users also has a depressive effect. Therefore, combining two depressants could magnify feelings of depression and raise the chance of suicide.
Dr. Alan Ali a Psychiatrist with 32 years of experience said essentially the same thing as combining Accutane and weed could result in dangerous mood swings.
Please check out the appendix below if you need more information concerning how cannabis is classified.
Currently, because of cannabis’s long, unjustified prohibition, there is no way of knowing if combining Accutane (and to be fair other acne drugs like Doxycycline) and weed (or any medicine) is safe. My only, non-medical advice, is for you to do your research, from valid sources, be open with your doctor.
Why Is The Reaction To Cannabis And Certain Drugs So Hard To Predict?
Drugs are categorized into three classes which are depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens. Cannabis has qualities of depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogenic. Therefore, it can not be easily classified. Examples of these are the following:
- Depressant -Weed will make you relaxed and sleepy.
- Creativity and Mood Swings – This is a stimulant effect.
- Hallucinogenic – An example of this is the enhanced sense of taste when smoking cannabis.
Cannabis also treats people differently. So, you cannot predict exactly how someone will react after smoking weed or how cannabis may react after being combined with a certain substance
As an example, some smokers get paranoid when they smoke any weed or a certain strain. While another person smoking the same strain may feel relaxed and ready to pass out. That’s why is it quite hard to predict how cannabis may interact with certain prescription medicine or even dietary health supplement.