Article written by
Dipak HemrajHead of Research and Education
Content reviewed by
Dr. Lewis JasseyMedical Director - Pediatric Medicine
Table of contents
It’s generally not a good idea to mix 5-HTP and any product derived from the cannabis plant, whether in low or high doses. However, there is not much research on combining cannabis and 5-HTP.
Weed is known for causing long-term effects such as depression and sleeping problems. This may cause individuals to turn to supplements such as 5-HTP to reduce these symptoms.
This may lead to a more euphoric “high” or even better mood than when taken separately. Other reasons for mixing might be somehow to balance out the effects of either 5-HTP or cannabis if they feel either substance has caused imbalances in their body or mental functioning. Additionally, people who use 5-HTP as an antidepressant may inadvertently combine these substances without even being aware of doing so.
There is a considerable lack of research or clinical trials about mixing the two since cannabis is not federally legal in the United States. When two medications are combined, their effects on body systems can differ from those experienced when they are taken separately.
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What Is 5-HTP?
5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is a chemical that the body creates from tryptophan amino acids. It is manufactured for commercial consumption using the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia, an African plant. It is subsequently converted to serotonin, a major neurotransmitter in the brain that regulates factors such as mood and sleep. Because of the increased serotonin levels that result from 5-HTP, it can help with relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Uses of 5-HTP
Individuals take 5-HTP for a variety of reasons. Some of these include:
- Regulating appetite and eating patterns.
- Improving mood and positive emotions.
- Restoring natural sleep rhythms.
- Reducing feelings of anxiety.
- Increasing sexual desire.
Mixing 5 HTP and Weed
Weed is a complex plant with various side effects that affect individuals differently. THC, cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabinol (CBN) are the primary active compounds in marijuana. These are processed in the body by the same enzyme groups that also assist in the metabolism and elimination of many widely used medications. Because the metabolic pathway is shared, some medications’ effects may be amplified, while others may not be used at all.
The same applies when 5-HTP is mixed with weed. Ultimately, the synergistic action of combining substances has unpredictable and often dangerous consequences for the individual.
Cannabis, also referred to as marijuana or weed, is taken for recreational and medical purposes. 5-HTP is naturally present in the brain and central nervous system, but it is commonly taken as a supplement to improve moods and reduce feelings of anxiety. This is owing to its ability to increase serotonin production, which is useful for treating a range of mental illnesses in which low serotonin levels are thought to play a role, such as depression.
Although there have not been a lot of studies that investigate the interaction between 5-HTP and cannabis, there are many people who take either of the two. Some people like to combine them since 5-HTP could amplify the psychoactive effects of cannabis. This could be for medical reasons, recreational purposes, or even accidentally.
For some people, the combination of 5-HTP and cannabis may produce beneficial and desirable effects. Some individuals have said that it can intensify dreams.
Weed can cause feelings of drowsiness since it also affects melatonin, while 5-HTP can also affect sleep. Taking both could help encourage sleepiness, or the 5-HTP may counter the tiredness often experienced when taking marijuana.
At low levels, marijuana may increase levels of serotonin. Interestingly, it causes a significant serotonin depletion at higher doses, making it more likely that the user may seek antidepressants. The 5-HTP, on the other hand, could help restore the worsened serotonin levels from the overuse of cannabis.
Side Effects and Risks
The most typical side effects of 5-HTP are abdominal problems, feelings of nausea, or having an allergic reaction. It can also result in a phenomenon known as serotonin syndrome, which results from excess serotonin, causing seizures and agitation. Side effects of cannabis can include psychosis, elevated heart rate, anxiety, difficulties breathing, and nausea. As a result, combining these substances may exacerbate these effects or produce entirely different adverse outcomes.
There is a distinct lack of reputable research in this domain. However, there are some reports that mixing 5-HTP with cannabis can result in:
- Feeling dizzy or disoriented
- Breathing difficulties and shortness of breath
Because combining weed and HTP can result in a more intensive high, an individual could end up more elated or “spaced-out” than initially intended. This could result in panic and paranoia if a person is uncomfortable with this heightened sensation.
The Bottom Line: Is It Safe to Use 5-HTP and Weed Together?
Unfortunately, because marijuana is largely still illegal, there are few studies on its interactions with other drugs. Furthermore, because 5-HTP is a supplement, its efficacy has not been examined by the FDA. As a result, any potential detrimental or good interactions between 5-HTP and cannabis are difficult to predict. It’s critical to tell your doctor whether you’re using 5-HTP or marijuana so they can provide you with the best advice possible.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Does weed affect serotonin?
Weed appears to impact serotonin, but the exact effects remain unclear. When taken at a low level, serotonin may increase slightly but decrease when larger amounts are taken.
Can you take 5-HTP and CBD together?
Some individuals may have no issues combining these two substances. However, for others, the combination could be harmful. More research on the interaction between 5-HTP and CBD is required.