Article written by
Dipak HemrajHead of Research and Education
Content reviewed by
Dr. Lewis JasseyMedical Director - Pediatric Medicine
Table of contents
Medscape suggests that cannabis has a moderate interaction with diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and that it is important to monitor use closely if both are being used simultaneously.
This means that concurrent use of Benadryl with marijuana can increase the likelihood of facing adverse effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, difficulty concentrating, and impaired thinking and motor coordination. Many people use medical cannabis to reduce or replace intake of other drugs, although whether it can do the same for antihistamines like diphenhydramine remains to be seen.
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What Is Benadryl?
Benadryl is a trade name for diphenhydramine. Benadryl is an antihistamine medication primarily used as an allergy treatment. Other uses include relief from cold symptoms, insomnia, nausea, and tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease. It is most commonly taken orally but may be applied as a topical to the skin or injected into the muscle or vein.
Diphenhydramine acts primarily as an inverse agonist of the histamine H1 receptor. By reversing the effects of histamine on the capillaries, diphenhydramine reduces the intensity of allergic symptoms. Its impact on histamine H1 receptors also causes drowsiness.
Potential Benefits and Risks of Mixing Cannabis and Benadryl
More research needs to take place to determine to what extent the two substances are contraindicated, but reports suggest that there is an interaction between them.
- The cannabinoids in cannabis have immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects, which can help reduce the release of inflammatory cytokines and dampen an enhanced immune response.
- Medical cannabis is useful for managing tremors associated with Parkinson’s.
- Cannabis also has antiemetic (anti-nausea and anti-vomiting) effects.
- Cannabis use may help reduce the need for Benadryl if dosed carefully.
- As both Benadryl and cannabis can have sedative effects, mixing the two can increase them.
- It is possible to be allergic to cannabis.
- Increased dizziness and loss of balance.
- Impaired judgment and motor coordination.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Abnormal heart rhythms.
- Death (in rare instances).
What to Do If You Need to Use Both Benadryl and Marijuana
To minimize the increased risk of side effects, reducing your intake of Benadryl is a good idea if you require medical marijuana.
The Bottom Line
Mixing cannabis and Benadryl is not advisable, as it can increase the risk of negative side effects. It is theoretically possible to utilize it to reduce reliance on diphenhydramine by carefully dosing cannabis. Moreover, medical cannabis may be as helpful as Benadryl for reducing Parkinson’s Disease tremors and nausea. More research needs to be done.