Table of contents
Taking cannabis and Lexapro together is not recommended, although more research is needed to examine the possible hazards of mixing the two medications. Drug interactions can be severe and even fatal in some cases, so exercise caution when combining Lexapro, marijuana, or any other chemical substances.
Learn more about the potential drawbacks of using marijuana with Lexapro, including serotonin syndrome’s rare but dangerous side effect.
What Is Lexapro?
Lexapro (escitalopram oxalate) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant medication. It is available by prescription only and comes with a long list of potential side effects. Possible side effects of Lexapro include:
- Dry mouth
- Agitation or nervousness
The above side effects overlap with those of cannabis, meaning that combining the two drugs could cause intensified side effects in some people. Other people may experience mild side effects or none at all. Some people may use medical cannabis to reduce their Lexapro (escitalopram) intake and to help treat headaches, nausea, and insomnia caused by Lexapro.
Uses and How It Works
Lexapro is primarily used to treat major depression and anxiety disorders.
Like other SSRIs, Lexapro functions by balancing serotonin levels in the brain and nervous system. SSRIs address serotonin deficiencies in the brain and raise levels of the neurotransmitter over time, ultimately balancing out one’s mood.
Potential Benefits and Risks of Mixing Cannabis and Lexapro
Limited research exists on the potential benefits of mixing weed and Lexapro, while the possible disadvantages of combining the two drugs are clearer.
The one possible benefit of mixing cannabis and Lexapro could be an intensified feeling of relaxation or euphoria in some individuals. But it is impossible to predict how you will feel when consuming Lexapro and cannabis together, so be safe and check with your doctor first.
As with other SSRIs, Lexapro carries the risk of serotonin syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal reaction that leads to toxic levels of serotonin in the brain — essentially, a serotonin overdose. This syndrome is one of the possible drug interactions that may occur when taking cannabis with Lexapro. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include:
- Fast heart rate
- Twitching or loss of muscle coordination
If you’ve already taken Lexapro with weed, seek immediate medical attention if you suspect you have serotonin syndrome and are experiencing one or more of the above symptoms.
There are also other less serious side effects of combining Lexapro and cannabis. In some cases, marijuana use may make your antidepressant less effective, ultimately increasing depressive symptoms. Or, combining high-THC cannabis strains with antidepressants like Lexapro could increase anxiety levels in people predisposed to anxiety.
What to Do If You Need to Use Both Lexapro and Marijuana
Some people wean off their antidepressants by replacing them with medical cannabis. But this should only be done under your doctor’s supervision, as stopping an antidepressant can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Speak with your physician to see if medical cannabis could be a healthy alternative to your prescription Lexapro or another SSRI.
If you intend to take Lexapro with marijuana, speak with your doctor about finding the correct dosages of each. Higher doses of antidepressants and cannabis are more likely to cause adverse effects than lower doses. The drug interaction risk may lessen in small to moderate doses, but you should still get your doctor’s approval beforehand.
The Bottom Line
Even for regular cannabis users, mixing SSRIs like Lexapro with cannabis is not advisable. Before combining marijuana with any prescription drugs, it’s wise to speak with your healthcare provider for personalized information about which medications are safe for you to take.
Use cannabis legally and responsibly with a medical marijuana card. Book an appointment in Leafwell’s virtual clinic and start the application process online.