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Does Marijuana Interact Negatively With Olanzapine?

two tablets of olanzapine and a weed

Table of contents

  1. What Is Olanzapine?
  2. Uses and How It Works
  3. Potential Benefits and Risks of Mixing Cannabis and Olanzapine
  4. What to Do If You Need to Use Both Olanzapine and Marijuana
  5. The Bottom Line
  6. Frequently Asked Questions

Smoking marijuana can speed up fast the body metabolizes Olanzapine at low doses, so taking the two drugs together is not recommended.

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What Is Olanzapine?

Olanzapine is a prescription medication used to help manage mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

It can come in various strengths, from 2.5 mg to 20 mg. The effects it will produce depend on the dosage, so it’s crucial to take it at the dose that has been prescribed to you.

The most common dosages are 5-10 mg once daily for schizophrenia and 15 mg once daily for mania symptoms of bipolar disorder. Olanzapine can also cause adverse effects, such as feeling sleepy, dizzy, or constipated.

Uses and How It Works

Olanzapine can be used as a tablet medication that dissolves on the tongue, in which case you would take it daily. It can also be taken as an injection into the buttocks. This is less accessible but might be suitable for patients who often forget to take medication or struggle to maintain dosage.

Olanzapine works as an antipsychotic drug to help manage symptoms of several mental health conditions. These medicines function by changing the composition of neurotransmitters inside your brain.

For some background, neurotransmitters are how your brain sends signals from one brain cell to another. These messages are passed along by compounds called dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline, and these compounds help regulate brain function.

Some people have too much dopamine, so they can end up experiencing hallucinations. Hallucinating is a hallmark symptom of disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Olanzapine can also be used to help regulate mood and behavior by modulating serotonin and noradrenaline. These neurotransmitters are used for muscle movement, feeling emotions, and much more.

Typically, olanzapine can take a few weeks to determine the correct dosage and several weeks for the symptoms to improve.

Potential Benefits and Risks of Mixing Cannabis and Olanzapine

Potential Benefits

One potential benefit of mixing marijuana use with olanzapine is that olanzapine can reduce THC-induced psychosis. Although the majority of patients do not experience THC-induced psychosis, they do show transient psychometric effects (essentially the feeling of being high).

Healthy volunteers were used to create a model of psychosis. In mild cannabis users, the use of olanzapine was able to reduce the transient mental effects of THC. In essence, olanzapine could remove the feeling of being high.

This could potentially be useful in patients who need to take medical marijuana that is high in THC but don’t want to feel the psychoactive effects. Olanzapine could negate the mental stimulation from THC.

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Potential Risks

Unfortunately, there are significant risks to using olanzapine and marijuana together, which come from the issue of interactions between the drugs. Smoking marijuana while taking olanzapine can cause what’s known as an increase in clearance for olanzapine. This means that the body can remove olanzapine from the body faster.

Because olanzapine needs to be so carefully regulated in terms of dosage, it is essential to ensure that you don’t smoke marijuana while on this medication. You could accidentally lower your drug dose or take too much if you try to self-regulate the dosage.

Taking too much olanzapine can have serious side effects. These include:

  • Feeling tired
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Having problems standing or walking
  • Unusual body movement (particularly in the face)
  • Having fast heartbeats
  • Seizures
  • Speech issues
  • Changes to breathing

If you notice any of these adverse reactions and have recently increased your dosage of olanzapine, go immediately to the nearest emergency room.

Another less severe risk is an increase in weight gain. Both olanzapine and marijuana are known to cause changes in eating habits, and Olanzapine is known to increase appetite and may cause weight gain.

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What to Do If You Need to Use Both Olanzapine and Marijuana

If you have to use olanzapine and marijuana together, tell your doctor or pharmacist about the amount and strength of the cannabis you plan to consume. This will help your doctor understand if they need to increase, decrease, or change your medication. They may choose a medication that doesn’t have this interaction with marijuana instead.

You should always follow medical advice. It is not recommended to use olanzapine with marijuana to manage the psychotic effect of marijuana without consulting a doctor.

The Bottom Line

Olanzapine and cannabis can interact negatively because cannabis can increase the clearance of olanzapine from the body. This can stop the regulation of dosage in the body and cause negative effects. If you are taking olanzapine to regulate psychosis, you should not consume cannabis. Ultimately, it’s wise to talk to a medical professional before mixing marijuana with any prescription drug to learn about potential adverse drug interactions between the two.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the side effects of coming off of olanzapine?

The side effects coming off of olanzapine are usually associated with relapse of the mental health condition. This could include a lack of sleep, lack of insight into changing behavior, irritability, or mania.

What is olanzapine used for?

Olanzapine is used to help manage symptoms of mental disorders, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Can you drink alcohol while taking olanzapine?

Alcohol is not recommended to patients who are on olanzapine. It can increase the drug’s side effects, such as dizziness, drowsiness, or difficulty concentrating.

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