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Can You Use Marijuana if You Take Oxycodone?

weed and spilled oxycodone tablets from orange container

Taking marijuana with prescription opioids like oxycodone can lead to dangerous side effects and is generally not recommended. Both cannabis and oxycodone are used to treat pain, but oxycodone is notably more addictive and carries the risk of more serious side effects.

Learn more about the dangers of mixing cannabis and oxycodone, along with how you may be able to replace or wean off opioids. Note that this article does not constitute medical advice, and you should always speak with your doctor before starting or stopping any medication.   

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What Is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is a potent opioid medication used to treat severe pain. The medication is highly addictive and prescribed in the smallest dose possible, starting at 2 milligrams. Even though oxycodone is more addictive than cannabis, it is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance by federal law. Cannabis, on the other hand, remains under the Schedule I classification alongside cocaine and heroin.

Opioids like oxycodone are at the center of the opioid crisis in the United States. The opioid epidemic has inflicted devastating consequences, including the deaths of more than 70,000 people in 2019 alone. Oxycodone is effective even at low doses and has intense analgesic effects for many chronic pain patients. But this effectiveness wanes as tolerance grows, and people may become quickly addicted to oxycodone as they continue to need higher levels of the drug.

Uses and How It Works

Oxycodone is indicated for pain management, but many people abuse the drug for different purposes. Opioids can result in an addictive “high,” including deep relaxation and euphoria. But the medicine is intended for people experiencing chronic pain related to severe health conditions like multiple sclerosis (MS) and cancer.

The opioid is also sometimes prescribed to people who are recovering from surgery. But oxycodone is not the first line of treatment for pain, whether post-surgery or illness-related. Oxycodone is prescribed when weaker and less addictive pain medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen have failed.

Oxycodone works by stopping pain signals from traveling to the brain. While the effects of oxycodone are intense, they are also short-lived and wear off after 6 to 8 hours.

Potential Benefits and Risks of Mixing Cannabis and Oxycodone

There are many potential risks of mixing cannabis with oxycodone and comparatively few benefits. However, there may be benefits to using marijuana in place of oxycodone as a way to wean a user off the opioid. But it is essential to do so under the supervision of a qualified physician to avoid serious withdrawal symptoms.

Potential Benefits

Marijuana use can enhance the pain-relieving properties of oxycodone. In addition, some people report feeling more relaxed and euphoric when taking the drugs together. But mixing weed with opioids can be risky and should not be attempted unless under proper medical supervision.

Some research suggests that legalizing cannabis may help with the opioid crisis. Changing medical cannabis laws and making the plant legally accessible may make people less likely to use opioids. But cannabis is not a cure for opioid addiction, and anyone with an addiction should seek professional treatment.   

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Potential Risks

Combining oxycodone and cannabis puts the user at an increased risk for:

  • Dangerously low blood pressure
  • Impaired brain function
  • Extreme sedation or coma
  • Death

These possible side effects result from the drugs suppressing the central nervous system (CNS). This suppression is due to the depressant properties of cannabis and opioids, which ideally creates a synergistic effect of therapeutic benefits but may also lead to fatalities.

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

Talk to your doctor to see if you can reduce your oxycodone dose and use medical marijuana instead. There is much evidence to suggest that cannabis may help ease chronic pain. While some people may safely combine marijuana and oxycodone at low doses, mixing the drugs is not advisable and could have serious health consequences. It may be best to use medical cannabis to reduce opioid intake.

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The Bottom Line

While mixing oxycodone and marijuana may increase the pain threshold in some people, the risks of combining the drugs outweigh the benefits. Although cannabis carries virtually no risk of fatal overdose, opioids pose that risk, and thousands of people die every year from overdosing on prescription medications like oxycodone. As an alternative, speak with your healthcare provider about the possible benefits of using cannabis instead of oxycodone.

Experience the potential pain-relieving benefits of the cannabis plant with your own medical marijuana card. Apply online through Leafwell, and we’ll guide you through the process.

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