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Individuals dealing with neuropathic pain or seizures are often prescribed pregabalin for alleviating pain or tremor symptoms. However, cannabis has surfaced as a potential alternative to conventional medications for treating neuropathic pain.
But can both substances be used together? The current research severely lacks an understanding of any interaction between the medical use of marijuana and pregabalin. A few studies suggest that cannabis may enable individuals to lower their overall pregabalin dosage for treating pain or seizures, but the data is far from conclusive.
This article dives into what we know so far and what patients need to know about using marijuana if they take pregabalin.
What Is Pregabalin?
Pregabalin (brand name Lyrica) is a prescription medication used to treat nerve pain, and it is also used to treat certain types of seizures (convulsions). It comes in capsules, tablets, and an oral solution and is typically taken multiple times daily with meals.
Uses and How It Works
Pregabalin affects the chemicals in the brain that send pain signals to the rest of the nervous system. As such, it’s primarily used as a pain medication to treat pain related to fibromyalgia and nerve pain from medical conditions like diabetes, herpes zoster (aka shingles), or spinal cord injuries. Pregabalin is also used with other medications to address partial-onset seizures in adults and children.
Common side effects of pregabalin include:
- Memory loss or loss of coordination
- Dry mouth
- Weight gain
Potential Benefits and Risks of Mixing Cannabis and Pregabalin
Studies have implicated cannabis as a helpful treatment for nerve pain and epileptic seizures, both federally approved pregabalin uses. As such, cannabis may lower the overall dosage size required by patients in treating various nerve pain conditions or eliminate the need for it.
A series of studies conducted by the Center for Medical Cannabis Research in California suggested that smoked or inhaled marijuana provided extra pain relief for individuals already taking other prescription medicine like pregabalin for their nerve pain.
CBD, in particular, has shown promise as a treatment for epileptic seizures and nerve pain. High-CBD strains may be able to lower or eliminate the need for pregabalin as a treatment for individuals with seizures.
However, what research exists is severely limited due to cannabis’ current status in the United States as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. More studies are required to truly understand any potential or complementary benefits of combining pregabalin and marijuana.
One of the few studies examined pregabalin as a treatment for cannabis use disorder; it was determined not to be an effective therapeutic tool in this regard.
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While little to no evidence examines the risks of combining cannabis with pregabalin for any specific health outcome, it’s best to proceed with caution when combining active drugs.
Pregabalin can cause dizziness and drowsiness. In combination with cannabis (which can have the same effect in higher doses), there may be an increased risk of developing these side effects.
Individuals should refrain from driving or operating heavy machinery before understanding how such medications affect them. It’s best to discuss combining pregabalin and medical marijuana with your doctor or pharmacist before proceeding.
The Bottom Line
Given the lack of research on the subject, scientists and physicians don’t know whether interactions exist between medical marijuana and anti-convulsants such as pregabalin.
If you’re considering mixing pregabalin with cannabis, get in touch with your doctor to understand your unique physiological needs and anything you should know before adding either to your medical regimen.
And if you’re interested in medical marijuana, you can apply for a medical marijuana card today through Leafwell’s virtual clinic. Our team is here to guide you through the process step-by-step.
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