Article written by
Tina MagrabiSenior Content Writer
Content reviewed by
Dr. Lewis JasseyMedical Director - Pediatric Medicine
Table of contents
Taking Zoloft and marijuana together may increase your risk of experiencing unwanted side effects. In addition, cannabis use may reduce the effectiveness of prescription antidepressants like Zoloft.
Learn more about the potential interactions of Zoloft and marijuana and the adverse effects that may occur.
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What Is Zoloft?
Sertraline (brand name Zoloft) is an antidepressant classified as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). The drug is available by prescription only and is used to treat various mental health conditions ranging from situational depression to debilitating panic disorders.
Like most prescription medications, Zoloft has the possibility of interacting with other drugs. Marijuana use may strongly conflict with this antidepressant medication, and you should talk to your doctor before combining the two drugs.
Uses and How It Works
Doctors prescribe Zoloft for people managing depression and other psychiatric disorders. Some of the approved uses of Zoloft include:
- Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PDD), a form of PMS
- Panic Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Using Zoloft for one of the above conditions helps to restore a balance of serotonin levels in the brain.
Serotonin is a chemical messenger in the brain responsible for regulating mood, memory, reward responses, and other functions. When serotonin levels are low, people may become depressed or experience other related conditions (like social anxiety).
Potential Benefits and Risks of Mixing Cannabis and Zoloft
Mixing cannabis with Zoloft may lead to adverse reactions in some people, while others may not experience any unwanted effects. But there is no way to know whether mixing the two drugs will harm you or have no effect, so consult with your healthcare provider before doing so.
Mixing cannabis and Zoloft does not have any well-documented benefits. More research is needed to determine whether taking Zoloft and cannabis together could lead to benefits.
Maintaining a balance of serotonin in the body is very important, especially for people dealing with mental health issues.
Low serotonin levels may lead to depression, but high levels can also be problematic. Serotonin syndrome is a life-threatening condition that occurs when serotonin levels are too high. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include:
- High fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or above
- Rapid heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Loss of muscle coordination
- General weakness
- Insomnia and panic attacks
- Agitation and confusion
Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the above symptoms. You may have other symptoms even if you do not experience these extreme (and potentially fatal) complications.
For example, combining cannabis and Zoloft may exacerbate certain pre-existing conditions like panic disorder and OCD.
Mixing the two medicines may also increase the side effects, especially those the drugs share.
Common side effects of Zoloft and cannabis include dry mouth and drowsiness, which may be much more pronounced if taking Zoloft and marijuana simultaneously.
Other possible side effects that may be more intense are:
- Loss of appetite
- Insomnia and other sleep issues
Even if these symptoms are mild to moderate, be on the safe side and reach out to your doctor.
What to Do If You Need to Use Both Zoloft and Marijuana
High doses of Zoloft and cannabis logically pose more of a hazard than low doses.
It’s not a good idea to combine the two, but try to consume the lowest possible dose if you decide to use both. However, do not change the dose your physician has given you; for example, do not split a Zoloft pill in half to lower the dose. Instead, speak with your doctor about the lowest dose of Zoloft that could be effective for you (i.e., 25 mg instead of 50 mg).
Also, avoid discontinuing Zoloft unless your doctor instructs otherwise.
The Bottom Line
Mixing cannabis with Zoloft is generally not a good idea and may have severe health consequences.
There is little research into the effects of taking Zoloft with cannabis, but it is clear that higher concentrations of both substances pose a greater risk. Serotonin syndrome, although rare, is a life-threatening condition that may result when combining cannabis with Zoloft.
Speak with your primary care physician before mixing any prescription drugs with cannabis.
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