Dangers of Combining THC with Other Drugs

Dangers of Combining THC with Other Drugs

Although many generations have used marijuana, dangers associated with its use are increasing. This is due to the rising amounts of THC found in modern cultivars of the plant. THC attaches to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and is responsible for most of marijuana’s mood-altering effects.

In a 2008 report, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University reported that between 1992 and 2006 the average concentration of THC in marijuana increased from 3.2 to 8.8 percent. In the 1970s, the potency was generally less than 1%. A strain of marijuana called skunk can have TCH levels of up to 20%.

Does THC Correspond to More Drug Problems

The rise in THC levels has corresponded with a rise in the number of associated problems. CASA reports that between 1995 and 2002 emergency room visits involving marijuana increased 136%. They note that the increase is more than five times the amount seen with any other abused substance.

The increase in marijuana potency has also corresponded with a rise in the number of people being admitted to addiction treatment facilities. CASA reports that between 1992 and 2006 the number of teens admitted for treatment with marijuana as their primary drug of abuse increased 188%. The rate of admissions for those who abused multiple substances, including marijuana, increased 492%.

Effects of THC Drug Combinations

Combining THC with other drugs can have unpredictable and dangerous effects. Although research is limited, some of the known effects of combining marijuana with other substances include the following:

  • Combining marijuana with barbiturates, benzodiazepines and other sedatives may cause an unsafe level of drowsiness and sedation
  • Using marijuana with warfarin (Coumadin) may increase bleeding risks
  • The combination of fluoxetine (Prozac) with marijuana may cause hypomania
  • Mixing THC with anti-depressants can lead to hypertension, accelerated heartbeat, drowsiness and cognitive problems

The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) noted in a 2004 report that marijuana was found to be involved in 7% of emergency room visits involving oxycodone. In a 2006 report they noted that marijuana was the second most common drug in emergency room visits involving alcohol and another substance of abuse. Marijuana may contribute to the risk of overdosing on another drug, not only because of the synergistic physical effects, but also because marijuana affects cognition and judgment. This may lead people to abuse more of the drug than is safe or more than they know they can handle.

Help with THC and Other Drug Problems

If you or a loved one need help breaking free from addiction, we can help you find a treatment program that meets your needs. Counselors who staff our toll-free helpline can answer your questions and provide you with information. They can check your insurance coverage if you wish to help you understand your full range of treatment options. We’re available 24 hours a day, so call now and begin the journey to freedom.