Lexapro and Weed – Are They Safe to Mix?


People who start taking lexapro are typically advised by their prescribing doctor not to mix it with other drugs or alcohol. But many wonder if this includes marijuana, which in some countries is considered a sort of medication itself. 

Keeping safe when it comes to drugs and medication is all about making informed choices. If you want to know more about the risks of mixing lexapro and weed, keep reading below to make sure you have all the information you need. 

Is it safe to smoke weed while taking lexapro

Is It Safe to Mix Lexapro and Marijuana?

It’s not considered safe to mix lexapro and marijuana. This is because both substances can have unpredictable pharmacological interaction within the brain and body, causing potentially unpleasant or dangerous side effects. 

To understand why this might be a risky combination, it can be helpful to understand what lexapro is, and how it works in the body. Lexapro is an SSRI medication, or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor. This means that it reduces the symptoms of depression or anxiety by increasing the amount of serotonin available in the brain by preventing its reabsorption. 

Marijuana contains THC, and while it impacts several neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, THC primarily interacts with the brain’s CB1 receptors. This interaction can lead to changes in mood, perception, and cognitive function, resulting in feelings of relaxation and euphoria.

So far, they both sound like they help you to feel better, so wouldn’t taking them both together make you feel doubly good? This is a logical fallacy which fails to take into account the chemistry of the brain and how these two substances interact together. 

Polysubstance use, or taking more than one drug or medication at a time is generally not advised and often quite risky. Firstly, combining different substances can lead to unpredictable interactions, increasing the risk of adverse effects, including health complications or overdose. 

Secondly, each substance may intensify the effects of the other, potentially leading to unpleasant side effects or even impacts on cognition and motor skills, as well as increasing your susceptibility to accidents. Lastly, the cumulative effects of taking more than one substance at a time can compound to have negative physical and psychological side effects, which may exacerbate the reasons you may have started taking these substances in the first place. 

Can I Smoke Cannabis When Taking Lexapro?

As outlined above, smoking cannabis while taking lexapro is not advised. Both lexapro and cannabis impact the chemistry and function of the brain, and while individually we can predict their impacts, when combined this becomes quite difficult. 

Specific concerns when mixing lexapro and cannabis, in addition to those already discussed here, include: 

  • Interactions with Brain Chemistry: Lexapro and cannabis both impact serotonin in the brain, and cannabis impacts a greater range than serotonin alone. Combining substances that affect the way the brain functions can lead to unpredictable effects. 
  • Increased Risk of Anxiety: Many people take lexapro because they have feelings of fear, anxiety, paranoia, and worry. Those who take marijuana often describe feelings of paranoia and anxiety. This could counteract the intended therapeutic effects of lexapro. 
  • Increased Side Effects: Lexapro and marijuana have some side effects in common, including dizziness, drowsiness, and mood changes. Combining both substances may result in stronger experience of negative side effects. 
  • Cognitive Impairment: Marijuana impairs cognitive functioning, often described as ‘weed brain’. Lexapro may worsen these effects which can pose problems for those needing to undertake tasks that require focus and attention. 
  • Unpredictable Reactions: In the same way that different people react differently to marijuana by itself, people can have different reactions to mixing lexapro and marijuana. Just because it may have worked for someone before, does not indicate that it would work for you. 

What Drugs Should I Avoid When Taking Lexapro

You should generally avoid taking any drugs that are not prescribed to you when taking Lexapro. In addition to this, the doctor who is prescribing you Lexapro should be fully aware of any other prescription medication that you are already taking, or are planning to take. 

Lexapro is typically not dangerous when taken alone, but there is the risk of potentially dangerous drug interactions when taking with other medications. In addition to weed, or cannabis, Lexapro can interact with other drugs such as cocaine or alcohol in ways that can be risky or even potentially fatal. 

Some medications and other drugs that are known to be of particular risk include: 

  • Antidepressant Medication: Other medications designed to treat depression such as SSRIs, SNRIs, MAOIs, or tricyclic antidepressants, can contribute to serotonin syndrome if combined with lexapro due to an excess of serotonin available in the brain
  • Pain Medication: Opioids and tramadol can also contribute to serotonin syndrome, but may also interact to create other adverse effects
  • Blood Thinners: Lexapro can increase the risk of bleeding when using certain blood thinners. While it is possible to combine the two, close monitoring of blood clotting may be necessary
  • Herbal Medications: Many supplements or ‘natural’ medicines are not always considered when discussing medication, however many supplements and dietary products can interact with Lexapro, particularly if they impact serotonin levels such as St John’s Wort. 

Summary – Is it safe to mix Lexapro and Weed?

Combining Lexapro and weed can lead to unpredictable brain chemistry interactions, increased anxiety risk, intensified side effects, cognitive impairment, and varying individual reactions. It’s generally not recommended, and consultation with a healthcare provider is essential. 

It’s important to remember that if you have been prescribed lexapro, you are likely suffering from a mental illness such as depression or anxiety. Taking time to take good care of your brain, mind, and body is crucial to healing from these illnesses, and while mixing lexapro and weed may seem harmless, it is better to focus on recovering in the safest way possible.

Clinically Reviewed By

Brittany Hunt

Brittany Hunt is an internationally experienced clinician, specialised in treating addictions and co-occurring disorders. Having worked in the public and private sector, she utilises holistic and evidence-based approaches designed to empower the patients in their recovery journeys. A graduate of The University of Auckland, she has a Bachelor of Health Sciences majoring in Mental Health and Addictions, a diploma in Psychology and Counselling and a Post-Graduate degree in Health Sciences, majoring in Addictions. She is a fully registered practitioner under the Drug and Alcohol Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (DAPAANZ).

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