If you’re dealing with a pretty nasty bout of an inflammatory reaction, perhaps you are curious about what happens when you combine cannabis and prednisone. Is it safe? And particularly beneficial? Or will it enhance the frustrating side effects commonly associated with prednisone use? We did some digging to find out the potential risks and benefits of combining them. Here’s what we found out.
What Is Prednisone?
Prednisone is a medication that belongs to a class of drugs known as corticosteroids, commonly used to treat inflammation. It can treat a wide range of conditions, including allergies, cancers, asthma, arthritis, skin conditions, and other autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis. Common side effects include:
- Increased appetite
- Weight gain
- Mood swings
- Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
Prednisone works best with short-term use. It can cause serious side effects such as osteoporosis (bone loss leading to weakness and increased fracture risk), skin fragility or glaucoma with long-term use.
When you have an inflammation of the immune system, prednisone can help to reduce your symptoms. It works by suppressing the immune system response, which helps to reduce inflammation. It does this by binding to specialized receptors on cells, which prevents the release of inflammatory substances. This action can help to relieve symptoms such as swelling, pain and redness. In addition, prednisone decreases the immune system’s response to prevent organ transplant rejections.
What are potential risks associated with taking prednisone? Since corticosteroids’ primary mechanism involves suppressing the immune system, infections are more likely to develop in patients who take them. Prednisone users should avoid being around sick people and crowded places if they have been taking it for a long time. Furthermore, patients taking certain potentially dangerous medicines like Coumadin (warfarin) or Lasix (furosemide) should discuss with their healthcare providers whether they can take these drugs along with prednisone. You should also speak to your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding because research shows using prednisone while pregnant has been linked to birth defects and low birth weight. Also be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking.
Are there any risks of using cannabis and prednisone together?
Although the latest research shows that cannabis and prednisone can be used simultaneously with minimal risk for interaction, there are still some possible risks associated with combining them. This is because cannabis and corticosteroids influence the same physiological region of the brain, which increases the likelihood of enhanced adverse effects. For example, cannabidiol (CBD) has properties that interact with corticosteroids.
As part of the process of drug metabolism, the body uses the cytochrome P450 enzyme CYP3A, which allows our bodies to make use of the medications we take. The enzyme appears along the critical pathways of the body’s gastrointestinal tract, primarily in the liver. There, the active ingredients of drugs change into simpler forms our cells can use. Moreover, since CBD breaks down in the liver, it might affect how other substances break down there as well.
So, while corticosteroids suppress CYP3A, CBD also suppresses CYP3A. In turn this may exacerbate systemic side effects from corticosteroids. It should also be noted that patients should choose safe consumption methods throughout their treatment.
Whether you are suffering from chronic pain or an inflammatory condition like arthritis, prednisone can help you manage your symptoms. Prednisone is a type of corticosteroid, which is a class of drugs that reduce inflammation.
However, some people prefer not to take prednisone and are looking for other options. In recent years, more and more research has been conducted on cannabis’ anti-inflammatory effects. Cannabinoids like cannabigerol (CBG), CBD, and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) naturally possess anti-inflammatory properties. However, could you use one or more of these as an alternative to prednisone?
Simply put, no. Prednisone, for example, is a potent and effective corticosteroid widely used with extensive scientific and clinical understanding. Nevertheless, while there is evidence of the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids, research exists mainly in cultured cells (test tubes) or mice due to the decades-long prohibition of marijuana.