Each year, blood-thinning medications are essential for nearly 3 million Americans. This life-saving medication is necessary for these folks to reduce the likelihood of blood clots to form, get larger, or move within the body.
The need for blood-thinning medications varies from person to person, but what’s necessary for all who need them is managing possible bleeding risks.
Not all blood-clotting is bad. It’s a necessary process required to stop bleeding and to seal wounds after an injury. However, when blood clots form in the bloodstream, they can be life-threatening.
Some people utilizing blood-thinners may also be curious about using cannabis in one way or another, and luckily there have been studies suggesting it may be a good option for some. But if you intend on utilizing cannabis in conjunction with or to remove other medications, it’s highly suggested that you communicate your intentions with a doctor, and in particular, a doctor who understands the medicinal aspects of cannabis.
Why is it important to speak to a doctor about combining blood-thinners with cannabis?
One critical reason to create a plan with your doctor about mixing cannabis and prescription medications is that our bodies absorb and respond to medicines in different ways when combined with other substances – and even certain foods.
Let’s start with the basics. Cannabis can either have an “additive” or a “synergistic” effect. An additive effect means the interaction between the two chemicals equals the sum of their parts – it’s a simple addition equation, like 2+2=4.
A synergistic effect (also known as potentiation) is when the effect of two chemicals interacting is greater than the sum of their parts, like 1+1=3. That means cannabis could effectively increase the potency of your medicine – which could be dangerous.
Alongside potential synergistic effects, each strain comes complete with their own variation of terpenes and cannabinoids that could impact absorption even more. This isn’t always a bad thing, as increasing the effectiveness of a medication could be beneficial.
No matter the case, instead of asking your cool aunt Joanne or Brad from behind the bud counter, speak to a doctor well-versed in the effects of cannabis who can give you a legitimate plan to consume.
What are the types of blood-thinners?
There are two types of blood-thinners, Antiplatelet and Anticoagulant. Antiplatelet medications prevent platelets from clumping together and forming a clot. Anticoagulant medications create a chemical reaction that extends how long it takes to develop a clot.
Cannabis naturally acts as an anticoagulant, making it a good replacement for some blood-thinner medications. Since the anticoagulant effect of blood-thinners can be increased with cannabis, many medical professionals advise caution in pairing the two.
What are some of the positive cannabis interactions with blood-thinners?
Beta-blockers and cannabis have gained a reputation for working well together. Beta-blockers lower blood pressure by reducing heart rate, the heart’s workload, and the heart’s output of blood. They also signal your blood vessels to open up to improve blood flow and lowers adrenaline.
There’s been evidence to suggest that for someone with a heart condition, cannabis on its own can increase heart rate and make the heart pump harder. It’s still unknown how cannabis will mix with beta-blockers. The two could contradict each other or potentiate, so speaking to a doctor is critical for this type of medication. Read this hilarious take on beta-blockers and cannabis on Merry Jane.
What are some of the negative cannabis interactions with blood-thinners?
For some people, the production of angiotensin (a chemical that causes the arteries to become narrow) is a problem that causes heightened blood pressure. ACE inhibitors help the body to produce less angiotensin, opening up the restricted blood vessels and lowering blood pressure.
Cannabis alone may drop blood pressure which can result in lightheadedness, but the combination of the two can intensify this effect.
Overall, blood-thinners paired with the natural blood-thinning properties of cannabis should be monitored by a doctor to ensure it doesn’t result in thin blood. Thin blood is essentially when blood becomes too thin, and proper clotting doesn’t take place.
Signs of “thin blood” are:
- Easily bruising
- Bleeding Gums
- Blood in urine or stool
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Unusual bleeding from small cuts
- Slow wound healing
What are the next steps?
Lastly, utilizing cannabis temporarily increases the risks but is unlikely to cause long-term issues. As the cannabinoids are excreted from the body, the platelets and clotting factors should return to their previous levels.
Although consuming cannabis with this type of medication in most cases is safe, it should absolutely be monitored by a doctor to ensure you are within the proper boundaries of blood thickness. In general, it’s a great idea to ask your doctor to go over all your supplements and medications when creating a plan to use cannabis, whether it’s for relaxation or alternative treatments for pharmaceutical medications.
By Bri Smith
This website is informational and cannot diagnose or treat illness or disease. Medical marijuana aka cannabis should be used under the direction of a licensed healthcare provider. This site is intended for adults and legal medical marijuana patients. This site contains links to products we sell on our marketplace.
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