Cannabis and Antibiotics: Is It Safe to Mix and Where is CBD in This Story?

Soft Secrets
24 May 2021

When you are ill, even coffee does not feel right. And some antibiotics do not respond well to grapefruit either.

For most people, cannabis is just a recreational drug after a long day, or a simple spice to every good party, gathering, or meditative experience. Indisputably cannabis counts as medicine. And this form of medicine is the greatest when it also makes people laugh out from the heart or just make them forget about all their worries for an hour, releasing the stress and strain of life. 

Forms of cannabis have been said to provide pain relief over millennia via a history of "herbal remedies" starting in Egypt, China, India, and ancient Persia. This is not where the cannabis mission stops, especially for non-psychoactive cannabis that can help people suffering from all kinds of diseases: nausea, vomiting, AIDS-related health conditions to the actual Covid -19 craze. From this standpoint, many questions have arisen, especially about how cannabis reacts if you have other regular therapy. The flu season is behind us, but since we all have become paranoid about the smallest virose, let’s check how cannabis reacts with antibiotics.

Like Being Sick Isn't Terrible Enough

Fever, high temperature, and sore throat! And you already regret seeing the doctor who prescribed you these antibiotics and vitamins! You already feel so miserable, and you might like to improve your humor with a good joint, but you suddenly remember: you can’t mix alcohol with antibiotics... but what about weed?

To Mix or Not to Mix

You don’t have that high temperature to hallucinate and are aware and cautious of what you’re taking when on any sort of medication since certain medicines will have an adverse or more enhanced reaction when taken with another substance. Antibiotics rules are pretty much strict, but that still doesn't answer the mixing question. Terry Roycroft, the president of Canada’s Medicinal Cannabis Resource Centre Inc. (MCRCI), has a long experience working with physicians who have a more alternative approach in medicine, especially when it comes to cannabis plants. In his opinion, apparently, taking antibiotics and smoking marijuana is not that dangerous as one may think at first glance.

How High Are the Stakes?

When you are ill, even the coffee does not feel good. And some antibiotics do not respond well to grapefruit either. The side effects can be moderate to severe, depending on your metabolism and whether a respiratory, stomach, or other infection develops in the body.

According to the UK’s National Health Service, it is highly recommended to delay alcohol when taking antibiotics for some better times, although only two medications call for completely avoiding alcohol altogether: metronidazole and tinidazole.

On the other hand, Roycroft says that: “The reality is that there [are] very little interactions with cannabis. In fact, the antibiotics are not on the contraindication list [the list of symptoms or conditions that makes a procedure inadvisable] with cannabis.”

Furthermore, doctors are now exploring the possibility of mixing more cannabis while prescribing antibiotics. “For instance, when we’re treating someone that’s on pain medication and we introduce cannabis, we will cut their [antibiotic] dose in half immediately and they get the same benefits as they would, and the same reactions as if they were taking the full amount,” Roycroft said.

This does not apply to troleandomycin that could potentially interact with marijuana which inhibits a specific enzyme in the liver, cytochrome p450. This enzyme is used by many medications – including some antibiotics. This could have potential side effects while mixing with cannabis.

Where is CBD in This Story?

Overuse of antibiotics can also destroy the good bacteria in our systems. That is why doctors recommend increasing fluids intake, especially yogurt when you are on antibiotics. The purpose of that is to improve gut bacteria. It also helps prevent antimicrobial resistance, which is when viruses, fungi, and parasites — any microbial life that poses a threat to our health — stop responding to medication. The researchers typically distinguish between gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.

CBD can 'enhance' the effect of specific, existing antibiotics against certain strains of those bacteria, and there is some debate about its efficacy, depending on whether the bacterium is on the gram-negative or gram-positive side. There is a whole science behind this love and hate bacteria, but the dispute is where CBD stands.

It probably is somewhere in the middle, depending on the bacteria—a very diplomatic position. And just perhaps this is because CBD has tendencies to be the new antibiotic?  Newsweek has recently reported that Australian scientists have discovered that cannabidiol destroyed many different strains of bacteria, including some that have been notoriously resistant to traditional antibiotics. But it is a long way for CBD to achieve antibiotics fame and functions.

Study leader Mark Blaskovich, a senior research chemist at the Centre for Superbug Solutions, told Newsweek: "We still don't know how it works, and it may have a unique mechanism of action given it works against bacteria that have become resistant to other antibiotics, but we still don't know how."

"So far, we have only shown it works topically, on the skin surface. To be really useful, it would be good if we could show that it treated systemic infections e.g. pneumonia, or complicated tissue infections, where you have to give it orally or by intravenous dosing. A very preliminary study didn't show that it works in these more difficult models," Blaskovich said.

Other researchers in Denmark, notably Janne Klitgaard and her Ph.D. candidate, Claes Wassmann, say CBD "appears to be ineffective against gram-negative bacteria," such as E.coli. Who would hang with negative bacteria, duh! To sum up, what makes an antibiotic truly effective is treating systemic infections such as pneumonia, or complicated tissue infections, where you have to give it orally or by intravenous dosing.

Cannabis, especially in the form of CBD, can one day work as an antibiotic. So far, it has shown outstanding results in topical treatment research. 

Keep on Yellow Alert!

For weed’s sake, get well first, then get down munching on your stash! Unlike alcohol, which can stop the antibiotics actions, cannabis can only increase the side effects of the medication. The same can be said for the grapefruit too. You surely don’t want to have diarrhea and a bloated tummy on top of everything else. Above all, whenever your health is in question, always consult with your doctor what's the best treatment and whether they give you the green light to medicate with cannabis, too.

Soft Secrets