Cannabis Science

Mixing Antidepressants and Weed: Is it Safe?


Depression is more than feeling sad. Sadness is a normal emotion that we all experience from time to time. However, depression is different. Depression, which is considered a mood disorder, often comes with low moods, feelings of hopelessness, sleep disturbances, and several other symptoms. 

There are several different types of depression. They are treated with therapy, medication, and other treatment options. At the same time, some people use weed to treat depression, but can they be used at the same time? Here’s what we know about mixing antidepressants and weed. 

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Weed and Antidepressants Interaction

Mixing weed and antidepressants isn’t a great idea. Based on the class of antidepressants, you’ll experience different side effects if you use it with weed. Here’s what we mean.

Weed and SSRIs

SSRI stands for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. In case you’re wondering, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates anxiety, mood, and happiness in the brain. A study suggests that low serotonin levels are linked to depression. 

Mayo Clinic says SSRIs work by blocking the reuptake of serotonin into neurons. This is helpful for depression because there will be more serotonin available to improve the transmission of messages between neurons. 

Examples of SSRIs are Cipramil, Prozac, Lexapro, Paxil, Pexeva, and Zoloft.

The Recovery Village says that when you mix weed and SSRIs, the cannabidiol (CBD) in weed can increase the amount of SSRI in the blood. That’s because CBD prevents your body from getting rid of the SSRI in the usual time. A study mentioned that THC may cause the same problem. 

Even though having more serotonin in the body may seem like a good idea on paper, it’s not. Too much serotonin can lead to serotonin syndrome. Serotonin Syndrome can lead to nausea and vomiting in its milder form. 

However, a severe case of serotonin syndrome can cause you to pass out or have seizures. If you have a severe case of serotonin syndrome, call 911 so you can get emergency care. 

Weed and Tricyclic Antidepressants

Tricyclic antidepressants, according to Mayo Clinic, work by blocking the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine. That means there will be more of these two neurotransmitters in the brain. 

Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter and stress hormone. It affects our sleep-wake cycle, memory storage, attention, and focus.

People suffering from depression sometimes have sleep issues, memory loss and find it difficult to focus on tasks.

Examples of tricyclic antidepressants are Amitriptyline, Trimipramine, and Doxepin. 

When you mix weed and tricyclic antidepressants, The Recovery Village posits that CBD can increase the side effects of the medication. That’s because CBD can increase the level of tricyclic antidepressants in the body. 

Some of the side effects of this interaction may include constipation, high blood pressure, and dry mouth.

The NHS echoes the caution from The Recovery Village. The NHS says that smoking cannabis when taking tricyclic antidepressants can make you feel very sick. 

SNRIs and Antidepressants 

SNRI stands for serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. They work by preventing the reuptake of norepinephrine and serotonin. That means there is more norepinephrine and serotonin available to ultimately improve mood and therefore help with depression. 

Examples of SNRIs are Cymbalta, Pristiq, Fetzima, and Effexor XR.

The Recovery Village says the THC in weed can decrease the amount of SNRI in your body. That means that it won’t be as effective. 

That could potentially be dangerous because for many people antidepressants are necessary for daily function.

Aspenridge Recovery also warns against mixing weed and SNRIs. Their reasoning is that both weed and the antidepressant affect the regulation of serotonin in the brain. Therefore, mixing both could cause “unpredictable results.”

In addition to that, Aspenridge Recovery notes that when mixed, SNRI and weed could cause disorientation and may become Serotonin Syndrome. 


Even though many stoners may find relief of their depression symptoms with weed, mixing it with antidepressants are a no-no. More research is needed but with the information already available it’s best to avoid combining with any antidepressant. If you’re struggling with depression, see a doctor to discuss treatment options. 


About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].