More than one-hundred million Americans are on antidepressant medications, and tens of millions of them take Zoloft on a daily basis. In fact, Zoloft is the most commonly-prescribed psych med in the United States, even more popular than other drugs in the “SSRI” class like Lexapro, Paxil, Celexa and Prozac. (Zoloft is the brand name for the medication sertraline.)
Nearly 35 million Americans are considered “regular users” of marijuana, with another 20 million said to indulge occasionally. As you undoubtedly know, pot contains a number of cannabinoids – not just THC, but also CBD.
And a growing number of Americans say they use CBD-based products; the latest estimate from the Gallup polling organization puts that figure at 14% of all adults.
Needless to say, there’s a decent amount of crossover between those taking Zoloft and those consuming CBD. That’s even easier to believe when you consider that:
- People take antidepressants, including SSRIs like Zoloft, to fight stress and depression.
- Existing evidence on CBD products shows that they’re often useful to fight stress and depression.
- And, of course, one of the major effects of using cannabis is that it relieves – say it with us – stress and depression.
Is using some or all of them at the same time a problem?
It’s possible; there’s very little research on the subject. But if it is a problem, it’s probably not a major issue for most people.
Cannabinoids and Zoloft: What We Know
There has only been one rigorous medical review examining the effects of combining Zoloft (or similar SSRIs) and CBD use. It was done at the University of Connecticut, and considered all the evidence involving concurrent use of antidepressants (“psychotropic” drugs) and psychoactive drugs like cannabis.
What the researchers found was surprising: there are very few reports of adverse interactions.
They say that maybe because those who use pot are afraid to report any problems they may experience. However, doctors prescribe newer generations of psych meds (like Zoloft) because they’re much less likely to cause drug interactions, so the researchers believe it’s very possible that harmful interactions with CBD or THC are “relatively rare or do not happen.”
CBD and Zoloft: What Medical Experts Think
The rest of the “knowledge” that exists about combining CBD and SSRIs like Zoloft isn’t really knowledge. It’s mostly anecdotal evidence and common sense.
Drug interaction databases note that both CBD and Zoloft can cause some of the same side effects, like drowsiness, dizziness, and loss of concentration. So using them together can potentially increase the severity of those side effects. They only classify the interaction as “moderate,” though, meaning you should simply be careful when mixing the two drugs, and watch carefully for negative effects until you know how you’re affected.
There’s only one study providing more specific information about that possible interaction, and it was done nearly ten years ago in Japan. The research found that CBD may block the optimal performance of the liver enzymes which help the body absorb antidepressants. In simple terms, taking CBD may cause Zoloft and other SSRIs to build up in the body in greater amounts than normal, increasing the effects – and side effects – of the antidepressant.
The conclusions that can be drawn? You should, of course, talk to your doctor before taking any new medications (prescription or non-prescription). If you combine Zoloft with either CBD or weed, however, you should be fine. Just be careful, because you could end up more zoned out than you expect.