On the surface, weed and Adderall, or “weederall,” seems like the ideal union. It’s not quite peanut butter and jelly, but the pairing of a stimulant with a depressant appears apt, especially when employed for recreational use.
Users report that marijuana, the formal term for weed, dampens the distress and irritability associated with Adderall. They also say that Adderall stokes alertness, counteracting the lethargy and impaired cognitive function that comes from marijuana use.
There is even a belief that people who take Adderall for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) could benefit from using marijuana because it may allow them to lessen their Adderall dependence.
But, as with all substances, it isn’t all cotton candy and cake. There are significant, long-term health risks that come from recreational use of Adderall and marijuana. If anything, long-term Adderall abuse itself can cause devastating, life-threatening effects like seizures, depression, and coma. Marijuana can also make people take more Adderall, which heightens their risk of incurring those negative effects.
If that isn’t enough, when taken in combination, both drugs can make your heart race and cause shallow breathing.
What’s more, there is not much research available on the interaction between Adderall and marijuana. Only anecdotal reports exist from users who have experimented with both substances where varying results were experienced.
Plus, marijuana is more potent than ever by itself. Extremely potent variants or long-term use, in general, has its own negative consequences.
So, can you safely mix weed and Adderall without any ill effects? On a short-term basis, it appears that way.
In one Reddit post titled, “Adderall and Weed combo,” one user wrote, “I combined Adderall and weed last night, and I’d just like to say, I felt fantastic.”
In another post, a user praises the combination but offers a warning: “Adderall and weed is a really euphoric combo with amazing synergy…You just have to be careful because if you smoke too much weed or you blaze when you’re already coming down off the addy, you can literally feel insane.”
And that’s just the start of it. Taking Adderall with weed is safer than say, Adderall with alcohol. Still, long-term use of both substances can open up a Pandora’s box of addiction and life-threatening consequences.
Adderall And Marijuana: Is There A Safe Amount?
There is no easy answer to this question, as the effects of both drugs vary widely, according to the person and the grade and amount of marijuana they are using. A report from a site called 420 Intel states that the effects of taking both drugs vary widely.
With information culled from users who have experimented with this combination, they report that taking Adderall and weed led to the following:
Increased stimulation. The body’s heart rate spiked. For people who do not have a preexisting heart condition, the effect can be “a thrilling and exciting experience.” For others, this effect can be a distressing event.
Elevated euphoria. Both substances can give users a heightened experience of euphoria because they boost the brain’s dopamine levels. Dopamine is considered the brain’s “feel good” chemical because it allows humans to experience pleasure and satisfaction from certain activities like enjoying a slice of chocolate cake or having sex. According to the 420 Intel report, the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana can diminish the “crash” associated with Adderall (more on this later).
Lessened anxiety. The combination of both drugs reportedly cancels adverse side effects such as anxiety, paranoia, irritability, insomnia, and appetite loss.
Heightened long-term health risks. There is no known incidence where a certain amount of weed has proven to be lethal. However, the same cannot be said of Adderall, a significant amount of negative effects and health conditions. And since taking weed and Adderall together can reduce some of the immediate sensations of those side-effects, the combo can actually lead to more Adderall use, increasing long-term risks, reports 420 Intel.
In essence, there is no one answer as to whether you can safely mix Adderall with marijuana. If anything, the sheer dangers associated with recreational Adderall use make this combination highly dangerous.
What is Adderall?
Adderall is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that is comprised of four amphetamine salts: dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, and amphetamine sulfate.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Adderall to treat the symptoms of ADHD and narcolepsy in 1996. When this medication enters the body, it boosts the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine and speeds up brain activity. At doctor-ordered doses, Adderall works to diminish the impulsivity, hyperactivity, fidgeting, and lack of focus associated with ADHD, causing people to feel more alert and focused. The daily dose amount should not exceed 40 milligrams (mg).
However, a large number of people, particularly those in high school and colleges, have resorted to abusing “study drugs” like Adderall to harness its stimulant attributes. Students take it so that they can stay up all night to study for tests and complete challenging assignments. Working professionals use it to help them gain an edge at work. Adderall abuse is rampant, especially in places where high achievement is a mandate.
Some professional athletes also use Adderall to improve on-field performance. Others still use it to enhance sexual performance.
The 2011 science fiction movie “Limitless,” where the protagonist takes a pill that allows him to achieve extraordinary success, is believed to be based on the mythical properties of Adderall and its ability to improve cognitive function.
Yet, like other stimulant drugs, Adderall is capable of inflicting significant cardiovascular and psychological distress.
Adderall use comes with common and serious side effects, particularly when the substance is abused.
Common side effects associated with Adderall include:
- Dry mouth
- Changes in sex drive or ability
- Painful menstrual cramps
- Weight loss
The serious side effects are enough to make weed and Adderall use a dangerous activity. Those physical and mental effects are as follows:
- Hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
- Believing things that are not true
- Mania (a frenzied or abnormally excited mood)
- Unexplained wounds appearing on fingers or toes
- Swelling of the eyes, face, tongue, or throat
- Pain, numbness, burning or tingling in the hands or feet
- Feeling unusually suspicious of others
- Agitation, fever, sweating, confusion, fast heartbeat, shivering, severe muscle stiffness or twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Blistering or peeling skin
- Weakness or numbness of an arm or leg
- Changes in vision or blurred vision
- Paleness or blue color of fingers or toes
- Slow or difficult speech
- Motor or verbal tics
- Teeth grinding
Marijuana is not as safe as you think, especially these days. Weed is more potent than ever, with THC levels as high as 13 percent. For context, the average THC levels in marijuana from the 1970s was about two percent.
Then there are products known as marijuana concentrates, which are highly concentrated masses that look like honey or butter that contain astronomical levels of THC, ranging from 40 to 80 percent, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Long-term or excessive use of marijuana or concentrates can produce mental and cardiovascular distress, including paranoia, anxiety, panic attacks, hallucinations, increased heart rate, and spikes in blood pressure.
When taken in tandem with Adderall, those effects can be greatly exacerbated, where the user will experience the negative effects of both. What’s more, abusing Adderall can still allow someone to experience an overdose, where the stimulant can be lethal.
Why People Mix Adderall and Weed?
If Adderall and weed might be dangerous when they two are mixed? Why do people mix these drugs in the first place? People typically mix psychoactive chemicals for one of two reasons: to enhance the positive effects of one or both substances or to counteract the negative effects of one of the substances.
For weed and Adderall, it’s generally the latter reason. Marijuana is said to help cut down on some of the negative side effects of Adderall. Cannabis also causes some nervous system depressing effects like sedation, a lack of focus, and even confusion. As a stimulant, Adderall can potentially counteract these effects.
Adderall and weed also share similar effects in the brain and body. In fact, researchers are investigating the use of cannabis in treating disorders that would usually be treated by Adderall like narcolepsy and ADHD. Mixing the two drugs for recreational use may be intended to enhance their stimulating effects. Certain strains of cannabis can cause stimulating effects rather than depressing feelings. Mixing it with Adderall may offer a more exhilarating high.
Adderall and other stimulants are sometimes used on college campuses as a study drug. That is, a drug that’s used as a cognitive performance enhancer rather than a recreational substance. Stimulants like Adderall can increase focus and alertness, which helps people study for longer hours.
However, taking Adderall without a prescription can lead to unwanted side effects like insomnia and anxiety. People may use marijuana to come down off of Adderall, so they can relax and sleep after pulling an all-nighter.
Why is Mixing Weed and Adderall Dangerous?
There isn’t an abundance of studies that look at the effects of mixing cannabis and Adderall on the brain and body. However, we do know some things about the combo from their respective effects in the brain.
Plus, mixing any two psychoactive substances without a doctor’s guidance can be potentially harmful. If you are taking a prescription drug like Adderall, you should avoid taking any other drugs without knowing how they might interact.
However, there is no clear evidence that cannabis and Adderall have any clear interactions in your system. Subjective reports claim that users of both either felt more or less high than they would normally.
The long-term effects of both drugs in the brain may have effects that haven’t been studied yet. There is some potential for negative effects of using both drugs for long periods.
For instance, long-term Adderall use can affect your brain’s ability to release dopamine and serotonin without a chemical stimulus.
That can lead to depression and anhedonia, where you can’t feel pleasure outside of drug use. Marijuana may also cause your brain to release less dopamine after heavy use. These drugs may combine to cause issues like depression after long-term use.
How Professional Treatment Can Help
Taking weed and Adderall qualifies as polysubstance abuse where two or more substances are taken concurrently. Such substance abuse requires the highest degree of substance abuse intervention. That intervention is best in a professional treatment setting.
A reputable professional recovery program can help you realized sustained sobriety and relief from the dangerous effects of marijuana and Adderall. Treatment begins with medical detoxification, where marijuana and Adderall are removed from your system, and any withdrawal symptoms like depression, nausea, and vomiting are treated using FDA-approved medications. This is part of what is called medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which has been proven effective in treating the psychological effects of withdrawal.
Treatment does not end with detoxification. Because addiction impacts the emotional and mental aspects of your being, holistic therapy and care that addresses the root of your abuse problems will greatly heighten your chances of achieving sustained sobriety.
This kind of therapy is offered through outpatient treatment, where clients can access evidence-based and alternative therapies such as:
- Detoxification treatment
- Medical maintenance therapy
- Group therapy
- Individual therapy
- Family therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Motivational Interviewing
- Stress management
- Educational classes
- Relapse prevention planning