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Marijuana and Adderall - A Dangerous Combination

By Dr. Neil 

The other day a patient of mine, lets call him Jim (names have been changed to protect the innocent), told me something concerning. People are consuming marijuana (legally), and then taking various versions of the prescription drug Adderall to facilitate daily work/life.

First, mixing prescription substances is always bad.   Second, Adderall is not a medication that is not without harm in itself – in fact, Adderall has been associated with side effects such as paranoia, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, and has been associated with life threatening cardiac dysrhythmias, convulsions, fevers, and potentially death. In short, despite being commonly prescribed, Adderall can truly be dangerous. Lets take a closer look at Adderall and what it can do to your body.

Since its initial release in 1996, prescriptions for Adderall have nearly tripled. It was initially prescribed for ADHD and narcolepsy, but is now being so commonly abused that a study conducted in 2012 found that nearly 75% of college seniors have been offered Adderall, with nearly half that group (31% overall) having tried or regularly use Adderall.

Lets look at the Adderall and its central nervous system (CNS) effects. Some of the common effects associated with Adderall have been restlessness, headache, slurred speech, and potentially reduction in sexual drive and performance. More concern, regular use of Adderall, when stopped suddenly, can lead to depression, extreme fatigue, with potential withdrawal including hunger, moodiness, panic attacks, and nightmares.

Adderall can have a slew of other effects; Adderall can increase your blood pressure, cause chest pain (potentially due to cardiac ischemia), diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, and simple but annoying rashes. That being said, the most dangerous and potentially life threatening complications of Adderall include cardiac arrhythmias that can lead to death. 

So to recap, while commonly prescribed, Adderall can be potentially dangerous and should never be mixed with any other substances. If you’re a frequent user of marijuana, there are a variety of other safe, herbal products that you can, and should use instead. Adderall is potentially dangerous and should be used only as directed by your physician.