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Drugs That Affect Blood Sugar Levels
Interestingly, there is evidence to suggest cannabis may decrease insulin resistance, improve the metabolic process, and improve blood sugar control.
Although we don’t have conclusive evidence, it’s possible cannabis may work together with other drugs favourably. But, by the same token, there could be a risk that cannabis combined with other drugs could lower glucose levels too much. Clearly, patients should continually monitor the effects (under medical supervision) to mitigate potential risks and adjust medication appropriately.
Drugs That Lower Blood Pressure
One of the major features of THC is that it simultaneously activates the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. Activating both receptors induces a cardiovascular stress response that can elevate cardiac oxygen consumption while reducing blood flow in coronary arteries. While reports of adverse events are relatively rare, patients who are taking blood pressure medication should be aware that cannabis may compound effects.
Drugs That Increase Risk of Bleeding
Both THC and CBD may increase the effect of drugs used for blood thinning (e.g. warfarin or heparin), or drugs known to carry their own risk of blood thinning (e.g. ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.). How? By possibly slowing down the metabolism of these drugs.
Most studies suggest there is a bidirectional modulatory relationship between the body’s natural opioid system and the body’s natural cannabinoid system (the endocannabinoid system. The pain-relieving properties of cannabis are well-established, and many medical professionals have come forward to suggest cannabis (as an alternative pain medication) could play a role in stemming the overuse of prescription (and illicit) opioids.
There’s no question. From an abuse potential and toxicity perspective, cannabis as a substitute to narcotic pain medications would be a far better first-line drug for management of chronic pain.
However, what about as an adjunct to opioid therapy? How does cannabis measure up? Could cannabis reduce a patient’s reliance on opioids, or would combining the two elevate risk of concurrent dependency or abuse?
Examining the subjective effects of vaporized cannabis in conjunction with opioids, Dr. Donald Abrams, an oncologist from UC, San Francisco, and his team published a small study in 2011. They found no significant change in opioid blood level concentrations after exposure to cannabis. Moreover, patients reported a 27% decrease in pain following cannabis administration.
Abrams concluded that cannabis can, in fact, safely augment the pain-relieving effects of opioids. His team also found that combining opioids and cannabis may allow for treating patients with lower opioid doses while reducing risk of dependency and fewer side effects. *Several other studies, which we’ll explore further in an upcoming series, support the findings from Abrams’ study.
Dr. Pierre Milot, PhD., PhD. (tc)
Life Transitions / Grief Recovery Counsellor
CBD-Rich Hemp Sales Consultant
Redmond House, Winchester ON.