Adderall & Weed: Mixing and Combination Effects

Adderall and marijuana are two of the most well-known substances in the biohacker community.

Adderall is highly popular outside of its prescribed protocol for ADHD and narcolepsy. It’s used by college students looking to gain an extra edge on their study efforts by boosting their focus and productivity.

This prescription amphetamine is sometimes combined with other substances, like marijuana. Many users claim it reduces the negative side effects of the drug, while others suggest it makes them worse. Some even use marijuana as a replacement for Adderall due to the similarity in their effects on focus and creativity.

Adderall & Weed

What are people using Adderall and marijuana for? Is this a safe and effective practice? Should I be interested in combining weed and Adderall?

Adderall: Uses and Effects

Adderall is a common prescription amphetamine. It’s manufactured by the Irish company Shire Pharmaceuticals—with generic versions available from the Israeli company, Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Immediate release Adderall (IR) will last about 4-6 hours, while extended release (XR) lasts about 12 hours. When the effects begin to wear off, users begin to experience a “come down”. Effects can include fatigue, depression, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety.

The prescribed purpose for Adderall is narcolepsy (a condition that causes those affected to fall asleep at any moment), and ADD/ADHD. Unprescribed use is common for Adderall, especially among college students.

Users report significant improvements in productivity and memorisation when using the drug, despite many potential side effects.

Biochemically, Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant. It works by prolonging the exposure of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.

Unfortunately, Adderall also has a wide range of side effects, some of them can be quite severe:

  • Loss of appetite, nausea, trouble sleeping, anxiety, and stomach aches
  • Panic Attacks
  • Hallucinations
  • Thoughts of Suicide
  • Mood Swings
  • Inability to Concentrate
  • Heart Disease
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Tremors

Marijuana: Uses and Effects

Marijuana is a psychoactive plant with a diverse set of uses. The resin found in the flowering buds of female plants contain a rich source of volatile oils and a potent therapeutic class of chemicals known as cannabinoids.

There are about 113 different cannabinoids in the marijuana plant, each offering unique therapeutic benefits to humans.

Some of these cannabinoids, including THC, offer similar benefits to Adderall on conditions like narcolepsy, ADD/ADHD, and concentration/memory. Others, such as CBD have directly opposing effects to Adderall, working to reduce anxiety and overstimulation.

The effects of marijuana include:

  • Calming
  • Pain reduction
  • Antidepressant
  • Antipsychotic
  • Anti-anxiety
  • Appetite stimulant

Smoking Weed on the Adderall Comedown

Marijuana use is commonly reported on Reddit forums regarding the use of marijuana as a way to alleviate negative side effects of the Adderall come down.

As the drug begins to wear off, negative side effects like depression, suicidal thoughts, and fatigue are common. The effects of marijuana are useful for addressing these effects, especially those high in CBD.

Users who combine weed with Adderall can have very different reports. Some say that combining the two makes the side effects of the Adderall worse, others use is specifically to reduce these negative side effects.

So how does this work? How can weed both worsen, and improve the negative effects of Adderall?

The answer is in the cannabinoids. Different strains of weed have different amounts of cannabinoids in them, giving them vastly different effect profiles. Some are helpful for reducing the side effects of Adderall, others making them worse. To make matters more confusing, it also depends on when you take the weed in combination with Adderall.  [See our guide to cannabinoids to learn more about the differences.]

It sounds complicated at first, but it’s really not…

THC Boosts Adderall’s Effects

THC has many of the same effects as Adderall, causing CNS stimulation and improved focus and concentration. It works through a different system in the brain than Adderall, but provides many of the same effects. Because of this, Adderall and THC may compound off each other, making the effects of both more pronounced. This can be used to reduce the dose of both, but can also result in too strong of a dose if not used carefully. This can increase the chances and severity of side effects.

Taking THC during the comedown, however, can balance the negative effects caused by a loss of the drug affecting dopaminergic regions of the brain. This helps users smooth out the come down, making it less severe and uncomfortable.

High THC extracts may be used as a replacement for Adderall due to the overlap in their effects and benefits.

CBD Reduces Adderall’s Effects

CBD has an opposite effect to many of Adderall’s effects, including calming, anti anxiety, and mild sedation [3]. It can be especially useful if taken while Adderall is in full effect to reduce side effects of anxiety, paranoia, and overstimulation.

During the comedown it may worsen the effects by causing over sedation and the sensation of “couch lock”.

Replacing Adderall With Marijuana

Due to the overlap in effects with high THC products and Adderall it’s becoming a popular replacement for ADD/ADHD. There’s been recent evidence to suggest weed to be as beneficial for these conditions as Adderall, without the nasty side effects.

The body has a naturally produced version of THC called anandamide. In 2009, a study involving 15 children with ADD/ADHD were tested on their anandamide levels. They were found to have abnormally high concentrations of this compound compared to healthy control subjects. [1].

Anandamide has many uses in the body, one of which is to trigger dopamine release. Therefore, the high levels in sufferers of ADD/ADHD may be burning up the dopamine too quickly, virtually eliminating the attention span.

THC helps to increase dopamine concentrations in the brain by regulating abnormal anandamide levels in the brain.

This is essentially the same mechanisms Adderall uses to treat these individuals.

Smoking Weed on Adderall—Is It Safe?

There are no official drug interactions with marijuana and Adderall, however, high THC strains may increase the normal side effects of Adderall due to overlapping mechanisms in the brain.

If side effects are experienced, simply reduce the dose of either the marijuana, the Adderall, or both.

The side effects during the come down from Adderall can be particularly uncomfortable for some individuals. Suicidal thoughts and depression are not uncommon. High THC Marijuana may improve the safety of this drug by reducing these side effects in particularly susceptible individuals during the comedown.

The Effects of Combining Adderall and Marijuana (Adderall and Weed Experiences)

Users on Reddit share their experiences combining Adderall and weed. Most of the negative reports involve symptoms around anxiety, with some reporting that the Adderall high was not as pronounced when in combination with weed.

Ultimately, the reason for this is likely to be the chosen marijuana strain.

Some Reddit users specifically discuss their experiences with THC or CBD.

To summarise several hours of sifting through Reddit, the general agreement is that high THC cannabis should be taken during the comedown, with a lower dosage of Adderall, or as a replacement rather than at the peak of a full  Adderall dose.

High CBD strains or extracts, however, should be taken with Adderall, and avoided during the comedown to maximise effects, and minimise side effects.

Alternatively, a well balanced THC-CBD ratio at controlled doses is likely to be the simplest option.

A Note On Experimenting With Adderall & Weed

As with any supplement/medication stacking, it’s important to test the effects on your own body conservatively. Everybody is different and will present different reactions to the same things.

The best thing to do is to start at a low dose (for both if mixing), and slowly building from there, when side effects are noted, dial back the dose and lock it in.

Conclusion

There is a lot of different opinions when it comes to mixing weed and Adderall, some stating its a positive combination while others report the opposite. After careful consideration of the effects of THC, CBD, and Adderall, it becomes clear how there can be such opposing views on the same thing based on the variation of cannabinoids found in the plant.

When it comes to mixing the two, it’s important to look at the reason you’re combining (such as eliminating side effects from the come down or making the side effects of Adderall less severe), it’s equally important to be specific on the type of weed or marijuana product you’re consuming.

High THC appears to be better for replacing Adderall altogether, or alleviating the come downs, while high CBD is better for reducing the anxious effects of Adderall in full effect.

References:

  1. Centonze, D., Bari, M., Di Michele, B., Rossi, S., Gasperi, V., Pasini, A., … & Maccarrone, M. (2009). Altered anandamide degradation in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Neurology, 72(17), 1526-1527.
  2. French, E. D. (1997). Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol excites rat VTA dopamine neurons through activation of cannabinoid CB1 but not opioid receptors. Neuroscience letters, 226(3), 159-162.
  3. Crippa, J. A. S., Derenusson, G. N., Ferrari, T. B., Wichert-Ana, L., Duran, F. L., Martin-Santos, R., … & Filho, A. S. (2011). Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 25(1), 121-130.
  4. Beltramo, M., de Fonseca, F. R., Navarro, M., Calignano, A., Gorriti, M. A., Grammatikopoulos, G., … & Piomelli, D. (2000). Reversal of dopamine D2 receptor responses by an anandamide transport inhibitor. Journal of Neuroscience, 20(9), 3401-3407.

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