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can you smoke weed on birth control pills

Marijuana and birth control pills

My question is this: does smoking marijuana have the same effects as smoking cigarettes if you’re on the birth control pill? Thanks.

Given a lack of research on the simultaneous use of marijuana (also frequently called weed and pot) and birth control, it’s currently unclear how pot and the pill may interact or conflict with one another. However, it’s known that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a chemical compound found in marijuana, naturally elevates blood pressure. This elevation may pose a risk for people with certain pre-existing heart conditions that might also be worsened by birth control. Additionally, when used on its own, marijuana may induce undesirable and negative health effects (more on those in a bit!). As such, if you’re considering mixing marijuana and birth control pills, you may wish to speak with your health care provider beforehand to gauge and prevent potential health risks.

While research has shown that smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol while on birth control can heighten a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke, there are no studies looking at the effects of smoking or eating marijuana while on birth control. Due to marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I drug, there are rigid restrictions on the types and amount of research conducted. However, even with the minimal research out there, there’s no evidence to suggest that marijuana decreases the effectiveness of birth control. Beyond the risks involved with using marijuana or cigarettes at the same time as birth control, there are risks associated with using marijuana or cigarettes alone.

In the short-term, both cigarette and marijuana may cause a person to experience elevated blood pressure and heart rate. Although sporadic marijuana use hasn’t been linked with negative long-term effects in young and healthy users, chronic and heavy use may lead to long-term outcomes similar to those from smoking cigarettes. These long-term effects include increased risk for stroke, heart attack, and cancer. Also, those who smoke marijuana and tobacco tend to have a lower tolerance for physical activity than non-smokers, which may decrease their physical fitness.

Beyond comparing the effects of smoking marijuana and cigarettes, you may find it helpful to consider potential effects of marijuana use on its own. With marijuana use, people might experience a variety of health effects that they perceive as positive or negative. Some short-term effects of marijuana use may include perceived pain reduction, increased heart rate and palpitations, slower reaction times, and altered perceptions of time and space. Additionally, long-term effects may include addiction and difficulties with learning and memory. Furthermore, marijuana appears to have a complicated relationship with mental illnesses. Depending on the person and high, marijuana use may alleviate, exacerbate, or induce mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, paranoia, and psychosis.

Ultimately, more research is needed to understand the effects of smoking marijuana on birth control pills. You may want to pay attention to any new information or research that is released in this area as it becomes available. Kudos for asking how different substances interact with medications! If you wan to learn more, you may want to check out the Birth Control Pills category in the Go Ask Alice! Sexual & Reproductive Health archives.

Dear Alice, My question is this: does smoking marijuana have the same effects as smoking cigarettes if you're on the birth control pill? Thanks.

Are there risks to combining weed and birth control?

Some experts believe THC could mess with your birth control and make it less effective, especially if it is oestrogen-based.

Combining smoking cigarettes and birth control has been linked to an increased risk of developing blood clots and other kinds of cardiovascular disorders. Photo by / Photo: ADragan / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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    Article content

    Smoking always comes with health hazards, from life-threatening issues such as cardiovascular health and increased cancer odds, to more superfluous damages, like the health of skin and teeth.

    When talking about pregnancies, smoking is one of the more risky things to do. What a lot of people don’t know, though, is that smoking can also have a negative impact on birth control.

    Are there risks to combining weed and birth control? Back to video

    The combination of smoking cigarettes and birth control has been linked to an increased risk of developing blood clots and other kinds of cardiovascular disorders. There are also a wide variety of birth control methods, with some posing significant levels of risk all by themselves.

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    For example, a couple of years ago, the makers of NuvaRing were sued by different women who argued that this particular method of birth control increased their odds of getting blood clots and embolisms by a significant margin. All of these risks are increased for women over the age of 35 who have some sort of pre-existing condition.

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    But what about smoking weed? What effect does that have on birth control? The short answer: Experts aren’t quite sure.

    While THC has been associated with elevated blood pressure, which could theoretically become an issue when combined with birth control, there haven’t been too many studies that support this idea. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Hypertension found “a modest association between recent cannabis use and systolic blood pressure,” but emphasized the importance of waiting for other studies to investigate further.

    Another fact that people should consider is that some experts believe THC could mess with your birth control and make it less effective, especially if the birth control is oestrogen-based. It appears that THC can actually increase oestrogen levels, potentially putting a user at higher risk of blood clots and stroke.

    A large percentage of people are using some kind of birth control. / Photo: iStock / Getty Images Plus Photo by iStock / Getty Images Plus

    When it comes to CBD, studies show that the compound can interact with different substances that are ingested, including birth control pills.

    According to CBD retailer Onyx + Rose, enzyme inhibitors such as CBD can potentially increase breakthrough bleeding and decrease oestrogen-based contraceptive effectiveness, leading to an increased risk of unwanted pregnancy.

    A large percentage of people are using some kind of birth control, whether it’s pills, condoms or vaginal rings. Most can adapt these methods to their daily lives, still managing to smoke cigarettes or cannabis. What people can do to stay as safe as possible is to evaluate all of their options, to use birth control that is recommended to them by a professional and to carefully consider which method of ingesting cannabis works best for them and their situation.

    More research is clearly necessary to keep people safe and to help everyone understand how cannabis interacts with the body. Until then, it’s best to have an honest conversation with your doctor.

    Some experts believe THC could mess with your birth control and make it less effective, especially if it is oestrogen-based.