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What Are the Dangers of Mixing Adderall & Weed?

Using Adderall and weed together might seem like a viable combination, but mixing Adderall (a stimulant) with marijuana (both a depressant and stimulant) can cause unwanted side effects and even result in heart complications.

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Adderall is a prescription stimulant medication used for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, Adderall is also a popular drug of abuse among high school and college students because they believe it will help them focus, be productive, and need less sleep.

Working professionals in fast-paced work environments also utilize Adderall for the same effects. 

Since Adderall is used often both as a prescribed drug and an illicit drug, many individuals mix Adderall with alcohol and cannabis.

More on Cannabis

Marijuana and weed are interchangeable terms used to describe the cannabis plant, the flower of which is used to make cannabis products like edibles, oils, or even smoked directly after the flower is dried and cured.

Cannabis has a psychoactive ingredient called THC that produces euphoric and relaxing effects. Since cannabis has been legalized in many communities across the United States, it is common for people to use cannabis in conjunction with alcohol and prescription medication.

How Do Adderall & Weed Interact Chemically?

In 2015, researchers examined the effects of oral cannabis and THC in 16 people who had no psychiatric illnesses. They found that people who took both drugs had faster heartbeats and higher blood pressure ratings. The researchers called these changes “additive,” meaning both drugs played a role in bringing them about.

Researchers also found large changes in how the drug combination made people feel. People were likely to say they would take the drugs again.

Studies like this suggest that combining the drugs can lead to increased cardiovascular risks, and the combo could also make people more likely to use the drugs again.

Adderall & Cannabis Interactions

Adderall and cannabis on their own will interact with several other drugs, including alcohol, opioids, and other prescription medications.

Since marijuana is a depressant, stimulant, and hallucinogen, it is hard to estimate what each individual’s reaction might be.

There are different strains of marijuana that often fall into either Sativa, Indica, or hybrid categories, and each marijuana strain produces different effects. Generally, Sativa strains will produce more euphoric, stimulant-related effects, while Indica generally produces a more relaxing effect.

If an individual insists on combining Adderall with marijuana, it might be beneficial to consider what strain of marijuana produces the least number of undesired effects.

However, it is always best to avoid mixing drugs, alcohol, and prescription medications. Although weed and alcohol are both socially acceptable, and in many places, decriminalized at the very least, both of these substances can alter the intended effects of Adderall.

The Dangers & Risks of Mixing Adderall & Weed

The primary danger of mixing Adderall and weed is that individuals who do so increase their chances of developing substance abuse issues with both substances. Both Adderall and weed are addictive.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that about 30% of those who use marijuana have some degree of marijuana use disorder. Research from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health suggests that about 1.9% of people 12 and older abuse stimulants like Adderall, and they could develop an addiction as a result.

Heart Problems

Long-term Adderall use, abuse, and addiction can lead to chronic health problems like heart arrhythmia, the effects of which can be tremendously amplified by the use of marijuana. The National Institutes of Health funded a study in 2024 and found that smoking cannabis was associated with a 25% increased likelihood of heart attack and a 42% increased likelihood of stroke when compared to non-users.

Increased Chance of Adderall Overdose

In some cases, mixing Adderall with weed can reduce or diminish the intended effects of each drug, especially Adderall. This can open the door for an overdose if an individual takes more Adderall to produce the intended effects.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says deaths related to stimulant abuse are considered a growing problem. Between 2013 and 2019, the stimulant-involved death rate rose 317%. It’s important for people to understand these risks and avoid abusing stimulants like Adderall.

Negative Physical Symptoms

Some individuals may experience nausea, vomiting, numbness of the lips and/or extremities, or mental health issues when combining Adderall with marijuana. 

​​What if You Take Too Much?

It’s hard to predict how you’ll feel after combining Adderall and weed. However, if you take too much of these substances, you could experience an overdose.

Stimulant overdoses can cause symptoms such as the following:

  • High body temperature
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Weakness
  • Rigid muscles
  • Seizures

Marijuana toxicity can produce the following symptoms:

  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Psychosis
  • Agitation

If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or someone you love, call 911. Tell the operator where you are, the symptoms you notice, and what was taken. Stay calm until help arrives. If the person is overheating, cool them down by removing excess clothing. If the person has seizures, remove anything around them that might cause injury.

When to Seek Help

Adderall can be addictive whether it is given as a prescription or not. Weed may not be physically addictive, but it has been shown to be emotionally addictive. Weed also has damaging cognitive effects, especially on those diagnosed with ADHD.

In 2021, researchers asked students with ADHD to complete an online survey about cannabis use. Of the 1,738 students who finished the study, most said their cannabis helped with impulsivity and hyperactivity, and they said pot made their ADHD medication side effects easier to tolerate.

This is a common misconception, and a study published in 2023 points out how wrong it is. In this study, researchers examined published research about cannabis and ADHD. They found most people reported that pot was helpful. However, most of the studies indicated that marijuana made ADHD symptoms worse.

Treatment for co-occurring Adderall and cannabis misuse is available.

Signs that you or someone you know needs help with Adderall and cannabis addiction include the following:

  • Social withdrawal
  • Inability to meet professional and social obligations
  • Acting out of character
  • Engaging in drug-seeking behavior
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Mixing or combining controlled substances
  • Changing or “swapping” prescriptions

If you or someone you know has mixed Adderall and weed and experiences negative symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. If you are uncertain if medical care is needed, it’s best to err on the side of caution and get an assessment from a professional.

Treatment for Substance Misuse

If you are unable to stop using Adderall or weed despite a desire to do so, it’s the sign of a problem.

Treatment for co-occurring Adderall and cannabis misuse is available. It often consists of the following:

The bulk of the work takes place in therapy, where you’ll identify triggers that prompt you to misuse these substances. You’ll develop coping mechanisms that can help you resist the urge to use when it hits.

Peer support groups are also available for those who abuse weed and stimulants such as Adderall. Often, rehab centers will require an individual to join a 12-step group and attend a set number of meetings each week as a requirement for program completion. 

There is no set process for recovering from cannabis or Adderall misuse and addiction. Treatment is generally ongoing, even after the individual completes detox and rehab, as addiction is a chronic condition for which there is no cure. 

But addiction can be effectively managed for life with ongoing care. Taking an approach that incorporates physical detox, rehab, psychiatric care, and ongoing support gives an individual the best chance of making a full recovery.

Updated April 18, 2024
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  2. Adolescent Cannabis Use and Later Development of Schizophrenia: An Updated Systematic Review of Longitudinal Studies. (January 2022). Journal of Clinical Psychology.
  3. The Damaging Effects of Cannabis on the ADHD Brain. (July 2022). ADDitude Magazine.
  4. Cannabis Use Disorders and ADHD. (January–February 2016). Journal of Addiction Medicine.
  5. Effects of Marijuana on Mental Health: Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). (June 2017). Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute.
  6. An Exploratory Study of the Combined Effects of Orally Administered Methylphenidate and Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on Cardiovascular Function, Subjective Effects, and Performance in Healthy Adults. (January 2015). Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.
  7. Is Marijuana Addictive? (July 2020). National Institute on Drug Abuse.
  8. Smoking Cannabis Associated with Increased Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke. (February 2024). National Institutes of Health.
  9. Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States. (2019). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  10. Stimulant Guide. (February 2023). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  11. Fact Sheet: Stimulants. International Overdose Awareness Day.
  12. Cannabinoid Toxicity. (July 2023). StatPearls.
  13. Self-Reported Effects of Cannabis on ADHD Symptoms, ADHD Medication Side Effects, and ADHD-Related Executive Dysfunction. (October 2021). Sage Journals.
  14. Cannabis Use in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): A Scoping Review. (January 2023). Journal of Psychiatric Research.
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