Many states and cities throughout the nation have started legalizing the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. While this recent, holistic therapy movement has been welcomed with open arms by the many people suffering from debilitating physical and mental conditions that medical marijuana could help alleviate, there are a number of serious concerns that also need to be closely paid attention to. First of all, it should be noted that there is a distinct possibility that medical cannabis could affect some bodily ailments negatively. On top of this, special care should be taken when using medical marijuana while on certain other prescription medications because, in some cases, cannabis can drastically change the way that these medicines affect the body.
One of the most worrisome sets of medications to keep in mind when used in conjunction with marijuana are blood thinners. This is due to the fact that cannabis has some interesting properties that can affect the way that traditional blood-thinning medicines work. Does marijuana thin your blood? This is an important question to consider! Let’s take a closer look at the connection between cannabis and blood thinners below
What is a blood thinner?
Unlike what the term might seem to imply, a blood thinner doesn’t actually “thin” the blood. Instead, a blood thinner is actually any substance that has either anticoagulant or antiplatelet properties. Anticoagulant compounds (which include common medications such as warfarin or heparin) prevent the body’s process of creating blood clots. In cases where blood clots are already in existence, anticoagulants also prevent them from growing larger. Substances with antiplatelet properties (such as aspirin) work slightly differently by preventing platelets, which are a type of blood cell, from sticking together and forming a blood clot.
What medical conditions are blood thinners used to treat?
Blood clots can cause a surprising amount of serious medical problems. Blood clots found in your veins, arteries, lungs, and/or heart can cause circulatory blockages and in some serious cases, heart attacks, strokes, and even death. Blood thinners are commonly used to treat:
- Atrial fibrillation or other conditions that cause abnormal heart rhythms
- Heart valve replacements
- Congenital or other serious heart disorders
- Select chronic blood vessel or heart diseases
- Increased blood clot risks after certain surgeries
What are the dangers of using blood thinners?
Blood thinners are very helpful at preventing blood clots but they can also promote excessive bleeding if not taken properly. This is why it is incredibly important to always follow the directions of your blood thinner medication very closely. Most doctors make it very clear to their patients about how quickly their anticoagulant and antiplatelet medicines can cause abnormal and potentially deadly effects when used in conjunction with certain other medications, foods, vitamins, and alcoholic beverages. It is of the utmost importance to be honest with your health care providers on all of the supplements, medications, and regular lifestyle choices you indulge so that they can monitor you for any potential dangers. Regular blood tests are almost always needed when taking blood thinners consistently in order to confirm their effectiveness and to make sure that the body is not in any dangers of excessive bleeding.
Is marijuana a blood thinner?
To keep it simple and straightforward, cannabis has indeed been shown to have some anticoagulant properties and can certainly act as a blood thinner within the body. Marijuana does this by directly affecting the way that blood platelets clot together. However, due to the overall lack of scientific studies on the topic, cannabis researchers are still not completely sure of the underlying mechanism that is behind this effect.
Is CBD oil a blood thinner?
Just like cannabis, CBD oil also has blood-thinning properties. This is true even if the CBD oil in question is derived from the hemp plant instead! There have also been a number of cases that have shown that CBD products can directly affect the way that the body reacts to certain blood thinners such as warfarin, ibuprofen, or naproxin. CBD oils seem to affect the way that these medications are broken down by the body. Most notably, CBD seems to block the metabolism of the above blood thinners in the liver by affecting a group of enzymes known as cytochrome P450. This CBD oil and cytochrome P450 interaction causes other blood thinners to build up in higher levels within the body and prolong their effects. If gone unchecked, this reaction could easily result in excessive bleeding or an internal hemorrhage!
Can you switch to medical marijuana or CBD oil as an alternative to your current blood-thinning medicines?
More scientific research still needs to be conducted in order to confirm how effective and safe medical cannabis can be as an alternative option to traditional blood-thinning medicines. This is why if a particular patient wants to switch their current blood thinners with medical marijuana, they need to do so with caution under the watchful eye of an experienced doctor. Since cannabis has blood-thinning properties, many medical professionals have already told their patients on blood thinners to completely avoid using products that contain any marijuana compounds. However, many of their concerns are due to the lack of scientific research available to confirm the way that cannabis use affects the manner that other blood thinners work.
Either way, you have to be very transparent with your doctors if you are already on blood-thinning medications and are thinking about using medical marijuana as an alternative. There is no need to really worry about any potential “backlash” from your health providers based on the past negative stigma surrounding marijuana when comes to ensuring that you aren’t chancing any serious health issues
Why is there such a lack of knowledge on the connection between marijuana, hemp oil and blood thinners?
The lack of information available on the complicated interactions between cannabis, hemp products, and blood-thinning medications is primarily due to the fact that the United States’ federal government considers marijuana a Schedule 1 drug. A Schedule 1 compound includes any drug that the national government considers to have no medicinal value at all. This legal factor makes it notoriously difficult to legally research marijuana and its derivative products in our country. Luckily, there still have been some recent studies conducted over the past decade (usually in other countries). And while many of these research projects have started to indicate the positive possibilities of medical marijuana therapy, the US government has still not fully caught up with this potential news and changed their scheduling of cannabis. Hopefully, this confusion will all soon change and open up medical marijuana to more people that are in need.
Hopefully, by this point, you should be able to easily answer any friend of yours that asks “Does marijuana thin blood?” If you live in the state of Florida, feel as if you need some more clarification on this subject, or have any other questions on anything related to medical cannabis treatments, please contact us at BioFit as soon as possible! It would be our pleasure to help you get more knowledge about one of the newest developments in the medical world: marijuana! Please give us a call today if you are interested!