No doubt, blood thinners save lives, but all medications have risks, says Dr. Streiff. According to the National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA), more than 8 million Americans are currently taking blood thinning medications. But at the same time, many of them are also worried about potential risks that are associated with blood thinners. As a result, they are curious about using weed as a blood thinner.
In this guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about weed (marijuana) and its potency as a blood thinner. So, keep sticking to this article till the end to resolve all your queries about weed use as a blood thinner.
What is Weed and Can It be Used As a Blood Thinner?
Weed is a street name for marijuana which is a psychoactive drug mostly used in Central or South Asia. It is extracted from the plant Cannabis sativa and used as a mind-altering drug. The most active chemical in marijuana that is responsible for the intoxicating effect is THC, also known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.
The resin produced by the different parts (leaves and buds) of the female cannabis plant majorly contains this chemical (THC). It is also reported that there are around 500 other chemicals found in the female cannabis plant. These chemicals contain more than 100 cannabinoids, compounds that are chemically related to THC.
Marijuana (Weed) as a Blood Thinner
All the present clinical analysis and research on the subject point to the fact that it’s too early to give any definitive statement on whether weed can be used as a blood thinner or not. The reason is evidence on the respective subject is still mixed and the clinical research is limited.
But if we look at the available data set that supports the statement of weed being used as a blood thinner, then some studies suggest that marijuana may have blood-thinning properties. The chemical, THC, present in marijuana has been shown to have blood clotting ability.
This cannabinoid (THC) thus has been shown to have the ability to lessen platelet aggregation in some studies. It has also been shown that the efficacy of marijuana being used as a blood thinner may vary based on the individual body chemistry of every consumer.
What are Blood Thinners?
Blood thinners are different classes of antiplatelet and anticoagulant medications that are used to prevent blood clots in the body. These medications are found to stop the growth of new blood clots and reduce the overall blood clotting process but they do not disperse the existing blood clots.
To stop bleeding in any part of the body, platelets, small cells in the body, become functional and form blood clots to prevent excessive bleeding.
But if these blood clots start to coagulate, they block blood flow to the organs of the body and thus lead to serious health problems like heart attack, stroke, or pulmonary embolism. So, to prevent the formation of these blood clots, blood thinners are used.
Following are some medical conditions in which blood thinner medications are used:
- Certain heart and blood vessel diseases
- Atrial fibrillation (abnormal heart rhythm)
- Heart valve replacement
How Does Weed Affect the Mechanism of Blood-Clotting in the Body?
Platelet aggregation is the most important step in the formation of blood clots. Different cannabinoids in marijuana like THC & CBN are shown to have antiplatelet properties. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that are linked with the body’s endocannabinoid system which is associated with nervous system development.
THC blocks the production of the chemical thromboxane A2 which is involved in the formation of blood clots, as a result, platelets stop clumping together. This whole mechanism inhibits platelet aggregation. The potential of the cannabinoid THC to hinder blood coagulation in the body is supported by the recent analysis of rhesus macaques.
Some studies have shown that THC only decreases the production of lipid thromboxane without altering the blood clotting time.
What are Some Serious Risks Associated with Weed as a Blood Thinner?
Some clinical analyses have found that marijuana may increase the risk of pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) due to the increased production of blood clots in the body. The increase in blood clot formation is the result of raised levels of clotting factors like von Willebrand factor and fibrinogen.
Is It Safe to Use Weed Along With Other Blood-Thinner Medications?
No, there is a risk of bleeding or bruising associated with using marijuana in combination with other blood-thinning supplements. Medicines that have blood-thinning effects like ibuprofen, aspirin, or omega-3 fatty acids if taken along with marijuana can pose serious health threats by increasing the risk of bleeding in the body.
Apart from everything, it’s totally up to you and your doctor if you want to take weed with other blood thinners. Changing your medical regime is an important decision, therefore, it’s best to consult with your physician or professional healthcare. Because according to a 2020 NBC News Report, if you are taking a blood thinner, then using weed may affect blood clotting by maximizing the risk of bleeding.
According to another study in 2016, it has been found that using cannabis with cholesterol-lowering drugs or statins increases the potency of the medication.
On the other hand, a clinical analysis of the anticoagulant drug Warfarin found that patients using weed with blood thinners should reduce their dosage by 30% because a higher dose will alter the potency of their blood thinner medication. This shows that all the evidence so far is mixed.
Should Weed Be Used As An Alternative to Blood-Thinners?
No, weed shouldn’t be used as a replacement for anticoagulants or antiplatelet drugs. Because blood thinner medications are prescribed by the physician based on your medical condition.
Taking cannabis with statins or blood thinners can pose a potentially serious side effect by increasing the blood clot formation or by altering the efficacy of your medication, says a cardiologist Dr. Vaduganathan. Because the same liver enzymes that break down the blood thinners and cholesterol-lowering drugs also break down marijuana.
That’s why it’s very important to talk to your doctor before making any decision regarding your medical regime. If you are not sure and have queries regarding the use of weed as a blood thinner, get started with medical cannabis recommendation online to speak with a licensed and professional medical marijuana doctor.
More research is required to fully understand the effects of weed on blood clotting. Some select lab studies suggest that cannabis may have blood-thinning effects while other studies show that using weed as a blood thinner can alter the efficacy of the medication. It is recommended to speak with a professional in this regard before taking any steps.
Evidence on using weed as a blood thinner is not solid as research remains limited to date. With increasing clinical research in 2023, there’s hope that additional advancements in the upcoming years will soon offer more conclusive answers.