Fraser Horton
Fraser Horton
Last Updated on December 9, 2020

In the era of prescription drugs and people using cocktails of pills in order to treat certain conditions, Adderall appeared. The original, quick-release version of Adderall was introduced in 1996 by Richwood Pharmaceuticals as a medication for treating attention deficit disorder (ADD). In 2001, it was improved to Adderall XR by Shire Pharmaceuticals, and the pill was available in its new, slow-release version.

From there, Adderall use also became popular with college students and night shift workers as they used it to improve the ability to focus and go long hours without sleep. Moreover, people have been using Adderall without a doctor’s note and have also been mixing it with other drugs in order to dull its side effects. Weed is one of those examples, as some marijuana users take Adderall to dull weed’s side effects, while some Adderall users use weed to dull Adderall’s unwanted effects. But can this result in even more side effects among users? Let’s get to the bottom of that question.

What Is Adderall and What Are the Effects of Adderall?

Adderall is an FDA-approved central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that includes amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It’s used as a prescription stimulant to treat narcolepsy and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as other mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

The recommended daily dosage prescribed by a licensed physician is no more than 50 milligrams. Adderall works by increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, diminishing impulsivity and hyperactivity, and speeding up brain activity and the ability to focus. Although it’s generally used as a prescription drug, some people take it without prescription in order to improve their focus. 

Adderall abuse is reported among college students and medical doctors who take it in order to stay awake for long hours, or complete challenging assignments. Recently, Adderall has been used among athletes as a way to improve their performance, and some people even use it to enhance sexual performance. 

Side Effects of Adderall Use 

Even though Adderall is generally prescribed by a doctor as a treatment for conditions like narcolepsy and ADHD, the use of Adderall can result in many common and long-term side effects. (Berman et al, 2009, Weyandt et al, 2018)

Common unwanted effects from using Adderall include:

  • Headaches;
  • Nervousness, irritability, and/ or anxiety;
  • Dry mouth;
  • Nausea;
  • Diarrhea or constipation;
  • Painful menstrual cramps;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Weight loss;
  • Changes in sex drive.

These effects are generally short-term and can be easily managed, whereas if you’re experiencing more serious side effects, you should contact your doctor or get emergency medical treatment. 

More serious negative side effects can happen as a result of Adderall drug abuse and those  include:

  • Itches, rashes, or hives;
  • Seizures;
  • Mania or hallucinations;
  • Pain, numbness, burning or tingling in the hands or feet;
  • Wounds appearing on fingers or toes;
  • Swelling of the eyes, face, tongue, or throat;
  • Blisters or skin that peels;
  • Blurred vision;
  • Paleness or blue color on fingers or toes;
  • Teeth grinding;
  • Slow or difficult speech;
  • Motor or verbal tics;
  • Paleness or blue color of fingers or toes;
  • Increased blood pressure and heartbeat.

Why Do People Mix Weed and Adderall?

Cannabis is a psychoactive drug that’s used medicinally, recreationally, and in spiritual practices. The main cannabinoids found in weed, THC and CBD, are the main culprits for marijuana’s psychoactive and sedating effects, with different strains providing different effects due to the THC/CBD ratio being unique in each strain. A recent study showed that weed may also help with ADHD, and weed may even be used to treat this condition as an alternative to Adderall. 

So why do people mix weed and Adderall?

Given that both weed and Adderall can have negative effects on users, people mix them in order to counteract the side effects of both substances. They use weed to counteract the side effects of Adderall and vice versa. Marijuana is used to calm the body and get it into a more relaxing state after, let’s say an intense study session under the influence of Adderall. Adderall, on the other hand, can be used as a way to counteract the depressing effects of cannabis use like sedation, confusion, and a lack of focus. 

The Potential Dangers of Mixing Adderall and Marijuana

Although mixing Adderall and Marijuana may seem like a good option for some users, the truth is that mixing a stimulant and a depressant can result in serious consequences. Poly substance use can result in addiction as well as numerous adverse effects when using the substances for a long period of time. 

Abusing Adderall itself can result in seizures, depression, and a coma, but when you add weed in the mix, users might feel like they need to take more of the medication to feel the effects. Using both drugs in combination can cause an increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and a racing heart. Over time, that could lead to several heart conditions, including a heart attack. 

Long-term use of both drugs may affect the brain’s ability to release dopamine without a chemical stimulus, which can result in depression and panic attacks. Moreover, users could get addicted to both substances and experience withdrawal symptoms like insomnia, fatigue, nausea, cramping, and vomiting, which can be heighted when compared to the withdrawal symptoms from only one drug.

How Bad Does Weed Affect Adderall?

Although there’s limited research on the subject, mixing stimulant drugs and depressants isn’t recommended. By combining both, users may experience health problems related to substance abuse like heart conditions, more intense withdrawal symptoms, depression, and more.

If you’re using one or both drugs medicinally on your own accord, you should definitely consult with your doctor in order to get the best treatment option for your condition. It’s best to stay on the safe side and not risk it when it comes to combining these two drugs.

Additional Sources

Berman, S. M., Kuczenski, R., McCracken, J. T., & London, E. D. (2009). Potential adverse effects of amphetamine treatment on brain and behavior: a review. Molecular psychiatry, 14(2), 123–142. https://doi.org/10.1038/mp.2008.90

Weyandt, L. L., White, T. L., Gudmundsdottir, B. G., Nitenson, A. Z., Rathkey, E. S., De Leon, K. A., & Bjorn, S. A. (2018). Neurocognitive, Autonomic, and Mood Effects of Adderall: A Pilot Study of Healthy College Students. Pharmacy (Basel, Switzerland), 6(3), 58. https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy6030058

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