Mixing Hydrocodone and Marijuana

Mixing hydrocodone and cannabis can lead to respiratory problems or coma. Other side effects include sedation and trouble breathing. Professional treatment can lead to lasting recovery.
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A host of teens today use the prescription opioid hydrocodone to get high. A report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that 349,000 adolescents aged 12 to 17 misused hydrocodone products such as Vicodin in 2016.

Marijuana is also a popular drug among teens. According to the 2017 Monitoring the Future survey, the percentage of 12th-graders who are current marijuana users has increased since 2014. In 2017, about 23 percent of high school seniors used cannabis.

Each drug causes adverse reactions. The side effects of hydrocodone include body swelling, muscle weakness and difficulty breathing. Conversely, marijuana causes increased appetite, anxiety and psychosis.

Mixing marijuana and prescription opioids can produce severe health effects that can result in coma or death. To prevent your teen from combining hydrocodone and cannabis, talk to him or her about the dangers of mixing drugs. If your child is misusing multiple substances, seek professional assistance.

Side Effects of Mixing Hydrocodone and Marijuana

A 2017 report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicated that marijuana users were more likely than nonusers to misuse prescription opioids. A few years earlier, the organization found that 58.5 percent of teens who misused painkillers mixed prescription opioids with cannabis.

Prescription opioids and marijuana have depressant effects. Also known as “downers,” these drugs can slow brain function, lower blood pressure and cause fatigue. Mixing cannabis and hydrocodone can suppress the central nervous system to dangerous levels.

Side effects of mixing hydrocodone and marijuana include:

  • Extreme sedation
  • Respiratory depression
  • Coma
  • Death
  • Depression

Although some people have said that mixing hydrocodone and cannabis enhanced their high, others have reported experiencing breathing problems after taking Vicodin and then smoking marijuana shortly after.

A 2018 study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology suggested that mixing cannabis and oxycodone, a prescription opioid similar to hydrocodone, increases the risk for oxycodone abuse. Abusing prescription opioids can result in addiction.

If you or your teen uses hydrocodone, talk to a doctor about drug interactions. A physician can explain the dangers of mixing drugs, including the physical and psychological effects of combining opioids and cannabis.

Signs of Hydrocodone and Marijuana Use

Before you can confirm that your teen is mixing hydrocodone and marijuana, you must first find out if they are using these drugs at all. A number of signs can indicate the use of cannabis or prescription opioids.

Signs of hydrocodone misuse among teens include:

  • Empty Vicodin bottles under their bed, in the trash or in their car
  • Behavioral changes
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Poor coordination

Signs of teen marijuana use include:

  • Red eyes
  • Bongs, pipes or other smoking products lying in their room or vehicle
  • Possession of eye drops
  • Do it in a public place
  • Increased use of perfume or cologne
  • Memory problems

Teens who misuse substances often struggle academically. Drug use increases their risk for poor grades and truancy. Adolescents who abuse hydrocodone or marijuana may also isolate themselves, lose interest in their hobbies or engage in risky behaviors.

Treating Hydrocodone and Marijuana Misuse

Polydrug use involves using multiple substances simultaneously, which is a sign of addiction. In fact, a study by Roosevelt University found that polydrug use was the most common path to heroin use in the Chicago metropolitan area.

If your teen is regularly misusing hydrocodone and marijuana, seek treatment. At rehab, addiction experts can create a treatment plan to fit your child’s specific needs. If clients are addicted to more than one drug, each disorder will be treated.

When treating hydrocodone addiction, medical professionals may employ opioid agonists, such as methadone, buprenorphine or clonidine, to combat withdrawal symptoms. Once detox ends, clients transition to the next phase of rehab with licensed mental health counselors who teach strategies for avoiding triggers and maintaining sobriety.

Behavioral therapies effectively reduce cannabis use. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, these treatments may include:

Teaching your children about the dangers of combining Vicodin and weed can prevent them from a lifetime of health problems. Talk to them about the importance of healthy habits and be sure to monitor their behavior.

Medical Disclaimer: DrugRehab.com aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

Matt Gonzales
Content Writer, DrugRehab.com
Matt Gonzales is a writer and researcher for DrugRehab.com. He graduated with a degree in journalism from East Carolina University and began his professional writing career in 2011. Matt covers the latest drug trends and shares inspirational stories of people who have overcome addiction. Certified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in health literacy, Matt leverages his experience in addiction research to provide hope to those struggling with substance use disorders.
Kim Borwick, MA
Editor, DrugRehab.com

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