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Christian Rehab Centers
05.26.2021

Does Suboxone Block the Effects of Weed?

Does Suboxone block the effects of weed? No. In fact, the two substances work in the body in completely different ways. Opioids work in the brain’s limbic system, which is associated with mood and emotion. Cannabinoids like THC and CBD work here, too, but on totally different receptors. Opioids work on the brain’s opioid receptors, which are known as the mu, the delta and the kappa. The mu is most closely associated with euphoria, sedation, tolerance, pain relief and overdose. Both THC and CBD work on receptors located in the ECS or endocannabinoid system. Many animals also have an ECS; it’s not just a human system. The ECS has receptors located all throughout the body’s nervous system, especially in the skin and central nervous system. However, THC and CBD work on two different kinds of ECS receptors, the CB1 for THC and the CB2 for CBD.

This is why THC causes intoxication and CBD doesn’t. The CB1 is associated with intoxication. The CB2 is not. That’s why CBD cannot make you feel high. Since THC and CBD are major compounds found in weed that work only on receptors in the ECS, Suboxone cannot block them. It can only block substances that work at least partially on the brain’s opioid receptors. However, since the CB1 and opioid brain receptors are located in close proximity in the same part of the brain, emerging information indicates that they may still have some relationship with each other. This is why it may not be safe to combine cannabis with Suboxone, but the drug will not block the effects of any compound in weed.

Suboxone Maintenance

Combining cannabis and Suboxone can have other consequences. The specially licensed doctors who are legally allowed to prescribe Suboxone almost always require their patients to sign narcotic contracts as a condition of ongoing treatment. These contracts typically contain language that specifically prohibits the use of certain other substances, illicit or licit, without the doctor’s knowledge. For example, it would be a violation for the patient to be receiving controlled substances, especially other opioids, from another source the doctor isn’t aware of. This is called doctor shopping. It may also be a violation to use multiple pharmacies, seek continued early refills, claim the pills were lost or stolen or fail random pill counts and urinalysis tests.

Even though a number of states have legalized cannabis for both medical and recreational use, this doesn’t mean that your Suboxone doctor is required to let you use it. He or she can make any medically justified condition they want. If they think that cannabis isn’t safe to mix with Suboxone, then you’re obligated to follow that rule, unless you want to risk discharge as their patient. If that happens, it will not be so easy to find another doctor authorized to prescribe Suboxone.

The Opioid Blockade

Suboxone works to suppress opioid withdrawal symptoms, reduce drug cravings and block the effects of other opioids. This blocking effect is displayed by both buprenorphine, the synthetic opioid in Suboxone and methadone. Both are slow-acting and have long half-lives. This means it takes at least 24 hours just for the body to break down even half of the ingested dose. The buprenorphine molecules bind only partially to the mu receptor, but they have a very high affinity for them. This means the buprenorphine stays bound to the brain’s opioid receptors for as long as several days in some cases. As long as the buprenorphine’s molecules are occupying the opioid brain receptors, no other opioid molecule can do so. Both buprenorphine and methadone tend to produce little to no euphoria. In fact, methadone is often referred to as “heroin without the high.”

This is where the blocking effect comes in, but it’s never absolute. It doesn’t mean you can’t overdose and die from taking other opioids, so this would be very dangerous to do. In fact, many people have died trying to overcome a Suboxone or methadone blockade. Methadone is particularly dangerous in this case because it’s a full agonist and works differently on the mu receptor than buprenorphine does. Methadone is also unpredictable and can cause overdose in small amounts. Overall, buprenorphine is safer than methadone. It’s one of the reasons it’s become the most common pharmaceutical to manage both opioid withdrawal and opioid maintenance.

If you Need Help

It’s not a good idea to use Suboxone with weed or any other kind of drug without medical advice. If you’re getting Suboxone legally for opioid use management, then you’re also subject to the terms of your narcotic contract. Let us help you sort it out. Just call us at 844-903-2111 anytime. Our trained counselors will be pleased to answer all your questions about Suboxone and cannabis.