Adderall and Weed: Are They Safe to Mix?

Adderall and weed: Are they safe to mix?
By Halla Mannering Updated June 10th

Fact-checked by Alexandra Arnett, MS

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects nearly 5% of American adults and roughly 10% of children. Boys are much more likely to be diagnosed with this disorder than girls. Due to this disorder's prevalence, there’s a significant need for more effective treatment options.

Symptoms of this disorder include, but are not limited to, inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. Treatment for this disorder can be a combination of medication and talk therapy. One of the most common medications for the treatment of ADHD is Adderall. 

If taking Adderall, it’s important to know if it is safe to mix Adderall and weed and any potential risks. It’s essential to speak with your doctor before making any changes to your health and wellness routine. Everyone experiences ADHD differently, so treatments that work well for some patients may not work well for others. 

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What is Adderall?

Adderall is a prescription medication used to treat conditions such as ADHD and narcolepsy. However, doctors can also prescribe it for depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and even weight loss. Understanding the many different applications of Adderall is important, as many people are unsure as to whether or not it could be the right choice for them.

“Adderall” is a brand name for dextroamphetamine-amphetamine, along with Mydayis, Vyvanse, and others. The generic name for this medication is amphetamine.

There are two forms of Adderall: immediate-release (IR) and extended-release (XR). Adderall IR is provided in tablets; its effects last about four to six hours. However, many people report that its effects are intense. In contrast, Adderall XR lasts 8-12 hours and provides a generally smoother experience.

IR tablets are usually prescribed to be taken twice a day, while XR is typically prescribed to be taken once a day.

Although Adderall is commonly prescribed, it should still be taken seriously. Adderall is a medication that should only be used under the guidance of a doctor, as using it in any other way could lead to adverse effects.

The active ingredients in Adderall are dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, and amphetamine sulfate. These are all central nervous system (CNS) stimulants that boost brain chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. Increasing the levels of these chemicals can help individuals focus, as well as improve their energy and attention. 

These chemicals play a role in functions like movement, memory, motivation, mood, sleep, and pleasure. In brains where serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine levels are affected, like those who have ADHD, these levels are often low and can lead to issues like fatigue, moodiness, and an inability to concentrate.1

Unfortunately, this medication is often abused. In recent years, Adderall has been used recreationally as a performance enhancer. Approximately 20% of college students abuse prescription stimulant medications. This is likely due to the perception that it is a “smart drug” that can improve one’s ability to study and perform well academically.2

Common side effects of Adderall include but are not limited to: 

  • Headache 
  • Irregular or fast heartbeat 
  • Lower back pain 
  • Bladder pain 
  • Stomach ache 
  • Trouble sleeping 
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Nervousness
  • Dizziness 

More severe effects can include slowing of growth in children, seizures in patients with a history of seizures, or eyesight changes and blurred vision.

Adderall is a prescription medication and should only be taken as such. It can be habit-forming and addictive when misused. If you think that Adderall might be the right treatment option for you, consider speaking with your doctor about your individual health situation.

Can You Smoke Weed on Adderall? Know the Risks

The risks of combining Adderall and weed

There is currently no research on how Adderall and cannabis interact in the body. However, there have been studies on how methylphenidate, the active ingredient in Ritalin (another medication commonly administered to treat ADHD), and THC interact.

A 2016 study observed vital signs, performance, and subjective effects in subjects with no diagnosis of mental impairments after consuming cannabis and methylphenidate. A 10mg dose of THC, in addition to methylphenidate, “produced robust subjective effects associated with drug liking,” which researchers noted may be a “desirable cocktail for young adults.” However, they also concluded that simultaneously consuming weed and methylphenidate can cause an increase in cardiovascular stress. 

The researchers of this study believe that the majority of the effects that were experienced were due to THC use. These researchers also made it clear that their study did not predict the effects of combining methylphenidate with smoked cannabis.3

Cannabis may act as both a stimulant and a depressant. These depressant effects may counteract some of the side effects of taking Adderall, which is why some users may choose to consume both.

The issue with mixing Adderall and weed is that the effects are based on unique body chemistry, experience with each drug, and the dosage consumed.  Since there is limited clinical research available, personal testimonies of how Adderall and weed interact when consumed together are all consumers have to go off. 

Side effects of cannabis may include, but are not limited to:

  • Headaches
  • Impaired memory
  • Dry mouth and eyes
  • Impaired body movement
  • Altered senses
  • Increased heart rate 

Side effects of Adderall include, but are not limited to:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Stomach pains
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Trouble sleeping

Since both drugs can increase the heart rate, it is crucial to be mindful of mixing Adderall and cannabis. This remains especially true for people with pre-existing heart conditions. Likewise, Adderall can be an appetite suppressant, while cannabis is known for its ability to increase appetite in some individuals.4,5 Taking both drugs may be beneficial for those prescribed Adderall to have a lower risk of severe weight loss. 

Users taking both medications, sometimes referred to as “weederall,” report different experiences, limiting the conclusions drawn from anecdotal evidence. Some people report that they have desirable effects from taking this combination, while others believe that it increases their anxiety. When it comes to understanding someone’s reaction to this substance, it’s important to consider their dosage, tolerance, age, weight, use history, and other factors.

The diverse experiences of users is proof that more research is needed on how these substances interact together.

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Adderall and Marijuana: Are There Any Benefits?

There hasn’t been much research that has examined the benefits that can come from combining Adderall and weed. However, one study did find that individuals with ADHD noted that cannabis not only helped reduce their ADHD symptoms but also impacted the adverse effects that they experienced from their ADHD medication.6

While it’s possible that cannabis may help with the adverse side effects that come from Adderall, that doesn’t mean that this is a safe combination for everyone. It’s important to speak with your doctor about all your options and make sure you’re making an informed choice specific to your health.

Tips For Using Adderall and Weed Safely

Tips for using Adderall and weed safely

If mixing Adderall and weed, there are a few different steps to take to make sure that your experience is as safe as possible.

First, speak with your doctor. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction and make sure that you’re aware of any precautions. Keep in mind that some doctors have restrictions surrounding cannabis use if you’re being prescribed a stimulant.

Second, familiarize yourself with any adverse side effects that could occur. This will help you prepare and have a plan if you need to reach out for medical attention due to adverse side effects.

Finally, one of the best things to do if you combine these two substances is to take care of your overall health. Eating healthy foods and drinking lots of water are good places to start.

What About Adderall and CBD?

While there hasn’t been much research to understand combining THC and Adderall, there also has not been research to understand combining Adderall and CBD. It’s possible that using CBD alongside Adderall could lead to a decreased appetite.

If you’re taking Adderall currently and considering combining it with CBD, make sure that you reach out to your doctor and confirm that they’re okay with this combination.

Can Cannabis Replace Adderall?

Can cannabis replace Adderall?

If Adderall doesn’t seem to be a good fit, you may be wondering if cannabis is the answer. 

One study found that quality of life improvement was “substantial” in their sample. Some reported patients used cannabis once per day, while others chose to use it twice daily. However, the patients involved were taking other medications throughout the length of the study, which makes it difficult to pinpoint the exact benefits of cannabis.7

As always, speak with your doctor before combining cannabis and Adderall. There hasn’t yet been enough research to understand the implications of this combination, so be sure to do your own research and be aware of the potential risks that are involved.

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  1. Kessi M, Duan H, Xiong J, et al. Attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder updates. Front Mol Neurosci. 2022;15:925049. Published 2022 Sep 21. doi:10.3389/fnmol.2022.925049 ↩︎
  2. Benson K, Flory K, Humphreys KL, Lee SS. Misuse of stimulant medication among college students: a comprehensive review and meta-analysis. Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev. 2015;18(1):50-76. doi:10.1007/s10567-014-0177-z ↩︎
  3. Kollins SH, Schoenfelder EN, English JS, et al. An exploratory study of the combined effects of orally administered methylphenidate and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on cardiovascular function, subjective effects, and performance in healthy adults. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2015;48(1):96-103. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2014.07.014 ↩︎
  4. Poulton AS, Hibbert EJ, Champion BL, Nanan RK. Stimulants for the Control of Hedonic Appetite. Front Pharmacol. 2016;7:105. Published 2016 Apr 25. doi:10.3389/fphar.2016.00105 ↩︎
  5. Farokhnia M, McDiarmid GR, Newmeyer MN, et al. Effects of oral, smoked, and vaporized cannabis on endocrine pathways related to appetite and metabolism: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, human laboratory study. Translational Psychiatry. 2020;10(1). doi: ↩︎
  6. Stueber A, Cuttler C. Self-Reported Effects of Cannabis on ADHD Symptoms, ADHD Medication Side Effects, and ADHD-Related Executive Dysfunction. Journal of Attention Disorders. 2021;26(6):108705472110509. doi: ↩︎
  7. Mansell H, Quinn D, Kelly LE, Alcorn J. Cannabis for the Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Report of 3 Cases [published correction appears in Med Cannabis Cannabinoids. 2022 Sep 30;5(1):128]. Med Cannabis Cannabinoids. 2022;5(1):1-6. Published 2022 Jan 13. doi:10.1159/000521370 ↩︎

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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