Is Smoking Weed Safe on the Nicotine Patch?
Do Nicotine Patches Make Smoking Weed Unsafe?
Before answering whether it is safe to smoke marijuana while using a nicotine patch, it is essential to understand how nicotine patches function.
Nicotine patches are a form of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), which provides an individual a dose of nicotine to withdraw from nicotine without suffering from withdrawal symptoms.
Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical found in tobacco that leads to dependence, so people who smoke often find it too difficult to stop smoking. Nicotine is as addictive as heroin and cocaine. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms can last several days to several weeks and include headache, dizziness, cough, appetite changes, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, depression, constipation, mental fog, and anger.
Nicotine patches help prevent these symptoms of withdrawal while quitting smoking by providing a steady dose of nicotine throughout the day without the harmful chemicals found in tobacco. Patch strength is reduced over time, which allows for a gradual decline in dependency. Eventually, the user no longer craves nicotine.
Studies have shown that nicotine patches can double the chances of quitting smoking. However, it is not clear whether patches work significantly to reduce withdrawal symptoms caused by smokeless tobacco even though some studies show that nicotine patches can help individuals withdraw from marijuana. Furthermore, NRTs do not appear to help those addicted to the equivalent of fewer than ten cigarettes a day.
FDA Approved Methods of Quitting Smoking
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says they have approved the following forms of NRTs to help individuals stop smoking. Each contains a specific amount of nicotine.
- Nasal spray
Additionally, the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality states that NRTs are safe for all adults. However, this does not apply to teenagers and pregnant mothers.
Furthermore, manufacturers of Nicotine Replacement Therapy warn against smoking or chewing tobacco while using any NRTs.
There is a possible link between the use of Nicotine Replacement Therapy and increased cardiovascular problems. Anyone taking other medications or who have had any of the following health problems should speak with their doctor before using a patch or any nicotine products.
- Digestive ulcers
- Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)
- Allergies to tapes, bandages, Latex
- Skin problems, such as Eczema or Psoriasis
- High Blood Pressure
- High blood pressure
- Kidney disease
- Heart attack, heart disease, chest pain, irregular heartbeat
- Thyroid disease
- Liver disease
Side Effects of Smoking Weed on Nicotine Patches
Nicotine patches are not without adverse side-effects. One of these side-effects is the possibility of overdosing on nicotine, which can cause death. It is rare for this to happen but possible, which brings back the question of whether it is safe to smoke weed when using a nicotine patch.
The answer to this question is that it depends on the type of marijuana that is smoked, vaped, or eaten. Certain marijuana products contain nicotine because they also contain tobacco. This is why it is essential not to use weed products containing nicotine that can cause nicotine overdose when used along with a nicotine patch. The symptoms of nicotine overdose are as follows.
- Mood changes (confusion, restlessness, agitation, rage)
- Hives or severe rash or swelling
- Upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- Muscle weakness, body aches, or trembling
- Disturbed hearing or vision
- High or low blood pressure
- Dizziness, or fainting
- Breathing fast, difficulty breathing, or anaphylaxis (cessation)
In contrast, vaping marijuana will not cause a nicotine overdose as it contains no nicotine. However, nicotine withdrawal symptoms may increase while vaping while using a nicotine patch because of the chemicals used in creating vaping products. Vaping can cause symptoms such as low oxygen levels, fatigue, shortness of breath, night sweats, stomach problems, lung failure, and even death (rarely).
Other possible side effects of the nicotine patch might be tingling, itching, or burning after first applying the patch. Also, those who use the 24-hour patch may have trouble sleeping, vivid dreams, or nightmares. These symptoms can be magnified when smoking marijuana with a patch.
Some individuals experience itching, burning, tingling, redness, or swelling for up to twenty-four hours after applying the patch, due to the nicotine coming into contact with the skin.
All in all, when nicotine patches are used correctly and monitored closely, they can be a healthy alternative toward relieving symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. They help people to quit smoking. Additionally, as long as marijuana has no nicotine content, it is safe to smoke weed while using a nicotine patch. However, it is best to have a doctor prescribe both to prevent any possibility of nicotine overdose.