I’m sure you would only do cocaine for the sake of science. Luckily, science has already answered this question so that you don’t have to.

Despite the “gateway drug” theory, the vast majority of people who try cannabis never go on to try harder drugs like cocaine. In fact, the recent trend is that the US is spending less money on cocaine every year and that money is instead going to cannabis.

However, a certain percent of people will have the following thought: “I like weed. I like cocaine. What will happen if I combine both of them?”. Today, I will tell you what the science says about this.

A Drug Interaction Between Cannabis and Cocaine

It was almost 15 years ago that this drug combination was tested in a scientific study. Five subjects went into a lab on three different occasions. On each occasion, they smoked a joint with a different level of THC: 0.004% THC (basically a placebo), 1.24% THC, or 2.64% THC. This is pretty weak by today’s standards, but check out this sweet bong setup they had in the lab!

cannabis-lab-bong

Thirty minutes after smoking, they received an intranasal (i.e. snorted) dose of 0.9 mg/kg cocaine. Since the average male is around 80 kg, that is 72 mg of cocaine. That may not sound like a lot (it is the equivalent of breaking a gram into 14 lines and doing one line), but this is 100% pure research grade cocaine.

(Side note: did you know that THC can also be administered intranasally?) 

Blood levels of cocaine were measured alongside psychological measurements of the good (eurphoric) and bad (dysphoric) effects of the cannabis and cocaine combination.

Subjects noticed the effects of cocaine come on much faster when they were stoned (in only 30 seconds for the high dose THC group vs. almost 2 minutes for the placebo group). The euphoric effects of the high dose THC/cocaine combo also lasted about 5 times longer than cocaine by itself!

These results made sense when the blood levels of cocaine were measured: Cocaine levels were 75% higher after the high dose THC than the low dose THC or placebo.

drug-interaction-cocaine-cannabisNormally, cocaine constricts the blood vessels in the nose, which limits subsequent absorption of the drug. The scientists hypothesized that THC blocked this vasoconstriction, allowing more cocaine to be absorbed.

Now that you know what happens, remember that cocaine is highly addictive (and not in a drug war propaganda exaggerated type of way).  On top of that, both cannabis and cocaine cause tachycardia and the effect of the two is additive, meaning you will have an even higher heart rate than taking either drug alone. This is one experiment that you don’t need to repeat.

Incidentally, it turns out that the endocannabinoid system plays a key role in drug dependence and may be the target for new anti-addiction drugs. I will cover this in an upcoming article.

[Featured image credit: Flickr/Valerie Everett]

Last modified: June 2, 2017

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