Acetylcysteine and Weed

{Fulldrug} and Weed

Authored by Pin Ng PhD

Edited by Hugh Soames

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Acetylcysteine and Weed


Most people who consume marijuana do so for its mood-altering and relaxing abilities. Weed gives people a high and allows them to relax. However, heavy consumption of weed can cause unwanted results. It can increase the anxiety and depression a person experiences, and it can interact with certain other drugs including Acetylcysteine. It is important to remember that interactions do occur with all types of drugs, to a great or lesser extent and this article details the interactions of mixing Acetylcysteine and Weed.


Mixing Acetylcysteine and Weed


Acetylcysteine, also known as N-acetylcysteine (NAC), is a medication that is used to treat paracetamol overdose and to loosen thick mucus in individuals with chronic bronchopulmonary disorders like pneumonia and bronchitis. It has been used to treat lactobezoar in infants. It can be taken intravenously, by mouth, or inhaled as a mist. Some people use it as a dietary supplement.

Common side effects include nausea and vomiting when taken by mouth. The skin may occasionally become red and itchy with any route of administration. A non-immune type of anaphylaxis may also occur. It appears to be safe in pregnancy. For paracetamol overdose, it works by increasing the level of glutathione, an antioxidant that can neutralise the toxic breakdown products of paracetamol. When inhaled, it acts as a mucolytic by decreasing the thickness of mucus.

Acetylcysteine was initially patented in 1960 and came into medical use in 1968. It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines. It is available as a generic medication.

The sulfur-containing amino acids cysteine and methionine are more easily oxidized than the other amino acids.

Intravenous and oral formulations of acetylcysteine are available for the treatment of paracetamol (acetaminophen) overdose. When paracetamol is taken in large quantities, a minor metabolite called N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine (NAPQI) accumulates within the body. It is normally conjugated by glutathione, but when taken in excess, the body’s glutathione reserves are not sufficient to deactivate the toxic NAPQI. This metabolite is then free to react with key hepatic enzymes, thereby damaging liver cells. This may lead to severe liver damage and even death by acute liver failure.

In the treatment of paracetamol (acetaminophen) overdose, acetylcysteine acts to maintain or replenish depleted glutathione reserves in the liver and enhance non-toxic metabolism of acetaminophen. These actions serve to protect liver cells from NAPQI toxicity. It is most effective in preventing or lessening hepatic injury when administered within 8–10 hours after overdose. Research suggests that the rate of liver toxicity is approximately 3% when acetylcysteine is administered within 10 hours of overdose.

Although IV and oral acetylcysteine are equally effective for this indication, oral administration is generally poorly tolerated due to the higher dosing required to overcome its low oral bioavailability, its foul taste and odour, and a higher incidence of adverse effects when taken by mouth, particularly nausea and vomiting. Prior pharmacokinetic studies of acetylcysteine did not consider acetylation as a reason for the low bioavailability of acetylcysteine. Oral acetylcysteine is identical in bioavailability to cysteine precursors. However, 3% to 6% of people given intravenous acetylcysteine show a severe, anaphylaxis-like allergic reaction, which may include extreme breathing difficulty (due to bronchospasm), a decrease in blood pressure, rash, angioedema, and sometimes also nausea and vomiting. Repeated doses of intravenous acetylcysteine will cause these allergic reactions to progressively worsen in these people.

Several studies have found this anaphylaxis-like reaction to occur more often in people given intravenous acetylcysteine despite serum levels of paracetamol not high enough to be considered toxic.

Inhaled acetylcysteine has been used for mucolytic (“mucus-dissolving”) therapy in addition to other therapies in respiratory conditions with excessive and/or thick mucus production. It is also used post-operatively, as a diagnostic aid, and in tracheotomy care. It may be considered ineffective in cystic fibrosis. A 2013 Cochrane review in cystic fibrosis found no evidence of benefit.

Acetylcysteine is used in the treatment of obstructive lung disease as an adjuvant treatment.

Acetylcysteine has been used to complex palladium, to help it dissolve in water. This helps to remove palladium from drugs or precursors synthesized by palladium-catalyzed coupling reactions. N-acetylcysteine can be used to protect the liver.

Acetylcysteine can be used in Petroff’s method of liquefaction and decontamination of sputum, in preparation for recovery of mycobacterium. It also displays significant antiviral activity against the influenza A viruses.

Acetylcysteine has bactericidal properties and breaks down bacterial biofilms of clinically relevant pathogens including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, Enterobacter cloacae, Staphylococcus epidermidis, and Klebsiella pneumoniae.

The most commonly reported adverse effects for IV formulations of acetylcysteine are rash, urticaria, and itchiness.

Adverse effects for inhalational formulations of acetylcysteine include nausea, vomiting, stomatitis, fever, rhinorrhea, drowsiness, clamminess, chest tightness, and bronchoconstriction. Although infrequent, bronchospasm has been reported to occur unpredictably in some patients.

Adverse effects for oral formulations of acetylcysteine have been reported to include nausea, vomiting, rash, and fever.

Large doses in a mouse model showed that acetylcysteine could potentially cause damage to the heart and lungs. They found that acetylcysteine was metabolized to S-nitroso-N-acetylcysteine (SNOAC), which increased blood pressure in the lungs and right ventricle of the heart (pulmonary artery hypertension) in mice treated with acetylcysteine. The effect was similar to that observed following a 3-week exposure to an oxygen-deprived environment (chronic hypoxia). The authors also found that SNOAC induced a hypoxia-like response in the expression of several important genes both in vitro and in vivo.

The implications of these findings for long-term treatment with acetylcysteine have not yet been investigated. The dose used by Palmer and colleagues was dramatically higher than that used in humans, the equivalent of about 20 grams per day. In humans, a much lower dosages (600 mg per day) have been observed to counteract some age-related decline in the hypoxic ventilatory response as tested by inducing prolonged hypoxia.

Although N-acetylcysteine prevented liver damage in mice when taken before alcohol, when taken four hours after alcohol it made liver damage worse in a dose-dependent fashion.

Acetylcysteine serves as a prodrug to L-cysteine, a precursor to the biologic antioxidant glutathione. Hence administration of acetylcysteine replenishes glutathione stores.

L-cysteine also serves as a precursor to cystine, which in turn serves as a substrate for the cystine-glutamate antiporter on astrocytes; hence there is increasing glutamate release into the extracellular space. This glutamate in turn acts on mGluR2/3 receptors, and at higher doses of acetylcysteine, mGluR5.

Acetylcysteine also possesses some anti-inflammatory effects possibly via inhibiting NF-κB and modulating cytokine synthesis.

Acetylcysteine is extensively liver metabolized, CYP450 minimal, urine excretion is 22–30% with a half-life of 5.6 hours in adults and 11 hours in newborns.

Acetylcysteine is the N-acetyl derivative of the amino acid L-cysteine, and is a precursor in the formation of the antioxidant glutathione in the body. The thiol (sulfhydryl) group confers antioxidant effects and is able to reduce free radicals.

N-acetyl-L-cysteine is soluble in water and alcohol, and practically insoluble in chloroform and ether.

It is a white to white with light yellow cast powder, and has a pKa of 9.5 at 30 °C.

Acetylcysteine was first studied as a drug in 1963. Amazon removed acetylcysteine for sale in the US in 2021, due to claims by the FDA of it being classified as a drug rather than a supplement. In April 2022, the FDA released draft guidance on FDA’s policy regarding products labeled as dietary supplements that contain N-acetyl-L-cysteine. Amazon subsequently re-listed NAC products as of August 2022.

While many antioxidants have been researched to treat a large number of diseases by reducing the negative effect of oxidative stress, acetylcysteine is one of the few that has yielded promising results, and is currently already approved for the treatment of paracetamol overdose.

Evidence for the benefit of acetylcysteine to prevent radiocontrast induced kidney disease is mixed.

Acetylcysteine has been used for cyclophosphamide-induced haemorrhagic cystitis, although mesna is generally preferred due to the ability of acetylcysteine to diminish the effectiveness of cyclophosphamide.

Acetylcysteine has been studied for major psychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and schizophrenia.

Tentative evidence exists for N-acetylcysteine also in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, specific drug addictions (cocaine), drug-induced neuropathy, trichotillomania, excoriation disorder, and a certain form of epilepsy (progressive myoclonic). Preliminary evidence showed efficacy in anxiety disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and mild traumatic brain injury although confirmatory studies are required. Tentative evidence also supports use in cannabis use disorder.

It is also being studied for use as a treatment of body-focused repetitive behavior.

Evidence to date does not support the efficacy for N-acetylcysteine in treating addictions to gambling, methamphetamine, or nicotine. Based upon limited evidence, NAC appears to normalize glutamate neurotransmission in the nucleus accumbens and other brain structures, in part by upregulating the expression of excitatory amino acid transporter 2 (EAAT2), a.k.a. glutamate transporter 1 (GLT1), in individuals with addiction. While NAC has been demonstrated to modulate glutamate neurotransmission in adult humans who are addicted to cocaine, NAC does not appear to modulate glutamate neurotransmission in healthy adult humans. NAC has been hypothesized to exert beneficial effects through its modulation of glutamate and dopamine neurotransmission as well as its antioxidant properties.

In bipolar disorder, N-acetylcysteine has been repurposed as an augmentation strategy for depressive episodes in light of the possible role of inflammation in the pathogenesis of mood disorders. Nonetheless, meta-analytic evidence shows that add-on N-acetylcysteine was more effective than placebo only in reducing depression scales scores (low quality evidence), without positive effects on response and remission outcomes, limiting its possible role in clinical practice to date.

Acetylcysteine is being considered as a possible treatment for COVID-19.

A combination of guanfacine and N-acetylcysteine has been found to lift the “brain fog” of eight patients with long COVID, according to researchers.


Research has found that anxiety is one of the leading symptoms created by marijuana in users, and that there is a correlation between Acetylcysteine and Weed and an increase in anxiety.


Anyone mixing Acetylcysteine and weed is likely to experience side effects. This happens with all medications whether weed or Acetylcysteine is mixed with them. Side effects can be harmful when mixing Acetylcysteine and weed. Doctors are likely to refuse a patient a Acetylcysteine prescription if the individual is a weed smoker or user. Of course, this could be due to the lack of studies and research completed on the mixing of Acetylcysteine and Weed.


Heavy, long-term weed use is harmful for people. It alters the brain’s functions and structure, and all pharmaceuticals and drugs including Acetylcysteine are designed to have an impact on the brain. There is a misplaced belief that pharmaceuticals and medication work by treating only the parts of the body affected yet this is obviously not the case in terms of Acetylcysteine. For example, simple painkiller medication does not heal the injury, it simply interrupts the brains functions to receive the pain cause by the injury. To say then that two drugs, Acetylcysteine and Weed, dol not interact is wrong. There will always be an interaction between Acetylcysteine and Weed in the brain11.J. D. Brown and A. G. Winterstein, Potential Adverse Drug Events and Drug–Drug Interactions with Medical and Consumer Cannabidiol (CBD) Use – PMC, PubMed Central (PMC).; Retrieved September 27, 2022, from


One of the milder side effects of mixing Acetylcysteine and Weed is Scromiting. This condition, reportedly caused by mixing Acetylcysteine and Weed, describes a marijuana-induced condition where the user experiences episodes of violent vomiting, which are often so severe and painful that they cause the person to scream. The medical term for Scromiting by mixing Acetylcysteine and Weed is cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, or CHS.  For these reasons, some people choose to quit smoking weed.


It was first included in scientific reports in 2004. Since then, researchers have determined that Scromiting is the result of ongoing, long-term use of marijuana—particularly when the drug contains high levels of THC, marijuana’s main psychoactive ingredient. Some experts believe that the receptors in the gut become overstimulated by THC, thus causing the repeated cycles of vomiting.


In the long run, a person can become even more depressed. There is a belief that marijuana is all-natural and not harmful to a person’s health. This is not true and Acetylcysteine and weed can cause health issues the more a person consumes it.


How does Weed effect the potency of Acetylcysteine?


The way in which the body absorbs and process Acetylcysteine may be affected by weed. Therefore, the potency of the Acetylcysteine may be less effective. Marijuana inhibits the metabolization of Acetylcysteine. Not having the right potency of Acetylcysteine means a person may either have a delay in the relief of their underlying symptoms.


A person seeking Acetylcysteine medication that uses weed should speak to their doctor. It is important the doctor knows about a patient’s weed use, so they can prescribe the right Acetylcysteine medication and strength. Or depending on level of interactions they may opt to prescribe a totally different medication. It is important for the doctor to know about their patient’s marijuana use. Weed is being legalized around the US, so doctors should be open to speaking about a patient’s use of it.


Sideffects of Acetylcysteine and Weed


Many individuals may not realize that there are side effects and consequences to mixing Acetylcysteine and Weed such as:


  • Dizziness
  • Sluggishness
  • Drowsiness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Palpitations
  • Respiratory Depression
  • Cardiac Arrest
  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Death


Interestingly, it is impossible to tell what effect mixing this substance with Weed will have on an individual due to their own unique genetic make up and tolerance. It is never advisable to mix Acetylcysteine and Weed due to the chances of mild, moderate and severe side effects. If you are having an adverse reaction from mixing Acetylcysteine and Weed it’s imperative that you head to your local emergency room. Even mixing a small amount of Acetylcysteine and Weed is not recommended.


Taking Acetylcysteine and Weed together


People who take Acetylcysteine and Weed together will experience the effects of both substances. Technically, the specific effects and reactions that occur due to frequent use of Acetylcysteine and weed depend on whether you consume more weed in relation to Acetylcysteine or more Acetylcysteine in relation to weed.


The use of significantly more weed and Acetylcysteine will lead to sedation and lethargy, as well as the synergistic effects resulting from a mixture of the two medications.


People who take both weed and Acetylcysteine may experience effects such as:


  • reduced motor reflexes from Acetylcysteine and Weed
  • dizziness from Weed and Acetylcysteine
  • nausea and vomiting due to Acetylcysteine and Weed


Some people may also experience more euphoria, depression, irritability or all three. A combination of weed and Acetylcysteine leads to significantly more lethargy which can easily tip over into coma, respiratory depression seizures and death.

Mixing weed and Acetylcysteine


The primary effect of weed is influenced by an increase in the concentration of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which is found in the spinal cord and brain stem, and by a reduction in its effect on neuronal transmitters. When weed is combined with Acetylcysteine this primary effect is exaggerated, increasing the strain on the body with unpredictable results.


Weed and Acetylcysteine affects dopamine levels in the brain, causing the body both mental and physical distress. Larger amounts of Acetylcysteine and weed have a greater adverse effect yet leading medical recommendation is that smaller does of Acetylcysteine can be just as harmful and there is no way of knowing exactly how Acetylcysteine and weed is going to affect an individual before they take it.


Taking Acetylcysteine and weed together


People who take Acetylcysteine and weed together will experience the effects of both substances. The use of significantly more Acetylcysteine with weed will lead to sedation and lethargy, as well as the synergistic effects resulting from a mixture of the two medications.


People who take both weed and Acetylcysteine may experience effects such as:


  • reduced motor reflexes from Acetylcysteine and weed
  • dizziness from weed and Acetylcysteine
  • nausea and vomiting of the Acetylcysteine


Some people may also experience more euphoria, depression, irritability or all three. A combination of weed and Acetylcysteine leads to significantly more lethargy which can easily tip over into coma, respiratory depression seizures and death.

Weed Vs Acetylcysteine


Taking Acetylcysteine in sufficient quantities increases the risk of a heart failure. Additionally, people under the influence of Acetylcysteine and weed may have difficulty forming new memories. With weed vs Acetylcysteine in an individual’s system they become confused and do not understand their environment. Due to the synergistic properties of Acetylcysteine when mixed with weed it can lead to confusion, anxiety, depression and other mental disorders. Chronic use of Acetylcysteine and weed can lead to permanent changes in the brain22.G. Lafaye, L. Karila, L. Blecha and A. Benyamina, Cannabis, cannabinoids, and health – PMC, PubMed Central (PMC).; Retrieved September 27, 2022, from


Acetylcysteine Vs Weed


Studies investigating the effects of drugs such as Acetylcysteine and weed have shown that the potential for parasomnia (performing tasks in sleep) is dramatically increased when Acetylcysteine and weed are combined. Severe and dangerous side effects can occur when medications are mixed in the system, and sleep disorders are a common side effect of taking weed and Acetylcysteine together.


When a small to medium amount of weed is combined with Acetylcysteine, sleep disorders such as sleep apnea can occur. According to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) most ER visits and hospitalizations caused by too much weed were associated with other substances such as Acetylcysteine.


How long after taking Acetylcysteine can I smoke weed or take edibles?


To avoid any residual toxicity it is advisable to wait until the Acetylcysteine has totally cleared your system before taking weed, even in small quantities.


Overdose on Acetylcysteine and weed


In the case of Overdose on Acetylcysteine or if you are worried after mixing Acetylcysteine and weed, call a first responder or proceed to the nearest Emergency Room immediately.


If you are worried about someone who has taken too much Acetylcysteine or mixed weed with Acetylcysteine then call a first responder or take them to get immediate medical help. The best place for you or someone you care about in the case of a medical emergency is under medical supervision. Be sure to tell the medical team that there is a mix of Acetylcysteine and weed in their system.


Excessive Weed intake and result in scromiting, chs, and anxiety disorder.  It is advisable to quit vaping weed if you are feeling these symptoms.

Mixing Acetylcysteine and weed and antidepressants


Weed users feeling depressed and anxious may be prescribed antidepressant medication. There are some antidepressant users who also use Acetylcysteine and weed. These individuals may not realize that there are side effects and consequences to consuming both Acetylcysteine, marijuana and a range of antidepressants.


Studies on weed, Acetylcysteine and antidepressants is almost nil. The reason for so little information on the side effects of the two is mostly down to marijuana being illegal in most places – although a number of states in the United States have legalized the drug.


Self-medicating with Weed and Acetylcysteine


A lot of people suffer from depression caused by weed and Acetylcysteine. How many? According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), in any given year, it is estimated that nearly 16 million adults experience depression. Unfortunately, that number is likely to be wrong due to under reporting. Many people do not report suffering from depression because they do not want to be looked at as suffering from a mental illness. The stigmas around mental health continue and people do not want to be labeled as depressed.


Potential side effects from mixing Acetylcysteine and weed


Quitting weed to take Acetylcysteine


Medical professionals say an individual prescribed or taking Acetylcysteine should not stop using weed cold turkey.  Withdrawal symptoms can be significant. Heavy pot users should especially avoid going cold turkey. The side effects of withdrawal from weed include anxiety, irritability, loss of sleep, change of appetite, and depression by quitting weed cold turkey and starting to take Acetylcysteine.


A person beginning to use Acetylcysteine should cut back on weed slowly. While reducing the amount of weed use, combine it with mindfulness techniques and/or yoga. Experts stress that non-medication can greatly improve a person’s mood.


Weed and Acetylcysteine can affect a person in various ways. Different types of marijuana produce different side effects. Side effects of weed and Acetylcysteine may include:


  • loss of motor skills
  • poor or lack of coordination
  • lowered blood pressure
  • short-term memory loss
  • increased heart rate
  • increased blood pressure
  • anxiety
  • paranoia
  • increased energy
  • increased motivation


Mixing Acetylcysteine and weed can also produce hallucinations in users. This makes marijuana a hallucinogenic for some users. Weed creates different side effects in different people, making it a very potent drug. Now, mixing Acetylcysteine or other mental health drugs with weed can cause even more unwanted side effects.


Mixing drugs and weed conclusion


Long-term weed use can make depression and anxiety worse. In addition, using marijuana can prevent Acetylcysteine from working to their full potential33.J. D. Brown and A. G. Winterstein, Potential Adverse Drug Events and Drug–Drug Interactions with Medical and Consumer Cannabidiol (CBD) Use – PMC, PubMed Central (PMC).; Retrieved September 27, 2022, from Weed consumption should be reduced gradually to get the most out of prescription medication. Marijuana is a drug and it is harmful to individual’s long-term health. Weed has many side effects and the consequences are different to each person who uses it, especially when mixed with Acetylcysteine.


If you take Acetylcysteine, and also drink Alcohol or MDMA, you can research the effects of Acetylcysteine and Alcohol , Acetylcysteine and Cocaine as well as Acetylcysteine and MDMA here.


To find the effects of other drugs and weed refer to our Weed and Other Drugs Index A to L or our Weed and Other Drugs Index M-Z.

Or you could find what you are looking for in our Alcohol and Interactions with Other Drugs index A to L or Alcohol and Interactions with Other Drugs index M to Z , Cocaine and Interactions with Other Drugs index A to L or Cocaine and Interactions with Other Drugs index M to Z or our MDMA and Interactions with Other Drugs Index A to L or MDMA and Interactions with Other Drugs Index M to Z.


Acetylcysteine and Weed

Acetylcysteine and Weed

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  • 1
    1.J. D. Brown and A. G. Winterstein, Potential Adverse Drug Events and Drug–Drug Interactions with Medical and Consumer Cannabidiol (CBD) Use – PMC, PubMed Central (PMC).; Retrieved September 27, 2022, from
  • 2
    2.G. Lafaye, L. Karila, L. Blecha and A. Benyamina, Cannabis, cannabinoids, and health – PMC, PubMed Central (PMC).; Retrieved September 27, 2022, from
  • 3
    3.J. D. Brown and A. G. Winterstein, Potential Adverse Drug Events and Drug–Drug Interactions with Medical and Consumer Cannabidiol (CBD) Use – PMC, PubMed Central (PMC).; Retrieved September 27, 2022, from