What effect does smoking weed have on your body’s magnesium levels? And if you smoke weed, should you worry about deficiency or take magnesium supplements? In this post, we’ll answer those questions with the available research.
Whether you use cannabis or not, your body does need magnesium to function properly. Yet, the vast majority of Canadians don’t get enough of this vital mineral from diet alone. Furthermore, some foods, drinks, prescriptions, and lifestyle factors can deplete magnesium in your system, making it more important that you supplement with magnesium to make sure your serum levels stay high enough.
For instance, if you smoke marijuana, it can decrease the way your body absorbs nutrients like magnesium, potentially making you deficient. If unaddressed, deficiencies can cause a range of problems. There is some research that suggests cannabis depletes magnesium levels. We’ll explain, here.
We’ll also talk about why magnesium is important for your body, the side effects of magnesium deficiency, and why you may want to take an easily-absorbable magnesium supplement to achieve optimal health.
What Is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a macronutrient that enables hundreds of processes in your body, from cellular replication to liver metabolism to temperature regulation. Every cell in your body contains magnesium and needs it to function.
Magnesium is often prescribed for magnesium deficiency, but can also be recommended for issues like heartburn and constipation.
Approximately 60% of your body’s magnesium is located in your bones, and the rest is in your muscles, soft tissues, and fluids like blood.
Why Smoking Weed Can Deplete Magnesium Levels
Smoking or ingesting weed can inhibit the metabolization of magnesium supplements, leading to magnesium deficiency and all the symptoms that come with it.
There are many substances that do deplete magnesium, including alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, diuretics, and some prescription drugs. In some cases, magnesium seems to be used up in metabolizing these substances. In other cases, magnesium is flushed from your body at a faster rate when you use these substances, which leaves less available for use in your cells.
Being low in magnesium may contribute to the jittery or depressed aftereffect that some weed smokers feel when they are coming down from a high. This may be because of how magnesium calms the nervous system.
Speak with your doctor if you believe you have a magnesium deficiency from smoking weed, so they can help you find a supplement that works for you (or refer you to resources for dealing with addiction, if you are struggling with that).
Aggressive Behavior From Smoking Weed and Magnesium Deficiency
We think of cannabis as a calming substance, but without enough magnesium, smoking weed could be associated with aggression.
One study in the journal Physiology and Behavior indicates that magnesium deficiency, when combined with taking THC — the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana — causes aggressive behaviour in rats. The rats that were given a magnesium-deficient diet and subsequently injected with THC were far more likely to attack and kill mice. This was true even when the rats were only injected with low doses of THC, and when the rats had a moderate or a severe magnesium deficiency.
The hyper-aggressive behaviour may be caused by instability of serotonin levels in the rats. Magnesium has an important effect on serotonin, one of the “happy hormones”. Too little magnesium in the brain reduces serotonin.
The Physiology and Behavior journal paper notes:
“It appears that a magnesium deficiency, even a moderate one, may aggravate the neurotoxicity of THC at low doses and, reciprocally, that low doses of THC may reveal the potential neurotoxicity of a moderate magnesium deficiency.”
A neurotoxin is anything that can damage the brain or nervous system. So, magnesium supplements could be protective against the neurotoxic effect of THC in weed, and too little magnesium could be toxic for the brain and nervous system.
This is one of the few pieces of research on magnesium supplements and smoking weed, but it’s an interesting and potentially important finding.
The Biggest Benefits of Magnesium
Sufficient levels of magnesium can help you:
Keep Your Mood Level
Magnesium is important for managing mood and maintaining brain function. In fact, scientists have linked low levels of magnesium with increased risks of depression.
For a study in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, researchers analyzed over 8,000 participants and discovered that people under the age of 65 who had the lowest magnesium intake had a 22% higher risk of becoming depressed.
Maintaining adequate levels of magnesium from your diet, or supplementing with magnesium when necessary, can also reduce the symptoms of depression.
Keep Teeth and Bones Strong
Due to the way magnesium acts on bone cells, magnesium deficiency can contribute directly to osteoporosis.
A 2016 study in the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research showed that magnesium has a positive effect on the activity levels of osteoblasts — the cells responsible for the formation of new bones. The researchers pointed to the possibility of using magnesium to treat diseases like osteoporosis in the future.
In this study, researchers reported:
“We argue that magnesium may enhance the [communication] between osteoblasts, and then promote the transfer of molecules between communicating cells. In this way, it would improve the response of osteoblasts to various stimulating signals. These data provide further support for the hypothesis that stimulatory effects of magnesium ion on osteoblasts and osteogenesis activity are not only due to the direct binding and activation of their receptors, but also due to a direct action on the [communication] that coordinates bone remodelling.”
You also need magnesium to create the outer enamel of your teeth. Calcium is important for the production of soft enamel, which decays more easily. You need magnesium to build the harder, outer enamel that keeps you from getting cavities.
Maintain Cardiovascular System Health
Sufficient levels of magnesium are inversely related to coronary artery calcification. A study for the National Library of Medicine showed that patients with low serum magnesium levels had a 36% increased risk of dying from coronary heart disease. Additionally, patients with lower magnesium levels had a 54% increase in sudden death from cardiac events.
Keeping Your Nerves at Bay
Your nervous system needs magnesium to send electrical impulse messages to the muscles, and send messages from the muscles back to the brain. When you are deficient in magnesium, you can experience symptoms like heart palpitations, muscle twitches, irritability, and nervousness.
Maintain Energy Levels
Fatigue is a very common symptom of magnesium deficiency because magnesium is a critical part of the energy production process in your body.
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) — an essential enzyme involved in metabolism and energy needs to bind with magnesium to become biologically active. As you are physically active, you deplete your ATP stores quickly, and need more magnesium to rebuild your stores and avoid feeling tired. Magnesium is particularly important for athletes or people who have very active jobs.
Although more research is needed, it is possible that low magnesium levels contribute to the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). In a report on a trial for the Lancet, scientists said:
“[CFS] patients treated with magnesium claimed to have improved energy levels, better emotional state, and less pain, as judged by changes in the Nottingham health profile. 12 of the 15 treated patients said that they had benefited from treatment, and in 7 patient energy score improved from the maximum to the minimum. By contrast, 3 of the 17 patients on placebo said that they felt better (difference 62%, 95% CI 35 to 90), and 1 patient had a better energy score. Red cell magnesium returned to normal in all patients on magnesium but in only 1 patient on placebo. The findings show that magnesium may have a role in CFS.”
Regulate Blood Sugar
Magnesium deficiency also contributes to insulin resistance, an impaired response to insulin that leads to increased blood sugar. In a 1994 study, researchers linked low blood serum magnesium levels to insulin resistance in patients with Type 2 diabetes, saying:
“In type 2, or non-insulin-dependent, diabetes mellitus, magnesium deficiency seems to be associated with insulin resistance. Furthermore, it may participate in the pathogenesis of diabetes complications and may contribute to the increased risk of sudden death associated with diabetes.”
The Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
If you have low serum magnesium levels, you could experience any of the following symptoms:
- Headaches or migraines
- Muscle cramps
- Numbness or tingling in your limbs
- Anger, irritability, or aggression
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Insomnia or sleep disturbances
- Lethargy or fatigue
- Impaired memory or thinking
- Brain fog or trouble concentrating
Additionally, magnesium deficiency may contribute to the following conditions:
- Heart Disease
- Adrenal Fatigue
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Heart Palpitations
- Atrial Fibrillation
- Congestive heart failure
- Kidney stones
- Mental health issues
In an article called “About the Misdiagnosis of Magnesium Deficiency” in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, scientists said:
“Patients with diagnoses of depression, epilepsy, diabetes mellitus, tremor, Parkinsonism, arrhythmias, circulatory disturbances (stroke, cardiac infarction, arteriosclerosis), hypertension, migraine, cluster headache, cramps, neuro-vegetative disorders, abdominal pain, osteoporosis, asthma, stress-dependent disorders, tinnitus, ataxia, confusion, preeclampsia, weakness, might also be consequences of the magnesium deficiency syndrome.”
Is It Possible to Overdose on Magnesium and Weed?
Can you combine magnesium supplements and smoking weed safely?
Chances are that you won’t take both at the same time, but even if you were to take a magnesium supplement while smoking weed, you shouldn’t expect any adverse effects from the combination of the two.
There have been no formal studies on the interactions between taking magnesium and consuming weed. Healthy individuals excrete excess magnesium in urine, so there is rarely any risk of excess.
Of course, use cannabis in moderation to avoid the risks of over-consuming that alone.
Ask your doctor if you have concerns about how marijuana interacts with any of your supplements, prescription or over-the-counter medications.
How to Get More Magnesium (Important for Weed Smokers)
Magnesium is an essential part of achieving optimal health, but studies show that the vast majority of people aren’t meeting their daily magnesium needs through diet alone.
Lifestyle factors like smoking weed can increase your daily magnesium needs.
Foods that naturally contain high levels of magnesium include:
- Black beans
- Pumpkin seeds
- Peanut butter
If You Smoke Weed, You May Need a Magnesium Supplement
If you smoke or consume weed, you may need to consider adding a magnesium supplement to your diet, to avoid the symptoms of deficiency. Look for a high-quality magnesium supplement that’s easily absorbed, and one that you’ll take every day.
Natural Calm® magnesium citrate powder is an option if you like the idea of drinking your magnesium as a hot, fruit-flavoured tea. When you mix Natural Calm powder with hot water, it fizzes and then rapidly dissolves to become highly absorbable. It can be enjoyed hot or cold.
Natural Calm is famous for its calming effect. (Yes, it’s no surprise!) So, you may find it replaces the calming ritual of smoking weed. For example, if you like to smoke weed to calm down in the evening, try a cup of Natural Calm one night, instead.
You can take magnesium at any time of day, but before bed is one suggestion because it can help with sleep.
Natural Calm magnesium gummies are also very popular, so much so that we are sometimes out of stock. Check our online store and the shelves of major Canadian retailers to find Natural Calm gummies in raspberry-lemon or orange.
Note: This content is for informational use only, and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or professional diagnosis.