What Are The Side Effects of Cannabis?

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Marijuana may be becoming the best known if not hottest herb on the planet lately. It is popular for either medicinal or recreational purposes and a person can gain a lot of benefits from it which ever purpose they choose. But what are the side effects of Cannabis, do you actually know?

That answer is actually hotly contested. The reason is because it is not an easy-to-answer question. In part, it is because of the many different strains of marijuana now more widely available to consumers. On the other hand…

Side effects of Cannabis also seem to vary depending on what users actually use the drug for.

Medical patients report very different experiences than those who use it only recreationally. Further, the only real concern about “side effects” stems from a single, albeit the most widely known cannabinoid in the cannabis plant – THC.  

The idea of negative side effects of Cannabis from all the other cannabinoids in the plant – starting with CBD that is also found in hemp, is a ridiculous one.

In fact, the entire conversation really is a discussion about the impact of THC – the psychoactive part of the plant.

High THC Impacts Developing Brains

amygdala- side effects of cannabis

One of the most important bits of research that has only become more pronounced lately, is that cannabinoids clearly impact developing human brains – although again it is not known in what capacity.  

This of course has raised question marks as low-THC strains of cannabis are increasingly given to children with epilepsy and other diseases it helps treat.

We covered in depth how children with epilepsy can benefit from THC in a recent article titled Medical Cannabis Helps Children with Serious Illnesses. Where it is obvious that despite the concerns it has too many benefits to be ignored. However, this treatment is still new and how it will impact the future of the children is yet to be determined.

Pregnant women are also highly advised NOT to take any kind of cannabinoid when pregnant. Due to the unknown impacts on fetus people would rather avoid than risk it. However, it’s not always the case and we found out more about why pregnant women do turn to cannabis in the article Is Marijuana Use During Pregnancy Safe?

Finally, teenagers’ brains are also still developing, so they too should abstain from the drug unless specifically prescribed for medical reasons by a licensed doctor. This is an age group where there is the most concern as they are in their prime for experimenting and rebelling. There are ways however, to reach out and deal with teens seeking to use Cannabis and we also discussed this here.  

Overall, cannabis must be used responsibly and more importantly monitored if given to young minds.

Does It Cause Hangovers?

The answer is no. In general, Cannabis of any kind (including THC) does not cause headaches or bad feelings when the high wears off (in most people).  

Headaches are commonly caused when hungover due to dehydration or strained neck muscles. But neither are generally caused by THC.

Can You Overdose on Cannabis?

For the most part, the answer is absolutely not. You can smoke too much and get cannabis “poisoning” – i.e. it can cause nausea or you can go to sleep and feel sick for a few hours, but this is also not usually possible via smoking a bud.

  • You certainly can get a significant jolt by using concentrates, although again, there are no known fatal overdoses by users imbibing the drug this way.
  • It is absolutely possible to ingest too much cannabis by eating it in an edible product. There are reports of particularly novice users eating too much of an edible containing THC and then becoming extremely disoriented as the drug works its way through their system.  

Cannabis poisonings, unfortunately, are becoming more common with the rise of edibles and super-strong concentrates.

The worst thing that can happen is that users will feel extremely nauseous for a few hours as the psychoactive part of the drug work its way through your system. In rare cases, such users need to be taken to the hospital.

THC can, however, be fatal for pets. If you suspect a pet has had access to your stash, take the animal to the vet immediately.

Can You Have An Allergic Reaction To Cannabis?

side effects of cannabis

Cannabinoids, including THC, are actually anti-inflammatory and not necessarily linked to Allergies. That said, there have been users who have had allergic reactions after using cannabinoids.

The most likely answer is that they are actually allergic to specific pollens, fertilizers or other substances used in the growing process. It also could be an allergy to mold that can develop on plants left in substandard conditions during the curing/drying process.  

Users can also experience food allergies to other ingredients in edibles containing THC (such as nuts and gluten).

Can Marijuana Cause Panic Attacks?

side effects of cannabis

Yes. As much as some medical users report that marijuana helps them manage panic attacks, paranoia, and bouts of anxiety, recreational users could, in fact, experience these emotions and feelings.

Whether someone will experience such a reaction, however, is also not a given and depends on multiple variables, including the type of marijuana one has smoked or ingested and experience with the drug itself. Like many other things, it just depends.  

Can Marijuana Impact Memory?

side effects of cannabis

Yes. The studies so far show that marijuana has a marked impact on short-term memory, although again, how it interacts with the same and for whom is not really understood as of yet.

One of the reasons that the drug appears to help people with PTSD, for example, is that it allows the brain to short-circuit painful, reoccurring, chronically painful thoughts about trauma.

It is also clear that the reason that THC, in particular, should be kept out of the hands of teenagers, is that THC in particular, seems to alter the development of the brain itself.

Marijuana Is A Drug

The bottom line is that marijuana is a drug. It can have unbelievably miraculous healing powers for people with serious medical conditions.  

It is not thought to be addictive and can be used in moderation, in a way that is far less harmful than alcohol or tobacco. That said, it is not harmless and should always be used with caution.

How do you personally deal with side effects of Cannabis?

Share with us in the comments below!

Marguerite Arnold

Marguerite Arnold

Marguerite is an American expat. She has worked in digitalization of two industries (film and finance) for over 25 years as well as a professional journalist and writer. She lives in Frankfurt where she is also just finishing her Executive MBA at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, working as a freelancer and writing a medical marijuana/FinTech business plan. She published her first ebook on the pace of marijuana reform last year.

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