Adults all over Canada can now buy marijuana for both recreational and medical use. Marijuana can have all kinds of positive effects. In addition to the euphoric, mood-lifting high it gives you, it can also help with all kinds of medical ailments from chronic pain to anxiety and even reduce the risk of diseases such as cancer. But what are the side effects of marijuana?
Marijuana is actually very safe to use compared to many other substances and medications. However, there are still some side effects you’ll need to be aware of. Minor side effects can be expected with every use, whereas more serious side effects generally only affect those that smoke too much. Here’s a guide to the common side effects of marijuana and how to deal with them.
One of the most common side effects of marijuana that every user will experience at some point is the munchies. When you smoke marijuana, it increases the production of hormones which induce hunger such as ghrelin and leptin. Research also shows that marijuana flips the hunger switch in your brain and makes you feel like you’re hungry even if your stomach is full.
As such, many users end up feeling extra hungry when they’re high, no matter how much they’ve eaten that day. However, while some users may see this as a negative side effect, it does have its positives. Marijuana can help induce hunger in patients suffering from a lack of appetite. Not only that, but it can also make food more enjoyable for them.
Although some users may worry about the munchies making them gain weight, studies suggest marijuana users are actually less likely to be obese. As such, you can enjoy the munchies without worrying too much.
Dry Eyes and Dry Mouth
Another common side effect of smoking marijuana is dry mouth. Also known as cottonmouth, most users will get this when they smoke weed. Smoking tends to dry up the moisture in your mouth and reduce saliva production. Although this side effect is only mildly uncomfortable, you may want to avoid it by drinking more water and chewing gum.
Your mouth isn’t the only part of your body that’ll dry up, either. Most users also report getting dry eyes when they smoke marijuana. This is also what causes the typical red eyes associated with getting high. Dry eyes are a bit harder to tackle, but luckily this isn’t too serious of a side effect.
Smoking is the worst culprit for dry eyes and dry mouth, and using cannabis in other ways might help a little bit. However, these are two side effects every user is likely to experience and, fortunately, they’re only mildly inconvenient.
Paranoia and Anxiety
One of the more pressing concerns for marijuana users is an increase in paranoia and anxiety. It won’t happen to every user, and likely won’t happen every time, but sometimes using cannabis can cause you to become more paranoid and anxious.
It often depends on how much you smoke and the kind of strains you smoke. High-THC strains are notorious for exacerbating anxiety symptoms. Sativa strains may also be too stimulating for some users. It can also depend on your particular mental state- those who are more prone to symptoms of anxiety are more likely to get anxious or paranoid while smoking weed.
You can usually avoid these effects by being careful about how much you use and avoiding strains that are too potent. Some strains, when used in moderation, are even known to reduce anxiety. However, if you experience these side effects regularly, you may want to consider cutting down or quitting smoking. In severe cases, marijuana can trigger issues such as schizophrenia in some individuals.
Getting high often results in impairment to your mental function- in particular your memory. The psychoactive effects of THC can often make you feel slow and forgetful.
Research suggests that higher THC strains are usually much worse for your memory, whereas high-CBD low-THC strains are relatively much better for your mind. However, all kinds of cannabis can cause problems with your memory in the short-term.
As for long-term effects, it can depend on how much marijuana you use. Those who use marijuana regularly over a long period of time may suffer from memory impairments in the long term. Those who start young, before their brain is fully developed, are also more likely to be impacted. However, for the most part, your memory shouldn’t suffer too much if you use marijuana in moderation.
Decreased Motor Skills
As any marijuana user can tell you, getting high can also decrease your motor skills and reaction times. Basically, you may find it harder to take on physical tasks successfully when under the effects of cannabis.
Again, high-THC strains are worse for this. Indica strains are also more likely to impair your judgment due to the strong psychoactive effects, whereas sativa strains can sometimes stimulate mental function.
It’s important to never drive a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. Not only is it illegal, but the effects of THC on the mind make it extremely dangerous.
There’s a lot of debate as to the extent to which marijuana causes addiction. Research suggests that marijuana is not physically addictive, and you won’t get any significant withdrawal symptoms when you abstain from using it.
However, with that said, any substance can become psychologically addictive over a long period of use. It’s important to use marijuana in moderation to avoid making a habit of using it daily. This is important for medical users as well as recreational users. Those who become dependent on marijuana to help with things like stress and anxiety may end up abusing it.
Long-term overuse can result in worse side effects on the brain, so it’s important to limit your usage. If you find yourself using marijuana too often or becoming dependent on it, try taking a break to avoid psychological addiction.
Marijuana has all kinds of benefits for users. Not only are the recreational effects highly enjoyable, but it can also help with a range of medical issues. However, it’s important to use marijuana wisely to avoid side effects.
Those who smoke too much may experience side effects such as anxiety, paranoia, memory impairment, and addiction. Smoking too much in one session can also result in uncomfortable effects such as dizziness and nausea. Use it in moderation and you shouldn’t experience any significant negative effects.