Short-Term Adverse Side Effects of Cannabis

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Short-Term Adverse Side Effects of Cannabis

When it comes to cannabis, having a good understanding of the possible short-term adverse side effects of cannabis that come with using cannabis. A better understanding and knowledge makes not only the experience better-it also makes it safer. When experiencing any side effects from ANY medication (including cannabis), it’s important to speak with your doctor or healthcare professional about your side effects. 

Cannabis, as with any type of medication can produce adverse effects, as well as interact in a negative way with other medications. It’s certainly not a cure all, but it does help a great number of people suffering from many different health issues. While overall, cannabis is very safe, in actuality-cannabis is capable of producing significant side effects. 

Cannabis side effects can be very scary to new users, especially users who aren’t familiar with its psychoactive effects. Older and inexperienced users should approach cannabis use with close supervision and caution. 

The majority of cannabis side effects we’ll be discussing in this article are associated with THC, which is the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Some of the THC related side effects can be reduced or eliminated altogether simply by using cannabis that contains both CBD (a non-psychoactive cannabinoid) and THC. 

It’s common for new users or users that have accidently overmedicated with cannabis to experience a condition called postural or orthostatic hypotension. This occurs after using high doses of cannabis, resulting in lightheadedness or loss of consciousness upon standing up from a seated or reclining position. It becomes a dangerous problem if the user falls on a hard surface. New users that recline have also been observed experiencing an increase in blood pressure.  

What You Need to Decide Before Using Cannabis 

There are some things you need to consider in order to decide if cannabis is right for you.  

CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN if you have been diagnosed with, or believe that you may suffer from: 

  • Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or severe depression
  • Heart disease, high blood pressure, angina, or irregular heartbeat. 
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 
  • An immune disorder. 

You MUST talk to your physician or healthcare professional prior to using medical cannabis, as the use of cannabis may not be safe for you., or special precautions may be advised. If you are under the age of 22, speak with your doctor about the safety of using high-THC cannabis medicines. Certain conflicting evidence that exposure to THC may interfere with some specific aspects of brain development and may possibly encourage the development of schizophrenia in a very small, but susceptible group of young people (especially those with a family history of the disorder).  

There are a number of studies underway however, that should help provide more evidence to support or disprove these concerns. Until then though, younger patients should take significant caution before using THC-dominant cannabis medicine and consider using cannabis medicine with higher CBD to THC ratios. 

Mild Common Adverse Effects of Cannabis 

  • Rapid heartbeat (also referred to as tachycardia) Rapid heartbeat tends to subside within 15 to 20 minutes. To help slow down rapid heartbeat, focus on slow, steady breathing for a few minutes. 
  • Dry mouth (commonly referred to as “cottonmouth”) Dry mouth can easily be cured by drinking water or lemonade (with the peel). 
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness can be tamed down by keeping the eyes open and focused on something (such as watching television). 
  • Irritated (itching or burning), red eyes can be relieved by using mild eye drops such as Visine.  
  • Coughing that’s caused by inhaling cannabis smoke or vapor generally is not dangerous and usually subside very quickly. Reducing the amount of cannabis smoke or vapor inhaled can helps to avoid coughing. Drinking a glass of water can also help.  
  • Hyperemesis is characterized by abdominal pain and vomiting associated with cannabis use. Taking either a warm bath or shower may help relieve side effects. This side effect can also completely resolve itself (in most cases) simply by stopping cannabis use. 

When inhaling concentrated forms of cannabis, such as cannabis resin (hashish) or oil (hash oil), wax, dabs, or butter), it can result in bad coughing that can damage the lungs. If irritation of the airway becomes an issue while smoking or vaping cannabis, then you might consider oral or sublingual cannabis administration methods. 

Short-Term Psychological Adverse Effects 

Acute psychological side effects of cannabis medicines commonly experienced are anxiety, feelings of panic, and confusion. These side effects are dose-dependent side effects. If symptoms should worsen, it important that the user sees a healthcare professional as soon as possible. 

The best way to avoid short-term psychological adverse effects is by monitoring the cannabis dose until a comfortable baseline is established. It’s important to note that establishing a baseline is easier with smoking or vaping cannabis, than with oral or sublingual methods. Using cannabis rich in CBD, pinene, and limonene may help reduce some of these side effects. 

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