Any substance you put in your body can have side effects. While there are myriad potential benefits for the body and the mind, there are also a number of identified side effects marijuana can cause. From paranoia and anxiety to lightheadedness and lung irritation, here is a rundown of the most prevalent side effects of cannabis use, broken down by product type.
Side Effects of Edibles
Edibles are any type of marijuana product that you ingest into your body, either by eating or by drinking them. Because the THCmust travel through the digestive system before it can enter the bloodstream, edibles can take between thirty minutes and 3 hours to have an effect. Once the marijuana is in the bloodstream, the effects can last for several hours. This is in stark contrast to the rapid delivery system of smoking or vaping.
Because the side effects of marijuana that is consumed as an edible take a significant amount of time to manifest themselves, some people mistakenly believe that there was no effect from their edibles and, as a result, take more in order to feel something. This can lead to an overdose of marijuana once all of the cannabis makes it through the digestive tract.
The side effects of cannabis can be significant if someone takes too much cannabis at once. Among those side effects are nausea, paranoia, anxiety, and panic attacks. It is important to note that these side effects of marijuana are often due to overdosing on cannabis and not simply side effects of all edibles.
As with other types of products, dehydration can be a side effect of edibles. Making sure that you are well hydrated before consuming any edibles is important.
Side Effects of Flower
Flower, also referred to as bud, is the part of the marijuana plant that is smokable. The side effects of marijuana flower are, in essence, the side effects of smoking.
When you smoke marijuana, you inhale cannabis straight into your lungs. This delivery system is quite rapid. People feel the cannabis side effects in minutes, as opposed to the hours it takes for edibles. Inhaling too quickly can cause lightheadedness. It’s best to go slowly in order to avoid this side effect.
Another marijuana side effect related to smoking is inflammation in the lungs. People hold marijuana smoke in their lungs for an extended period of time in order to get the full effect from it. This means that the lungs are subjected to more molecules of harmful substances like tar. Over time, this tar can build up in the lungs, causing irritation and inflammation.
According to WebMD, smoking marijuana can lead to breathing problems, including a prolonged cough. Lungs that are adversely affected by smoking marijuana may also be more susceptible to infections, as some believe that THC can weaken the immune system.
It is still unclear what the long-term marijuana side effects related to smoking are. More scientific research is needed to determine these cannabis side effects, but because THC is a regulated drug in the US, scientific studies cannot be performed at this time.
Side Effects of Topicals
Many people report that topical cannabis creams, gels, and oils provide pain relief. Topicals that contain CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, are widely available over the counter. There is some evidence that suggests that some beneficial side effects of marijuana in these topicals are anti-inflammatory and are helpful for the relief of arthritis and psoriasis.
Because topicals are not ingested in the body, they may have fewer cannabis side effects than other products. One potential side effect is a rash at the site of application. This can cause itching and irritation to the skin.
Because extensive scientific studies have not been conducted, it is unclear whether these are marijuana side effects or if the side effects are due to the other ingredients. These over-the-counter creams and gels are not regulated by the FDA; therefore, the presence of dangerous ingredients like certain pesticides and heavy metals is often unknown.
Marijuana comes in many different forms, and more cannabis products are hitting the shelves every day as states continue to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana use. While each of these products has potential benefits for the user, marijuana’s side effects can be significant. Whether it is nausea from too many edibles, coughing from smoking pot, or a rash from a topical treatment, it is important to understand the potential side effects of cannabis use.