What Are The Most Common Side Effects While Using Cannabis?
Cannabis strains affect people differently, which is why it takes some time and experimentation to find a strain that perfectly suits your needs whether you’re a medical or recreational user. One strain that is perfect for one person (good buzz and no negative effects) may have the opposite impact on another (headaches, dry eyes).
The human body is so complex that despite the sheer amount of knowledge we have today about cannabis, cannabinoids, and its effect on the human body, there’s still so much work to be done. There’s virtually no way to predict how a strain is going to affect a person. However, it pays to be informed about the most common side effects that certain strains can give you, why it happens, and what you can do about it.
- Dry eyes: Having your eyes feeling dry after smoking is pretty common; this is usually caused by an irritation from the smoke when it burns the flower. Exposing your eyes to smoke can irritate and dry the eyes out. Some edibles are also known to give dry eyes, but this may also be caused by your own biochemistry – some people are more sensitive to cannabis and certain strains, and these sensitivities are manifested by dry eyes.
Solution: Hydration is key in preventing dry eyes; keep your body well-hydrated by drinking a lot of water before and while you medicate. Try to avoid screen time when you’re high; prolonged exposure to brightly-lit computer screens and your smart phone may increase the incidence of dry eyes. Also, the most useful and effective solution to treating dry eyes quickly is to use some eye drops.
- Red eyes: Easily the most common telltale that you’ve been smoking pot is the presence of red eyes. However, those who have been using cannabis for a long time may already develop an immunity to red eyes after smoking cannabis for some time. Some people are also more prone to developing red eyes due to an allergy. The reason why your eyes get red after smoking pot, especially strains that are high in THC, is because THC causes the blood pressure to drop, resulting in the dilation of blood vessels and capillaries. When this occurs, blood flow to the eyes are increased, while intraocular pressure is decreased. The increase in blood flow causes the red eyes.
Solution:The most effective way to prevent your risk for developing red eyes is to opt for cannabis strains that are low in THC. Stay hydrated, use some eye drops, or just put an ice pack on top of your eyes for 5 minutes.
- Dry mouth: Commonly referred to as cotton mouth, a dry, parched mouth is common effect of many cannabis strains. This happens because cannabinoids and different compounds in the herb can interact with cells that are responsible for saliva secretion. When you smoke pot, THC as well as terpenes bind with receptors in the salivary glands, which can reduce saliva flow in the mouth.
Solution: Stay hydrated and drink lots of water before and while you medicate. Sucking on hard candy and lollipops can also help alleviate cotton mouth in a delicious way!
- Paranoia: There are many theories as well as scientific explanations as to why some cannabis strains cause paranoia. A study published in the journal Neuron confirmed that cannabinoid receptors are present in the amygdala, which is the part of the brain that controls fear and anxiety.
Another study conducted by Canadian scientists also suggest that cannabis may enhance fear-based learning because it activates pathways in the amygdala. They found that THC intensified how animal models reacted to smells that they were trained to be afraid of. But until now, it still remains unknown why the cannabinoid receptors in the amygdala cause it to act that way. However, the team also said that regular cannabis use can desensitize the receptors in the amygdala over time, possibly explaining why newbie cannabis users are more prone to paranoia than cannabis enthusiasts who have been using it for years.
Solution: Smoke strains that are low in THC; if you’re a novice user, don’t attempt to start using strains high in THC, best to gradually increase until you’re used to its effects. Go easy on dosing; perhaps try microdosing before you start taking huge hits of strains you aren’t familiar with.
- Headaches: Some strains, regardless of potency and quality, still give users headaches. Ranging from mild to severe, headaches can be an inconvenient effect of cannabis use especially if you are medicating for health reasons. Many believe that the cleanliness and quality of cannabis use has a lot to do with headaches; the cleaner, more organic weed you smoke, the less your chances are of getting a headache.
Studies also show that some cannabis strains have constituents that can cause vasodilation in some parts of the brain, which can increase blood pressure as well as heart rate; both of which can lead t a headache.
Solution: If you are prone to headaches, opt for organic weed and avoid strains that are prone to giving headaches. Take small doses at a time and hydrate before and during your session.
Most important takeaway: Do your research on the strains you smoke before you consume them. Cannabis.net has a database of tons of strains detailing possible negative effects; this way you can reduce the chances of these unwanted effects before you consume them.