My entire website is to celebrate this wonder plant and the many ways it can help people, however I think it’s important to also talk about the risks.
Cannabis is a fairly safe substance overall, there’s no lethal dose, you simply can’t die from cannabis. You can develop something called cannabis use disorder, this is when people abuse cannabis and it controls their life. We call it cannabis use disorder because cannabis isn’t addictive in the same way alcohol or cigarettes are. While it can be habit forming, you don’t become physically dependent on cannabis, so withdrawing from heavy use can have some side effects however none of the side effects of withdrawal are dangerous.
Cannabis is made up of many cannabinoids, the one that gets you high is THC. CBD is also cannabis however when used on it’s own, it doesn’t have any known health risks, other than interactions with certain medications like blood thinners.
The potential serious side effects of THC
While cannabis isn’t lethal at any dose, THC can have serious side effects for some people who are high risk. My father is a good example, he had a heart aneurysm a few years ago and has to monitor his blood pressure carefully with medication. THC can cause fluctuations in blood pressure, especially from sitting to standing so he probably shouldn’t use THC.
THC can also speed up your heart rate, which can be dangerous for people with serious heart conditions, especially those on meds to control their heart rate.
THC can make you dizzy, people with vertigo or anyone prone to fainting and dizziness, needs to be careful when consuming THC.
THC isn’t good for developing brains, there’s evidence that THC can bring on early onset of certain mental health disorders like schizophrenia, if you’re high risk. So if bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia and other mental health conditions run through your family, it’s best to avoid cannabis until after the age of 25 yrs. old and be very careful using THC, as it can make your symptoms worse.
THC can make anxiety worse and may trigger panic attacks in people with panic disorder. I have panic disorder and I use cannabis regularly, I’m very careful with how much THC I use. I use CBD and lower dose THC to avoid triggering anxiety.
Side effects of too much THC
Too much THC, especially when ingested can cause muscle weakness, trembling, hallucinations, paranoia and vomiting. That happened to me after ingesting a hash brownie that was too strong, and once after using a very strong concentrate vape pen. I coughed on the inhale and then after I could hardly hold a pitcher of water and ran to the bathroom to vomit. However these side effects are short lived and will go away once it’s worn off.
When using cannabis for the first time start low and go slow.
If you have any of the above health concerns, talk to your doctor before using cannabis.
Updated April 2021