Marijuana Effects: The Effects of Cannabis On Your Brain, Heart & Quality of Living

How marijuana affects you has long been under debate.

There is a ton of people still subscribed to the reefer madness outlook on cannabis.

But, more and more researchers are conducting studies on the long and short-term effects of cannabis.

In this article, we'll go over both what these studies have taught us to shed some light on how your body, mind and life are affected by various cannabinoids.

Seeing as we are a cannabis publication, it would be easy to only highlight the positive effects of cannabis, but that would be doing you a disservice.

I try and take an unbiased look and dive into the negative effects, but also how you can circumvent these by monitoring your strains or by choosing a healthier form of cannabis consumption.

Marijuana effects on your body are vast.

So, don't be afraid to jump around this article a bit using the table of contents!

What are Cannabinoids

To understand the effects of marijuana, we need to understand what it is we're putting in our bodies.

Marijuana itself is just a plant.

It’s in the cannabinoids where all magic happens.

Cannabinoids are the active compounds in marijuana—the primary ones being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).

These cannabinoids interact with various endocannabinoid receptors in your body making you feel the various effects from cannabis such as euphoria.

We produce endocannabinoids naturally in our own body to help maintain homeostasis.

Our body producing it's own endocannabinoids why we have receptors for cannabinoids to latch on to.

Cannabis doesn’t only house these two cannabinoids, though.

There are, in fact, eight major cannabinoids and well over 100 in total.

The cannabinoids are made in the trichomes that are produced all over the flowers and sugar leaves of the plant.

The only one of these cannabinoids that produces the psychoactive effects marijuana made its name for is THC.

The Positive Side Effects of Cannabinoids

First, let’s take a look at all the positive things that cannabis can do.

We’ll look at how it affects your health, happiness and even how you think.

There needs to be more research done, but we tried our best to highlight what’s been studied.

But we also go into marijuana effects that only have anecdotal evidence to support them because we would be remiss to leave them out.

Pain Relief

With the worst opioid epidemic in history currently taking place in the United States, we need to find new methods to help people relieve pain.

And, so far, the studies suggest cannabis to be the best bet.

One of the most important studies was a clinical review done by Harvard Medical School in 2015.

They looked at clinical trials of cannabinoids as pharmacotherapy from 1948 to 2015 and found that “Use of marijuana for chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis is supported by high-quality evidence. ”

So, why does cannabis help with pain relief?

Cannabis helps to decrease the pain signals being sent to your brain because it’s a natural analgesia.

Relaxation

Cannabis has long been known for its calming effect.

But it’s not just the euphoria that can help you relax.

Various cannabinoids have been shown to help relieve you of anxiety.

According to one study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, “CBD was associated with significantly decreased subjective anxiety.”

But, what happens if you consume all of the cannabinoids?

Well, a study published in the Journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence claims that low-dose THC can relieve stress.

Interestingly, though, this study found that those who had consumed enough marijuana to feel a mild high had increased stress levels.

Those given the high-dose THC showed "small but significant increases in anxiety and negative mood."

It should be noted that their pool of volunteers were not all daily smokers, so it's hard to say how tolerance comes into play here.

Creativity

“Creativity takes courage” - Henri Matisse

Some of the worlds most creative minds have smoked marijuana, and a lot of modern artists have been some of the strongest advocates for legalization.

This may be because cannabis has been shown to increase creativity.

While personality is a variable that’s hard to control, you can test creativity in a variety of ways.

In one study that found cannabis to increase creativity the author, Emily M. LaFrance, thought that it was due to “their heightened levels of openness to experience.”

Another study took a look at the part of your brain in charge of creativity—the frontal lobe—to see if cannabis had any effect on it.

They concluded that because marijuana "increases frontal lobe activity," that marijuana may promote creativity.

Then there is this study that didn’t find any correlation between cannabis and divergent thinking (creative thinking).

Showing instead that marijuana showed no effects on novice users and negative effects in regular users or marijuana.

Lower average BMI & Reduced Risk of Diabetes

You wouldn’t think that a plant known to give you the munchies would give you a lower body mass index (BMI).

But cannabis was actually shown to just that in a study and was found to be associated with a lower likelihood of obesity.

If this doesn't bust a certain long-held cannabis myth, then nothing ever will.

And in one study from the American Journal of Medicine, found “significant associations between marijuana use and smaller waist circumferences.”

All this research shows that cannabis can potentially be great medicine for diabetes.

Plus, certain cannabinoids in clinical trials have shown to improve blood glucose and improved insulin sensitivity.

Appetite

I think we all know what cannabis can do to our hunger.

But is that just weed making food better as Seth Rogan suggests in Pineapple Express?

Or, is there something more going on?

One Yale study found that cannabis “fools the brain’s central feeding system.”

We have neurons that are responsible for shutting down eating when we're full, but, cannabinoids seem to make them do the exact opposite.

Cannabis also makes food taste and smell better.

Instead of telling you to stop, they tell you to eat more!

Your brain does some amazing things, but one of the most amazing is its natural rewards system.

This system helps build our habits and is the driving force behind our evolution.

When you consume cannabis, your endocannabinoid system modulates food palatability.

And your endocannabinoid system works with the dopamine system to signal a natural reward.

This makes our body want to keep doing this because it “feels good.”

Cannabis also makes food taste and smell better.

That’s not just an opinion either.

A study published in Nature Neuroscience found that “endocannabinoids and exogenous cannabinoids increased odor detection and food intake in fasted mice by decreasing excitatory drive from olfactory cortex areas.”

This makes medical marijuana a great option for cancer patients that may find it hard to eat.

Antioxidant

As we live life our bodies are subjected to the environment.

All of the bad stuff we breathe in and put in our bodies damages our cells with what’s known as oxidative damage.

As your cells are broken down, they release free radicals that tear your body apart leading to diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease.

Cannabis has been found to act as a natural antioxidant that keeps these free radicals in check.

In fact, the U.S. Government even holds a patent on cannabis as an antioxidant.

The study in the patent found that cannabinoids are useful in the treatment and prevention of a variety of associated oxidation diseases including autoimmune disease.

Both cannabidiol and THC have been shown to prevent oxidative damage, but cannabidiol has also been shown to protect you from neurotoxicity.

Because cannabis is an antioxidant, it helps with aging as well!

Free radicals are the reason our DNA starts to get damaged and slowly deteriorate.

As the DNA is damaged, it begins to replicate the damaged DNA till we start to see the changes in the form of growing old.

Relief from Various Diseases

Cannabis can do all of the amazing things it can do thanks to our endocannabinoid system.

This system is what helps keep our body in homeostasis—creating a perfect balance in our bodies.

One interesting study tested the idea that everybody has an "underlying endocannabinoid tone."

They thought that the "endocannabinoid tone becomes deficient and productive of pathophysiological syndromes."

What was found was that cannabinoid treatment helped to decrease pain and improve sleep in patients.

It’s also been known to help fight nausea and improve your mood.

Cannabis can also help with pain that’s brought on from day-to-day life or chronic pain caused by FIbromyalgia or injuries.

We will dive deep into all of the diseases that cannabis can treat later.

Better Stress Reliever

Even an everyday Joe can benefit from regular use of cannabis.

If your job stresses you out, instead of coming home and drinking alcohol, which can have terrible long-term effects, you can consume cannabis to relax.

A new study in 2017 published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence showed us that cannabis, in fact, relieves stress.

The researchers gave one group 7.5 mg of THC, one group 12.5 mg of THC and a control group was given a placebo.

Participants were then put in stressful situations like mock job interviews and solving complex math problems.

The low dose group reported lower levels of stress, while the high dose group paused more during the interview and reported higher levels of anxiety and stress.

These kinds of findings show the double-edged sword that cannabis can be.

What are the Medical Benefits of Marijuana?

There are countless claims out there about both cannabis as a whole and CBD.

But a lot of this is strictly based off anecdotal evidence, which can lead a lot of patients to believe stuff that is simply not true.

We do have empirical evidence based on studies that do back of some of these claims, though.

Until we can definitively prove a lot of these claims, we as a community need to be more careful with the claims we make.

A recently study published by one of the leading doctors pioneering medical marijuana gives us the facts on what has been proven conclusive.

And exactly what has not been proven fact.

According to Dr. Russo, there is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis helps with chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy-induced nausea, and seizures in Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes.

This list is a lot shorter than most people would like to believe.

But the paper also showed us what has both moderate and limited evidence of efficacy.

Moderate & Limited Medicinal Uses of Cannabis

  • Detering sleep disturbances caused by chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and sleep apnea.
  • Cannabis decreasing intraocular pressure from glaucoma/
  • Relieving symptoms of dementia, Parkinson Disease, schizophrenia, and posttraumatic stress disorder.
  • Increasing appetite in those with HIV/AIDS.
  • Disability, mortality and other symptoms caused by a traumatic brain injury.
  • Improving symptoms of anxiety and Tourette syndrome

What claims did he consider to have insufficient evidence?

Curing cancer, addiction, and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Huntington disease and Dystonia.

As with most of this, we need more research to see the extent of marijuana's medicinal prowess.

Cannabis shows such promise as a medicine, and I believe we have just scratched the surface on what all it can do.

And patients seem to agree since according to the University of British Columbia, 63% of people prefer to use cannabis instead of prescriptions to opioids, benzodiazepines and antidepressants.

How Does Marijuana Affect Your Brain?

Our greatest asset as humans is our brain.

While we need to take care of our bodies, our brain should always take priority.

Even though Stephen Hawking’s body deteriorated, his sharp mind has made the frontier of science a much broader place.

While almost none of us have the mind of a Stephen Hawking, we shouldn’t neglect it.

Cannabis has long been shown in Hollywood as something that breeds a stereotypical stoner that can’t so much as find her own shoes on her own feet.

Is that true? Or just more dramatic nonsense cooked up to sell movie tickets?

Without the way that cannabis interacts with the brain, we wouldn’t be here talking about cannabis, so let’s break down their relationship.

Your Brains Endocannabinoid Receptors

Cannabis works with our body by binding to cannabinoid receptors.

As you bring cannabis into your system, the cannabinoids such as CBD, THC and CBN work their way to these receptors.

These receptors aren't yet fully understood, but as of now, we know that they help to control your mood, motor functions, memory, pleasure, pain and fear.

You won’t just find these handy receptors in your brain.

Your entire body is littered with them helping your body communicate to your brain through your central nervous system.

IQ & Your Brains Structure

The aforementioned stoner stereotype surely must be grounded in some fact, right?

If current research has any merit, it looks like that is a resounding no.

A 2015 study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science showed no correlation between cannabis use and a lower IQ score.

The study looked at twins where one used cannabis while the other abstained from cannabis.

It does appear, according to this study, that cannabis is associated with lower test scores and crystallized intelligence.

This relationship, however, broke down when they looked at the frequency of use and IQ changes.

These findings suggest that the measured drops in IQ are instead more likely attributed to familial factors than the cannabis.

You can rest easy knowing that you won’t be losing your shoes on your feet anytime soon.

And if you do, don't blame it on the cannabis.

No need to worry about cannabis causing morphometric changes in your brain either.

There was some research coming out suggesting that this might be the case, but a paper published in the Journal of Neuroscience back in 2015, shows otherwise.

They looked at MRI scans of both cannabis users and non-cannabis users and found no statistically significant differences between the two.

Your Rewards System Might be Altered

Researchers have found some data that might suggest long-term cannabis use may alter your brain in one important way.

Everything we do or don't do is because of our brain's rewards system.

Like we touched on earlier, it’s this system that lets your brain tell your body, “Oh, hey. I like this. Let’s do more of this.”

This is what drives us to eat what we eat, have sex and, of course, smoke cannabis.

A study looking at the chronic effects of cannabis use on our rewards system found that cannabis may cause “an altered brain response to rewarding stimuli.”

Some believe that this may aid in people smoking for recreational use to more problematic using of cannabis.

Cannabis use disorder is a real thing, and knowing how cannabis can warp your reward system might be a step in the direction of understanding it better.

What are Marijuana’s Effects on Your Sleep?

It's a long-held belief that cannabis is a natural sleep aid.

Some users, though, report that cannabis will keep them up all night making their minds race with unwanted thoughts.

How can cannabis cause such polar opposite reactions in people?

The answer is simple.

A particular cannabis strains cannabinoid and terpene profile play a vital role on whether cannabis will help you with your sleep or not.

If you ask a cannabis user with decent knowledge on the subject, they will tell you to avoid sativas before bed and, instead, opt for a heavy indica strain.

While they are sending you in a fairly reasonable direction, they don't quite get the full picture.

CBD and THC Impact Sleep Differently

Using a CBD heavy strain or pure CBD oil is the perfect fix for your back pain, but you should think twice about hitting that pen right before bed.

One study in 2006 found that CBD can keep you awake, and concluded that it might help people that struggle with somnolence (excessive daytime sleepiness).

THC, however, has been shown to help promote sleep both anecdotally and empirically.

But if you are trying to find a strain that promotes sleep, you need to be paying more attention to the terpene profile instead of the THC levels.

Particularly, a terpene known as Mycene, which is also found in hops, helps aid in sleep and is an excellent muscle relaxant to boot.

The Lesser Know Cannabinoid CBN

If you are looking to get better sleep from cannabis, you’ll have the best luck with cannabis that has been aged.

Specifically, it is the THC that becomes cannabinol (CBN) as it degrades.

CBN has a much more sedative effect compared to other cannabinoids, but it’s very slow to form.

If you're serious about getting CBN, the best way is to take some flower with a high THC percentage, wrap it in plastic and store it in a dry, semi-hot place for a few years.

I know that sounds like a long time, but even then you’ll only get 3-5% CBN from a 20% THC strain.

The key to this process (besides the time) is how it is stored.

You don't want to store your cannabis in an airtight container, but rather, allow oxygen to get its hands on the cannabis.

It’s the oxidization that causes the degradation to CBN.

Another way to get a CBN heavy flower is allowing the plant to stay flowering till the trichomes are all amber.

But, you can also now buy strains that are CBN-heavy too.

As we start to isolate and learn more about specific cannabinoids, we will start to see CBN oils, tinctures and edibles for those that are just using cannabis for sleep.

Less REM sleep

So far, marijuana effects on sleep have all seemed pretty great, but there is one negative long-term effect on sleep.

Cannabis has been shown to reduce your times spent in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.

This is the stage at which your dreams occur.

If you struggle with bad dreams, this might help you keep them at bay.

So far no concrete evidence tells us what is exactly happening during this stage of sleep.

The leading theory, however, is that your brain is filing away the memories of your day and resetting your brain chemistry.

This might be why some people experience memory impairment when consuming cannabis.

According to a 1976 study, people can develop a tolerance to this effect after prolonged cannabis use.

In this same study, they also found that an when you abruptly stop using cannabis you can experience a REM rebound of sorts.

Instead of REM levels returning to normal, you experience high densities of eye movement and increased time spent in REM sleep.

You can assume that this will lead to dreams that are more lucid than usual.

What are Marijuana's Effects on Your Heart?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.

Does using cannabis add to this morbid picture or can it potentially lead us to healthier hearts?

The studies are all over the place on the subject, and a lot of them have major flaws.

For instance, a lot of the participants smoke tobacco, and they don't look at cannabis consumption, but rather, smoking cannabis.

There is a huge difference in how cannabis is going to affect your heart when you smoke it vs. when you ingest it through other means.

Plus, the studies also are made up from mostly self-reported data and uncontrolled exposure levels.

You can see why this might cause a problem.

Researchers in one of the most recent meta-analysis was quick to mention these points too.

After combing through 24 different studies that looked at the effects cannabis has on cardiovascular risk factors, they concluded that there is not enough evidence to say whether cannabis has any effect on heart attacks or stroke.

A paper published by the American Heart Association back in 2017, however, found that “cannabis is an independent protective factor against Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD)”

These guys are the ultimate authority on modern heart health research.

So to see them suggesting cannabis has positive effects on the heart is huge for the medical marijuana movement.

Your CB1 & CB2 Receptor’s Relationship with Cardiovascular Health  

The body’s cardiovascular system is covered in CB1 receptors.

If you have been following along, then by now that cannabis binds to these receptors.

CB1 receptors are on your heart muscle and the surrounding blood vessels, so it's no surprise that cannabis has a lot to say about heart health.

By activating the CB2 receptors, cannabis reduces inflammation and free radicals that slowly add to the plaque build up in your arteries.

They can also be found on the brain nerves that control your heart rate.

Drugs that activate these CB1 receptors generally have negative effects on cardiovascular health.

Drugs that selectively activate CB2 receptors, however, have been shown to largely induce beneficial effects on the heart.

By activating the CB2 receptors, cannabis reduces inflammation and free radicals that slowly add to the plaque build up in your arteries.

A paper published by the Division of Cardiology at the University Hospital in Geneva, Switzerland found this anti-inflammatory effect reduced the damage a heart attack or stroke.

The study looked at the effects cannabinoids had on the infarct size in lab mice.

Obviously, these aren't human hearts, and human trials would need to be done, but the preliminary research appears promising.

Cannabis Can Increase Your Heart Rate

There has been some studies looking at cannabis and its effect on coronary function that have shown cannabis to increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

One found that “smoking marijuana” increased the onset by a factor of 4.8 for the first hour.

However, they don’t look at if this is caused by the cannabinoids or if it is from the smoking.

I would like to see a comparative study looking at edibles vs. vaping vs. smoking to see how the correlation held up.

And while this may sound like a dramatic increase in heart rate, it’s only slightly larger than when you’re having sex!

The study, which looked at 3,880 people from ages 20-92 also showed an increased risk that correlated with your age.

The older you are, the more at risk you are.

Another study found that “marijuana use may increase the risk for hypertension mortality.”

They controlled for variables like smoking cigarettes, but again, they didn’t look at how the cannabis was consumed.

What are Marijuana's Effects on Sex?

"It makes sex feel better, for God's sakes," said Seth Rogen in the pop culture classic Pineapple Express.

And our ancestors often referred to cannabis as an aphrodisiac.

But, is there any science that suggests cannabis can stimulate our sex drive or make sex better?

Well, the research has been mixed on this.

One study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs claimed that regular male users of cannabis showed lower testosterone, and 35% of the subjects showed lower sperm count during the study.

That same paper briefly talked about a survey study from 1972 where males overwhelmingly said that marijuana increased their sexual desires.

A more recent study in 2010 found that regular cannabis use is associated with more sexual partners, but also makes it more difficult for men to orgasm.

Another study from the Journal of Sexual Medicine found similar results.

After surveying 50,000 people ages 25-45, they believe that they found a positive correlation between frequent cannabis use and increased sexual desire and performance.

In fact, they found that cannabis consumers are having on average 20% more sex than their non-cannabis using counterparts.

The Effects Your Dose Size Has on Sex

Dosage can play a huge factor in how marijuana's effects your sex drive.

It appears that lower doses can cause inhibitions to drop, which increases your sex drive.

But anything after that can lower it.

So we've known that cannabis can help increase our drive, but was Seth Rogan lying, or does cannabis really make sex better?

Of course, we all have our own anecdotal evidence we can point to on this.

But there are some facts we can look at.

Cannabis entices your brain to release dopamine, which is the neurotransmitter that allows you to feel pleasure.

While normally THC helps to create the euphoric feeling you get from cannabis, when coupled with the dopamine that is released during sex you get a double dose.

This means that your body gets even more pleasure from sex while on cannabis.

Add in the fact that your senses are slightly heightened and a skewed perception of time and it’s easy to see how cannabis plus sex can equal one hell of a time.

The Negative Marijuana Effects

I know a lot of people don’t want to admit it, but people can experience negative effects from cannabis too.

While, generally, the benefits outweigh the negative, you should still be aware of what they are and negative effects cannabis can have on your body.

Paranoia & Anxiety

As I mentioned before, there have been studies showing high amounts of THC consumption can lead to an increase in anxiety.

This is due to the biphasic effect of THC (high and low doses affect you differently.)

Usually, if cannabis causes anxiety, it's because you took too high of a dose.

For some people, however, it can be a very small amount of cannabis that triggers anxiety.

If cannabis causes you increased anxiety, there are a few ways to counteract it that we'll get in to later.

Cannabis can also cause paranoia.

After all, THC is a psychoactive compound.

An Oxford-led study showed that “1 in 5 participants had an increase in paranoia directly attributable to the THC.”

While it’s usually known to only induce mild paranoia, there have been instances where paranoia has gotten the best of cannabis consumers.

Impaired Memory

Cannabis can affect our memory by making it difficult to encode memories, and cannabis makes short-term recall difficult.

This means it won’t make you not remember anything like a night of heavy drinking will.

But it is harder to form new memories, and trying to recall memories while you’re high can be tough.

Studies have shown that you’re you’re more likely to experience acute impairments in memory when you smoke strains that have a high THC to CBD ratio.

This study concluded that the memory impairment might persist long-term, and "particularly when heavy cannabis use is started at an early age."

Another one, however, found that regular users of cannabis showed no signs of cognitive impairment after three months of no cannabis.

You’re not going to forget where you live, or how to drive a car.

But you may lose your wallet and keys at the worst possible time—I’m speaking from experience on this one.

Dry Mouth

If you've ever smoked cannabis, I will bet that you've gone through the pain of this.

Cottonmouth is notorious throughout the cannabis community.

So much so that some entrepreneurs have developed products like Cotton Mouth Candy to help prevent it.

Unfortunately, cottonmouth isn’t going anywhere.

In our mouths are cannabinoid receptors that, when activated by THC, have been shown to stop saliva production.

CBD hasn’t been shown to cause these same effects.

Dry & Red Eyes

Like dry mouth, dry and red eyes is a very common symptom of smoking cannabis.

In fact, bloodshot eyes are usually a tell-tale sign that you’re high!

You might think that the redness is just caused by the smoke irritating them.

You can get red/dry eyes from edibles too, though.

Red eyes are actually thought to be caused by the drop in blood pressure caused by cannabis.

This, in turn, will make the blood vessels in your eyes dilate.

You can also experience red eyes from an allergic reaction to cannabis, which we'll get more info on in just a bit.

If you want to prevent red eyes, you can use eye drops such as Visine or Rohto V’s.

You don't want to become dependent on them, though, because they have been known to dry your eyes out after a short while.

Headache

This one is a tricky one.

Because, on the one hand, cannabis is used to help treat migraines and some studies are trying to show that it can prevent them from starting.

But, on the other, you can get headaches from smoking cannabis.

The headaches aren't caused by the consumption of cannabis, but rather, a third party irritant.

If you use any paper or wrap, they may have chemicals that cause headaches.

And then there is irritation caused by pesticides.

A lot of cannabis is grown organically, but not all farmers choose people over profits.

Samples tested in Los Angeles were found to have pesticide residues 1600 times the legal digestible amount.

If you only use cannabis that you grow yourself, you shouldn't have to worry about this.

And, once cannabis is legal and there are testing standards put in place everyone can stop worrying about cannabis fueled headaches.

Sleepiness and Lethargy

This is only negative if you are trying to stay active while consuming cannabis.

If you’re using cannabis for pain, you can’t be a zombie all day and function at your highest.

But, if you struggle with insomnia, cannabis can help you get a full night's sleep.

Smoking during the day is unavoidable for a lot of us.

If that’s the case for you, stick to sativa strains that are believed to give you more energy.

Or switch to CBD during the day, and only use cannabis when you’re day is winding down.

And be sure to avoid indicas which will give you a heavy, sleepy high.

You might also try cannabis milk in your coffee or tea.

Symptoms of Chronic Bronchitis

If you only consume cannabis through edibles or a vaporizer, you won’t damage your lungs from inhaling combustion.

When smoking you’re also inhaling pieces of plant matter.

The smoke you inhale is extremely hot, especially from joints or pipes.

This creates visible and microscopic injuries to your airways which have been shown to increase the likelihood of symptoms of chronic bronchitis.

The same study that found that link also cited that the use of marijuana does not lead to significant abnormalities in lung function

Allergic Reaction

Just like anything, you can have an allergic reaction to cannabis.

Though it is extremely rare.

Cannabis has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, but when inhaled a few different allergy symptoms can pop up.

These include red/watery eyes, hay fever, runny nose, nausea and vomiting.

Cannabis can also cause itchiness, hives and dry skin.

You can also be subjected to cross-reactivity which can be caused by pollen that’s latched on to the plant.

Pesticides and plants that didn’t have the nutrients flushed out of them properly can also increase your risk of an allergic reaction.

How to Reduce the Negative Side Effects of Cannabis

If you’re prone to the adverse effects of cannabis, but still wish to use it there are ways to help keep them at bay.

While you can’t totally eliminate them, there are a few ways that can ease your anxiety if you get too high.

Monitor Your Strains

Your body is going to react to every strain differently.

Strains vary in terpenes, THC levels and CBD levels.

Pay attention to your body and how it reacts to different THC and CBD levels.

A lot of the time you may feel anxious or paranoid because of a high amount of THC in your system.

CBD, on the other hand, has been shown to reduce anxiety in double-blind trials.

Knowing this you can find strains that match what you need.

You can also smoke more well-balanced strains in general.

These are strains such as Sour Tsunami which has a THC to CBD ratio of 1:1.

Monitor Your THC Intake Better

The most effective way to deal with the negative side effects of cannabis is to dose in a way that will keep you from getting too high.

You can’t control your dose very well if you just load your cannabis in a bowl and light up.

But, if you are using a vaporizer like the Volcano coupled with cannabis that you know the THC content of, you can more accurately gauge how much THC you're consuming.

Edibles give you full control over how much THC thanks to tools like our cannabis cooking calculator.

Just avoid spoon pipes, joint and blunts.

Take Tolerance Breaks

Your body is going to need a break from time to time.

The positive effects of cannabis do plateau, and after that point, you start only seeing negative effects.

Usually, in a healthy person, this may mean using cannabis only on a semi-regular basis for an optimal experience.

You develop a tolerance when your body starts becoming used to being loaded up with cannabinoids.

Constantly being bombarded with cannabinoids, your body stops producing its own cannabinoids making it difficult for the cannabis to interact with your endocannabinoid receptors.

Taking a break, even just one to two days a week to give your body a break can do a lot of good.

Practice deep Breathing

If you’re going to be inhaling cannabis on a regular basis, it can damage your lungs.

Vaporizers and edibles can help offset this, but so can making sure you have healthy lungs.

You want to take big, deep breaths to help purge your lungs of the toxins that can build up from shallow breathing.

Try and incorporate 15-20 minutes a day to breathing exercises and your lungs will love you for it.

If you want, you can fuse these practices with other practices such as meditation or yoga.

The Long Term Side Effects of Marijuana

Have you heard the adage that too much of a good thing is a bad thing?

The same can be said when it comes to marijuana.

While there are tons of wonderful benefits to using marijuana on a regular basis, it can start to wear on your body in unforeseen ways.

Tar Buildup in Your Lungs

You can avoid tar build up if you don't smoke your cannabis.

For those of us that do, however, it poses a serious concern.

This isn’t an indictment of cannabis, but rather it’s not good to breathe in any smoke period.

When the plant matter combusts, it creates toxins, irritants and carcinogens.

To get a good picture of what cannabis smoke can do to your lungs look no further than your pipe.

All that resin build up is from the smoke.

Plus, most people feel it necessary to hold cannabis smoke as long as they can too.

This only adds to the tar build up and does zero for your medically or recreationally.

Cannabis acts quickly, so give your lungs a break and exhale almost immediately.

It can also help if you smoke from something that filters the smoke such as a bong.

Without a filter, there is nothing to stop the full force of the smoke from wreaking havoc on your lungs.

Possible Danger for Those Predisposed to Psychotic Disorders

Thanks to cutting-edge research were starting to learn how important our mental health is.

We need more studies on cannabis as it relates to our mental health.

But what we’ve found so far is pretty interesting.

The problem with most of these studies is are these results correlation or causation?

It’s hard to say, but here’s what the studies have found so far.

Some research has shown that cannabis use is likely to increase your risk of developing schizophrenia.

Interesting enough some research points to cannabis helping those struggling with schizophrenia with better performance on learning and memory tasks.

And one study looking at a pretty good sample size found a link between being genetically predisposed to schizophrenia and increased use of cannabis.

They believe that the link is due to a shared genetic etiology.

One meta-analysis looked at trends in regular cannabis users and found that they had an increased risk for bipolar disorder, panic disorder with agoraphobia and social phobia

The studies authors were wise to remind us that this is just a correlative view and that you can not infer causality based on their findings.

Potentially High Risk for Adolescents

We may be able to go to war at age 18, and we can even drink at 21, but the truth is our brains don’t fully develop until we are around 25 years old.

Before the brain is fully developed, there is a disconnect between the prefrontal cortex (the rational part of your brain) and the rest of it.

This is why teens are known for their not-so-wise decisions.

In fact, they utilize the amygdala to process information which is known to be the emotional part of your brain.

So, it’s no wonder that studies are finding that using cannabis during these formative years can have tremendously negative consequences.

Are the Effects of Getting High Beneficial?

A lot of people consume cannabis for medicinal purposes.

But there are just as many, if not more, that consume cannabis just to experience the “high” you get from THC.

Does the psychoactive reaction in your body produce any benefits, though?

Well, the answer can be a little complicated.

In certain instances, the euphoria brought on by cannabis can help patients as they fight their ailments and illnesses.

This is mainly just to enhance their mood, though.

Most of the health benefits are going to come from CBD—which does not give you that high feeling.

For medicinal purposes, most of the time the high can be left out completely.

Conclusion

Marijuana effects will vary from person to person and strain to strain.

If you want to use cannabis to treat an illness, we recommend you see your doctor.

And, while we love cannabis here, there can be some negative side effects so make sure to stay aware of them.

Now that we're able to study marijuana better, we should see more and more over the next ten years about all the different ways we can use cannabis.

Tony Hand
 

Tony Jr is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of THCoverdose.com. If he’s not smoking, writing or watching anime, then you can usually find him on the couch yelling over terrible play calling.

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