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  • Michelle

Is Cannabis Safe? 8 Things to know to keep using cannabis safely

Updated: Oct 2, 2021

It’s so common to believe that cannabis isn’t harmful at all. We want to think that because of how much it has helped thousands of people in our world. But the hard truth - cannabis, when not used correctly, can be harmful.


I wish I had known some of these things before I started using cannabis - I’ve had to reverse engineer my consumption due to some of the things I have listed in this article. It was vital for me to create this article to share with others the side effects because it’s not good to use your medicine of choice blindly. I also don’t want others to struggle with their cannabis use, as I have.


We must all remember that with good comes bad. It’s impossible to have one without the other.

Cannabis is a tricky and potent plant. We need more research, but here are eight topics to be aware of when deciding to use cannabis or to make a change in how you consume cannabis.


Adverse effects of using cannabis

Cannabis has many side effects including but not limited to dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, fatigue, sleepiness, excitement, happiness, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, disorientation, anxiety, confusion, impaired balance, hallucination, paranoia, and short-term memory impairment. And that’s not all of the possible side effects!


Did you notice what I noticed? Some of those side effects are why people use cannabis to begin with. It’s called bidirectional effects - meaning (in this case) the symptoms go both ways.


Remember, all humans have an endocannabinoid system (ECS), and cannabis alters how our ECS works. The ECS maintains homeostasis in our bodies, and to maintain the balance in our body. The ECS can influence physiology in opposite directions. Meaning if our brain has too much activity, cannabinoids can decrease activity, or if it doesn’t have enough, it can increase activity. If you overstimulate the ECS, you can accidentally trigger or worsen the same symptoms you are trying to alleviate hence why cannabis dosing is so essential!


Addiction or dependence of the drug is a real thing

It’s a real thing if you use cannabis simply because you like cannabis and enjoy the effects. It’s less likely (but still possible) if you use it for medical reasons. Withdrawal symptoms can occur when marijuana is stopped abruptly. Symptoms can include anger, aggression, decreased appetite, anxiety, restlessness, sleep difficulties, even strange dreams. These symptoms usually show up 1 to 2 days after you stop consuming cannabis and usually go away in 1 to 2 weeks.


Are you wondering if you have issues with cannabis?


Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your cannabis use affecting your social life or job in any way?

  • Do you use cannabis instead of meeting your obligations?

  • Do you use so much that you are impaired with thinking or muscle coordination?

  • Do you continue to use cannabis despite knowing it impacts your day to day life?

  • Do you continue to use marijuana despite knowing that it worsens a physical or psychological problem?


Driving can be impaired when cannabis

Unlike with alcohol, a user usually knows when they are impaired while using cannabis and if they should drive or not. It can be easy to think that cannabis doesn’t impair your driving, but it does. Don’t attempt to drive with cannabis until you know your dosage, and you’re confident in your response to cannabis.


Research shows it’s not possible to overdose, but it is possible to have an adverse reaction. Researchers have failed to find an acute lethal dosage of cannabis. Doses of long-term cannabis required to produce toxicity and death in animals were so high that it would be nearly impossible for humans to ingest or inhale that much marijuana.


Users usually have issues with cannabis when they are consuming edibles - you can experience many adverse effects. But even if you accidentally overdose on cannabis, rest assure that even at very high doses, marijuana fails to produce brain damage, organ damage, or other types of physical toxicity. You may experience delirium and hallucinations - which may be uncomfortable. But remember these effects usually pass in 4 to 24 hours. If you find yourself too high, find a calm and peaceful environment, use a cannabis antidote such as citrus fruit or try high CBD strains.


Long term effects

The truth is there is little research on the long-term effects of using cannabis. But in a smaller clinical trial if cannabis is used correctly, with the right dosing of cannabis effects are not concerning.


Smoking cannabis has as many toxins as tobacco smoke

When cannabis is smoked via a handpiece, bong, joint, or blunt toxins and carcinogens are released from the combustion of materials. Smoking cannabis is not that safe. It comes with issues like chronic cough, phlegm production, wheeze, and acute bronchitis. But even with that said, research shows that cannabis users are equal or less likely to develop lung and respiratory tract cancer than non-users.


Allergy to cannabis is a real thing

One possible side effect of choosing cannabis is you may be allergic to cannabis. Depending on the allergic reaction, a lot of users keep using it. I’m allergic to cannabis. I was tested via skin pricks. But I found that I’m still able to smoke and consume cannabis with no almost no issues. If I overdo it with cannabis, my eyes can become extra dry and itchy, and I have horrible congestion. My allergy (based on my observations) only acts up when the pollen from the buds gets in my face (I’m a chronic face toucher - which is not ideal in the COVID-19 world we live in now!) or if I rub the buds on my skin. Which I don’t. I also wash my hands immediately after touching buds to reduce any symptoms.


The other tricky part about having allergies to cannabis - it may not even be the plant. It could be mold or other things in the plant that are affecting you. Common cannabis allergies are hay fever, skin rash, asthma, and pink eye!


COVID-19 and smoking are a bad idea

Although what we know and what we don’t know about COVID-19 are always changing - what we do is that COVID-19 attacks the lungs, any type of smoke (cannabis, tobacco, vaping) is not good for the lungs and weakens your body to fight off infection. I am no doctor - but if you can change how you consume cannabis and reduce smoking as much as possible - I would.


Conclusion

During my research for this article, the most frustrating part is what we don’t know - the long-term effects. We probably could have known a lot more about this powerful plant if it was legalized instead of criminalized all those years ago.


But even not fully knowing everything, I would still choose this plant to attempt to treat most ailments instead of a prescription drug that always has a list of side effects.


My biggest takeaway is not to be dependent on smoking as the primary way of consuming but to use tinctures, edibles, and creams. Cannabis is a well-rounded plant that doesn’t always need to be smoked. I'm always curious to learn more! What are you experiences with cannabis? Do you believe it's as safe as I do? Or do you think there is more that we are not aware?


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