Too much of a good thing? While most of the side effects of cannabis consumption are relatively harmless, some users may still experience some discomfort.
Some sources of discomfort are physical, while others are more mental, or there can be a combination of both.
Overconsumption may also come with a different set of definitions and reactions from one person to another.
As is the case when trying any new medication for the first time, it is important to be aware of your medical history and family-related conditions, as well as consider any allergies and sensitivities to help prevent misuse.
Typical side effects of cannabis (over)consumption include dry or bloodshot eyes, dry mouth, tiredness, and increased appetite.
Many of these are mild and can be controlled by being prepared. It is best to treat cannabis as you would any other medication; take it with a meal, drink plenty of water, avoid operating vehicles or machinery during use, and stay in a safe space during and after consumption to reduce the odds of an accident or stress brought on by any associated discomfort.
Perhaps the most concerning side effect of cannabis overconsumption is the increase in heart rate. This typically subsides within an hour of consumption, but may linger for up to three hours.
When consuming edibles containing THC, these effects might be more severe and last longer than when consuming via inhalation.
For the most part, the increase in heart rate you get from the consumption of cannabis is temporary and mild, but for those who have been diagnosed with heart conditions may experience more severe symptoms and have more to watch out for over others.
Some studies suggest that the cause of the heart rate increase during cannabis consumption is due to the release of dopamine stimulating different areas of our bodies controlled by the regions of our brains containing cannabis receptor cells.
Symptoms of consumption have been compared to that of an adrenaline rush, as our bodies release neurotransmitters that encourage us to seek out the behavior that caused the physiological reaction in the first place.
Note that because the THC in edibles competes with the other contents of the consumer’s stomach, the absorption rate of THC into the bloodstream is slowed.
Thanks to this delay, novice consumers will often ingest more, maybe a whole cookie instead of a half, expecting the effects to be as instant as inhalation.
However, it’s best to avoid getting second helpings and try to be patient while waiting for it to take its full effect. Knowing your limit with edibles is the best way to prevent this from happening.
Another possible compounding issue of the rapid heart rate brought on by cannabis overconsumption is the possibility of inducing anxiety in the consumer simply as a nervous reaction to the physical symptoms they are feeling.
When talking about over-doing it with marijuana, this scenario is commonly referred to as paranoia. If you find yourself in this downward spiral, the best way out is to remind yourself that it is temporary, take some deep breaths, and consider having a snack while you drink a glass of water.
That and a little bit of time will most likely resolve your symptoms. Distract yourself by engaging in an activity you are familiar with and enjoy. That being said, please be sure to seek medical attention right away if you experience symptoms of severe stress, chest pain, or trouble breathing.
When overconsumed, there is also potential for cannabis to manifest its psychoactive properties through a more hallucinogenic experience.
These symptoms may be exacerbated in patients suffering from mental conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and anxiety.
Mixing cannabis consumption with other drugs, taking it on an empty stomach, sleep deprivation, or a history of mental conditions may all contribute to the possibility of experiencing hallucinations including visual, tactile, and audible perceptions.
Knowing your body and abiding by the “everything in moderation” principle is a good standard to guide you when learning your limit as it relates to cannabis consumption.
The positive effects of marijuana have been tested and confirmed for decades, as it offers a preferred route to healing for many patients.
Studies are now showing that cannabis is also safe to consume and enjoy recreationally, as it is a natural brain stimulant to boosting pleasure and creativity.
Whether you are a qualified candidate to consume cannabis medicinally or recreationally, just be sure to be safe and prepared to make the most of your experience.