For many users, cannabis is a blessing, whether they use it for recreational or medical purposes. It can help one be more relaxed, receptive, and creative. In terms of medical reasons, weed improves a slew of health conditions. But what about the negative effects?
What should you consider if you want to start using cannabis or already using it? Here are some of the most common physical complaints users cite. Fear not, these problems are easy to fix, and you can focus on enjoying that buzz instead of being distracted by those annoying dry eye or cotton mouth syndromes!
One common side effect is “dry eye.” You may feel like the moisture in your eyes have suddenly been sucked out upon your first few hits of a joint or bowl, although many users say they do not experience this problem when vaping. Eyes may also get red and later on feel a bit crusty in the morning. Solutions like Visine or generic artificial tears sold in CVS or Walgreen’s do the trick to soothe the eyes. Staying hydrated helps, so drink plenty of water before and after using weed. Dry eye usually goes away with these simple, effective strategies. Dry eye happens because the smoke bothers the mucous membrane of the eye, but users with sensitive systems report that even edibles make their eyes irritated. Each person will react differently, and some folks never even get dry eye! Some additional solutions include age-old beauty treatments, such as applying cold cucumbers to the eyes or green tea bags (after they have been brewed and chilled).
It’s difficult not to experience your mouth feeling very dry, especially after smoking. This is referred to as cotton mouth. Although it is slightly unpleasant, it is a temporary sensation and easily corrected. A simple fix is to drink lots of water before and after smoking. Have a water or soft drink at your side as you are smoking, but avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages as these drinks will increase the dehydration. Herbal teas are wonderful for combatting the arid feeling that comes with smoking. Chewing gum or sucking on hard candy stimulates saliva production, which helps reduce cotton mouth. So why does this irritating situation happen anyway? Our saliva glands under our jaw bones contain cannabinoid receptors. The cannabinoids from the marijuana bind with the ones from our receptors, basically blocking the messaging system from the brain to the mouth that signal the need to keep the saliva flowing.
You may be more relaxed than usual after using cannabis products so your response time may be slower. It is best not to drive or work with machinery if you know that you will be more sluggish in the brain or body after using. Chances are an indica strain will produce a sedate feeling and cause you to feel more at ease than usual. You might be forgetful. Don’t leave something on the stove or leave appliances running! In contrast, some people report that they are more focused and organized when high, and that may also be if they have used a sativa strain. If so, it is still best to avoid driving or other high risk activities.
If you ingest edibles, make sure you eat only a little but at a time. It can take hours to feel the effects of THC, and depending on the variability of metabolism it would be impossible to predict how two people will handle the same amount of edibles. Many people make the mistake of assuming that they are not feeling the effects of the small amount they initially eat. Then they eat more of the candy bar or cookies, and get slammed by an overwhelming effect. If you do gobble down more edibles than you should have, you should go home and lie down or find a quiet, safe place until you feel a bit less stoned. Drink lots of water and have some snacks.
Here are some tips to avoid problems with consuming too much too quickly. Since we feel the effects of smoking weed roughly within minutes but the effects of edibles can take one to two hours, wait two hours between your first and second dose. If the maker of the edible has included the ingredients and amount of THC and CBD on the label, consider this information as you ingest. If you are in a state with legal recreational use, ask about a recommended dose and usage from a knowledgeable budtender. Most experts recommend only taking 5 milligrams of edibles to start. In addition, ask which strains might be best for you.
A small percentage of people will report that they feel paranoid after smoking. Some users report absolutely no effect and wonder what the big deal is about weed. As with anything that can alter the mind, a user has to approach cannabis use with moderation. The first few times you use cannabis, make sure you are with a good friend that you trust in case you do feel an overwhelming sense of being stoned or paranoid, or if you need someone to help you pick out the right munchies in Seven Eleven!
Once you know how cannabis affects you, you can plan out your activities and places you enjoy weed. For example, cannabis has always had a positive effect on me, especially sativa strains. Knowing it gives me a boost that involves euphoric and energetic feelings, I prefer to be at home when I partake, but I also enjoy being in a natural setting such as the beach or hiking on a trail (as long as a friend is the designated driver that day).
All pleasures in life have positive and negative effects, but approaching cannabis use with some smarts and precaution will result in minimized physical effects. If you are a wise, responsible user, your worst problem might become choosing which strain to use, when to enjoy your bud, or what foods to appreciate when high, rather than experiencing these pesky physical and mental problems.