Medical marijuana treatments can be used to alleviate many ailments; however, too much medication can result in some unpleasant side effects. Often referred to as a “marijuana overdose”, patients may experience nausea, vertigo, paranoia, and panic attacks from a large dose of cannabis. These negative effects can last up to four hours and leave a patient feeling exhausted for even longer; on the other hand, cannabis will not shut off a person’s autonomous functions like lungs breathing or a heart beating. This is why many find cannabis to be a far less dangerous pain remedy than opioids. For further reading on cannabis and opioids, please, check out our blog post on the difference between cannabis and opioids.
With proper dosing, patients might never experience the negative side effects of cannabis. It may be difficult to predict this dose because everybody’s endocannabinoid system is different. On top of that, cannabis comes in many forms that each affect the body uniquely. For example, smoking a joint or eating a brownie will give a patient very different experiences even if both treatments offer an equivalent amount of THC. This is largely due to the way our livers process THC. For inexperienced patients, we recommend starting with a very low dose, one toke or 5mg of eaten THC, and slowly increasing your dose over time to meet your needs.
Many people seek out cannabis treatments to address nausea, so it may surprise you to find out that too much cannabis can actually cause nausea and/or vertigo. To prevent the onset of nausea, we recommend medicating with some food in your stomach, especially when using edibles. Cannabis can dehydrate you and lower your blood pressure. Thus, it is very important to stay hydrated after smoking or eating an edible.
Some people may also experience a queasy feeling from swallowing the smoke instead of inhaling it. Try to prevent yourself from swallowing or sucking air into your stomach while smoking. Breathe easily, inhale from the pipe or joint, inhale a little extra air, and let it out together with a normal breath. If worried about over medicating, allow fifteen minutes to pass before deciding to smoke more. For many people, one toke is more than enough.
If you are already experiencing the onset of nausea from cannabis, it may help to splash cold water on your face. A more effective solution, however, is to sleep it off. This might be difficult if you are experiencing an intense spinning sensation, but this feeling should subside relatively quickly. Even after a nap, you may still feel some of the residual effects of cannabis, but the nausea should be greatly reduced.
Most people build a tolerance to cannabis relatively quickly. The more you medicate with cannabis, the easier it becomes to handle more THC. Although there is always the risk of nausea, a consistent use of cannabis will allow a patient to reap the benefits of the medication while lessening the chance of experiencing these negative side effects.
Similarly to treating nausea, cannabis can be used to treat anxiety, but it can also produce an abundance of unwanted anxiety. Cannabis is a very complex plant that comes in numerous varieties. While THC is the main medication in marijuana treatments, most cannabis products include terpenes and other cannabinoids that can alter THC’s effect. You can read more about how cannabis is categorized in our article What is the Difference Between Indica and Sativa? Although too much THC can result in panic attacks or paranoia, most often people associate these negative side effects with sativa cannabis strains. If you suffer from anxiety, it may be in your best interest to stick to indica or indica hybrid medications.
Cannabis will often play up the emotions and thoughts already present in a patient’s mind. To counteract an anxiety laden experience, think carefully about your environment or the setting in which you are medicating. Be sure to find a comfortable, safe space to share with trusted friends or family if you would like company. Try to plan a time or carve out an ideal period in your day or night so that you can not only smoke or eat an edible but also enjoy the positive effects of the medication.
If you find yourself stuck in a spiral of negative or detrimental thoughts while medicating, find something to distract yourself. A good friend with some meaningful or just positive conversation can turn your negative thoughts into something more productive and positive. Many people also enhance their experience by listening to music. Some people even find working out or other physical activity spins their emotions back to a more serene place.
The simplest solution to prevent a bad experience medicating with cannabis is to lower the dose. Less medication will result in a less dramatic treatment. If you are in need of a large dose of medicine but struggle with the side effects, it is best to add CBD into your treatment plan. CBD helps to counteract the intensity of THC. Taken before or along with THC, CBD can enhance the positive effects of THC while reducing the risks of panic attacks and nausea in most patients. CBD is also a great anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, anti-tremor medication, so you may even find that it helps your specific ailment more than THC.
Do you need help finding the correct cannabis treatment for you? Feel free to contact Arbors Wellness and speak with one of our experts.