The real risks and dangers of marijuana use

The real risks and dangers of marijuana use

Whilst cannabis does not have any major dangers from consumption, it should still be treated responsibly. In this article we discuss a few points which we feel people should be aware of prior to first time consumption.

Excessive cannabis use

One of the biggest risks of cannabis use is when consumption becomes highly excessive.

When consuming cannabis multiple times per day, every day, the user could end up losing the drive for life’s challenges and become lazy/depressed. This may be due to facing an emotionally challenging time in life and trying to self medicate with cannabis.

Cannabis will not solve your problems but can aid in making times easier. Consult a doctor or therapist if you start consuming cannabis excessively to deal with your problems. These problems can be as simple as you just “don’t feel good”. It’s best to get help than to try and face your problems with cannabis.

Discipline

Discipline is highly important if you have started to consume cannabis excessively. You can use cannabis whilst completing a heavy workload and remaining motivated to become successful and striving to make a difference – provided cannabis use does not discourage you from completing your goals.

Once cannabis use interrupts your daily life and goal completion by de-motivating or making you too sleepy, you should definitely consider cutting back on use or instead be extremely disciplined with yourself to complete whatever is required of you.

Paranoia, anxiety and depression

Excessive use of marijuana can produce negative effects if you are self medicating for paranoia, anxiety or depression. Cannabis with high levels of THC exasperates the three above conditions. High THC cannabis is known to cause varying levels of paranoia and anxiety in users.

Self medicating with high THC cannabis for depression has a short term positive result, but excessive use will worsen depression. Try substituting the high THC content cannabis for a CBD vape – CBD is found to relive the symptoms of depression, paranoia and anxiety.

Cannabis dependence

Following from excessive use, heavy cannabis consumption will increase the chance of becoming dependent on cannabis. Disciplined use will greatly reduce the chance of becoming dependent on marijuana.

Cannabis high in THC is more likely to cause dependence than cannabis high in CBD; CBD is used to treat hard drug and alcohol addictions. The WHO (World Health Organization) also stated that there is no risk to dependence on CBD.

People may become dependent on cannabis if they are trying to self medicate due to going through tough times or dealing with heavy emotional stress etc. If you are attempting to get through a difficult time by using cannabis, you should try to identify the underlying causes (if any) or arrange to see a therapist/councilor to help you get through the difficult time. Cannabis will help in the short term, but you must solve any underlying problems yourself.

If you feel cannabis is taking over your daily life, seek some help. Cannabis dependence is not a physical addiction like heroin, but it can still be tough to stop for some people  – try cutting down use until the end of the day, after you’ve completed all of your daily tasks.

You won’t experience any severe physical withdrawal symptoms as you would going cold turkey from heroin use. However, you may experience mild anxiety, become easily aggravated and have trouble sleeping for a few days, up to over a week.

Strong edibles

Cannabis edibles are a much stronger, intense high that can sometimes produce hallucinations. When smoking or vaping, a lower ratio of 11-hydroxy-THC to THC enters the bloodstream than when consuming an edible – the liver breaks down the chemicals, and a higher level of 11-hydroxy-THC enters the bloodstream, which causes the intense high.

Many people over-worry after consuming an edible and feel much higher than they expected. While you won’t overdose from consuming too much edible cannabis, it can be an extremely unpleasant experience which may put you off cannabis for life. Go slow, eat a small amount and be patient to avoid an unpleasant high.

Read our word of caution on consuming edibles if it’s your first time consuming cannabis

Impure hash

Hash, or hashish, is the trichomes of a cannabis plant pressed together. A natural hash should be fairly soft.

In an illegal cannabis market, dealers are known to “cut” the hash with other compounds to increase the weight. This causes the hash to become hard. Cut hash is also known as soapbar, and it is highly advised to avoid soapbar as you can never be sure what has been added to the mix. You could be unknowingly consuming hash additives as “harmless” as beeswax to possibly consuming hard drugs.

Schizophrenia risk

Marijuana does not cause schizophrenia or psychosis in individuals, even in high doses, or from high THC strains such as skunk.

If the person has schizophrenic genes but has not yet shown symptoms, cannabis use can trigger schizophrenic or psychotic symptoms. However don’t confuse this by thinking cannabis causes schizophrenia, as the person is born with schizophrenia in their genes.

Cannabis use during pregnancy

As with alcohol or any other substances, cannabis use should be avoided by pregnant or breastfeeding women. Currently it is unclear whether cannabis use in pregnant women can damage the neurons of an unborn child, or whether breastfeeding and consuming cannabis may hinder a child’s brain from developing correctly.

CBD interfering with other medication

Cannabis with high CBD content could be a risk to people who are on other medications. It has been found that high doses of CBD inhibit cytochrome P450 enzymes, which are responsible for breaking down certain medications. You should consult your doctor if you are on important medications and consume cannabis/plan on consuming cannabis.

Synthetic cannabis

Synthetic cannabis is commonly referred to as Spice. It’s fairly simple to determine if your cannabis is spice or not, we wrote an article on determining if your cannabis is safe to use.

However, young or vulnerable people are sometimes tricked into thinking that they have purchased cannabis, when in fact they have been given spice. Spice is a synthetic cannabis and is extremely dangerous – you can die from consuming spice. Avoid it at all costs.

Unless you are schizophrenic or diagnosed with/prone to depression and anxiety, cannabis consumption is safe. When used responsibly, cannabis can enhance a person’s perception of the world, improve their well being and daily life.

Always consult your doctor if you are on any medications and plan on consuming cannabis medically or recreationally.

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