Is it possible to overdose on marijuana?

Less cannabis / THC side effects

How it comes to side effects when consuming cannabis / THC

Because of its effects, cannabis is an interesting option for cancer patients. It is usually well tolerated. However, side effects are possible. These include changes in blood pressure and heartbeat, dryness of the mouth and throat, dizziness, reddening of the conjunctiva, euphoria, anxiety, cravings, and fatigue. The reason for these side effects is the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the main active ingredient in cannabis. (Hemp) It is primarily responsible for the analgesic, antiemetic (relieving nausea and vomiting), sleep-promoting, and appetizing properties of cannabis.


The main active ingredient in the cannabis plant, THC, can cause side effects.


These side effects are usually only to be expected at the beginning of cannabis therapy. With regular consumption there is usually a tolerance effect.

Below we show you how to treat or avoid the most common side effects of cannabis.

Women may experience side effects from cannabis more often than men

A publication published in Frontiers magazine in 2020 suggests that women may experience the side effects of cannabis or THC more often. However, the starting point for this assumption is not studies on humans, but studies on animals. These show that steroid hormones, especially sex hormones, can influence the effects of cannabinoids, for example by affecting the responsiveness of cannabinoid receptors. This could explain why women seem to suffer more from cannabis withdrawal than men. In addition, animal studies have shown that the effectiveness of cannabinoids can be different within the menstrual cycle.

It is obvious that this is also the case with humans. Gender-specific differences in the effects of drugs are known for many drugs, for example morphines. So-called gender medicine deals with this topic.

How to Avoid Cannabis Side Effects

By observing the following information, you will ensure that the most common side effects of cannabis can be avoided or are less likely to occur.

  • Find out about possible side effects, contraindications, and interactions of cannabis.
  • The body usually has to get used to THC first. When starting cannabis therapy, discuss with your doctor that you want to start with a low dose. This should be done especially with THC-rich cannabis strains. The dosage can then be increased slowly. We describe this procedure in our article "Correctly dose cannabis and THC".
  • Drink enough before and after consuming cannabis. Those who drink enough keep the circulation stable and can prevent possible side effects such as dryness of the mouth or eyes.
  • Do not consume cannabis on an empty stomach. This is because cannabis use can affect blood sugar levels and lead to hypoglycaemia.
  • Consume good quality cannabis. Because of the many tests, pharmacy goods are a sure thing. Black market cannabis can contain harmful substances. These include lead, glass, plastic compounds, artificial fertilizers and hairspray. In addition, black market dealers cannot give precise information about the active ingredient content.


Treating cannabis side effects: what to do

The following pointers can be useful in managing common cannabis side effects. Basically, you should inform your doctor of any undesirable effects that occur in connection with cannabis use.


Anxiety from cannabis use

Cannabis can both treat and induce anxiety. Where does it come from? The reason for this is the dosage of THC. Small amounts of THC have an anti-anxiety effect, while high doses can induce anxiety in certain people. We can take away one fear from you: even an unwanted overdose is usually harmless. Cannabis is one of the safest medicines. The American Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ruled on cannabis: "From a medical point of view, marijuana is far safer than most of the foods we normally eat.“[1] A study from 2014 comes to the conclusion that cannabis is only responsible for the deaths of two people so far. [2] For comparison: up to 5000 people die every year in Germany alone from the drug aspirin. [3]

Make sure that during the first few uses of cannabis you are in a relaxed and familiar environment, ideally within your own four walls. If you feel unsure, ask someone you trust to keep you company while you are using cannabis.

When anxiety arises, two things, among other things, can help: CBD and lavender. CBD (cannabidiol) is the second most important active ingredient of the cannabis plant after THC. Among other things, CBD has anti-anxiety properties and is also used to treat anxiety. [4] For example, CBD can be taken in the form of drops containing CBD. CBD drops are available in stores without a prescription. You can also prepare a CBD-containing tea made from industrial hemp before consuming cannabis for the first time.

The black pepper terpenes could also help reduce anxiety levels after using cannabis. This was found out by a research group in 2011. [5] Chewing black peppercorns can reduce anxiety associated with cannabis use. However, this measure is not very practical. Who wants to chew a tablespoon of peppercorns? Lavender is more helpful.

The medicinal plant lavender is known for its anti-anxiety properties. [6] You can benefit from this in various ways: Either you let the essential lavender oil evaporate in your home using an aroma lamp, take lavender preparations such as Lasea or make a tea from lavender flowers. The terpene linalool contained in lavender has an anti-anxiety effect and also strengthens the anti-anxiety properties of CBD (entourage effect).


The active ingredients of black pepper could help with possible side effects of cannabis.


Dry mouth and throat

THC has many different effects in the body. This is because there are so-called endocannabinoid receptors in many places in the body, which are influenced by THC. Endocannabinoid receptors are also found in the salivary glands. THC can influence the formation of saliva. Most of the time, this means that less saliva is formed and your mouth and throat feel uncomfortably dry.

As already mentioned, you should make sure you drink enough when consuming cannabis. If you have a dry mouth, chewing gum or candy will help. These stimulate the formation of saliva.

Mouthwash with mucous tea mixtures is also helpful. A recipe for this: pour 150 ml of cold water over a tablespoon of marshmallow root and let stand for two hours while stirring several times. Then use this to rinse your mouth.


Dry and red eyes

THC dilates the blood vessels in the eyes. This can lead to redness. Additionally, THC can cause the eyes to become less moisturized and feel dry and irritated. Those who drink enough can reduce or prevent this side effect. Eye drops can be helpful to treat dryness in the eyes. Ideally, these should be free from preservatives.