7 Weird Side Effects Of Getting High, Explained
If you’ve ever consumed cannabis, then you probably don’t need me to tell you there are some wonderful and weird side effects of getting high. After just a few puffs, bites, or drops of your favorite flower, edible, or tincture, sweet Mary Jane starts working her magic; and you’ll just have to decide for yourself if the potential for weird side effects is worth the potential for wonderful ones.
First things first: to understand how cannabis affects us, it’s important to know that humans are born with cannabinoid receptors. These live on the surfaces of cells and are responsible for communicating changing conditions outside of the cell to the inner cell, thus instigating cellular responses. As the cannabis culture site Leafly explained, the main cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 are responsible for the high you get from THC, and both receptors exist in various parts of your body. But the effect isn’t necessarily identical for every single person вЂ” in other words, people can experience different side effects or varying degrees of benefits.
To help explain the impacts weed can have on your body, Bustle spoke with Dr. Jordan Tishler, MD, an expert on cannabis therapeutics and holistic care. Here are seven side effects of getting high, explained:
1. Cotton Mouth
As an article from TruthOnPot explains, “cotton mouth” happens when a cannabinoid like THC binds itself to the receptor of our submandibular glands, (a pair of glands located on the floor of our mouths which produce about 70 percent of our saliva). Then, it causes them to stop receiving the messages from our parasympathetic nervous system which would normally tell them to make more saliva.
Dr. Tishler notes that even though you might feel thirsty after consuming cannabis, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re dehydrated. “For those who have heart or kidney disease, overdoing water intake can be dangerous, so they should be warned to take sips, not large drinks,” he says.
2. Increased Heart Rate
Now, when it comes to cannabis and heart rate, Dr. Tishler says there are two important factors at work here. “First cannabis via the CB1 receptor has a direct stimulatory effect on heart rate,” Dr. Tishler explains. “Also, it causes decreased vascular resistance which leads to lower blood pressure. When blood pressure drops, it calls for increased heart rate to compensate.” He says for most people the increase in heart rate is mild and not particularly noticeable. But if you can feel your heart rate quickening, he suggests dialing the dose back. As WebMd noted in a recently updated article, your heart usually beats between 50 and 70 times per minute. However, that can increase to 70 to 120 beats per minutes after smoking weed.
If you’re dealing with established cardiovascular issues, however, you should take this side effect more seriously. “In patients with either coronary artery disease or congestive heart failure, the increased rate can be dangerous,” Dr. Tishler says. ” . This can lead to chest pain, shortness of breath, and in worst case, a heart attack.” He makes it clear that this is rare, but serious.
3. Possible Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile Dysfunction may not directly affect you if you don’t have a penis вЂ” and having a penis shouldn’t keep you from safely and legally consuming cannabis if you want to вЂ” but you should know that it might be a possibility. “Men, more than women, are very dose dependent when it comes to the effects of cannabis on sexuality,” Dr. Tishler says. Still, some of the existing studies on erectile dysfunction and marijuana use are contradictory and require further research.
4. Potentially Increased Tolerance
According to a 2014 study performed by Washington State University Psychologist Rebecca Craft and published in the journal, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, female rats are more likely to develop a tolerance to cannabis than males. The female rats in Craft’s study were also more sensitive to the painkilling qualities of cannabis than the males, and were the most sensitive around ovulation. That said, Dr. Tishler remains unconvinced by the available data on weed’s painkilling effects for men vs. women. “There is some evidence that women may need a higher dose than men for pain control, but I have not seen this in practice, nor was I convinced that the studies were accurate,” he says.
5. Increased Appetite
Even weed virgins have probably heard that getting stoned will make you super hungry, but what’s weird about this side effect is why cannabis consumption sometimes makes us feel like single-handedly eating whole pizzas and mountains of mac and cheese.
In a recent study conducted by experts at Washington State University, it was found that dosing rats with cannabis stimulates a surge of ghrelin вЂ” a hormone the stomach releases when it’s empty which tells the brain it’s time to look for food. Additionally, as a 2015 study published in the journal Nature found, our cannabinoid receptors have a relationship with the pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons that live in the hypothalamus, and these neurons control appetite stimulation. So when people consume cannabis, those neurons are activated and it causes you to become hungry.
That said, Dr. Tishler tells Bustle he doesn’t think we have a good answer yet regarding exactly why the munchies happen post-dose. “ItвЂ™s clear that cannabis interacts with receptors in the hypothalamus, which is the area that controls satiety,” Dr. Tishler says. “Beyond that, we just donвЂ™t know.”
Laughing is not only super fun, it’s literally good for you. And one of the most pleasurable (and weird) side effects of getting stoned is how much it might make you laugh вЂ” but while I can say with absolute certainty that cannabis has always stimulated my giggle box, Dr. Tishler points out the side effect isn’t necessarily universal. “It may accentuate peopleвЂ™s innate giggliness or their baseline mood, but uncontrolled laughter is not a universal phenomenon,” he says.
Unfortunately most of the studies on cannabis and laughter are over a decade old, but research on the topic does exist. One such study, for example, found that cannabis activates blood flow to the right frontal and left temporal lobes of the brain, both of which are associated with laughter. Plus, laughter is contagious, so if you’re smoking with friends and they start giggling, it makes sense that you’ll probably start giggling as well.
7. Slower Perception Of Time
Like every single stoned scene from any movie or TV show will tell you, getting high tends to slow things down вЂ” and it can actually be quite relaxing, because it forces us to slow down, too. Dr. Tishler tells Bustle we’re still learning about why this happens, but it likely has something to do with the hypothalamus. “The hypothalamus is again involved in some of our time-keeping apparatus, so the interaction is likely there, but why and how are still unexplored,” Dr. Tishler says.
According to a 1998 study, marijuana alters blood flow to our cerebellum (the part of the brain that regulates muscle activity), and the cerebellum is linked to our body’s timing system. More recently, a study published in Psychopharmacology found that вЂ” when compared with sober participants вЂ” participants who consumed cannabis overestimated time by as much as 25%.
Koch, M., Varela, L., Kim, J. G., Kim, J. D., HernГЎndez-NuГ±o, F., Simonds, S. E., вЂ¦ Horvath, T. L. (2015). Hypothalamic POMC neurons promote cannabinoid-induced feeding. Nature. https://www.nature.com/articles/nature14260
Mathew, R. J., Wilson, W. H., Turkington, T. G., & Coleman, R. E. (1998). Cerebellar activity and disturbed time sense after THC. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9666122
Sewell, R. A., Schnakenberg, A., Elander, J., Radhakrishnan, R., Williams, A., Skosnik, P. D., вЂ¦ D’Souza, D. C. (2013). Acute effects of THC on time perception in frequent and infrequent cannabis users. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3581701/
Sneider, J. T., Pope, H. G., Silveri, M. M., Simpson, N. S., Gruber, S. A., & Yurgelun-Todd, D. A. (2006). Altered regional blood volume in chronic cannabis smokers. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17115869
Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior. (2018). How cannabis affects appetite: Brain changes. ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180717094747.htm
Wakley, A. A., Wiley, J. L., & Craft, R. M. (2014). Sex differences in antinociceptive tolerance to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in the rat. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4161674/
Jordan Tishler MD; President, CMO inhaleMD; President, Association of Cannabis Specialists. https://inhalemd.com/about-us/
This article was originally published on Oct. 14, 2015
If you’ve ever consumed cannabis, then you probably don’t need me to tell you there are some wonderful and weird side effects of getting high. After just a few puffs, bites, or drops of your favorite flower, edible, or tincture, sweet Mary JaneвЂ¦
Feeling numb and having panic attacks after marijuana use
Posted 4 years ago , 6 users are following.
Age: 20 Sex: Male Height: 5’10” Weight: 165 lbs Race: White Duration of complaint: 3 days Location (Geographic and on body): Hands, body, brain Any existing relevant medical issues (if any): none Current medications (if any): Finasteride I was at a party almost exactly 3 days ago. I was a little bit drunk so I decided to take some hits from a marijuana pipe that was being passed around. I am not a frequent marijuana user, but it’s not the first time I’ve smoked. I took a huge hit, and everything was fine for about 20 minutes. I felt stoned and relaxed. After that short period, I experienced what I understand to be a panic attack, which I have never experienced before. My mental state locked up completely, and luckily I was able to reach out for help and a friend was there to take me back home. During this time, it felt like my conscious mind was taking the back seat while someone else was taking the wheel of my actions. It felt very dissociative. My body became completely numb, however I was still able to physically sense and my feeling function didn’t decrease at all. We made it back and the panic attack subsided for about 30 mins, wherein I was able to explain the situation to my friend. Then another episode occurred, similar to the first one. Lost control of my thoughts, rapid heart rate, etc. I decided to sleep it off and hope the situation got better in the morning. As I type this, I still have this physically numb feeling, like there’s no sense of feedback in my hands, however I can still touch and use them just fine. Morning comes and I feel much better. I want to rest for awhile to make sure that I’m completely fine. I went to go eat dinner today. At dinner, about 2.5 days after the initial incident, I almost had another panic attack for no apparent reason – increased heart rate, sense of impending danger, etc. however I was able to get home quickly and recuperate before it hit me. Emotionally, I feel fine. Same old me. No problem with anxiety/socializing/laughing/getting excited, etc. Physically, I have that numbness which cycles on and off, and these panic attacks which I have never experienced in my life. I wouldn’t say I had any serious anxiety before this, either. I am almost certain the marijuana was not laced with anything. It was from a dispensery and came from a reputable source. Did this marijuana mess me up mentally? I thought that weed was supposed to be a very safe therapeutic drug with no serious lasting side effects. Obviously I was wrong. One thing’s for sure; I’m never doing drugs again. Edit: Last night I felt a rush and felt completely normal and back to baseline for a short time. Woke up again this morning with the same numbness and kind of strong/fast heartbeat and anxiety.
Age: 20 Sex: Male Height: 5'10" Weight: 165 lbs Race: White Duration of complaint: 3 days Location (Geographic…