8 Common Side Effects of Cannabis (and How to Prevent Them

Asenqua Tech is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Cannabis has experienced a rapidly changing landscape, from complete prohibition to varying levels of legalization under state laws. Regardless of being illegal federally, the drug remains the most used in the country.

The increased popularity means that more people are exploring the potential benefits associated with the drug, also known as marijuana.

While there is strong evidence supporting the benefits of using cannabis, like any other drug, weed isn’t entirely free from side effects. 

You’ve probably heard otherwise that marijuana is totally awesome and has zero negative effects. There’s some truth to that!

Studies show that marijuana is a lot safer long-term compared to conventional medicine. 

Still, using weed comes with certain risks and unpleasant effects, much of which you can prevent or minimize when you take precautions.

Let’s address some common cannabis side effects and how to prevent them.

Short Term Effects 


One of the most reported cannabis side effects is dry mouth, also known as cottonmouth. It occurs as a result of dehydration and reduced saliva production.

Regardless of how you consume marijuana, you can still experience dry throat and mouth. It’s a common short-term effect that, while unpleasant, isn’t anything to worry about.

You can prevent this side effect by drinking plenty of water beforehand and staying hydrated during and after consumption.

Impaired Thinking

The compound called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) makes marijuana a psychoactive drug.

THC gives you a high, and while it’s the desired effect for many, it’s a form of intoxication that can impair your ability to think, learn, and perform tasks.

Impaired judgment caused by marijuana affects decision-making and makes activities like driving dangerous.

You can prevent or reduce these negative effects by taking small doses and consuming low THC-high CBD strains.


Marijuana can cause fainting, which happens for various reasons. The drug is known to lower blood pressure, and that alone can lead to passing out, especially during an upright posture.

The drug also dilates blood vessels, which can deprive your brain of oxygen, which can cause fainting.

Staying hydrated and easing yourself gently into your session can help.

For more reasons why cannabis causes fainting spells and ways to prevent that, visit Marijuana Doctors.

Psychotic Episodes

In some people, using marijuana can cause symptoms of psychosis, such as paranoia, anxiety, and hallucinations.

The episodes don’t mean you have mental illness but can occur as a result of chemical changes in the brain.

While these effects are short-term, they can cause distress. To prevent or limit these effects, avoid heavy doses unless you’re sure you can manage. Start with small doses until you discover a suitable limit for you.

If you keep experiencing psychotic symptoms even after adjusting your dose and using low-THC strains, avoid using again until you consult a medical professional. 

Long Term Effects


Over time, marijuana use can lead to addiction, with the numbers especially high in miners and regular consumers. 

Statistics show that one in six people who started to use marijuana in their teens become addicted. In addition, half of those who consume the drug daily become addicted.

Since cannabis isn’t highly addictive, using it responsibly will help prevent dependence. Responsible actions to take include:

  • Consume occasionally
  • Use low doses
  • Use low-THC weed

Lung Complications

Can cannabis harm your lungs?

The answer is yes, even though marijuana isn’t the same as tobacco. When burned and inhaled, cannabis delivers carcinogens into your lungs, which can cause lung complications.

The more you smoke marijuana, the more you expose your lungs to harmful substances that may lead to serious health issues like lung infections, chronic bronchitis, and lung cancer.

Since this side effect is tied to smoking or dabbing cannabis, switching to a different consumption method, like edibles, is the best solution.

Mental Illness

There’s an increased risk of mental illness associated with marijuana, especially when you consume the drug regularly or in high doses. 

Long-term use may trigger psychotic episodes in people who are genetically predisposed to mental disorders like schizophrenia.

It’s advisable to discuss possible complications with your doctor before venturing into cannabis.

Brain Development

Several studies suggest that marijuana use in adolescence and early adulthood causes cognitive decline.

Since the brain continues to develop up to around the age of 25, using marijuana before the brain is fully mature impairs development.  This can lead to learning, memory, focus, and problem-solving issues.

According to these studies, the adolescent brain is more sensitive than the adult brain, which makes it more vulnerable to the negative effects of marijuana.

It’s advised to avoid marijuana during adolescent years and seek treatment if you’re already using it.

Final Thoughts

Cannabis has proven therapeutic benefits worth exploring, but it’s also important to understand its possible side effects. 

Much remains unknown about the effects of using cannabis. As such, it’s crucial to arm yourself with knowledge so you can take steps to prevent or minimize side effects and ensure a positive experience. 

Similar Posts