Marijuana Symptoms, Signs & Side Effects
There is currently a lot of debate and controversy around the country about marijuana, and there is perhaps no place that is felt more profoundly than in Colorado. Colorado is one of the states in the U.S. that has legalized the recreational use of marijuana, and that, unfortunately, can create the misconception that it’s not harmful.
Marijuana Side Effects
There are side effects of marijuana, and that isn’t negated because it’s legal in Colorado. For example, alcohol is legal for people of a certain age, but as most of us know well, there are side effects and consequences including addiction and dependence possible with alcohol. This concept extends to marijuana as well.
Whether you’re in Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs or anywhere in Colorado, it can be crucial to know the side effects of marijuana, and how to look for signs that a problem could occur, whether in yourself or in someone you love.
The general short-term side effects of marijuana are the result of how the active ingredient, THC, affects the brain. TCH passes into the bloodstream and then to the brain, and this is what leads to side effects from marijuana including altered senses and an altered sense of time, mood changes, impaired body movement and memory, and cognition and problem-solving difficulties.
Other short-term side effects from marijuana may include hallucinations, delusions, and psychosis when large amounts are taken.
Side Effects of Medical Marijuana
While medical marijuana is legal in many states and may be helpful for the treatment of certain conditions, there are still side effects of medical marijuana that are possible.
According to the FDA, some of the possible medical marijuana symptoms can be similar to the effects of painkillers like codeine on the central nervous system.
Medical marijuana symptoms may include dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, dry eyes, problems with heart rate and blood pressure, impaired cognition, headache, dizziness, and numbness. Other possible side effects of medical marijuana can include hallucinations, sexual problems, depression, and panic.
Marijuana Side Effects Long-Term
So while the short-term marijuana side effects may be something you’re already aware of, what about marijuana side effects in the long-term?
First and foremost, some of the most serious marijuana side effects in the long-term can be the result of someone starting to use the drug as a teen or adolescent. When this occurs, the drug can cause problems in how the brain develops connections, and there may be long-term side effects in the development of the brain because of the use of marijuana, although research is still being conducted.
Other possible long-term marijuana side effects can include breathing problems when it’s smoked, such as irritated lungs and lung infections.
When women use marijuana while pregnant, it has been linked to adverse outcomes including lower birth weights, and a higher risk of behavioral and brain problems in babies.
Long-term mental effects of marijuana may include hallucinations, paranoia, or an increase in the severity of symptoms linked to existing mental disorders like schizophrenia.
Signs of Marijuana Use
Whether you live in Colorado or elsewhere you may be wondering the signs of marijuana use if it’s something you suspect in your child or a loved one.
Signs of marijuana use can include:
- Red eyes
- Seeming tired or lethargic
- Coordination problems
- Cravings for food
- Problems focusing
- Being oddly talkative
- Losing interest in typical activities
- Being secretive
Other signs of marijuana use are often related to paraphernalia, which can include leaf debris, rolling papers, eye droppers or pipes.
Marijuana Addiction Signs
There is some debate surrounding whether or not you can become addicted to marijuana. The belief is that it is possible to become addicted to marijuana, although the addiction may look different from other addictions.
The following are 10 signs of marijuana addiction:
- Developing a tolerance to the drug, meaning larger doses are needed to get the same effect
- Using more marijuana than you expect or intend to
- Trying to stop using marijuana and being unsuccessful
- Continuing to use marijuana despite negative consequences
- Putting a lot of focus on when you’ll get high next, or spending the majority of your time high
- Losing interest in other activities such as school or work
- Declining performance at school, work or activities
- Using marijuana as a way to self-medicate
- Feeling like you have to use marijuana to feel normal or relaxed
- Basing your schedule or life on whether or not you can get high
Of course, these aren’t the only signs of addiction to marijuana, but they are some of the most commonly seen in many people.
Signs of Marijuana Overdose
Along with wondering whether or not you can become addicted to marijuana, people also wonder if you can overdose on marijuana and the answer is yes even though it is rare.
A marijuana overdose is most likely to occur in people who eat edibles, or who smoke certain types of resin that have a high concentration of THC. Signs of a marijuana overdose are different from an overdose from other drugs and are often related to a lack of awareness and cognition problems that can result in dangerous situations and behaviors.
There is also the potential with a marijuana overdose for the person to experience paranoia or psychosis.
Drug overdose can be fatal. If you suspect someone is experiencing an overdose, call 911 immediately. Do NOT be afraid to seek help. If you do not have access to a phone contact Colorado Poison Center for online assistance.
Most of the symptoms of marijuana have been addressed above, and they often relate to everything from appearing drowsy, to having cravings for food.
Marijuana use symptoms can depend largely on the individual, how often they use the drug, and whether or not it’s used in conjunction with other substances.
Marijuana Addiction Symptoms
Marijuana addiction symptoms were detailed above. In general, marijuana addiction symptoms are behavioral, and they’re related to someone feeling as if they can’t function or enjoy their life without the use of marijuana.
Symptoms of marijuana addiction may also include being preoccupied with the use of the drug, using it as a way to self-medicate, or losing interest in your career, school or other activities because of your focus on marijuana.
Marijuana Dependence Symptoms
Marijuana doesn’t create a physical dependence like a lot of other drugs do, but some marijuana dependence symptoms may be present. Usually with marijuana dependence symptoms, it’s related to the fact that people feel like they aren’t normal or they have mood disorders when they’re used to using the drug and then stop.
It’s important for people to be able to recognize the symptoms of a marijuana high and a potential marijuana abuse problem for a few different reasons.
First, if you’re concerned about your child, the use of marijuana can lead to problems in school and at home. It can also lead to the use of other drugs.
In anyone, recognizing the symptoms of a marijuana high can be an important way to help them recognize their problem and potentially get help at a Colorado facility such as Palmer Lake, or at another facility around the country. Marijuana abuse is one of the most commonly treated addictions in the U.S., and it is possible to get treatment for an addiction to this drug.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.