What Are the Side Effects of Marijuana?

Marijuana is legally taken in the US, Canada and many other parts of the world for medical reasons – often the treatment of chronic pain and a number of other conditions.

Yet marijuana side effects exist and they vary from person to person.

The most common method of ingesting cannabis – smoking – comes with its own share of risks…

So, what are the side effects of marijuana? And is there a way to gain the medical benefits of cannabis without smoking?

In this article, we’ll find out:

Common marijuana side effects

The side effects of marijuana will differ depending on the individual ingesting it. Some people experience very few while others may find themselves affected in various ways.

Common marijuana side effects include:


Becoming sleepy is often the result of marijuana taken on its own. This side effect is currently being researched for possible medical uses in the treatment of people with sleeping disorders.

However, chronic long-term use of marijuana may result in fatigue.

Changes in appetite

Sometimes referred to as “the munchies”, smoking cannabis can stimulate the appetite. It’s for this reason that medical marijuana is currently being investigated as a possible option for people with conditions which may reduce appetite.

As a clear indicator that the side effects of smoking marijuana vary depending on your biology, some people will experience precisely the opposite effect – reduced appetite – after ingesting marijuana.

Reduced coordination or balance

States which have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, such as Arizona, usually place sensible limits on the places where people can ingest or be under the influence of cannabis. These limits still affect people who have a medical marijuana card and legal permission to do so elsewhere.

One of those places where you can’t be under the influence of even medical marijuana is behind the wheel of a vehicle. This is because one of the most common side-effects of taking cannabis is reduced coordination.

Changes in mood

Some patients will rely on their medical marijuana to relax or produce a euphoric sensation which they use as a form of pain relief. Medical researchers in the field of depression and anxiety are studying marijuana for this very reason.

Again though, the changes in mood which ingesting marijuana can lead to will vary from person to person – and even from situation to situation:

Some people may experience anxiety or paranoia as a side-effect of taking it – especially after prolonged, chronic use.

The mood changes which marijuana can induce include:

  • Euphoria
  • Relaxation
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety


What are the side effects of smoking marijuana?

There are numerous methods of taking marijuana. The most common is the hand-rolled cigarette, more commonly known as a joint.

Unfortunately, out of all of the alternatives, smoking a joint is probably the least healthy way to ingest cannabis.

It has all of the same problematic side-effects as smoking tobacco, which include:

Lung damage

Smoking marijuana in joints, through the water pipes more commonly called “bongs”, water bowls or any other form of smoked inhalation are all harmful to the tissues in your lungs.

It’s as bad for you as smoking – whether you include tobacco in your roll-up or not – as marijuana contains the same kinds of toxins and irritants as tobacco does.


As well as toxins and irritants, marijuana – when smoked – contains some of the exact same carcinogens as tobacco.

This makes smoking marijuana a bad idea – especially if you are at any kind of elevated risk of developing cancer.

What are the side effects of medical marijuana?

The side effects of medical marijuana are the same as those for batches of cannabis which have been purchased illegally.

Marijuana is still not approved by the US FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) for general medical use.

However, many states have passed their own state-level laws legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. Those states include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington and Vermont.

The only cannabis-derived medications currently approved by the FDA – at time of writing – are the varieties of CBD oil approved for use in the treatment of two medication-resistant forms of epilepsy.

More generally, taking marijuana as an oil or other types of cannabis concentrate is a way in which many patients choose to reduce the side-effects linked to smoking marijuana.

Is there a safer way to take cannabis?

Vaping and various other methods of ingesting cannabis without smoking are taking the marijuana world by storm.

While the other common side effects of marijuana will still vary by individual, by not smoking cannabis you do get to say goodbye to those potentially harmful side-effects of inhaling burning plant!

But there is actually another benefit of ingesting cannabis-derived products rather than smoking the raw cannabis plant…

Control the strength of your dose to manage side effects

One final major advantage of choosing cannabis vape oil or similar CBD or THC oils over smoking marijuana is that it’s much easier to know what you are taking into your body.

The marijuana plant comes in a number of different strains. Each strain contains different levels of the active chemicals – cannabinoids – found in the cannabis plant. This can make it difficult for a patient to get a product which will give them the results they need.

Luckily, THC vape cartridges and other cannabis vape oil you can buy in licensed dispensaries come with their strength clearly labelled. In Arizona, products such as this will soon need to be tested by law.

This is just one of several reasons why K.I.N.D. Concentrates and others focus on high-quality cannabis concentrates rather than the raw marijuana plant.

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