How does cannabis affect the body?
Despite the growing acceptance and accessibility of cannabis in states where it’s been legalized, many outdated stigmas surrounding the plant remain. That means that even people who use cannabis for recreational or medical purposes might know more about its associations with party culture or old-school anti-marijuana films that depicted it as a societal menace (remember 1936’s Reefer Madness?) than how to properly consume it. So, let’s talk about how cannabis impacts the body and how to avoid overconsumption. Just like any other medication or supplement, though, please speak to your doctor before you begin using cannabis, as it can potentially interact with prescription medications.
How does cannabis impact the body when it is consumed?
When cannabis is ingested by smoking or vaping, it goes directly to the lungs and into the bloodstream, which signals the brain to release the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine. This process creates the euphoric feelings or psychoactive “high” associated with THC. Any amount of THC in the system can potentially increase emotions, heighten senses, impaired judgment, trigger “the munchies,” or result in memory loss or hallucinations.
When cannabis is consumed in an edible, it takes longer to feel the effects because it must travel through the digestive system and be processed through the liver before being absorbed into the bloodstream. Cannabis can also be used sublingually as a tincture or transdermally as an oil-based topical cream or balm that is absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin. (Note: Topicals without an oil or fat-based carrier, such as a water-based lotion, will not impact the bloodstream, and should not cause a high or positive drug test result).
What happens to the body when cannabis is over consumed?
Smoking too much cannabis or overindulging on edibles can lead to a rather unpleasant experience, but there have been no reported fatalities due to overconsuming cannabis alone. A combination of time, proper hydration, and a calm environment may help alleviate unwanted feelings. However, in rare cases a person might have a “white out” or “green out” episode, where they may experience heightened paranoia, panic attacks, sweating, dizziness, nausea—or in extreme cases—fainting. Talk to your dispensary agent for information on how to come down safely if you accidentally get too high.
How does cannabis affect the body?
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