Can Smoking Weed Make You Sick

Can weed make you sick? Although cannabis has long been valued for its anti-nausea effect, there are still reports of some people experiencing adverse reactions. The good news is that, in most cases, light to moderate cannabis use shouldn’t pose an issue. With that said, however, being aware of possible side effects can help you nip any problems in the bud.

Weed May Prevent Sickness

According to a placebo-controlled trial, THC (the cannabinoid that gets you high) may help with chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. THC’s antiemetic properties are so noteworthy that the FDA has thus far approved two THC-based drugs for this purpose—Dronabinol and Nabilone. Dronabinol is also used to stimulate appetite in patients with HIV. Historically, pregnant women have also used cannabis to help with morning sickness, although the patient’s physician would have to assess whether the benefits of using cannabis outweighed the risks during pregnancy.

How Weed Can Make You Sick 

Ironically, the same plant that brings so much relief can also cause unpleasant effects if you have too much or consume especially strong cannabis without realizing it. These side effects are usually temporary while your body adjusts and don’t include feeling sick. However, long-term, heavy cannabis users may experience recurrent vomiting from marijuana. Here’s what to look out for if you’re a new or heavy cannabis user.

New Cannabis Users

New cannabis users are often excited, nervous, and eager to experience the “high,” euphoria, and relaxation that they’ve heard about from marijuana users. Their first experience with cannabis consumption may be in someone’s home rather than at a state-licensed marijuana dispensary, where their friends are smoking bongs and blunts or perhaps munching on some cannabis brownies

In this relaxed social setting, it’s easy to consume an excess amount of THC by smoking an especially strong cannabis strain or downing an entire brownie without realizing the heightened and delayed effects of edibles. Without professional guidance, the newbie can quickly pass their cannabinoid threshold and experience negative side effects, including:

  • A racing heart

  • Anxiety, fear, or panic

  • Slow reflexes

  • Poor memory

  • Impaired coordination

  • Hallucinations (seeing things that aren’t there)

  • Delusions (thinking things that aren’t true)

The solution to all of these side effects is simply to wait for the cannabinoids to be metabolized and pass through your system — and then adjust your dosages accordingly in the future. Knowledgeable budtenders (like those in our Bellevue cannabis dispensary) can indicate the strains and products that are appropriate for your experience level and help you to minimize any negative effects.

Long-Term Cannabis Users

Usually, the people who search “can weed make you sick” online and/or end up in the emergency room with severe vomiting are regular users of strong cannabis who have developed cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. This previously little-known syndrome has been getting a lot more attention in recent years.

Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) starts out slowly with feelings of mild, persistent nausea early in the morning that generally go away with a hot shower. This can continue for months or years and is known as the prodromal phase. During the prodromal phase, many users continue to eat normally and may increase their marijuana usage to try to quell the feelings of nausea. 

Eventually, the prodromal phase gives way to the acute phase in which the person actually does start vomiting. This vomiting may be as frequent as several times a day and is accompanied by severe nausea, abdominal pain, and appetite loss. Repeated vomiting and appetite loss can lead to weight loss, dehydration, and the loss of electrolytes. The only remedy is to stop consuming cannabis and other cannabinoid-based products (like CBD oil). You’ll go through a brief recovery phase before returning completely back to normal. 

The good news is that cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome is extremely rare. If you do notice symptoms, though, visit your doctor right away. 

Weed Doesn’t Need to Make You Sick

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, and the good news is that most people can still enjoy regular cannabis use without getting sick. If you’ve had some unpleasant experiences with weed, try choosing lower-THC strains (newbies definitely shouldn’t venture near the 20% mark) and limit your smoking frequency. If you don’t want to get high at all, you could also consider other kinds of cannabinoid products, like CBD tinctures, CBD edibles, terpene vapes, and low-THC cannabis juice.

If you start to feel nauseous, take a break from cannabis products and wait for the symptoms to improve. In most cases, the solution is as simple as cutting back or giving your cannabinoid receptors a rest. And when you do get cravings for marijuana, remember that a little can go a long way, especially if you’re consuming potent products like edibles or concentrates. 

Will Weed Make Me Sick? The Takeaway

Unless you’re constantly flooding your body with high concentrations of THC, it’s very unlikely that weed will make you sick. This is really only a problem for heavy users who increase their intake of cannabis once the feelings of nausea begin. 

Start with a low concentration of THC, and increase your dosage gradually until you understand your tolerance. If you do overdo it, just relax while the cannabinoids work their way through your system. You’re going to be okay, and you’ll know better for next time!