Consumer Education: Are There Bad Marijuana Side Effects?

cannabis research thc

Cannabis consumption continues to skyrocket across the nation as more and more curious consumers begin to explore the market. The legal marijuana marketplace is growing at an impressive rate with over half the US states passing some form of marijuana reform. As legalization continues to be the topic of discussion, even at the federal level, consumers and even non-consumers are demanding further research into the good, the bad, and the ugly regarding marijuana consumption. While openly discussing the potential benefits of marijuana is a tough topic to cover, it is also relatively challenging to find accurate, helpful information covering the bad marijuana side effects without personal opinions running the show.

Leafbuyer is here to take an unbiased look at the potentially bad marijuana side effects.

The Most Common Adverse Effects of Cannabis Consumption

passing shared marijuana joint

When discussing the potential bad marijuana side effects, one major thing that needs to be considered is the several different methods of consumption. In terms of health, some methods of consumption are considered better than others, which means that many of the common adverse effects depend on how someone prefers to consume. From smoking a joint to eating an edible, the adverse effects vary drastically. Plus, considering there is a plethora of misinformation regarding cannabis and its effects, it makes finding the truth rather tricky. Regardless, there are a variety of potentially adverse effects to be aware of when consuming cannabis.


One of the most common bad marijuana side effects that consumers report is paranoia. Paranoia is defined as a state of psychosis characterized by systematized delusions without hallucinations. A classic scenario of paranoia with cannabis consumption, for example, is the thought that every knock at the door is a cop when it’s really just the pizza guy! Cannabis consumers are most likely to experience some paranoia when consuming high-THC products like concentrates and edibles. THC is the psychoactive component found in cannabis, and with its psychoactive effects, paranoia can be a common adverse experience.


Another common bad marijuana side effect is dizziness. Dizziness is not too common for experienced cannabis consumers, but it is common for marijuana beginners to experience. Highly-potent THC products and certain cannabis strains are known for their strong body and head high which, in high doses, can cause a consumer to feel lightheaded, which can then lead to some slight dizziness. These effects tend to fade quickly and are not something to become paranoid over.

Cottonmouth & Dry Eyes

If you've ever used marijuana yourself, then you probably know that the classic cottonmouth and red eyes are definitely among the most reported adverse effects of cannabis. Like the rest of our bodies, our saliva glands contain cannabinoid receptors which accept THC intake. THC works with these receptors to decrease saliva production, which is why cottonmouth is such a common adverse effect.

As for dry or red eyes, the cause can vary from basic irritation from the smoke to dilated blood vessels in our eyes. Luckily, both of these bad marijuana side effects are quickly taken care of with proper hydration and some quality eye-drops. However, do not use too many eye-drops, or they may have a reverse effect.

Short-Term Memory Impairment

Another commonly-reported adverse side effect of cannabis consumption is memory impairment. While more research is required to determine the extent to which cannabis affects cognitive functions like memory, here's some of what we do know: THC combines with cannabinoid receptors in our brains which cause psychoactive effects. Don't freak out, though — it's not like smoking some weed will lead to complete memory loss, but it is common for beginning cannabis consumers to forget their wallet or lose their keys. There is no conclusive research on the long-term effects that THC may have on memory, but it is something that is currently being further explored and that the industry should continue looking further into.

Other Common Adverse Effects:

  • Increased Anxiety
  • Grogginess
  • Fatigue
  • Munchies

Potential Long-Term Adverse Effects of Cannabis Consumption

marijuana science research

Reliable, comprehensive cannabis research is challenging to find at the moment. There have been a variety of studies done overseas, but the United States is just recently opening the door to extensive cannabis research. For this reason, it is darn near impossible to know the long-term effects of cannabis consumption fully. Nevertheless, cannabis consumption is nothing new to human societies, and it has zero recorded deaths to date. That doesn’t mean that cannabis does not have any side effects — but it is best to take the things you read online with a grain of salt. Aside from the bad marijuana side effects listed above, the other potential side-effects are still undergoing further research.

Respiratory Illnesses

When cannabis is combusted by lighting up a joint, bowl, or even bong, it produces smoke which is then inhaled through the lungs. Inhaling any smoke is not necessarily the healthiest decision. However, there are no consumer reports which directly tie cannabis consumption to a particular lung disease or illness.

Regardless, if this potential bad marijuana side effect is one that a consumer might already be sensitive to or just doesn't want to risk, there are a plethora of other consumption methods. Try eating an edible, using a vape pen, or even testing out a cannabis tincture.

Brain Development

Another significant adverse effect that commonly mentioned is that cannabis consumption can alter the brain’s development. In minors or adolescents, chronic cannabis consumption has shown a minor impact on brain development. Adults who begin consumption after their brain is fully-developed, however, have shown no drastic effect on brain functioning. Some current studies are looking into the effects of cannabis on the brain of minors, but more research must be done.

Tips to Avoid Adverse Effects of Cannabis Consumption

woman smoking marijuana joint outside nature

When consuming high-THC products, certain side effects are natural and quit commonly experienced. The common adverse effects and some of the potential long-term effects are easily avoidable with smart consumption.

  • Start low and slow when consuming marijuana products. Take low doses, and work up to higher amounts over time.
  • Always stay hydrated when consuming cannabis to avoid cottonmouth and dry eyes.
  • To avoid heightened anxiety or paranoia, do not consume high-THC products in large amounts. It is also a good idea to try equal ratio THC:CBD products to balance out the adverse effects.
  • If you get too high, try taking some CBD to mellow out the adverse effects of THC, such as paranoia, dizziness, and anxiety.
  • Only consume products from a licensed dispensary, particularly when consuming vape pens, concentrates, and edibles.
  • If you are worried about the potential harm from combusting cannabis, utilize a vaporizer or only consume sublingual products and edibles.
  • Consume responsibly; anything in excess is never healthy.
  • If you don’t like the high from THC products, do not consume them! Try a CBD product or full-spectrum product with a variety of cannabinoids.

Food for Thought ...

weed leaf filled brain

It is crucial to be aware of the potential of the harmful effects of anything before participating, but do keep in mind that the bad marijuana side effects listed in the previous section are all undergoing further research.

Anyone with existing heart, lung, or other health issues should be wary of the products they consume. Legalization keeps consumers safe with proper regulation of all cannabis products, but anyone with existing lung issues should try taking edibles or even sublingual products, rather than smoke a joint.

It is also essential for consumers to only consume cannabis products from a licensed dispensary. Doing so ensures a safe, clean, and effective product with minimal risk of contamination. Do not buy vape pens or concentrates from the black market and always be sure to know where the product came from, how it was made, and what it was made with. Overall, just be a smart consumer and only trust legal cannabis products moving forward to avoid the potential risk and many of the bad marijuana side effects.

Check out where to find a local dispensary near you, here!