It’s 9 pm on a Friday night and you and your friends are headed to a house party in the city. You arrive at the party, and the first thing you hear someone say is “ who wants to smoke one?” You look around the room to see who is in and who is out. The majority of the room is in. The room starts to get small because you have only smoked weed a handful of times and have not had the best experiences. What do you do? Well, some might simply opt-out, while others are still a bit curious about bad experiences. Here are some dosing tips and health risks to keep in mind when faced with peer pressure or if you are not very well versed in social smoking.
First things first, as I always say start low and go slow! Here are some factors to consider that can assist you in the heat of the moment…
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Short-Term Negative Effects May Include:
- anxiety, fear or panic
- dizziness or fainting
- lower ability to concentrate or remember things
- lower ability to react quickly
- higher heart rate
- paranoia and delusional thoughts
Long-Term Negative Effects May Include:
- risk of addiction
- risk of harm to concentration and/or decision making ability
- higher risk of developing mental issues such as psychosis or schizophrenia
- long-term cough
- lung infection
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Picture this. The person with the fireweed says” yooo this gas is so fire, it’s gonna knock you into next week”. You look at your buddy in shock and think what am I going to do? The joint is in rotation and headed your way. My recommendation would be to decline if you really cannot handle it. If you’re curious, puff puff pass and be done there. When that rotation comes back around don’t overdo it. Let that be your “contribution to the sesh” and not being a Debbie Downer. Passing yourself is the smartest thing you can do in today’s age of legal weed and the legal cannabis market raging. Cannabis of today is stronger than it’s ever been and it can give many different responses for each individual. To avoid any of the above health risks take your time.
Mental Health Risks For Children and Adults
One of the main reasons the government is so hell-bent in protecting children from cannabis use is due to mental health risks. Studies show that an individual’s brain as a youth is not fully developed enough to handle cannabis. Cannabis for youth affects the frontal lobe which does not mature until the age of 21. Using cannabis before the age of 21 can have adverse mental health effects leading to mental health issues later on down the road.
Risks to your mental health from using cannabis include:
- mild or temporary symptoms of anxiety
- paranoia and delusional beliefs
- higher risk of suicide, depression, and anxiety
- potential permanent brain damage
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The potential risk of developing psychosis or schizophrenia in certain individuals may increase for people who use cannabis daily or near-daily. People who use cannabis before 16 years of age or younger have a higher probability of developing psychosis or schizophrenia. Please educate the kiddies to be safe when partying with friends.
The same guys that had the fireweed digs into his bag and says “ yoo I got edibles too, you want one? It’s 1000mg per gummy”. Your eyes jump out of your head, “1000mg?”, this guy is trying to teleport me into next year, let alone next week”. You end up passing but your buddy is like “hell ya gimme one of those”. You sit and watch everyone who smoked and ate a gummy sink further into the couch. The funny thing about edibles is you can have a great relaxing experience, or it can feel like you might not make it to tomorrow. The legal market is starting with low dose edibles so it will be hard to get couch-locked but the joy of a low dose product is so you can really avoid getting too high to quickly and allow for micro-dosing or incremental dosing so you don’t overdo it socially. The edibles your neighbor made for you that summer are crazy strong in comparison and could give cannabis poisoning to a lightweight.
Consuming too much cannabis at one sitting can lead to temporary adverse effects, known as cannabis poisoning. Cannabis poisoning is not commonly known to be fatal, however, it can be dangerous and sometimes call for emergency medical attention.
Symptoms of cannabis poisoning may include:
- chest pain
- rapid heartbeat
- nausea or vomiting
- a psychotic episode
- shallow breathing
- severe anxiety or a panic attack
It’s easier to be poisoned when consuming cannabis by eating or drinking compared to smoking or vaping cannabis.
Reduce Your Risk
In order to avoid these health risks completely, refraining from cannabis entirely is the only way.
To reduce the health risks, you can:
- limit how often you use cannabis
- delay using cannabis until later in life
- avoid smoking or vaping cannabis products and consider edible cannabis (which is safer for your lungs than smoking cannabis), but be aware that edibles are not risk-free and that it can take longer to feel the effects of edible cannabis than other forms
- avoid using edible cannabis from an unauthorized retailer to ensure that products are safe to consume and free of contamination or unknown THC quantities
This is a start, and are all important facts we should share with our youth so we can empower them to make informed choices around cannabis use and consumption. Through education and awareness, we can work to ensure we are all safe with using cannabis, especially in a social setting.
As always smoke responsibly and smoke in moderation!