Know the Risks

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From new consumers to connoisseurs, it’s important for everyone to understand the risks associated with cannabis consumption.

Signs you may have over-consumed, and what you should do next

If you have over-consumed cannabis you’re likely having an unpleasant experience, to say the least.  

Although smoking, vaping, or ingesting too much cannabis cannot cause a toxic overdose, it can produce some very negative symptoms:

  • Elevated heart-rate
  • Laboured or rapid breathing
  • Anxiety or panic attack
  • Paranoia
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Chest Pain
  • Severe nausea or vomiting

If you have an underlying medical condition you could be at risk of serious complications such as seizures or heart attack.

If you suspect you have over-consumed, try your best to relax.  It’s important to stay calm in order to avoid inadvertently injuring yourself and to assess if you may require further medical attention.

Get to a comfortable environment if you feel overwhelmed by your surroundings.  Drink small sips of water.  Lie down, or at least sit down to prevent injuries from a fall.  Try to get some rest.

Symptoms usually pass with time once your body has fully processed the THC (6-10 hours).  However, it’s important not to under-estimate the need for medical attention if your symptoms worsen.

If symptoms persist beyond 10 hours seek medical attention.  If you believe you are having a heart attack or if you experience a seizure, call 911.

How to avoid over-consuming…Start Low, Go Slow

Most instances of over-consumption involve ingestible products, such as oils, capsules, or edibles.  Because ingestible products take longer to take effect, people may consume more to try to feel the effects faster. Consuming more is not effective in speeding up results, but it is effective in causing a negative experience.

If you are inexperienced with cannabis, do not consume cannabis alone…especially ingestible products!

Start low, go slow! Start with a low level of THC.  Do not consume more than 10 milligrams of THC in a single sitting.  If you are new to ingestible products, we recommend you limit your serving to 2.5 milligrams of THC.  Be patient; It can take 30 minutes to 2 hours before you will feel effects if ingesting THC.  Go slow: wait at least 4-6 hours, even up to 24 hours if you are new to ingestible forms of cannabis, to see how you feel before consuming any more.

It is also important not to mix cannabis with caffeine, alcohol, or any medications as this can increase the risk of side effects and worsen negative symptoms.

Most importantly, if you have a known medical condition do not consume cannabis unless you have first consulted your doctor.

Risks of Prolonged and Frequent Consumption 

Even an experienced consumer should be mindful of the risks.  Prolonged and frequent consumption can lead to health issues and can even have a negative impact on your social life.

Although cannabis products carried by Cannabis NB undergo strict lab testing to ensure it is safe for consumption, burning and inhaling (smoking) any plant material could potentially lead to health issues:

  • Mouth and throat irritation
  • Respiratory Issues, such as Chronic cough or bronchitis

To reduce risks associated with smoking cannabis, try using a vaporizer, or switch to ingestible cannabis products…but remember to Start Low, Go Slow!

Prolonged and frequent consumption can also potentially have an impact on your cognitive and physical abilities.  Because brain development is not complete until after the age of 25, it is recommended that you limit your cannabis consumption if you are between the ages of 19 and 25.

In addition to health risks, there can be social risks related to frequent cannabis consumption.  As with other products that alter your physical or mental state - such as alcohol, drugs, and even caffeine – frequent and excessive consumption can cause dependence or even addiction.

If you are physically dependent on a product, you may find you experience symptoms of withdrawal when you stop consuming.  If you experience headaches or mood swings and you suspect they may be related to withdrawal from cannabis, try reducing the amount of cannabis or the frequency that you consume.

If you are addicted to a product you may feel unable to stop consuming and it can affect your ability to meet work, social, or family obligations.

If you find you are unable to cut down or control your cannabis use, you may be suffering from addiction.  For help dealing with any kind of addiction please contact the New Brunswick Addiction Center in your area.

Cannabis and Mental Health

Though some people claim cannabis helps them to relax or focus, it can have the opposite effect on other people.

Cannabis consumption can potentially exacerbate pre-existing mental health issues such as paranoia, schizophrenia, depression, or anxiety.  If you have a prior history - or a family history - of mental health issues, you should consult with your physician or medical practitioner to see if cannabis consumption is safe for you.

Do not mix cannabis with medical prescriptions. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to determine if cannabis might have a negative interaction with your current medications.