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This is What It Feels Like to Have Marijuana Side Effects

Pay attention to these signs.

Many people find marijuana beneficial, either for recreation or relief from a medical condition. But some people have a less pleasant experience with cannabis. Marijuana can cause side effects, which can range from unpleasant to risky for health. This is what it may feel like to experience some of the most common side effects of marijuana. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


You May Cough or Feel Short of Breath

Woman suffering an anxiety attack alone in the night

Smoking marijuana involves inhaling, well, smoke, and that can irritate your lungs. "Research shows that smoking marijuana causes chronic bronchitis and marijuana smoke has been shown to injure the cell linings of the large airways, which could explain why smoking marijuana leads to symptoms such as chronic cough, phlegm production, wheezing, and acute bronchitis," says the American Lung Association.


You May Feel a Rapid Heartbeat

Asian young woman feeling discomfort as suffering from heartburn holding chest with closed eyes and sitting with folded legs on couch at home.

THC, the main ingredient in marijuana, can raise heart rate by 20 to 50 beats a minute, causing a feeling that your heart is racing. This may last for several hours. "Marijuana can make the heart beat faster and can make blood pressure higher immediately after use," says the CDC. "It could also lead to increased risk of stroke, heart disease, and other vascular diseases." Researchers think THC may cause inflammation in blood vessels, damaging them.


You May Feel Confused or Forgetful

Woman has a Migraine and headache after wake up in the morning.

"There's no question that marijuana can produce short-term problems with thinking, working memory, executive function, and psychomotor function," says Harvard Medical School. The reason: THC attaches to receptors in the brain that are responsible for those vital abilities, including the hippocampus, amygdala, and cerebral cortex, essentially taking them over.


You May Get Nauseous

young woman with nausea in all denim outfit sitting on bed
Shutterstock / New Africa

Marijuana is infamous for increasing appetite and causing "the munchies," but some people might experience the opposite effect. People with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) can experience stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting, sometimes severe, after using cannabis. Health experts estimate 2.7 million Americans have the condition. According to the Cleveland Clinic, you have a higher risk of developing CHS if you use marijuana at least once a week.


You May Get Nervous Or Have Mood Swings

Woman looking into distance.

Cannabis helps some people relax and unwind. It can make others anxious and panicky. Marijuana may cause anxiety, paranoia, and even panic attacks, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Several studies have linked marijuana use to increased risk for psychiatric disorders, including psychosis (schizophrenia), depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders," says the National Institutes of Health. If you have a mood disorder, you might want to talk with your doctor before using marijuana. And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor. Read more about Michael