Figuring out cannabinoid effects
June 1, 2023 5:45 AM   Subscribe

Looking for advice on avoiding occasional cannabis side effects.

I like to use marijuana products (mostly edibles, smoking, and vaping). Sometimes, not always, I experience one of two effects from certain types of these products: 1) consistent feelings of pessimism and doom, which feel different from standard weed paranoia or anxiety but may be related; 2) an allergic reaction of some kind, primarily congestion. I want to figure what is causing these reactions on a chemical level and avoid products containing that.

I often experience (1) with high-THC products such as concentrated weed gummies. Almost every time I take a gummy, regardless of brand, I end up in a multi-hour pit of despair. But just now I experienced it from a few puffs of a joint rolled with water hash. And the other "stoned" effects were pretty mild compared to the mood hit, so I don't think it's purely a matter of THC intensity, or is it? Regardless, what are some other edible products that might be better? CBD has pretty much no effect on me one way or the other.

(2) is usually associated with old, stale flower for me. I'm thinking it might be an allergy to CBN or THC oxide? Does that seem possible?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
Question to consider alongside these: what's going on in your life right now? Are there life events that might be taking on a more serious tone than usual?

For item (1), anecdotally, over the course of about a year I went from being a long-term, daily user to an (almost) complete non-user. I went through a grief-filled divorce/life upheval and during that process everything started to hit different. Anxiety, specifically, was off the charts unbearable. I developed insomnia and marijuana made it worse. Just keep in mind that the "reactions on a chemical level" might be endogenously inside you rather than something environmental or more easily, externally controlled.

(2) strikes me as less of an allergy and perhaps more of an irriation reaction. It may be as simple as smoking older, dried bud (the smoke from which has less water vapor and might be more directly irritating to your airway mucosa). Allergy would (most likely) be leaving you with more effects than congestion.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 6:41 AM on June 1

I don't smoke much anymore but very old weed makes my eyes super itchy, so that might be common.

On the pessimism front, I've since stopped consuming THC when I was in any kind of bad headspace as I too would find myself spiraling into pretty much any dark scary thought that entered my brain. That said - and I don't know how well this actually works - some people swear by chewing on peppercorns to quell mairjuana-related paranoia. There's also a lot out there on different strains and mixes and ratios of CBD:THC that are supposed to be more calming or euphoric or this or that but frankly I think a lot of it is placebo effect. If someone says "this particular edible will relax you and not make you paranoid" I think all it's really doing is putting the person immediately in a mindset where their intention is to relax and not get paranoid and voila, it works.
posted by windbox at 6:58 AM on June 1

So vapes and distillates I find increase negative side effects. They are usually don't have the full spectrum of cannabinoids in them and are a really high percentage of THC. I also find vapes to be more irritating than smoking through a cooled water pipe. Use CBD when you're feeling paranoid or shitty from weed. Its supposed to be in there for a reason imo.
posted by wellifyouinsist at 7:02 AM on June 1

Sorry that this does not really answer the question, but for what it’s worth, I tend to get a hay fever-like blocked nose after smoking, so I guess it must be a “thing”.
posted by iamsuper at 8:03 AM on June 1

I mean, I don’t use any marijuana at all because it has always made me anxious and dissociative. It’s a well known reaction and I’m not sure you can prevent it from happening.
posted by haptic_avenger at 8:42 AM on June 1

i would take a look at all your stash. sativa, indica, hybrid? what is it in ratio with with cbd or cbn or cbwhatever? how old is it? strain? if you can narrow down which particular items are giving you trouble, you can just not use those ones anymore. i've had to do this with gummies. i learned sativa makes me have a Very Bad panic attack.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 10:00 AM on June 1

Feelings of pessimism and doom are common features of nightmares, and I don’t see it as much of a reach to wonder whether something that could cause nightmares might also give rise to feelings of doom and despair during waking hours under the influence of marijuana.

A very interesting 2021 study showed that low levels of vitamin D and calcium intake are associated with a higher prevalence of nightmares and depressive symptoms among people with musculoskeletal pain. The authors of the study seem inclined to think that higher prevalence is mediated by the MSP, but I think there's good reason to believe that low levels of vitamin D can cause more nightmares directly.

And there is lots of evidence associating low levels of vitamin D with the development of allergic disease, to the point that declining levels of vitamin D have been blamed for a global increase in the incidence of asthma.

Sun exposure is probably the best way of upping your vitamin D, but I wouldn’t sneeze at supplementation to attempt to reduce your paranoia and your allergic reactions.
posted by jamjam at 11:12 AM on June 1

2) avoid smoking old, stale flower

1) when I smoked a lot in the past and started getting paranoid, I stopped using any cannabis entirely for a few months because eventually even small amounts made me uncomfortable. I then started again slowly- avoiding high potency products and delivery systems.

"CBD has pretty much no effect on me one way or the other."

I'm finding "no effect" a little hard to parse- it's non-psychoactive, but do you mean it doesn't relax you either? Because CBD won't get you high, if that's what you're talking about.

I personally find vapes or gummies with a fairly high CBD to THC ratio more chill overall than those with only THC, but an entirely CBD product does not really have much of an effect on me. Even for sleep a good balance of CBS with THC seems to work better.

Anyway, if I were feeling paranoid after ingesting, I would stop any cannabis use for at least a month, then start slowly with vaping high quality THC + CBD products and see how that goes before eating gummies (which can last longer). I'd probably look for products that were good for socializing or being productive rather than being deeply dreamy and introspective. And I'd smoke a lot less to start off than I was accustomed to.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:29 PM on June 1 [1 favorite]

CBD oil can take several weeks to have an obvious effect. If trying it, try for six weeks and keep a diary.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 3:08 PM on June 1

« Older How much is my hair loss putting off my app dates?   |   Guilt at People Pleasing Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments