The 20 Symptoms of Smoking Marijuana (in Adults and Adolescents)

The most prominent symptoms of smoking marijuana are having red eyes, euphoria and well-being, state of relaxation, perceptive distortion, memory alteration, difficulty in reasoning and remembering, increased appetite and lack of motor coordination.

Marijuana is one of the most popular and most consumed drugs in multiple countries in the world. In fact, there is some controversy about its “dangerousness” because although it has been scientifically proven to cause negative effects on health, some effects that are harmless or even therapeutic have also been described.

Symptoms of Smoking Marijuana

Regardless of whether the use of cannabis is harmful or not, smoking marijuana automatically causes a series of symptoms.

Some of them are popularly known as relaxation or well-being, which are what the recreational marijuana consumer seeks to achieve when smoking a joint.

However, there are many more symptoms since cannabis produces effects both psychologically and physically.

Clinical characteristics of cannabis use

The psychoactive effects of marijuana begin a few minutes after smoking.

However, there are certain individual differences so there are people who when smoking marijuana can start to show symptoms within a few seconds and people who take a few more minutes.

The effects of marijuana usually last between one and two hours, although THC (the active ingredient in cannabis) remains stored in the adipose tissues of the body for much longer.

The acute effects of marijuana are also highly variable among people and depend largely on the dose, the THC content and the THC / CBD ratio (the two main cannabis substances).

On the other hand, the symptoms caused by marijuana can also vary greatly depending on the way in which it is administered, since when it is eaten, instead of smoked, it can cause much more variable effects.

The personality, the experience of consumption and the context in which marijuana is smoked are also important factors that can modify their effects.

However, the majority of cannabis use often provide a series of prototypical symptoms.

After an initial phase of stimulation in which the person experiences euphoria, well-being and increased perception, there follows a phase in which sedation, relaxation and somnolence predominate.

Likewise, you can also experience a series of physical symptoms, which may be less noticeable.

Next we will comment on the 20 basic symptoms that are experienced when marijuana is smoked.

1- Euphoria and well-being

The main psychological effects of cannabis use are euphoria and well-being.

Thus, at the beginning of consumption symptoms such as loquacity or easy laughter are usually experienced.

It is considered that these effects are more intense at the beginning of smoking and disappear with the passage of time, however, if high doses are consumed this modification of the psychological state can be prolonged.

As we have commented previously, the effects of cannabis depend to a large extent on the personality and the context in which it is smoked.

Thus, these effects will be experienced by the consumer who smokes marijuana in a relaxed environment and who can tolerate the rest of the symptoms produced by cannabis.

2- State of relaxation

It usually appears in later stages of consumption, when euphoria and loquacity have been decreasing.

Relaxation forms the other major psychological symptom of marijuana and unlike the previous one (which is produced by THC), this effect is produced by the other substance of marijuana, the CBD.

Psychological relaxation can manifest itself in many ways, but it is more usual to experience a clear lack of concern for global form and a state of tranquility and harmony.

3- Perceptive distortion

Practically in all marijuana consumption a clear perceptive distortion is experienced.

This can be variable, since it can produce from mild symptoms to a clear distortion that can cause the appearance of hallucinations.

The most usual thing is that visual, auditory and tactile perceptions are sharpened, as well as a slight distortion of space and time.

Trying to orient yourself under the influence of marijuana is usually more complicated than normal and the notion of time can also be altered.

4- Alteration of the memory

Smoking marijuana can significantly reduce the ability to memorize and learn.

The cannabinoid system (brain structures in which marijuana acts) is closely related to memory processes, so when smoking cannabis these functions are easily altered.

Specifically, working memory and short-term memory decrease, so trying to memorize or learn when you are under the effects of cannabis is complicated.

Oblivions or mental gaps about what happened when one was intoxicated are often frequent symptoms of marijuana.

5- Difficulty of concentration

Another of the cognitive processes that are altered with the consumption of cannabis is concentration.

When marijuana is smoked this mental ability is diminished, attention is distorted and trying to focus on something is complicated.

6- Decreased reasoning

In a way closely linked to the cognitive alterations discussed above, marijuana causes difficulties in reasoning.

The inability to memorize and concentrate on specific aspects means that when a person who is under the influence of marijuana is exposed to complex reasoning, it is difficult to think clearly.

As with the symptoms discussed above, this cognitive alteration is temporary and disappears at the same time as the effects of the drug are diluted.

7- Motor Incoordination

Marijuana decreases the speed of reaction and causes motor in coordination, so that the person can be much less skilled in the performance of delicate tasks.

Likewise, stability or agility also decreases and the resulting movements are a typical symptom of marijuana use.

8- Worsening of driving

In a way related to the previous point, marijuana causes a worsening of driving.

In fact, cannabis is probably the drug that most affects the ability to drive due to the perceptive distortion and the motor incoordination produced by its consumption.

Driving under the effects of marijuana can be highly dangerous due to the lack of awareness of the movements of both the vehicle and oneself, as well as the perceptive distortion that is experienced.

Drowsiness is one of the most typical symptoms of marijuana although it is not experienced right after smoking.

It usually appears when a few minutes have passed since the consumption and may depend on the psychological state of the individual.

However, THC induces sleep directly, so that together with relaxation and well-being may appear desire to sleep and rest.

10- Increase in appetite

It is another of the most typical symptoms of marijuana and usually appears in virtually all consumptions.

In the same way that happens with drowsiness, it appears in the second phase of symptoms, so when you start smoking marijuana you do not usually experience hunger.

However, with the passage of time, although it has been eaten recently, the appetite increases.

This fact was explained in a study published in Nature Neuroscience where it was shown that THC intervenes in the receptors of the brain’s olfactory lobe and increases the ability to smell and taste food.

In the desire to eat there is a clear predominance of sweet foods, although any type of food is able to satisfy the appetite produced by marijuana.

11- Decreased pain

Marijuana contains a clear analgesic power so it is able to reduce pain.

This symptom also appears in the late stages of consumption but is one of the most important in marijuana.

In fact, the analgesic effect of cannabis is one of the main factors that has motivated the therapeutic use of this substance.

Smoking marijuana can mean for people with chronic pain the achievement of a state of relaxation and well-being, as well as a decrease in their perception of pain.

However, the use of marijuana for therapeutic purposes does not free the individual from experiencing the rest of the symptoms, which may be less beneficial for their state of health.

This dichotomy between pros and cons of marijuana are the main factors that promote debate about the adequacy of this substance for therapeutic purposes.

12- Increase in heart rate

This symptoms is not usually noticeable but it constitutes one of the main physical risk factors of cannabis.

When smoking marijuana, the heart rate increases. Likewise, blood pressure increases if you are sitting and decreases if you are standing.

These effects depend to a large extent on the dose, so the more marijuana is consumed the higher the cardiac output and frequency.

13- Bronchodilation

On a physical level, cannabis also produces effects on the respiratory system.

In this sense, smoking marijuana can produce both positive and negative effects.

The properties of cannabis produce bronchodilation, so the bronchi and bronchioles of the lungs dilate and increase the flow of air.

However, due to the combustion that occurs when smoking, marijuana can also cause bronchial irritation and bronchoconstriction, effects that would decrease bronchodilation.

These symptoms of marijuana have been especially relevant when it comes to assessing the efficacy of this substance for asthma disease.

Cannabis can produce beneficial effects for this disease but at the same time it can worsen the condition of an asthmatic patient.

14- Conjunctival redness

One of the most typical physical symptoms that are clearly observable among patients who use marijuana are red eyes.

This ocular redness occurs mainly due to the vasodilatation that cannabis produces in the organism.

Likewise, smoking marijuana can reduce the production of tears and the pupillary reflex to light.

15- Reduction of intraocular pressure

The increase in pressure in the eyes occurs mainly due to the accumulation of aqueous fluid in the eyeball.

This condition may favor the development of glaucoma, a disease that may involve an optic neuropathy characterized by the progressive loss of the nerve fibers of the optic nerve.

Marijuana can reduce eye pressure, however, only effective therapeutic effects have been shown when cannabis is applied locally, so these effects produced by smoked marijuana are somewhat more controversial.

16- Dry mouth

Whenever marijuana is smoked, the mouth dries and the saliva is pasty and sticky after consumption.

The endocnnabinode system is involved in the inhibition of salivary secretions and in the production of salvia, so when marijuana is consumed salivation is inhibited and this type of symptoms are experienced.

17- Muscle relaxation

The relaxation produced by cannabis is not only experienced on a psychological level but also provides effects on the striated musculature.

When smoking marijuana, a clear muscular relaxation is experienced and the anticonvulsant properties of the organism are increased.

18- Alteration of cellular immunity

Many data suggest that THC can exert immunomodulatory effects with inhibitory or stimulating actions, depending on the cellular system involved and the dose used.

There is no clear evidence that cannabis use produces clinically significant immunological alterations  in humans.

It has not been demonstrated that this immunosuppression can cause a greater number of infections and is being investigated as an anticancer agent.

19- Decrease in sex hormones

Smoking marijuana has direct effects on the sexual functioning of the person.

Also Read: The Symptoms of Frequent Drug Use

On the one hand, cannabis can increase the experience of sexual intercourse but on the other it can produce effects on sexual hormones.

In general terms, marijuana can affect the amount and mobility of sperm and alter the levels of gondotrophins and testosterone , but other positive effects have also been described.

20- Increase in prolactin

The protactinium is a hormone that stimulates milk production in the mammary glands and the synthesis of progesterone in the luteal body.