How to Avoid or Reduce Cannabis Side-Effects

How to Avoid or Reduce Cannabis Side-Effects

Cannabis varies from strain to strain. So, do the side-effects. Some are mild, and some can be more bothersome. While much of the reaction depends on the user’s weight, gender, and DNA, most of the side-effects can be avoided or reduced.

Thinking ahead

If you are going to smoke or otherwise ingest cannabis, you can solve part of the problem by thinking ahead. To manage dry-mouth, red eyes, munchies, and other effects, there are options:

  • Know your strain. THC causes most of the negative side-effects. While settling on a strain that makes you comfortable, you should avoid high THC content. You might favor strains with a CBD content high enough to offset the THC influence.
  • Hydrate big time. Daily hydration with is good advice for everyone. That takes at least eight 8oz. glasses of water per day. Sticking with that regimen before and after consumption will reduce any dry-mouth side-effect.
  • Watch your dosing. Start early to find your comfort level. If you are after the psychoactive high, start with small doses of THC dominant cannabis. If experience discomfort, lower the dose or switch strains to calm the buzz with CBD. If you are using edibles, you should start with a 3-mg dose and build from there.
  • Cool the eyes. Some eye irritation may be inevitable although it will ease with tolerance. Heavy users don’t worry about it, but occasional users may find it embarrassing. Most over-the-counter eye drops will work, but regular use of chemical-heavy drops can complicate the problem. You might look for Rohto Cool Max Drops or Systane Nighttime Eye Ointment® before turning in. Redeye comes from increased blood flow and blood pressure, so you don’t want to aggravate that. For example, caffeinated drinks will only prolong the impact. So, apply ice packs, cold water splashes, and cold tea bags to the eyes. 
  • Make munchies count. High THC will affect your appetite, and you may relish the munchies when you finish using. In moderation, Cheetos and the usual treats won’t do any harm. But, there’s no nutrition there. You best alternative is to prepare a buffet” of some high protein, low simple sugars, high omega fatty foods, like fruits, nuts, and leafy greens.
  • Skip the alcohol. Wine, beet, and whiskey may be tempting, especially in a social setting. But, the alcohol content will only increase your problem. It’s no coincidence that dry mouth and red eyes are symptoms of overdoing alcohol.

Bigger worries

Some negative side effects are more worrisome than others. Using too much of a high potency strain can produce paranoia, memory loss, and lethargy.


Most cannabis users do not experience anxiety that moves to panic and paranoia. But it can mean trouble for some. Anxiety attaches to the psychoactive influence of THC. So, potency and dosage can ruin your experience, especially as first-time users. Users can also overdose by eating more edibles than advised. Because edibles are delicious and slow-acting, people can consume more than they should.

This is a problem creates a paradox because THC will relieve anxiety at low doses and increase it at higher doses. So, the best way to avoid the paranoia is to identify strains with the THC: CBD ratio that works best for you.

Considering the risk in paranoia, you don’t want to do this by trial and error when you can research the various strains, their ratios, and the projected side-effects.


According to a Swiss study referenced in The Seattle Times, “If you smoke a lot of weed, it can potentially do permanent damage to your short-term memory.” Of course, some memory loss follows any inebriation. Even an alcohol hangover shows some lapse of memory. Fortunately, memory loss becomes less of a problem for cannabis users as they become used to it with some frequency.

Lapse in memory worries novice consumers more. But, it can affect focus and work for them. Fortunately, strains with higher CBD content have proven to enhance creative and cognitive performance. Others use supplements like Acetyl-L-carnitine,Apoaequorin, Cod Liver Oil, B12 complex, Ginseng, and Gingko Biloba.

All the remedies suggested here will help forestall or repair cannabis-related memory loss. But, the easiest response is to exercise actively. Physical exercise improves respiration, restores neurology, and circulates healthy blood.


Cannabis can induce lethargy and sleepiness in some users. Cannabis is often used to combat insomnia and improve sleep patterns. Ironically, that can mean poor sleep for some resulting in a day of sluggishness and nodding off.

Cannabis has proven an effective therapy for patients suffering from fatigue with Myalgic Encephalopathy (ME), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Post-Viral Fatigue Syndrome (PVFS), Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS). According to SensiSeeds, “The potential of cannabis to improve poor sleep is relatively well-established; various studies have demonstrated that while REM sleep is reduced, deep sleep is increased on cannabis, which may lead to overall greater levels of refreshment in the subject.”

Your choice of strain will affect how lazy and lethargic you feel after using. So, research your cannabis resources and opt for a ratio where THC is high and CBD low enough to energize and motivate.

Failing that, you must deal with laziness as a character issue. You can choose to be a stoner slacker. Or, you can bring a strategy to your use. For example, MMJ suggests:

  • Clarify your goals to stay productive.
  • Set yourself rules that integrate your cannabis use with the rest of your planned day.
  • Schedule your work, social, and down time, and stick to the discipline.
  • Kill the perfectionist mindset that only burdens you physically and mentally.

Best way to avoid or reduce cannabis side-effects

All the anecdotal and scientific advice is to choose your cannabis strain well and consume it moderately from the start. Resources are available and accessible for easy research into content and dosing, as well as positive and negative side-effects.

The research will direct you to best choices on which you can increase your dose and frequency with experience. Understanding that, you can see that there are workarounds for most negative side-effects of cannabis use.