New research identifies the possible frequency and severity of a broad range of adverse reactions to cannabis use.
A study featuring in the Journal of Cannabis Research identifies the possible frequency and severity of a range of acute adverse reactions to cannabis use. The researchers also investigate factors that might make a person more susceptible to these adverse reactions.
The team was specifically interested in acute adverse reactions, in which negative side effects happen for a short duration. The authors note that previous research has explored different chronic adverse reactions to cannabis use, whereas there is less research on acute adverse effects.
Dr. Carrie Cuttler, an assistant professor of psychology at Washington State University, Pullman, and one of the paper’s authors, notes, “There’s been surprisingly little research on the prevalence or frequency of various adverse reactions to cannabis and almost no research trying to predict who is more likely to experience these types of adverse reactions.”
More than half of the respondents reported the most prevalent acute adverse reactions to cannabis use; these were coughing fits, anxiety, and paranoia. The least prevalent were fainting, nonauditory or visual hallucinations, and cold sweats.
The adverse reactions that occurred most frequently were coughing fits, chest discomfort, and body humming (a buzzing or tingling sensation in the body). These reactions occurred 30–40% of the times the respondents used cannabis.
The reactions that the participants considered most distressing were panic attacks, vomiting, and fainting. They rated body humming, numbness, and feeling unsteady as the least distressing.