Cannabis legalization in states across the country has led to more accurate information trickling into mainstream media. But with decades of anti-cannabis propaganda still lurking, misinformation about the plant abounds. Some patients are still shy when it comes to talking about cannabis. If you were afraid to ask these questions to your medical marijuana physician when you got your cannabis card, here’s your chance to get a little more information.

What Does Being High Feel Like?  

Every person experiences highs in a different way, with some reporting positive experiences and others reporting neutral or negative effects. Medical marijuana highs are commonly known for a certain euphoria, relaxed mood, and what’s often referred to as a “couch lock” sensation that can lead to restful sleep. Others report pain relief, heightened creativity, and more focused productivity. While the experience is often compared to being drunk, most people report marijuana allows them to retain more physical and mental control than alcohol. 

Is Cannabis a “Gateway Drug”?

Some scientific research suggests the hypothesis that medicinal cannabis might act as a “gateway” to using illicit substances like heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine. However, more recent research reveals just the opposite–that cannabis may prevent or reduce the craving for or interest in pursuing more powerful drugs. Most people who use marijuana do not go on to use other “harder” drugs. Interestingly, cigarettes and alcohol have since been identified as more likely “gateway drugs” than cannabis. 

Can I Get Addicted to Marijuana?

Typically, marijuana is not considered as addictive as alcohol, tobacco, or other illicit drugs, and scientific evidence supports this. Specifically, the results of this comparative addiction risk assessment confirm that the risk of cannabis addiction may have been overestimated in the past and alcohol underestimated. 

However, just because one substance is naturally more addictive than another, doesn’t mean there’s no risk of addiction. While some believe that marijuana addiction is not possible, some experts believe that marijuana addiction is real, particularly if users spend the majority of their time using cannabis to the detriment of other, more productive activities. Still, this belief is based on the stereotype that people who consume marijuana are rendered useless after doing so, while evidence points to the contrary. More and more, people of all ages show that they can use THC regularly and still maintain active lifestyles and stable jobs.

However, marijuana use can lead to the development of problem use in some people, which takes the form of addiction in severe cases. If a user displays compulsive use despite adverse effects, they may need to examine whether they’ve developed an addiction and seek help.

Can I Overdose or Use Too Much Marijuana?

Like any substance, too much marijuana can lead to adverse effects. Taking too much THC can lead to paranoia, anxiety, and other unpleasant symptoms. Rest assured, though, marijuana is highly unlikely to be lethal. A sensation of being “too high” will typically pass after about two to four hours as the psychoactive substance passes through the liver and becomes waste. 

Eating a meal, drinking water, and lying down or getting some sleep may reduce unpleasant feelings while waiting for your body to come down from the high. Many users also report that taking CBD oil can reduce the sensation of a THC high. CBD may reduce the ability of THC and other cannabinoids to bind to the CB1 receptors. This may reduce the psychoactive effects of THC. 

Can I Lose My Job for Testing Positive for Marijuana?

Many workplaces still drug test for THC and a positive test may cause you to lose your job. Testing positive with cannabis in your system could also eliminate you from candidacy for some jobs. However, in many workplaces, rules have changed in recent years. Check out this recent article for the latest on these updates. 

Can I Carry a Concealed Weapon if I Join the Medical Marijuana Program? 

While federal law prohibits firearm ownership and concealed carry licensing by anyone using federally prohibited substances, your status as a medical marijuana cardholder can’t be verified during a weapons background check. Some report that this legal loophole paves the way for individuals to hold both, but an attorney can better advise you of your rights where you live. It’s also worth consulting an attorney if you have concerns about medical marijuana use and parental custody or housing rights, which can vary widely by state and municipality. 

Can Medical Marijuana Void my Pain Management Contract?

If you’re currently under contract with a pain management clinic, they will have access to your medical marijuana purchases via the state’s pharmacy reporting system. Before purchasing medical marijuana for the first time at the dispensary, review your pain management contract to see what the consequences will be. Many pain management providers cannot (usually because of insurance reasons) continue to dispense opioid pain medicine if you are also using medical marijuana. Some pain clinics allow patients to use medical marijuana as a complementary or alternative therapy to opioids.

Have another question about cannabis that you’d like to have answered? Email us at medicateOH@gmail.com and we’ll point you to some resources that can help.

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Author

  • Medicate OH's Founder and Publisher is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio and holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and a master's degree in public administration, both from Northern Kentucky University. She has more than 20 years of experience writing and editing professionally for the medical and wellness industries, including positions with The Journal of Pediatrics, Livestrong, The Cincinnati Enquirer, and Patient Pop.