Is Weed With Seeds Bad

I was reading an article that said if seeds are small that's bad. I always thought seeds varied in size due to strain. I also thought that color is what… Describes weed seeds and effects on pigs. Some weed seeds are highly poisonous and can cause severe illness and death. A plain-language summary about cannabis, how people use it, its effects on the brain and overall health, and treatment options for misuse.

Is it true that small seeds are bad?

I was reading an article that said if seeds are small that’s bad. I always thought seeds varied in size due to strain. I also thought that color is what determined maturity. Any input would be appreciated.

kona gold
Well-Known Member

I was reading an article that said if seeds are small that’s bad. I always thought seeds varied in size due to strain. I also thought that color is what determined maturity. Any input would be appreciated.

Don’t you know, size doesn’t matter.
Seriously though, as long as they are mature seeds.
I had seeds from one Hawaiian hybrid that had seeds so small they didn’t even look like cannabis seeds. Grew into a lovely plant, and very large as well.
Only thing is , is that you won’t be able to help de-shell them if they need, as too small for fingers.

Peaceful Smoker Of Weed
Well-Known Member

Don’t you know, size doesn’t matter.
Seriously though, as long as they are mature seeds.
I had seeds from one Hawaiian hybrid that had seeds so small they didn’t even look like cannabis seeds. Grew into a lovely plant, and very large as well.
Only thing is , is that you won’t be able to help de-shell them if they need, as too small for fingers.

Thats what i thought. just making sure. There’s a thread here in the seed/strain section called how to germinate a seed or something like that. In the first paragraph they say small seeds are bad.

Peaceful Smoker Of Weed
Well-Known Member

Don’t you know, size doesn’t matter.
Seriously though, as long as they are mature seeds.
I had seeds from one Hawaiian hybrid that had seeds so small they didn’t even look like cannabis seeds. Grew into a lovely plant, and very large as well.
Only thing is , is that you won’t be able to help de-shell them if they need, as too small for fingers.

Thanks for the like mate! Im a new member and “roll it up” wont let me like anybodys comments or posts until i receive a certain amount of likes myself. lol.

kona gold
Well-Known Member

Thats what i thought. just making sure. There’s a thread here in the seed/strain section called how to germinate a seed or something like that. In the first paragraph they say small seeds are bad.

Well, like you pointed out as well, as long as they are mature, doesn’t matter the size!
Sure bigger seeds appeal to the eye more, and are easier to work with and germinate, but no more or less viable than others!
Huge plants can come from the smallest of seeds.

kona gold
Well-Known Member

Understand the beginning days seem to drag on for a bit. But soon you’ll be up to your number in no time!

Peaceful Smoker Of Weed
Well-Known Member

Well, like you pointed out as well, as long as they are mature, doesn’t matter the size!
Sure bigger seeds appeal to the eye more, and are easier to work with and germinate, but no more or less viable than others!
Huge plants can come from the smallest of seeds.

Your absolutely right! I had some twilight seeds that were tiny, but they all grew up to be beautiful monsters.

Peaceful Smoker Of Weed
Well-Known Member
Moldy
Well-Known Member

I was reading an article that said if seeds are small that’s bad. I always thought seeds varied in size due to strain. I also thought that color is what determined maturity. Any input would be appreciated.

I’ve noticed that in “some” instances the smaller seeds tend to be sativa’s but that’s a general observation.

BigHornBuds
Well-Known Member

Everything is relative

Black Afgani
Really small seeds

Cross of the Titans
Really big seeds

The rest fall in between.

Nugachino
Well-Known Member

If small seeds were bad. I wouldn’t have liked the shiva shanti I had. I’ve had good stuff from small seeds. Same with big seeds. Then again. I’ve had utter junk from big seeds too. Yet to find garbage in a small seed though. Maybe a few more mystery runs and I’ll come across one.

But as the other guy summed up much nicer than I have. They’re only crap if they’re immature.

Peaceful Smoker Of Weed
Well-Known Member

I’ve noticed that in “some” instances the smaller seeds tend to be sativa’s but that’s a general observation.

I just learned the difference between Indica/sativa about a year ago. before that i always wondered why plants grew so differently. I always thought it was the luck of the draw or something. I’ve learned so much new stuff on the internet and also already on roll it up.

Peaceful Smoker Of Weed
Well-Known Member

If small seeds were bad. I wouldn’t have liked the shiva shanti I had. I’ve had good stuff from small seeds. Same with big seeds. Then again. I’ve had utter junk from big seeds too. Yet to find garbage in a small seed though. Maybe a few more mystery runs and I’ll come across one.

But as the other guy summed up much nicer than I have. They’re only crap if they’re immature.

Nugachino
Well-Known Member

And don’t be fooled by some nob into thinking bagseed are shite either. Sure, you can get some absolute garbage from it. But, there’s a good portion of what’s “named” stock that came from baggies.

Peaceful Smoker Of Weed
Well-Known Member

And don’t be fooled by some nob into thinking bagseed are shite either. Sure, you can get some absolute garbage from it. But, there’s a good portion of what’s “named” stock that came from baggies.

Oh I totally believe it. When i was a kid we used to get brick weed. I tried growing some beans outside once and they smelled and looked so good. The deer thought so too and ate them one by one. lol.

Peaceful Smoker Of Weed
Well-Known Member

And don’t be fooled by some nob into thinking bagseed are shite either. Sure, you can get some absolute garbage from it. But, there’s a good portion of what’s “named” stock that came from baggies.

Has anybody seen brick weed lately? Seems to have disappeared from my neighborhood. I liked it because it was cheap, and came with free seeds. lol

COGrown
Well-Known Member

I was reading an article that said if seeds are small that’s bad. I always thought seeds varied in size due to strain. I also thought that color is what determined maturity. Any input would be appreciated.

Seed size varies highly from plant to plant, sativas usually make bigger seeds than indicas, but thats definitely not universal. I have noticed that high-cbd varieties tend to produce very small dark seeds that often look questionable but germinate fine.

charface
Well-Known Member

I think in that post he was getting at the fact that when they batch seeds they do away with the immature, tiny ones via some fancy air jet. But also left people with the impression that all small seeds are bad because of the way he stated it.

At least that’s the way I remember it.

jayblaze710
Well-Known Member

When it comes to small seeds, the bigger issue is their size relative to the other seeds from the same batch. If you have a bunch of seeds from the same cross, the smallest seeds have a higher chance of not being viable.

You can’t really compare the size of seeds from unrelated crosses, since a lot of natural variation in seed sizes exist.

And don’t be fooled by some nob into thinking bagseed are shite either. Sure, you can get some absolute garbage from it. But, there’s a good portion of what’s “named” stock that came from baggies.

The biggest issue with bagseed is that they’re almost guaranteed to come with herming issues, since bagseed is nearly always pollinated by a plant that hermed unintentionally.

Yeah, lots of elite genetics came from bagseed. But these strains also originated back in the day when prosecution, lack of knowledge about breeding, and lack of access meant that bagseed was often the only way to obtain new stock.

We don’t live in those times anymore. Much of the USA can legally grow marijuana, we have dozens of seed banks IN the country with elite genetics. You could play the lottery and hope your bagseed has the one in a million chance that it’s got something elite. Or you could buy something from any of the dozens of well-respected breeders that bred their elite stock with intention, and have tested their crosses to ensure their quality and stability. For those in more restrictive countries, bagseed may be the only viable option. It’s certainly better than nothing. Thankfully, many of us don’t need to rely on that anymore.

Toxic weed seeds

Weed seeds are constantly found in coarse grains used in pig feed. Some weed seeds are highly poisonous and toxic, and can cause severe illness and death. Others are non-toxic but can interfere with digestion or severely lower nutrient intake, reducing growth. Many factors affect their toxicity level, including season, where they are grown, whether the seeds are ground and how they are stored.

See also  When To Transplant Weed Seeds

This page describes some weed seeds that are common in Australian grain. It provides the common and scientific names, notes on toxicity and safe feeding levels where possible. The weed seed species are described according to comparative toxicity. Weights of 100 seeds enable the estimation of contamination rates in grain. Tolerable concentrations in pig feeds derived from experimentation are compared with those currently permitted by Queensland’s Agricultural Standards Regulations (QASR) for stock food.

Harmful at low inclusion levels

Castor oil plant (Ricinus communis)

The large seeds of the castor oil plant contain a potent poison called ricin, a toxic protein (toxalbumin). Symptoms of poisoning in pigs resemble botulism except that faeces often contain mucus and are tinged with blood. Depression and paralysis are common. A lethal dose can be as little as two seeds per pig (100 seeds = 22 g). Seeds are more toxic when ground. Under QASR, this plant is prohibited in stock food.

Mexican poppy (Argemone ochroleuca and A. mexicana)

The small, dark-brown to black seeds are like miniature peppercorns, and contain a group of isoquinoline alkaloids and derivatives: protopine, berberine, chelerythrine and sanguinarine. The seed is extremely toxic to humans and poultry. Seed at 2-6 per cent in the feed of a 20 kg pig causes severe food rejection by the second day. Symptoms of poisoning are lethargy; oedema of the skin, lungs and lower limbs; reddening of the skin; oily yellow diarrhoea; and possible haemorrhage.

Finisher pigs (>50 kg) may tolerate contamination rates up to 1 per cent for short times but for younger pigs, where maximum feed intake is desirable, concentrations should not exceed 0.2 per cent. Exposing crushed seed to sunlight markedly reduces its toxicity. QASR allow a contamination rate of 20 seeds/kg grain (0.004 per cent, as 100 seeds = 0.2 g). However, the regulations have to consider other factors, such as greater toxicity to poultry. This level is very conservative for pigs.

Potato weed (Heliotropium europaeum)

This plant, also called ‘common heliotrope’ is an annual weed that infests the wheat-producing areas of southern Australia. It produces toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids that damage the liver. In 1993, a serious poisoning outbreak occurred in South Australia when 1000-4000 pigs died over three months because wheat contaminated with potato weed seed was incorporated into diets at about 0.2-1 per cent. Lower levels slowly damage the liver and severely affect growth without obvious signs. Poisoning outbreaks tend to occur every few years when wet summers favour weed growth and delay wheat harvest. Although a safe feeding level has not been established, a maximum of 0.01 per cent might be an interim guideline (about 100 seeds/kg, as 100 seeds = 0.13 g). QASR currently has no standard for this seed because it does not grow in northern Australia.

Sesbania pea (Sesbania cannabina)

This small brown to dark-green rod-shaped seed is common in grain sorghum. Its toxic principles are thought to be a combination of a gum in the seed coat and an amino acid (canavanine) in the seed. Sesbania makes pig diets highly unpalatable. A maximum safe feeding level of 0.25 per cent (w/w), equal to 300 seeds/kg, is recommended (100 seeds = 0.8 g). QASR allow only 200 seeds/kg of grain (0.17 per cent).

Thornapple (Datura ferox, D. stramonium)

These flattened, kidney-shaped seeds contain toxic tropane alkaloids (hyoscyamine, scopolamine). The degree of toxicity varies between seed batches. Crushed seed is much more toxic than whole seed. In pigs, symptoms of intense thirst, dilated pupils, flushing of the skin and irritability are typical of poisoning. The maximum recommended feeding level is 0.05 per cent because as little as 0.1 per cent in feed causes rejection. QASR allow only 5 seeds/kg (about 0.005 per cent) in stock feed (100 seeds = 0.64 g D. stramonium or 1.56 g D. ferox).

Jute (Corchorus ollitorius)

These small, grey seeds cause severe food rejection, vomiting and scouring in pigs. Reduced feed intake and growth rate are related to jute seed level in the feed and total food rejection occurs at 0.5 per cent in feed. The maximum safe feeding level is 0.01 per cent (100 seeds = 0.6 g). QASR allow 10 seeds/kg (0.006 per cent).

Harmful at low to moderate inclusion levels

Bellvine (Ipomoea plebeia)

Three seeds are usually contained in a round capsule that is grey to black in colour and shaped like a mandarin segment. Frequently a contaminant of sorghum and maize, bellvine seed is difficult to grade out. The seeds contain indole alkaloids and lysergic acid amide. Preliminary studies show that 10 per cent inclusion in the diet causes severe enteritis and food refusal. A safe feeding level of 1 per cent or less is presently recommended (100 seeds = 2.1 g). QASR allow 500 seeds/kg (1 per cent).

Buckwheat (Polygonum convolvulus)

Also known as climbing or black bindweed, buckwheat seed is small, three-sided, four-pointed and hard. Field evidence suggests that the sharp points cause gut irritation but no toxic factors have been found. Protein content is high quality while digestibility is low, probably due to the high fibre and/or tannin content. It is safe to feed to pigs; however, for each 1 per cent inclusion, the growth rate is depressed by 0.4 per cent (100 seeds = 0.57 g). QASR allow 1500 seeds/kg.

Noogoora and Bathurst burrs (Xanthium pungens and X. spinosum)

Noogoora and Bathurst burr seeds contain a potent glycoside, which can cause severe gastroenteritis, depression and convulsions in pigs. About 20 per cent (w/w) of ground burr in the feed will cause death. The spines on whole burrs are likely to cause physical injury. QASR allow 2 burrs/kg.

Paterson’s curse (Echium plantagineum)

Also known as Salvation Jane, the seeds of this plant contain various pyrrolizidine alkaloids (echimidine, echiumine) in quantities that depend on location and season. The toxins cause liver damage leading to photosensitisation and finally kidney failure. There are no confirmed field cases of poisoning in pigs in Australia. Safe feeding levels have not yet been accurately determined but liver damage is evident with 2 per cent seed in the diet. More than 6 per cent of Paterson’s curse seed in the diet results in a decline in growth rate and feed conversion (100 seeds = 0.37 g). QASR allow 100 seeds/kg (0.04 per cent).

Rattlepods (Croatalaria species)

Rattlepod seeds contain various pyrrolizidine alkaloids that cause liver and kidney damage at a level greater than 0.5 per cent in the diet. Safe feeding levels have not been determined. These seeds are prohibited materials with respect to stock foods under QASR.

Harmless weed seed contaminants

Many other weed seed species that occur in grain appear to be safe to feed even at high levels such as 25 per cent. However, they probably cause a decline in performance due to nutrient dilution (high-fibre content) or poor digestibility. The following weeds appear to be in this category:

  • African turnip (Sisymbrium thellungii) (QASR allow 20,000 seeds/kg; 0.8%)
  • barnyard grass (Echinochloa spp.)
  • barley grass (Hordeum leporium)
  • black oats (Avena fatua )
  • caltrop (Tribulus terrestris)
  • phalaris grass (Phalaris spp.)
  • wild cotton (Hibiscus trionum)
  • wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum)
  • mint weed (Salvia reflexa).

Summary of growth depression

This table also shows the maximum inclusion rate used in experiments (limited either by toxicity or practicality, in the case of non-toxic seed) and the weight of 100 seeds.

Table 1. The percentage decline in growth rate of pigs fed 1% of a range of weed seeds

Common name of weed Scientific name Growth decline (%)* Maximum fed in experiment (%) Weight
100 seeds (g)
African turnip Sisymbrium thellungii 9 0.04
Caltrop Tribulus terrestris 10.5 4.0
Wild cotton Hibiscus trionum 9 0.27
Bellvine Ipomoea plebeia 0.1 8 2.1
Saltbush Atriplex muelleri 0.3 12 0.33
Buckwheat Polygonum convolvulus 0.4 25 0.57
Turnip weed Rapistrum rugosum 1.3 21 0.5
Paterson’s curse Echium plantagineum 1.4 16 0.37
Wild turnip Brassica tournefortii 3 9 0.14
Mexican poppy Argemone ochroleuca 25 2 0.20
Sesbania Sesbania cannabina 10 1.5 0.80
Thornapple Datura stramonium/ferox 20 0.8 0.64/1.56

* for each 1 per cent inclusion of weed seed

Further information

Last updated: 03 Dec 2015

African swine fever information

Outbreaks of African swine fever overseas are a reminder that animal diseases can spread quickly and do not respect international borders.

Early detection and reporting is critical. If you suspect the presence of African swine fever, contact Biosecurity Queensland immediately on 13 25 23 or contact the Emergency Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Cannabis (Marijuana) DrugFacts

Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant. The plant contains the mind-altering chemical THC and other similar compounds. Extracts can also be made from the cannabis plant (see “Marijuana Extracts”).

Marijuana is the most commonly used addictive drug after tobacco and alcohol. 1 Its use is widespread among young people. In 2018, more than 11.8 million young adults used marijuana in the past year. 1 According to the Monitoring the Future survey, rates of past year marijuana use among middle and high school students have remained steady, but the number of teens in 8th and 10th grades who say they use it daily has increased. With the growing popularity of vaping devices, teens have started vaping THC (the ingredient in marijuana that produces the high), with nearly 4% of 12th graders saying they vape THC daily. In addition, the number of young people who believe regular marijuana use is risky is decreasing. 2

See also  How Often Do You Water Your Weed Seeds

Legalization of marijuana for medical use or adult recreational use in a growing number of states may affect these views. Read more about marijuana as medicine in our DrugFacts: Marijuana as Medicine.

How do people use marijuana?

People smoke marijuana in hand-rolled cigarettes (joints) or in pipes or water pipes (bongs). They also smoke it in blunts—emptied cigars that have been partly or completely refilled with marijuana. To avoid inhaling smoke, some people are using vaporizers. These devices pull the active ingredients (including THC) from the marijuana and collect their vapor in a storage unit. A person then inhales the vapor, not the smoke. Some vaporizers use a liquid marijuana extract.

People can mix marijuana in food (edibles), such as brownies, cookies, or candy, or brew it as a tea. A newly popular method of use is smoking or eating different forms of THC-rich resins (see “Marijuana Extracts”).

Marijuana Extracts

  • hash oil or honey oil—a gooey liquid
  • wax or budder—a soft solid with a texture like lip balm
  • shatter—a hard, amber-colored solid

These extracts can deliver extremely large amounts of THC to the body, and their use has sent some people to the emergency room. Another danger is in preparing these extracts, which usually involves butane (lighter fluid). A number of people have caused fires and explosions and have been seriously burned from using butane to make extracts at home. 3,4

How does marijuana affect the brain?

Marijuana has both short-and long-term effects on the brain.

Short-Term Effects

When a person smokes marijuana, THC quickly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream. The blood carries the chemical to the brain and other organs throughout the body. The body absorbs THC more slowly when the person eats or drinks it. In that case, they generally feel the effects after 30 minutes to 1 hour.

THC acts on specific brain cell receptors that ordinarily react to natural THC-like chemicals. These natural chemicals play a role in normal brain development and function.

Marijuana over activates parts of the brain that contain the highest number of these receptors. This causes the “high” that people feel. Other effects include:

  • altered senses (for example, seeing brighter colors)
  • altered sense of time
  • changes in mood
  • impaired body movement
  • difficulty with thinking and problem-solving
  • impaired memory
  • hallucinations (when taken in high doses)
  • delusions (when taken in high doses)
  • psychosis (risk is highest with regular use of high potency marijuana)

Long-Term Effects

Marijuana also affects brain development. When people begin using marijuana as teenagers, the drug may impair thinking, memory, and learning functions and affect how the brain builds connections between the areas necessary for these functions. Researchers are still studying how long marijuana’s effects last and whether some changes may be permanent.

For example, a study from New Zealand conducted in part by researchers at Duke University showed that people who started smoking marijuana heavily in their teens and had an ongoing marijuana use disorder lost an average of 8 IQ points between ages 13 and 38. The lost mental abilities didn’t fully return in those who quit marijuana as adults. Those who started smoking marijuana as adults didn’t show notable IQ declines. 5

In another recent study on twins, those who used marijuana showed a significant decline in general knowledge and in verbal ability (equivalent to 4 IQ points) between the preteen years and early adulthood, but no predictable difference was found between twins when one used marijuana and the other didn’t. This suggests that the IQ decline in marijuana users may be caused by something other than marijuana, such as shared familial factors (e.g., genetics, family environment). 6 NIDA’s Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, a major longitudinal study, is tracking a large sample of young Americans from late childhood to early adulthood to help clarify how and to what extent marijuana and other substances, alone and in combination, affect adolescent brain development. Read more about the ABCD study on our Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD Study) webpage.

A Rise in Marijuana’s THC Levels

The amount of THC in marijuana has been increasing steadily over the past few decades. 7 For a person who’s new to marijuana use, this may mean exposure to higher THC levels with a greater chance of a harmful reaction. Higher THC levels may explain the rise in emergency room visits involving marijuana use.

The popularity of edibles also increases the chance of harmful reactions. Edibles take longer to digest and produce a high. Therefore, people may consume more to feel the effects faster, leading to dangerous results.

Higher THC levels may also mean a greater risk for addiction if people are regularly exposing themselves to high doses.

What are the other health effects of marijuana?

Marijuana use may have a wide range of effects, both physical and mental.

Physical Effects

  • Breathing problems. Marijuana smoke irritates the lungs, and people who smoke marijuana frequently can have the same breathing problems as those who smoke tobacco. These problems include daily cough and phlegm, more frequent lung illness, and a higher risk of lung infections. Researchers so far haven’t found a higher risk for lung cancer in people who smoke marijuana. 8
  • Increased heart rate. Marijuana raises heart rate for up to 3 hours after smoking. This effect may increase the chance of heart attack. Older people and those with heart problems may be at higher risk.
  • Problems with child development during and after pregnancy. One study found that about 20% of pregnant women 24-years-old and younger screened positive for marijuana. However, this study also found that women were about twice as likely to screen positive for marijuana use via a drug test than they state in self-reported measures. 9 This suggests that self-reported rates of marijuana use in pregnant females is not an accurate measure of marijuana use and may be underreporting their use. Additionally, in one study of dispensaries, nonmedical personnel at marijuana dispensaries were recommending marijuana to pregnant women for nausea, but medical experts warn against it. This concerns medical experts because marijuana use during pregnancy is linked to lower birth weight 10 and increased risk of both brain and behavioral problems in babies. If a pregnant woman uses marijuana, the drug may affect certain developing parts of the fetus’s brain. Children exposed to marijuana in the womb have an increased risk of problems with attention, 11 memory, and problem-solving compared to unexposed children. 12 Some research also suggests that moderate amounts of THC are excreted into the breast milk of nursing mothers. 13 With regular use, THC can reach amounts in breast milk that could affect the baby’s developing brain. Other recent research suggests an increased risk of preterm births. 27 More research is needed. Read our Marijuana Research Report for more information about marijuana and pregnancy.
  • Intense nausea and vomiting. Regular, long-term marijuana use can lead to some people to develop Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome. This causes users to experience regular cycles of severe nausea, vomiting, and dehydration, sometimes requiring emergency medical attention. 14

Reports of Deaths Related to Vaping

The Food and Drug Administration has alerted the public to hundreds of reports of serious lung illnesses associated with vaping, including several deaths. They are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate the cause of these illnesses. Many of the suspect products tested by the states or federal health officials have been identified as vaping products containing THC, the main psychotropic ingredient in marijuana. Some of the patients reported a mixture of THC and nicotine; and some reported vaping nicotine alone. No one substance has been identified in all of the samples tested, and it is unclear if the illnesses are related to one single compound. Until more details are known, FDA officials have warned people not to use any vaping products bought on the street, and they warn against modifying any products purchased in stores. They are also asking people and health professionals to report any adverse effects. The CDC has posted an information page for consumers.

Mental Effects

Long-term marijuana use has been linked to mental illness in some people, such as:

  • temporary hallucinations
  • temporary paranoia
  • worsening symptoms in patients with schizophrenia—a severe mental disorder with symptoms such as hallucinations, paranoia, and disorganized thinking

Marijuana use has also been linked to other mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts among teens. However, study findings have been mixed.

Are there effects of inhaling secondhand marijuana smoke?

Failing a Drug Test?

While it’s possible to fail a drug test after inhaling secondhand marijuana smoke, it’s unlikely. Studies show that very little THC is released in the air when a person exhales. Research findings suggest that, unless people are in an enclosed room, breathing in lots of smoke for hours at close range, they aren’t likely to fail a drug test. 15,16 Even if some THC was found in the blood, it wouldn’t be enough to fail a test.

Getting High from Passive Exposure?

Similarly, it’s unlikely that secondhand marijuana smoke would give nonsmoking people in a confined space a high from passive exposure. Studies have shown that people who don’t use marijuana report only mild effects of the drug from a nearby smoker, under extreme conditions (breathing in lots of marijuana smoke for hours in an enclosed room). 17

Other Health Effects?

More research is needed to know if secondhand marijuana smoke has similar health risks as secondhand tobacco smoke. A recent study on rats suggests that secondhand marijuana smoke can do as much damage to the heart and blood vessels as secondhand tobacco smoke. 20 But researchers haven’t fully explored the effect of secondhand marijuana smoke on humans. What they do know is that the toxins and tar found in marijuana smoke could affect vulnerable people, such as children or people with asthma.

See also  Mimosa Seeds Weed

How Does Marijuana Affect a Person’s Life?

Compared to those who don’t use marijuana, those who frequently use large amounts report the following:

  • lower life satisfaction
  • poorer mental health
  • poorer physical health
  • more relationship problems

People also report less academic and career success. For example, marijuana use is linked to a higher likelihood of dropping out of school. 18 It’s also linked to more job absences, accidents, and injuries. 19

Is marijuana a gateway drug?

Use of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana are likely to come before use of other drugs. 21,22 Animal studies have shown that early exposure to addictive substances, including THC, may change how the brain responds to other drugs. For example, when rodents are repeatedly exposed to THC when they’re young, they later show an enhanced response to other addictive substances—such as morphine or nicotine—in the areas of the brain that control reward, and they’re more likely to show addiction-like behaviors. 23,24

Although these findings support the idea of marijuana as a “gateway drug,” the majority of people who use marijuana don’t go on to use other “harder” drugs. It’s also important to note that other factors besides biological mechanisms, such as a person’s social environment, are also critical in a person’s risk for drug use and addiction. Read more about marijuana as a gateway drug in our Marijuana Research Report.

Can a person overdose on marijuana?

An overdose occurs when a person uses enough of the drug to produce life-threatening symptoms or death. There are no reports of teens or adults dying from marijuana alone. However, some people who use marijuana can feel some very uncomfortable side effects, especially when using marijuana products with high THC levels. People have reported symptoms such as anxiety and paranoia, and in rare cases, an extreme psychotic reaction (which can include delusions and hallucinations) that can lead them to seek treatment in an emergency room.

While a psychotic reaction can occur following any method of use, emergency room responders have seen an increasing number of cases involving marijuana edibles. Some people (especially preteens and teens) who know very little about edibles don’t realize that it takes longer for the body to feel marijuana’s effects when eaten rather than smoked. So they consume more of the edible, trying to get high faster or thinking they haven’t taken enough. In addition, some babies and toddlers have been seriously ill after ingesting marijuana or marijuana edibles left around the house.

Is marijuana addictive?

Marijuana use can lead to the development of a substance use disorder, a medical illness in which the person is unable to stop using even though it’s causing health and social problems in their life. Severe substance use disorders are also known as addiction. Research suggests that between 9 and 30 percent of those who use marijuana may develop some degree of marijuana use disorder. 25 People who begin using marijuana before age 18 are four to seven times more likely than adults to develop a marijuana use disorder. 26

Many people who use marijuana long term and are trying to quit report mild withdrawal symptoms that make quitting difficult. These include:

  • grouchiness
  • sleeplessness
  • decreased appetite
  • anxiety
  • cravings

What treatments are available for marijuana use disorder?

No medications are currently available to treat marijuana use disorder, but behavioral support has been shown to be effective. Examples include therapy and motivational incentives (providing rewards to patients who remain drug-free). Continuing research may lead to new medications that help ease withdrawal symptoms, block the effects of marijuana, and prevent relapse.

Points to Remember

  • Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant.
  • The plant contains the mind-altering chemical THC and other related compounds.
  • People use marijuana by smoking, eating, drinking, or inhaling it.
  • Smoking and vaping THC-rich extracts from the marijuana plant (a practice called dabbing) is on the rise.
  • THC overactivates certain brain cell receptors, resulting in effects such as:
    • altered senses
    • changes in mood
    • impaired body movement
    • difficulty with thinking and problem-solving
    • impaired memory and learning
    • hallucinations and paranoia
    • breathing problems
    • possible harm to a fetus’s brain in pregnant women

    Learn More

    For more information about marijuana and marijuana use, visit our:

    References

    1. Substance Abuse Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. SAMHSA. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2018-nsduh-detailed-tables Accessed December 2019.
    2. Johnston L, O’Malley P, Miech R, Bachman J, Schulenberg J. Monitoring the Future National Survey Results on Drug Use: 1975-2015: Overview: Key Findings on Adolescent Drug Use. Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan; 2015.
    3. Bell C, Slim J, Flaten HK, Lindberg G, Arek W, Monte AA. Butane Hash Oil Burns Associated with Marijuana Liberalization in Colorado. J Med Toxicol Off J Am Coll Med Toxicol. 2015;11(4):422-425. doi:10.1007/s13181-015-0501-0.
    4. Romanowski KS, Barsun A, Kwan P, et al. Butane Hash Oil Burns: A 7-Year Perspective on a Growing Problem. J Burn Care Res Off Publ Am Burn Assoc. 2017;38(1):e165-e171. doi:10.1097/BCR.0000000000000334.
    5. Meier MH, Caspi A, Ambler A, et al. Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012;109(40):E2657-E2664. doi:10.1073/pnas.1206820109.
    6. Jackson NJ, Isen JD, Khoddam R, et al. Impact of adolescent marijuana use on intelligence: Results from two longitudinal twin studies. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016;113(5):E500-E508. doi:10.1073/pnas.1516648113.
    7. Mehmedic Z, Chandra S, Slade D, et al. Potency trends of Δ9-THC and other cannabinoids in confiscated cannabis preparations from 1993 to 2008. J Forensic Sci. 2010;55(5):1209-1217. doi:10.1111/j.1556-4029.2010.01441.x.
    8. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2017.
    9. Young-Wolff KC, Tucker L-Y, Alexeeff S, et al. Trends in Self-reported and Biochemically Tested Marijuana Use Among Pregnant Females in California From 2009-2016. JAMA. 2017;318(24):2490. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.17225
    10. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Health and Medicine Division, Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice, Committee on the Health Effects of Marijuana: An Evidence Review and Research Agenda. The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research.http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2017/health-effects-of-cannabis-and-cannabinoids.aspx. Accessed January 19, 2017.
    11. Goldschmidt L, Day NL, Richardson GA. Effects of prenatal marijuana exposure on child behavior problems at age 10. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2000;22(3):325-336.
    12. Richardson GA, Ryan C, Willford J, Day NL, Goldschmidt L. Prenatal alcohol and marijuana exposure: effects on neuropsychological outcomes at 10 years. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2002;24(3):309-320.
    13. Perez-Reyes M, Wall ME. Presence of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol in human milk. N Engl J Med. 1982;307(13):819-820. doi:10.1056/NEJM198209233071311.
    14. Galli JA, Sawaya RA, Friedenberg FK. Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome. Curr Drug Abuse Rev. 2011;4(4):241-249.
    15. Röhrich J, Schimmel I, Zörntlein S, et al. Concentrations of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and 11-nor-9-carboxytetrahydrocannabinol in blood and urine after passive exposure to Cannabis smoke in a coffee shop. J Anal Toxicol. 2010;34(4):196-203.
    16. Cone EJ, Bigelow GE, Herrmann ES, et al. Non-smoker exposure to secondhand cannabis smoke. I. Urine screening and confirmation results. J Anal Toxicol. 2015;39(1):1-12. doi:10.1093/jat/bku116.
    17. Herrmann ES, Cone EJ, Mitchell JM, et al. Non-smoker exposure to secondhand cannabis smoke II: Effect of room ventilation on the physiological, subjective, and behavioral/cognitive effects. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2015;151:194-202. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.03.019.
    18. McCaffrey DF, Pacula RL, Han B, Ellickson P. Marijuana Use and High School Dropout: The Influence of Unobservables. Health Econ. 2010;19(11):1281-1299. doi:10.1002/hec.1561.
    19. Zwerling C, Ryan J, Orav EJ. The efficacy of preemployment drug screening for marijuana and cocaine in predicting employment outcome. JAMA. 1990;264(20):2639-2643.
    20. Wang X, Derakhshandeh R, Liu J, et al. One Minute of Marijuana Secondhand Smoke Exposure Substantially Impairs Vascular Endothelial Function. J Am Heart Assoc. 2016;5(8). doi:10.1161/JAHA.116.003858.
    21. Secades-Villa R, Garcia-Rodríguez O, Jin CJ, Wang S, Blanco C. Probability and predictors of the cannabis gateway effect: a national study. Int J Drug Policy. 2015;26(2):135-142. doi:10.1016/j.drugpo.2014.07.011.
    22. Levine A, Huang Y, Drisaldi B, et al. Molecular mechanism for a gateway drug: epigenetic changes initiated by nicotine prime gene expression by cocaine. Sci Transl Med. 2011;3(107):107ra109. doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.3003062.
    23. Panlilio LV, Zanettini C, Barnes C, Solinas M, Goldberg SR. Prior exposure to THC increases the addictive effects of nicotine in rats. Neuropsychopharmacol Off Publ Am Coll Neuropsychopharmacol. 2013;38(7):1198-1208. doi:10.1038/npp.2013.16.
    24. Cadoni C, Pisanu A, Solinas M, Acquas E, Di Chiara G. Behavioural sensitization after repeated exposure to Delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cross-sensitization with morphine. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001;158(3):259-266. doi:10.1007/s002130100875.
    25. Hasin DS, Saha TD, Kerridge BT, et al. Prevalence of Marijuana Use Disorders in the United States Between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013. JAMA Psychiatry. 2015;72(12):1235-1242. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.1858.
    26. Winters KC, Lee C-YS. Likelihood of developing an alcohol and cannabis use disorder during youth: association with recent use and age. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2008;92(1-3):239-247. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2007.08.005.
    27. Corsi DJ, Walsh L, Weiss D, et al. Association Between Self-reported Prenatal Cannabis Use and Maternal, Perinatal, and Neonatal Outcomes. JAMA. Published online June 18, 2019322(2):145–152. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.8734

    This publication is available for your use and may be reproduced in its entirety without permission from NIDA. Citation of the source is appreciated, using the following language: Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.