5 Negative Side Effects of Smoking Marijuana & How You Can Avoid Them

By Megan O'neill
Published: July 13, 2017 | Last updated: April 23, 2021 01:01:13
Key Takeaways

Many cannabis smokers experience negative side effects of the plant from time to time. Here's how to avoid feeling too tired or too stoned off of your medicinal marijuana.

Smoking marijuana has a lot of benefits for your health and well-being, but there are certain negative aspects that you may experience, especially if you are relatively new to consuming medicinal marijuana in this manner.


Fortunately, many of these negative side effects can be avoided.

With the following advice, you'll be able to embrace the fun parts of smoking marijuana by doing some preparation and learning about what the side effects are and ways to prevent them.


For starters, focus on your breathing and living a healthy lifestyle overall, and then you’ll be better able to have a good time and unwind with marijuana.

Here are five ways smoking pot can lead to a negative experience and how to deal with those effects.

Feeling Tired or Sleepy

Smoking can make you feel sleepy and lethargic. When you smoke, you might curl up and fall asleep, or not want to move from your couch. This is commonly referred to as couch lock and reinforces the lazy stoner stereotype.


However, what if you need to sleep? One way to look at this effect of smoking is that your body needs to rest and it is relaxed enough after you smoke to fall asleep.

A way to avoid feeling too tired or too sleepy right after marijuana use is to allow yourself enough sleep every day, which is when your body heals the most.


Getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, and exercising regularly will go a long way in helping increase your energy levels.

The Munchies

Smoking often makes you hungry. So when the munchies hit, what can you do to prevent yourself from eating the whole pantry? Focusing on healthy foods and eating what you love throughout the day will stop the mindless snacking when you’re high.

Focusing on eating a variety of healthy foods will help you be more mindful when you’re smoking. Foods like mangos are supposed to enhance a high.

So, eat if you’re hungry but try to eat healthy and let the medicine help you. Also stay hydrated so you can hopefully avoid the dreaded cotton mouth effect.

It might be the strain you’re smoking that makes you hungry, so changing strains can also help you to avoid the munchies.

Forgetting Stuff

Smoking helps stimulate creativity and relaxation, but very often it causes forgetfulness or memory loss. One way to remember things better is to act on your creative impulses. Write things down and work on that artistic impulse.

Scientific studies also suggest that taking an ibuprofen can help prevent memory loss in smokers. Creating plans, writing things down, and trying to listen better and simplify your life can go a long way in avoiding forgetfulness after or during marijuana use.


Although cannabis is becoming more accepted and legalized all over the world, in some parts of the country, it is still illegal and there can be certain repercussions to smoking, especially in public places.

The best thing you can do to avoid trouble in the legal area is to read about the laws and make informed decisions based on the information that you find. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and see what you can do to adhere to the laws in your area.

Lung Irritation

Coughing that comes with smoking can be a big problem for smokers. Fortunately, there are different ways to partake that don’t involve inhaling a large amount of smoke. If this is a problem, you can avoid coughing by taking CBD oil in the form of tinctures or edibles. Vaping is also a popular option that creates a gentler smoke.

You can also change the parts on your bong like getting a new percolator or diffuser. Deep breathing exercises and taking smaller hits can also reduce the coughing. Drinking enough water, stretching, and learning to breath better can also help to prevent coughing.

If you learn to balance your life and your marijuana use, you won’t see too many of the bad side effects. What is important is to remember to use cannabis primarily to heal and help yourself, not to get intoxicated. Have fun and be responsible.


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Written by Megan O'neill

Profile Picture of Megan O'neill

Megan O'neill is a freelance writer based in the US. She writes about all sorts of things, but writing about cannabis has become one of her favorite topics.


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