What effects do you feel immediately after smoking cannabis?

The effects of smoking cannabis can vary quite significantly between people. In addition, the specific strain of marijuana, method of consumption and other external factors can also have a big influence on the severity of both the mental and physical effects of the drug. In saying this, there are a few things most users experience after smoking cannabis, including:

  • Feeling relaxed and content
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased hunger
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Faster heart rate (up to 100 per cent faster than usual)
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Feelings of anxiety or paranoia
  • Reduced hand-eye coordination
  • Lightheadedness
  • Difficulty with solving problems and remembering things
  • Visual or aural hallucinations (typically associated with larger amounts of cannabis)


Is it safe to drive after smoking cannabis?

Many cannabis users are of the belief that they are safer drivers under the influence of cannabis, but this is simply not true. In fact, research demonstrates that driving stoned can double your chances of being involved in a car accident.

As little as 10 mg of THC can severely impact your ability to drive, ride a bicycle or perform other tasks that involve a certain level of physical risk.

In the interests of road safety, here are a couple of guidelines to live by:

  • Smoking: Do not drive or operate machinery for at least six hours after smoking up to 35 mg of THC. If you’ve smoked more than this, you’ll need to wait even longer.
  • Eating: The effects of edibles last considerably longer than inhaled cannabis. After eating up to 18 mg of THC, you should wait for a minimum of 8 hours before driving.

As mentioned, cannabis affects everyone differently, and it’s possible that you’ll be much more sensitive to the effects of marijuana than the above guidelines suggest. If you’re in any doubt whatsoever, avoid driving and make new travel plans.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that combining marijuana with other substances (such as alcohol) can compound the effects of cannabis, which may further reduce your ability to drive.

What happens if you consume too much marijuana?

While nobody has died from a marijuana overdose, the symptoms of overindulging can be pretty unpleasant. Some of the effects include:

  • Severe vomiting
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • A much faster heart rate than normal
  • Extreme feelings of anxiety, paranoia and confusion
  • Vivid hallucinations

Many people end up in hospital after consuming excessive amounts of marijuana. This is often a result of mistaking edibles for regular food, underestimating the potency of the drug and consuming too many edibles because they couldn’t yet feel the effects.

For the vast majority of people, these side effects will pass in a matter of hours. However, if you are concerned about such symptoms, you can get free advice by calling the New Zealand Poison and Hazardous Chemicals Information Centre on 0800 POISON or 0800 764 766. For extreme cases, dial 111 and ask for an ambulance.