Have you ever fainted after smoking weed or experienced feeling like you’re getting dizzy from cannabis? If so, you’re not alone. While it isn’t necessarily common to feel faint after smoking cannabis, there are several factors that can make you more likely to experience this particular side effect. In this article, we’ll break down why you might be fainting after consuming cannabis and suggest some tips for preventing similar issues in the future.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, fainting occurs as a result of a sudden decrease in blood flow to your brain and often results in brief loss of consciousness.
There are many factors that might cause you to feel faint, such as dehydration or overheating. Fainting can also be caused by a sudden drop in blood sugar, certain neurological conditions that cause strokes or seizures, or skipping too many meals. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the cause of about half of all fainting episodes is unknown.
If you feel as if you’re about to faint, you should lie down and try to elevate your legs before you lose consciousness, certified nurse practitioner Ashley Jones writes for the Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. She adds that, if you’re on a blood pressure medication, you should take your time when transitioning from sitting to standing up.
If you’re fainting often, and especially if you’re fainting without the influence of cannabis or a blood pressure medication, you should reach out to a medical professional. While fainting occasionally won’t necessarily cause any harm on its own, frequent fainting episodes can negatively impact your quality of life and may even cause you to unintentionally injure yourself if you faint while standing up.
Based on the limited currently available scientific literature, it is difficult to determine exactly how common it is for people to faint when they’re high. The vast majority of the articles connecting cannabis to fainting are case reports of single instances in which an individual visited a physician or the emergency room after experiencing dizziness or lightheadedness after consuming a cannabis product.
This is all to say that, if you’re finding that you often faint or feel as if you might faint after consuming cannabis, your condition isn’t unheard of. With that in mind, it might be worth it to reconsider whether cannabis has a role to play in your wellness routine if it causes you to faint.
There isn’t much empirical research available regarding why some individuals might experience fainting after consuming cannabis while others don’t. However, several peer-reviewed case studies offer valuable insights as to why cannabis might make you feel faint.
Cannabis’ ability to decrease blood pressure is well known, with studies reporting the impact of cannabis specifically on cerebral blood velocity and peripheral circulation as early as 1992. In this particular study, which used a relatively small sample of 10 male subjects, just over half of the participants reported feeling “moderate to severe dizziness” when they stood up after smoking a joint. These feelings correlated with “marked decreases in blood pressure and [cerebral blood velocity].”
The subjects of the 1992 study were all “physically and mentally healthy,” suggesting that individuals whose blood pressure is normal or even on the lower end of the scale may be at risk of fainting after consuming a cannabis dose that results in a drop in blood pressure.
One 2021 case study published in the journal Cureus reports that a 39-year-old male who regularly consumed cannabis (the authors don’t specify the cannabinoid content of the patient’s typical product) had to visit the emergency room 12 hours after his first time inhaling a CBD product. The patient fainted four times while in the care of the ER physicians. Notably, the patient did not present with hypotension.
Based on an electrocardiogram (EKG) test, the case study’s authors attribute the patient’s experience to a case of sinus bradycardia, a condition in which the rate at which the heart is pumping slows down significantly. Dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting are all common symptoms of sinus bradycardia, and the condition is somewhat common in adults over the age of 65 and in young athletes.
If you’ve been consuming cannabis for a long time and recently experienced fainting after trying a new cannabis product, it’s possible that the new product was contaminated by pesticides, solvents, or other substances used by some producers during the growing and manufacturing process.
If you’re in a location where cannabis is illegal, it’s also possible that you’ve accidentally picked up a synthetic cannabinoid product. These products are designed to mimic the effects of cannabinoids like THC but can actually be much more potent, resulting in more pronounced side effects. One study, which reviewed synthetic cannabinoid poisonings across the United States from 2016 to 2019, found that over half of the recorded exposures to synthetic cannabinoids required medical attention.
If you do tend to feel faint after consuming cannabis, there are a few factors you can adjust to try to improve your experience. We recommend testing your adjusted consumption routine from a comfortable, seated position in case you do feel faint.
Your dose and consumption method of choice can play a significant role in whether you’ll feel faint after consuming cannabis, especially if you’re new to the experience. This is because the drop in blood pressure associated with cannabis, like many other effects resulting from consuming the plant, is likely to become less pronounced if you have a bigger tolerance to the cannabinoids you’re consuming.
Certain products, such as dabs, offer a higher potency that is best utilized by veteran consumers rather than novices who don’t have much of a tolerance built up. The same goes for consumption methods that offer a higher single dose at a time, such as inhalation with a bong.
As we mentioned briefly earlier in this article, there are a few physical conditions that can make you more susceptible to fainting. Not eating enough food or eating a poorly-balanced diet can increase your risk of feeling faint in general, and consuming a cannabis product can exacerbate that risk.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is a great way to not only keep your body in the best shape possible, but also gives you the opportunity to incorporate wellness-oriented foods that can improve your cannabis experience (or even make your experience more intense).
The best way to ensure that your cannabis products don’t contain any contaminants that might increase your risk of fainting is to purchase them from a reputable vendor.
One way to connect with reputable vendors is to use a platform like Jointly Matches, which can not only help you make your purchase from the right seller but also direct you to the products most likely to help you support your wellness-related goals with cannabis.
Jointly is the cannabis discovery app that makes it easy to find and shop the best cannabis and CBD products for your goals. Your matches are calculated from the real product ratings and experiences from hundreds of thousands of people using the Jointly app.
With Jointly, you can shop your top-rated products, and save lists of your favorites to share and bring to your local dispensary to help guide your shopping experience.
The Jointly app also helps you improve your cannabis experiences by uncovering what’s working and what’s not with reflections and personalized insights. In fact, the quality of your diet, how much you slept, who you’re with, and the time of day are just some of the factors that can impact your cannabis experience.
So if you're ready to find your best products and enjoy your perfect cannabis experience, download the Jointly app today on the App Store or Google Play, or shop your matches on the Jointly website. Discovery awaits.