Why it's nearly impossible for many medical cannabis users to get high

Published Jul 8, 2020 11:00 a.m. ET
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A lack of understanding in this area is prevalent, which is why it is so important to highlight the various depths of cannabis consumption and how it affects those who use it. The truth is that there is still a lot that we don’t quite know about, but one thing is for sure and it’s that most medical consumers feel cannabis differently than those who use it for recreational purposes.

You might read that and think to yourself, that’s crazy talk, after all, if everyone is consuming the exact product then surely they must achieve the same desirable euphoric effects, but that is simply not the case. In fact, many who believe that they utilize cannabis for recreational purposes are truly self-medicating, whether or not they realize it themselves.

The reasons why

To understand how it is different, let’s start at the core of the issue at hand, and in the case of medical consumers, it is the reason why they choose to use cannabis as a treatment. Many who believe that they’re recreational consumers are actually managing other problems such as stress, anxiety, lack of appetite, or difficulty sleeping, and those who label themselves as medical patients with a legal license to prove it are using it as a treatment for a variety of truly debilitating medical conditions.

Think about how hard it is to manage with a really bad headache, and how wonderful you feel once a strong enough pain killer is introduced to the equation. In cases of migraines, the pain can be so bad that it can render a person unable to eat, talk, sleep, or even to exist, and once they receive their dose of relief, it all just fades away. These patients don’t get high, not even from the strongest prescriptions, because their body is utilizing the drug to garner relief.

On the other hand, if a person without any sort of medical condition were to take some of the strongest migraine treatment options out there, they’d likely feel stoned out of their mind, and this is because the active element has no real job other than to make you feel different, and it’s an entirely different effect with varied results. No one would accuse someone utilizing codeine correctly of being high, and the same is true with cannabis users who fit this description.

The results

There are a couple of different things that happen once a person starts using cannabis as a treatment, but one of the most influential is a well-built tolerance to cannabinoids like THC. After extended periods of time of exposure, many medical patients eventually feel very little after smoking a joint or chowing down on an edible, and while they may continue to receive the miraculous benefits of the plant, the stoned effect wears off quite quickly.


Does that mean that no medical user can feel stoned?

Of course, there are always exceptions to every rule, in this case, it’s no different, but there is typically a reason for a different outcome than the one that is described here as the journey of an average medical cannabis patient. So yes, some medical consumers can get stoned from using cannabis, but those people either have to use large doses to do so, or they don’t use it frequently enough to have built a tolerance to the cannabinoids within.

Exceptions that should be made for cannabis users using it as a treatment

Most medical consumers are using cannabis as a treatment for life-changing symptoms like pain management, inflammation control, and anxiety, and these people need it to continue to function like any other person has the luxury of doing on their own. They need the treatment’s benefits, but while they’re taking it, they need to be able to live life by driving and living independently, which is why exceptions need to be made to our current rules to accommodate them.

A medical user who consumes an entire blunt or pot brownie before hopping behind the wheel is doing so because they perform better with the aid of the all-natural treatment, not because they want to get stoned and joy ride. The same is true for those who partake in the morning before heading off to work, and for anyone else who finds themselves discriminated against for their use of the plant in prohibited situations, this needs to be considered going forward as the adjust legislation to reflect what we know today.

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