I don’t want to “get high.” What options do I have?


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Since we’ve opened our clinic, this is one of the most common questions we get. Patients want the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana, but don’t want side effects like “getting high.”

This might be having to work, take care of young kids, or just not liking the feeling of being “high”. Today we’ll go over some options for these patients.

There are two main active components in marijuana: THC and CBD. While THC has many beneficial therapeutic properties, it is the main component that causes people to feel “high” when using marijuana.

So when we treat a patient with medical marijuana, we have a couple of options with their medical regimen.


Avoid THC

Some conditions do not necessarily need THC. For example, many pediatric patients with seizures are treated effectively with medical marijuana that contains high amounts of CBD and no THC.

Because CBD does not generally have psychoactive side effects, there is little risk of getting high.


Limit THC

Some conditions cannot be treated effectively with CBD. Sometimes THC is necessary. In those cases, it’s best to use the lowest therapeutic dose possible.

The lower the dose, the less effect there is of “feeling high.” Titrating the dose up slowly reduces the incidence of side effects as well.

In addition, some routes of administration create more of a “high” feeling than others.


Counter balance the THC

Sometimes high doses of THC are necessary. CBD has been shown to moderate some of the psychoactive side effects of THC, and utilizing both CBD and THC together in appropriate mixtures can be an effective way of reducing the psychoactive effects of THC.

In addition, terpenes can be used to change the “high” feeling to more of an “activating” feeling.  You doctor can advise you on how to do this.


Feeling “high” is not always bad

As I tell patients, sometime feeling “high” is not a bad thing. While we don’t want people getting “high” and driving or performing complex tasks, sometimes the “high” helps distract a patient from other symptoms, such as chronic pain.



Treatment with medical marijuana is a very individualized process. Make sure to let your doctor know what you want out of your treatment regimen so they can craft the best recommendation for you.

Thanks for reading



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Doctor Victor Chou, M.D.

Medical Marijuana Clinic of Louisiana