Even with the legality of cannabis in many states now, the debate still rages on about whether medical marijuana side effects outweigh the therapeutic good.
Just as with any other medication there are some possible medical marijuana side effects that you need to know about before you decide to use this treatment method. Usually side effects from marijuana are mild and are only temporary. Moreover, using oils, extracts, and other forms that do not require smoking can minimize the risk for certain side effects like lung irritation or developing a cough.
Medical Marijuana Side Effects are Not Usually Serious
Most of the medical marijuana side effects seen by patients are not serious, and do not require emergency medical attention. In some patients with certain conditions this treatment option may not be the best choice though, because marijuana use can aggravate the other conditions or cause your symptoms to worsen instead of making them better.
On the website Drugs.com, they list “exacerbation of pre-existing cardiovascular disease, as cannabis use significantly raises the heart rate” as a potential long-term side effect.
Marijuana and Patients with Anxiety
Medical marijuana has been shown to help reduce many forms of anxiety in some patients, but an increase in anxiety can be one of the possible medical marijuana side effects if the wrong dosage or the wrong marijuana strains are used. If the dosage is too high, or the patient has other psychiatric issues, then anxiety could go up instead of decreasing.
Mood Disorders and Medical Marijuana
Another consideration when it comes to medical marijuana side effects is whether the patient has any mood disorders. Some studies have shown that marijuana can have antidepressant effects in animals, but for some patients the use of this drug can aggravate symptoms or even cause psychosis in rare cases. There is little research to go on right now because the drug is still a federal Schedule 1 drug.
Feeling Too High is One Possible Side Effect if your Dose is Too Strong
One of the most common medical marijuana side effects is feeling too high when the dose taken is not carefully calculated. If this happens, the patient should be kept calm and reminded to relax until the sensation passes. Starting with the smallest dose possible and then slowly increasing the dosage can usually help prevent this potential side effect.
Dizziness and Feeling Faint are Possible, Especially for Inexperienced Users
People who have never used marijuana or who have a very low tolerance are especially vulnerable to certain medical marijuana side effects like dizziness or feeling faint. When using marijuana make sure that you are sitting down, and avoid standing up too quickly, driving, or operating any equipment or machinery until you know how the drug will affect you.
Dry Mouth and Drowsiness are Typically Manageable Side Effects of Using Medical Marijuana
If you use marijuana you could experience dry mouth or drowsiness. These mild side effects are normally easy to manage if they occur. If you experience dry mouth this can be eliminated by drinking fluids. Drowsiness is one side effect that some individuals may hope for, especially if they have sleeping problems, and lying down or taking a nap can help until the drowsiness passes.
An Allergic Reaction is a Rare but Possible Side Effect
One of the rare medical marijuana side effects, and one of the very few that may require medical attention, is an allergic reaction. A very small percentage of the population will generally be allergic to any given substance and marijuana is no exception. A severe allergic reaction could occur although this is not a risk for most of the population.
Short Term Memory Loss
Side effects for marijuana also include the possibility of short-term memory loss. Scientists are still trying to determine why this specific side effect occurs. For patients dealing with pain the memory loss may not always be a negative aspect of medical marijuana.
As with any drug, it is best to be aware of possible side effects. Medical marijuana side effects may be minimal but you should always be informed and forewarned. Talk with your medical marijuana doctor about any side effects you have that concern you.