The use of cannabis for medicinal purposes has strong advocacy, but also vehement opposition. This will continue at least until some peak bodies have conducted or reviewed some definitive research.
Further study is still needed with regard to the possible risks and side effects of using medicinal cannabis. At present, some of the known side effects of using medicinal cannabis include those mentioned below.
Insomnia or Drowsiness
Some people who use medicinal cannabis can experience drowsiness, whilst others claim to suffer from insomnia.
Drowsiness can cause difficulties, especially for workers, where staying alert is paramount. This is why it is highly advised to avoid operating machinery while being administered medicinal cannabis, especially if you experience this side effect.
It is also better to take the dose at bedtime to avoid having diurnal problems with drowsiness. There are some strains of the Sativa plant that don’t cause drowsiness issues.
However, for those patients who suffer from insomnia, this side effect will be perceived as beneficial, and not a negative side effect at all.
Now for those people who take medicinal cannabis and who find it hard to sleep at night, let your physician know so they can lower the dose if necessary.
You may also ask if it’s possible to take it other than at bedtime to avoid interfering with your sleep. You may also try other varieties of cannabis, such as the Indica strain. This is claimed to produce more sedative effects than the Sativa variety.
Dry mouth is a side effect some people call ‘cottonmouth.’ This is one of the most common side effects of medicinal cannabis. Dry mouth is accompanied by excessive thirst, also referred to as xerostomia.
This side effect rarely affects your day to day activities. One way to alleviate dry mouth is to increase your intake of water. This seems obvious, but many people drink anything but water when thirsty. It is best to drink plain water and avoid sweetened beverages and soft drinks. A dry mouth will gradually wear off.
Taking medicinal cannabis, especially those with high levels of THC, can make a person feel euphoric. Others describe this side effect as giddiness, and it is often characterized by feelings of joy.
Don’t be surprised if your friend or family member taking medicinal cannabis appears to laugh more often. This feeling of joy can also help boost the immune system and reduce stress levels, which is another positive side effect.
Hunger or Increased Appetite
People using medicinal cannabis may find themselves feeling hungry more often than usual. Although seen as a side effect, on a more positive note, it is seen as an effective treatment for people having issues with anorexia or cachexia.
Cachexia or wasting syndrome can be common among cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. People diagnosed with AIDS, congestive heart failure and rheumatoid arthritis are also prone to cachexia.
It is highly recommended that if an increased appetite is experienced, to make sure healthy diet habits are adhered to. Indulging in junk foods is not a good way to alleviate the hunger that may be experienced while taking medicinal cannabis.
Other Side Effects
Other side effects may include diarrhea, red eyes, psychosis, and short-term memory loss. Make sure to communicate any changes in your health to your physician. Your health care professional can then make adjustments to your dosage or change your medication to a different cannabis strain.