More states are legalizing medical marijuana. Studies have revealed that marijuana has many health benefits, which explains its widespread legalization and use throughout America. Even so, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) still categorizes marijuana as a Schedule 1 Drug.
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Although marijuana is medically beneficial, it still has a high potential for abuse. Besides, there are various potential side effects linked to medical marijuana. Before signing up for a medical marijuana card, here are the possible side effects of marijuana that you should keep in mind.
For years, there has been a raging debate in the medical cannabis community— does marijuana treat anxiety or cause it? Many patients use medical marijuana to de-stress and relax. This is why, in most states, medical marijuana is used to treat psychological conditions linked to anxiety, including PTSD and depression. It has a calming effect that eliminates symptoms associated with most stress disorders.
This clash of outcomes makes you wonder, why do we have such a wide divide? How does marijuana treat anxiety in some patients, yet causes that very same symptom in others? Well, it all depends on the individual user and the marijuana doses that he/she consumes. The risk factors for anxiety among medical marijuana patients include:
- First-time use
- History of anxiety or paranoia
- Setting— consuming marijuana in some places can cause unease and anxiety
Increased Heart Rate
This is one of the potential side effects of medical cannabis. Mostly, it occurs when you consume marijuana strains that have a high THC percentage. This cannabinoid causes blood vessels to expand, thus lowering your blood pressure. When the heart notices a sudden change in blood pressure, it will automatically start to pump blood faster.
Often, this side effect wears off with your cannabis medication. Since the elevated heart rate lasts for less than three hours, it doesn’t pose adverse risks to your health. Moreover, it’s common for patients whose heart health isn’t at its best to experience this side effect. If you experience an increased heart rate after cannabis medication, it’s best to consult your marijuana doctor and a cardiologist. A micro-doing schedule can help you avoid this side effect.
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A prevalent short-lived side effect of cannabis is short-term memory loss. Some users experience a fuzzy recollection of events that happened before, during, and after consuming medical marijuana. Often, this arises from how marijuana interacts with the hippocampus, which is the brain’s memory center.
The chronic use of weed in the wrong dosage and the consumption of THC-rich weed are the leading cause of episodic memory loss among medical marijuana patients. In the long run, patients may develop false memories. To prevent this side effect, obtain your cannabis medication from licensed dispensaries only. Besides, use the recommended strain for the condition you’re treating and consume medical marijuana in the prescribed doses.
It’s rare for medical cannabis to cause hallucinations. Those in the marijuana community argue that medical marijuana-induced hallucinations primarily result from THC, a psychoactive cannabinoid. Research indicates that THC depresses the activity of the brain’s caudate nucleus, thus causing hallucinations. CBD, which is the other prominent cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, increases the caudate nucleus’ activity.
Since hallucination cases among medical cannabis patients are unusual, it is thought that the THC content in marijuana must be more than 20% to cause auditory or visual hallucinations. The average THC content in most medical marijuana strains is between 10 to 20%. Again, the fact that medical cannabis could cause hallucinations highlights the significance of getting your supply from a reliable source and observing the recommended dosage.
This is probably everyone’s worst nightmare, irrespective of the drug they use. Many medications cause patients to develop a dependency. Unlike other potential side effects of medical marijuana, dependency doesn’t have a precise cause-and-effect. However, studies indicate that patients suffering from mental disorders and increased tolerance to weed are likely to become dependent.
Unlike medications such as opioids, marijuana has a low risk of dependence. On average, 25% of patients who embark on the opioid treatment end up becoming dependent. Conversely, only 10% of medical marijuana patients experience dependency. Even so, the long-term effects of marijuana dependency are adverse, thus the need to take your medication as instructed.
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Medical cannabis has been touted as an ideal alternative to pharmaceutical treatments, and it’s easy to see why. Although it has some potential side effects, they tend to be mild in most patients.
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