Alongside the multiple advantages of medical cannabis and its widespread use, an awareness of medical cannabis’ adverse effects and the methods of dealing with them are also necessary.
When initiating the use of medical cannabis, it is worthwhile reaching the balance in the treatment of chronic drugs to the extent possible.
Most of medical cannabis’ adverse effects are mild and are resolved within the adaptation period.
There are a number of effects that necessitate special attention and, generally, derive from a high dosage or chronic and continuous use of cannabis.
A lack of balance, lack of coordination, weakness and dizziness. Chronic patients, who suffer from dizziness and frequent falling, have to be careful and rest for an hour after administering the treatment.
Listlessness, fatigue and sleep, low motor activity.
A sharp decrease in the glucose level to hypoglycemia conditions. Greater caution is necessary for diabetic patients or those with a tendency to diabetes. It is desirable to eat / drink prior to the treatment and to time a meal about 30 minutes thereafter. On initiating the treatment, it is preferable to follow up on blood glucose levels.
There is a possibility of blood pressure (usually a decrease) and heart rhythm changes in patients with cardiovascular diseases. It is advisable to perform blood pressure tests using a domestic device and, should there be a need to adapt the dosages, this should be done under consultation with the attending physician.
Impairments in the digestive system (vomiting and diarrhea) or in the electrolyte balance and, therefore, attention should be paid to treatment of patients suffering from renal failure or recurring inflammations in the urinary tracts.
Dryness in the mouth and eyes, headaches, coughing and a burning throat. It is advisable to drink a lot of water and apply eyedrops, if necessary, during and on completing the treatment.
Use during pregnancy: possible low weight of the infant.
Harm to fertility: a possible decrease in the quality of sperm amongst males and damage to absorption of the fetus in females.
Harm from smoking.
Memory, attention, concentration, impairments in studying, and the ability for cognitive organization and in the ability to integrate complex data – most effects are short-term and decrease over time or on the termination of use.
An increased risk for developing psychotic symptoms. At an early age, the risk is higher. Furthermore, hearing and visual hallucinations, paranoia and delusions have been described. These sensations can be moderated by drinking natural orange/lemon juice, a cold shower, calming music and atmosphere. Should there be no improvement or if an effect recurs a number of times, consult a physician.
Extreme changes in sensation, such as: hyperarousal followed by drowsiness, sharpening of the senses followed by disintegrated perception, laughing that changes to crying or vice versa.
Cannabis magnifies the risk of developing schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. The physician must be informed if there are patients with these diseases in the family.