AGRiMED’s recommended solutions for possible side effects from Medical Cannabis.
Medical Cannabis has therapeutic effects backed by countless studies and over 3,000 years of human use for medical purposes. Cannabis contains 60 active ingredients known as cannabinoids. As Pennsylvanians prepare for the new Medical Marijuana program it is important to understand some of the potential side effects with a Cannabis treatment program.
A common side effect of cannabis use includes the red, dry eyes so often associated with cannabis; this is likely due to the fact that THC lowers blood pressure which causes blood vessels in the eyes to dilate. This is why medical cannabis is an effective treatment for glaucoma. Not to worry, though, for this isn’t a hard one to deal with at all:
- Try eye drops that are used for reducing eye redness. You can get eye drops from most major retailers, pharmacies or your eye doctor, so don’t let this concern you. If you’re having excessive trouble with red, dry eyes, try consulting your doctor.
- Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. Some patients find that staying hydrated lessens the potential for eye redness.
- Use strains with elevated levels of CBN and CBD. The entourage effect of CBD with THC can lessen the amount of eye redness in some patients.
For thousands of years, people have been using cannabis as a sleep aid (Zuardi, 2006). While for some sedation and full-body relaxation is the desired effect from cannabis, others want to remain wakeful and alert. An easy fix:
- Use a high-CBD or Sativa dominant strain. Indica and high-level THC strains can potentially promote tiredness in users; if this is not your desired effect, it is important to use a high-CBD strain.
- Try microdosing your medical cannabis. Microdosing is a consumption technique involving taking small doses of medical cannabis for less sedation effects.
- If that’s not enough, you can always turn to caffeine for a little boost in energy, but do note how your medical cannabis is affecting your sleep.
The therapeutic uses of cannabinoids have been observed to increase appetite in patients. Though some patients would prefer to avoid this effect, some actually need it if they have an underdeveloped appetite. For those of you who find it annoying, the same advice is warranted: Use a high-CBD strain. THC generally activates the “appetite” part of the brain, so staying away from high-THC strains would be fruitful. AGRiMED is actively developing proprietary strains of cannabis that will act as an appetite suppressant; look for new advancements in medical cannabis formulations coming soon from AGRiMED.
Some patients report dry mouth from using medical cannabis, whether taken sublingually, transdermally or through inhalation. New medical cannabis patients may be caught off guard from the potential dry mouth effect.. While inconvenient, this is another extremely easy fix:
- Stay hydrated. Depending on how your body reacts, your mouth may be just fine. However, having some water or ice just in case can’t hurt.
- Alcohol and smoking tobacco leave the mouth dry. Alcohol and tobacco should both be avoided when trying to stop dry mouth side effects from medical cannabis usage.
- Drinks that contain a high amount of tannins, like fruit juices or teas, will also cause the mouth to become dry due to the astringent effect of the tannins contained in them. These beverages should be avoided if a patient is experiencing dry mouth symptoms from medical cannabis treatment.
For some patients, cannabis is effective at treating anxiety-related conditions such as PTSD; however, a select few may experience increased stress, paranoia or anxiety-related symptoms. First, a patient should be aware of their own unique personal tolerances to medical cannabis. It is best for new patients to start with extremely small doses. While this is a potential side effect with the use of cannabis, it is generally due to using high-THC sativa dominant strains. Where THC may cause anxiety, CBD controls it. If you experience anxiety while using medical cannabis, try a higher-CBD or Indica dominant strain. This, however, is not to take into account that some people just have a genetic predisposition to experience anxious feelings after using cannabis. Do not let that make you fearful, though, as this is a rare occurrence—just make sure you take small doses to start and see how you feel. Remember that the effects of medical cannabis are short-term and any anxiety-related symptoms should subside within a few hours depending on dosage.
Along with anxiety, a few medicinal cannabis users may experience some feelings of depression. As with any form of medical drug treatment, medical cannabis can carry potential side effects and should only be used under a doctor’s supervision.
Though some people use cannabis specifically to treat depression, others may experience some forms of depression from using medical cannabis. However, there isn’t any clear evidence to suggest that cannabis causes depression. It’s important to note your history with depression and, like with screening for anxiety, make sure you start with small doses. It’s very likely you’ll be fine, but it is important to note that this is a potential side effect. Again, don’t let it worry you, though—plenty of people use cannabis to treat their depression, so feeling depressed from the usage just depends on people’s genetic makeup.
AGRiMED is dedicated to creating the finest medical cannabis to treat all of the qualifying conditions for medical cannabis in Pennsylvania including:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Crohn’s Disease
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
- HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) / AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)
- Huntington’s Disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome
- Intractable Seizures
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
- Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or ineffective
- Sickle Cell Anemia
Your physical and mental well-being are our number one priority. If you notice any of the aforementioned side effects, please consult with your licensed medical physician. Look for broad spectrum and condition-specific solutions from AGRiMED at your local Pennsylvania medical cannabis dispensary starting in 2018.
Zuardi, A. W. (2006). History of cannabis as a medicine: a review. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatría, 28(2), 153-157.