Potential side effects of medical cannabis

side effects of medical cannabis

Cannabis is being increasingly legalised across different countries. For some countries, such as Canada, this legalisation goes as far as recreational use. For others, such as Ireland, it is for medicinal purposes only. 

Some medical professionals are starting to prescribe cannabinoids (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in instances where standard treatments don’t work. Medical cannabis is known to work successfully as a pain and nausea relief, but that doesn’t mean it comes without its own side effects. 

Is medical cannabis safe?

There’s no doubt that the use of cannabis in medicine is still proving controversial. According to the NHS, for example, the risks around THC containing products are not currently clear. They call for further clinical trials to take place. Some argue that the “high” caused by the THC chemical in marijuana makes it inherently unsafe. 

That’s why CBD products, such as oils and sprays, are more likely to be prescribed. These cannabinoids can actually help the body to restore any of its imbalances, without the high caused by THC. 

What are the main side effects of THC? 

Most of the concern around medical cannabis surround the risks of taking THC. By smoking cannabis, THC enters the bloodstream and enters the brain. In its gentlest form, this can make a user feel relaxed, but in more serious instances it can lead to episodes of psychosis. Side effects can also include hallucinations, panic attacks, and a greater sense of anxiety.

Unless dosage is controlled by a medical practitioner, there are also concerns that the consumption of THC can lead to dependency on medicine. 

What are some of the more common side effects? 

Medical cannabis is experiencing a growth in adoption, suggesting that the side effects outlined above are quite rare. But what common side effects occur? 

This largely depends on the user, any pre-existing medical conditions, and their state of mental and physical health at the time of taking medical cannabis but anyone could be prone to: 

  • A loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea 
  • Feeling weak 
  • Mood changes 
  • Dizziness
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of balance 


The true extent of how cannabis can affect the mind and body is not yet fully understood. And although medical use cases of cannabis are likely to increase over the coming years, there needs to be due diligence, research, and trials into how it will impact different people, age groups, and pre-existing conditions. 

You should never self prescribe cannabis-based products for a health condition. Always consult a medical practitioner and never buy a product from an unregulated business. 

To find out more about the role of cannabis in the medical industry, keep up-to-date with The Leaf Desk