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What are the potential side effects of medical cannabis and how can I manage them?

Medical cannabis, also known as medicinal marijuana, has been gaining recognition worldwide for its potential to treat a variety of health conditions. While many celebrate its therapeutic benefits, it's essential to address that like any other medication, it can have potential side effects. Understanding these side effects and the ways to manage them is crucial for anyone considering or currently using medical cannabis.

Understanding Medical Cannabis

Medicinal cannabis products are legal, high-quality medicines prescribed by doctors for their patients. The cannabis plant, comprising several compounds, or cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is at the core of these products. These cannabinoids interact with our neural pathways, influencing several bodily functions, including improving appetite, reducing inflammation and pain, and alleviating anxiety.

Potential Side Effects of Medical Cannabis

Like all medications, medical cannabis can pose side effects. Some commonly reported ones include decreased appetite, dizziness, feeling tired, and hallucinations. Long-term use even seems to link to chronic effects, including psychological dependency, loss of motivation, cognitive deficits, and bronchitis from smoke inhalation.

There are also concerns associated with the effects on mental health. Some studies hint at a connection between cannabis use and the onset of psychotic disorders, although these risks are minimal and mainly tied to patients with a predisposition.

Besides these, more serious side effects are also reported in some cases, such as behavioural changes, heightened feelings of fatigue, and even suicidal thoughts. As with any medicine, it's vital to report any adverse reactions to your healthcare team to ensure proper treatment adjustments.

Interaction with Other Medicines

CBD and THC can interfere with other medications, potentially affecting their efficacy. For instance, CBD can influence liver functioning, affecting the way your body processes certain medications. As a result, individuals prescribed medicinal cannabis usually undergo regular monitoring, and any potential drug interactions should be discussed with a specialist.

Risk Management: Side Effects of Medical Cannabis

The key to managing possible side effects lies in clear communication with your healthcare provider. Prior to medicinal cannabis prescription, doctors should discuss potential side effects and risks with their patients. Often, as a precaution, patients start with a low dose, which gradually increases over time to mitigate the risk of adverse side effects.

Additionally, it's crucial for patients to maintain open channels with their doctors while using medical cannabis, reporting any side effects to inform dose adjustments or alternative treatment consideration. With appropriate guidance from your physician and a tailored approach to usage, the side effects of medical cannabis can be effectively managed.

A future of safety

While medical cannabis presents a promising alternative for various medical conditions, being aware of the potential side effects and monitoring responses is crucial for safe and effective use. Always consult with a healthcare professional before attempting to treat health conditions with medical cannabis. Medical cannabis should be used responsibly and under the guidance of a medical professional.

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