The Real Side Effects of Medical Marijuana

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Many of you have read my previous article on addiction potential with marijuana.  In summary, it’s a very real issue that all physicians who do medical marijuana consultations need to understand.

However, there are other serious side effects to marijuana treatment that physicians and patients need to know about, and that’s the goal of my article and video today.

Now keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list of potential medical marijuana complications or side effects, but my best attempt to discuss the most serious and common ones.


Psychological Symptoms

Probably the most well known psychological (side) effect of medical marijuana: psychoactivity (or feeling “high.”)  Some patients may enjoy this effect as it may distract from their chronic pain or PTSD.

Other patients, such as those with kids or working a job, may want to avoid psychoactivity and this will definitely be an unwanted side effect.

Some people use medical marijuana to help with symptoms like anxiety and depression, but medical marijuana in other patients can have a paradoxical effect of increasing anxiety and depression.

In addition, acute overuse of medical marijuana can result in psychosis or paranoia, although this usually dissipates as the marijuana is processed through the body.



This is another common side effect of medical marijuana and a very real problem.

Medical marijuana is also known to decrease coordination and decision making ability.

Numerous automobile and train accidents have been caused by people who were possibly under the influence of marijuana.


Respiratory Symptoms

Although not allowed in Louisiana, many patients do smoke or vape marijuana.  Inhaling marijuana does have a quick onset which makes it good for acute situations, like a severe acute muscle spasm.

However, inhaled marijuana does appear to cause an increased acute risk of cough and bronchospasm and long term risk of chronic bronchitis.


Medication Interactions

Medical marijuana that is orally ingested has the potential to interact with other medications that a patient might be taking.

Although this effect is most pronounced with edibles and capsules, this can be a problem with tinctures as well.

This is because medical marijuana is metabolized by the cytochrome p450 system in the liver, which is also responsible for the processing of many other drugs, such as psychiatric medications, seizure medications, and blood thinners.



Because medical marijuana is produced from a grown substance with few production standards, medical marijuana products vary greatly in quality and labeling.

The amounts of active ingredients may not be as advertised or there may be impurities in the product such as pesticides or solvents, resulting in a dangerous situation for the patient.


Non-Medical Side Effects

Keep in mind that there are also numerous non-medical “side effects” which you need to know, such as problems with employment or child custody.



I hope that you learned a lot from this article and video regarding side effects of medical marijuana.

If you’re interested in other medical marijuana articles and video, please Read Our Articles on our website.

Thanks for reading


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Doctor Victor Chou, M.D.

Medical Marijuana Clinic of Louisiana