Medical marijuana is a holistic and natural approach to wellness that increases the quality of life for patients in need. However, just like other prescription medications, there are a few unfavorable side effects associated with medical marijuana. The good news is that these side effects are relatively mild compared to other controlled substances and can be lessened with care.

Keep in mind that if your physician prescribed medical marijuana, he or she believes that the benefits far outweigh any potential side effects.

Common Side Effects of Medical Marijuana:

Side effects can vary significantly from patient to patient and may be more apparent with higher THC doses. Starting with a very low dose of THC and working up as needed may help prevent some or all of these adverse effects associated with medical marijuana.

Paranoia or anxiety

When taken in large doses, medical marijuana can cause paranoia or anxiety. However, if a patient has paranoia or anxiety once while using marijuana, that doesn’t mean they will every time. Current life situation and mindset may affect this side effect along with the strain and dose of the marijuana product used.

Dry mouth

Dry mouth, sometimes called “cottonmouth,” is a very common side effect of medical marijuana. However, this side effect is easily controlled by drinking plenty of water before consuming marijuana and staying hydrated while effects take place.

Short-term memory loss

Since taking medical marijuana, have you ever lost your train of thought mid-sentence? If so, you’ve suffered from this side effect. While short-term memory loss wears off as the marijuana wears off, it can be an annoying side effect to deal with for both you and those you interact with. To minimize short-term memory loss, try taking B vitamins, and Omega-3 fatty acids.


While medical marijuana fights against insomnia, some strains may make falling asleep and staying asleep near impossible. If you’re struggling with insomnia as a side effect of marijuana, try avoiding energizing Sativa strains. Opt for an Indica strain closer to bedtime to help promote sleep. Terpenes play an important role as well, so look for products with higher amounts of relaxing terpenes, such as beta-myrcene


Drowsiness and fatigue are two common side effects of medical marijuana. To avoid adverse effects, don’t operate machinery or perform hazardous activities while using medical marijuana. It is important not to drink alcohol while taking medical marijuana as it may increase drowsiness.


As you continue to use medical marijuana, your body will naturally build up a tolerance. Low doses of medical marijuana may become ineffective with long-term use. That is why we recommend starting low and going slow to get the most out of every marijuana dose. It does take a relatively long time for the body to generate a tolerance to medical marijuana, but it can happen. The best way to avoid tolerance build-up is by switching between Indica and Sativa strains.

Other side effects

There are many other side effects associated with medical marijuana. Most of them are mild and not cause for long-term concern. Other side effects may include:

  • Hunger
  • Red eyes
  • Heightened sensory perception
  • Giddiness (often a positive side effect)
  • Slower reaction time
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Balance issues
  • Hallucinations (when taking very high doses of THC)
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech

Most of the side effects associated with medical marijuana are mild. If you experience any side effects that are concerning to you, speak with your medical marijuana to develop a plan of action.

If you ever experience a medical emergency, always call 9-1-1. 

At MMTCFL, we can determine if you are eligible for medical marijuana and help you get your medical marijuana registration card. Get started with medical marijuana today by taking our online eligibility survey.