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Hallucinations

Whether you’re a caregiver or a patient, it’s essential to understand the potential side effects any medication may cause. One of the rarer but completely possible side effects of medical weed is hallucinations.

Additional Side Effects of Medical Cannabis

Like any medication your physician may prescribe, medical cannabis can cause side effects. A notable difference with medical weed, however, is that it can also trigger beneficial side effects for some patients, including an increased appetite. For patients with cancer or eating disorders, for instance, an appetite stimulant is helpful.

When you meet with your medical cannabis doctor, they’ll discuss the side effects of medical marijuana with you. If you both feel its potential benefits outweigh its side effects, your physician will issue a recommendation for medical weed.

How Does Medical Weed Cause Hallucinations?

Hallucinations from medical weed are rare. Those in the medical field, as well as researchers, believe medical weed-induced hallucinations result from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is a psychoactive cannabinoid. Studies have shown that when THC lowers the activity of the caudate nucleus in your brain, it creates hallucinations.

During this study, researchers eliminated the possibility that other cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD), were causing hallucinations by testing them. They found that instead of decreasing activity in the caudate nucleus, CBD increased it.

Because hallucinations are so rare, it’s thought that medical weed must have a THC content of more than 20 percent to cause visual or auditory hallucinations. On average, medical cannabis strains have a THC content of 10 to 20 percent.

Signs of Hallucinations From Medical Cannabis

A significant sign of a hallucination includes perceiving something that doesn’t exist. While visual hallucinations are less common, they can range from seeing geometric shapes, colors, lights or even lifelike images of people.

With an auditory hallucination, you may hear sounds that are defined as elementary and include:

  • Hissing
  • Whistling
  • Buzzing

More advanced auditory hallucinations are referred to as complex and can produce voices and music. If you or a loved one are experiencing hallucinations from medical weed, contact your physician.

Long-Term Side Effects of Hallucinations

In most cases, hallucinations from medical weed don’t pose long-term effects. Most patients recognize they’re hallucinating, which prevents them from becoming confused or taking irrational action during an episode. In some cases, however, hallucinating can be a symptom of a much more serious condition.

Some of these illnesses include:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Delirium
  • Dementia
  • Cancer

Due to the risk of these conditions on a loved one’s well-being, it’s critical they visit their doctor.

How to Avoid Hallucinations From Medical Marijuana

Because the medical community understands why medical marijuana can cause hallucinations, physicians often recommend a few techniques for avoiding this side effect, including:

  • Using an Indica Strain: Three different strains of medical cannabis are available: indica, sativa and hybrids. Sativa is more prone to causing a cerebral effect, which is why your physician may suggest using an indica strain instead to avoid hallucinations.
  • Limiting THC Consumption: Switching to an indica strain is one way to lower your THC consumption. Dispensaries can also recommend strains that are low in THC and high in CBD, which offer a more relaxing experience.

Before making any changes to your medical cannabis treatment plan, meet with your physician.

Talk to Your Medical Marijuana Doctor About Your Hallucinations

When it comes to managing your health, medical cannabis typically offers more benefits than risks. It’s essential to work with your medical marijuana doctor, however. They can offer the advice, recommendations and answers you need to make an educated decision about whether medical weed is right for you.

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