Updated on January 25, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Like other medications, medical marijuana is not exempt from causing side effects. One potential side effect it may cause in patients is an impaired balance, which is part of the reason operating vehicles and heavy machinery is advised against when using medical weed.
Cannabis is a unique medicine. While some side effects are undesirable, like impaired balance or red eyes, others are why physicians recommend medical marijuana. If a patient is undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, for instance, their doctor may suggest using medical weed to stimulate their appetite.
Your physician’s goal is to prescribe or recommend a medicine that offers more advantages than disadvantages. If you ever feel like that balance has shifted, do not hesitate to talk to your medical cannabis doctor — they’re there to make sure you receive the best care.
The treatment and side effects medical weed causes results from its cannabinoids. More than 100 are found in cannabis, though tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two primary compounds. While CBD tends to be more therapeutic, THC causes more of a psychoactive response.
As a result, THC is thought to cause impaired balance. Researchers believe when THC enters the body and connects with receptors, it affects the coordination, reaction time and balance functions of your brain’s cerebellum and basal ganglia.
Some symptoms of an affected balance include:
Signs others may see that indicate impairment include:
If your balance ever feels off after using medical weed, sit down until it passes. Then, call your physician.
Impaired balance from medical marijuana doesn’t pose any long-term side effects. Like other potential side effects, such as drowsiness or heightened sensory perception, your symptoms will ease as your body processes the medical cannabis. While you feel unbalanced, however, it’s critical not to use heavy equipment or vehicles. You risk yourself and others, which could result in long-term, life-changing consequences.
Due to the discomfort an impaired balance can bring, many patients prefer to limit or eliminate its effects. Because the medical community understands why our balance becomes affected by medical weed, a few options are available for removing this side effect:
Remember, always meet with your doctor before making changes to your treatment.
While the Internet is a helpful outlet for learning more about medical cannabis, it doesn’t offer the personalized expertise of your medical marijuana doctor. Consult with your physician when you have questions or concerns about your treatment plan, as they can highlight the benefits of medical weed and help alleviate unwanted side effects.