Updated on January 25, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Like any other medicine your physician may recommend, medical marijuana can cause several side effects. Though they vary depending on your strain’s content and your administration method, one potential side effect of medical weed is slurred speech.
In addition to slurred speech, medical cannabis can also cause red eyes, hunger and giddiness. When you meet with your medical marijuana doctor, they’ll consider these side effects with consideration to your past treatments, medical history and personal preferences before deciding if the benefits of medical weed will counter its side effects.
Most physicians find that the medicine does, though this can vary. In fact, in some cases, medical cannabis doctors recommend medical pot specifically because of its side effects, which include helping people undergoing chemotherapy for cancer gain back their appetite.
Through an in-depth study, researchers discovered how medical weed causes slurred speech. The team found that cannabinoids, which are in all marijuana plants and total to more than 100, were involved. The cannabinoid involved was tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is known for its psychoactive properties.
During their research, the team found THC affected the use of the tongue. They discovered that the cannabinoid slowed down mouth muscle movements by interacting with nerve cells, which saw the flow of messages across the synapses become delayed.
In an interesting twist, the researchers found this side effect is what may make medical cannabis a viable treatment for neurodegenerative diseases, like multiple sclerosis (MS) or Parkinson’s disease. The medication eases overactive motor neurons, which send messages.
When your speech becomes slurred after using medical cannabis, you may notice these symptoms:
If you experience slurred speech, contact your physician right away.
Slurred speech is a side effect of medical weed that wears off. If you smoke or vaporize medical marijuana, for instance, your speech will likely return to normal within three hours — it could take longer if you’re using edibles or oils.
It’s critical to note that slurred speech can also be a sign of a more serious issue, including:
If you’re experiencing slurred speech, do not hesitate to visit your local emergency room.
Due to research efforts, the medical community understands how to prevent slurred speech from medical marijuana. Some methods include changing up your:
Even though many medical marijuana doctors recommend cannabis because of its extensive benefits, every patient is different. While one strain may work for another patient, it may not work for you. That’s why it’s essential to continue updating your physician on how you’re responding to your treatment plan and consult with them about any changes to it.