Updated on December 7, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Medical marijuana is like other medications in that it can cause a series of side effects. Even though some are common and others rare, they’re critical to understand if you or a loved one are beginning to use medical cannabis. One of the most common side effects of medical weed is dizziness, which first-time users often experience.
Additional Side Effects of Medical Weed
When recommending medical marijuana, as well as any other medication, physicians are always considering its pros and cons. Most doctors only recommend a medicine if they feel its benefits outweigh its side effects — medical weed is no exception.
In some instances, your physician may consider how those side effects could help your treatment plan. Patients with insomnia, for example, could receive a medical cannabis recommendation because the medicine can cause drowsiness.
How Does Medical Weed Cause Dizziness?
A comprehensive understanding of why medical weed causes dizziness is not yet available — however, as medical marijuana becomes legalized across the U.S. and other countries, research efforts may reveal complete answers on the how and why.
Right now, researchers believe dizziness is the result of the following:
- Decreasein Blood Pressure: Medical pot’s cerebral and physical effects come from cannabinoids. One primary cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), tends to cause several side effects in high concentrations — one is a decrease in blood pressure, as THC expands your blood vessels. With a blood pressure drop, your heart rate increases. It’s not uncommon to then become dizzy, especially if you’re standing.
- Increase in Sensory Perception: Another effect of THC that’s especially noticeable when you’re using a strain with a high-THC content is heightened sensory perception. Researchers suspect that with enhanced senses, such as sight and sounds, it’s more of a challenge for your brain to keep your body balanced and compensate for changes, like standing up. That learning curve can cause dizziness.
Another factor that’s often associated with feeling dizzy after using medical weed is familiarity. Those who have been using medical cannabis for an extensive period tend to not experience dizziness. Those beginning their medical marijuana treatment, however, usually do. A potential reason for this difference is that your body is still becoming familiar with medical pot’s effects.
Signs of Dizziness From Medical Cannabis
When you feel dizzy, you may notice these symptoms:
If you begin to feel dizzy, try sitting down somewhere until your symptoms ease.
Long-Term Side Effects of Dizziness
With medical marijuana use, dizziness doesn’t cause long-term side effects. It’s a symptom you should discuss with your medical cannabis doctor, however, as they’ll likely recommend changes to your treatment plan.
Another reason to talk to your physician about your dizziness is that it can be a sign of a larger problem, including:
- Internal bleeding
- Thyroid disease
How to Avoid and Manage Dizziness From Medical Marijuana
To avoid or manage dizziness from medical marijuana, your physician may recommend the following:
- Switching to a strain of medical weed with a higher content of cannabidiol (CBD)
- Micro-dosing or decreasing your daily dose of medical cannabis
- Using a long-acting administration method, such as edibles, instead of fast-acting options, like smoking
It’s essential to note that your physician may suggest different adjustments, as well.
Talk to Your Medical Marijuana Doctor About Your Dizziness
While many physicians and patients find the benefits of medical weed outweigh the side effects, every case is different. If you’re experiencing dizziness when you use your medicinal pot, it’s essential to schedule an appointment with your medical marijuana doctor to discuss your treatment plan, medical history and personal preferences.
Learn why some cannabis users experience dizziness as a side effect and how to combat side effects to get the most out of your cannabis.