By Dr. Ron Milo, Chairman of the Department of Neurology and director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center at the Barzilai Medical Center.
In addition to the potential benefits of medical cannabis (as we have discussed in the past few weeks), it is important to remember that it can have side effects, often within the first few days of treatment.
The most typical side effects are dizziness, drowsiness, and disorientation. Other side effects can include headache, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, diarrhea, and dry mouth.
Some side effects of medical cannabis are also known to be common MS symptoms: fatigue, constipation, insomnia, and various cognitive issues. Therefore, medical cannabis could further exacerbate these symptoms in people with MS who already cope with these issues.
People with MS with a personal or family or history of psychiatric disorders, should avoid using medical cannabis since they might be at a higher risk of developing some of these disorders. I must also emphasize that pregnant or breastfeeding women should NOT use cannabis products.
Serious side effects, including seizures, pneumonia, liver disfunction, falls, and psychiatric symptoms, can occur less frequently.