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Medical Cannabis Use Associated With ‘Few Serious Adverse Events’

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Canada first legalized cannabis for medical use in 1999, and then for adult use in 2018. Since that time, numerous suffering patients have benefitted from Canada’s modernized cannabis policies and the increased safe access that reform has created.

Meanwhile, many other nations still prohibit cannabis for medical use to some degree, although several of those nations are considering reforming their policies to permit such use. Opponents in those countries try hard to portray medical cannabis as being harmful, however, what does the science say?

Researchers in Canada recently conducted an analysis in which they examined medical cannabis use’s impact on the patients who consume it. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Montreal, Canada: Few patients authorized to consume medical cannabis products report experiencing serious side effects, according to data published in the journal Drug Safety.

McGill University researchers analyzed data from a cohort of nearly 3,000 authorized Canadian medical cannabis patients. Data regarding adverse events was collected by enrollees’ attending physicians over a period of several years.

A total of 108 patients (about four percent of the cohort) reported experiencing marijuana-related adverse events. The most frequently reported side effects were dizziness, somnolence, headache, nausea, and vomiting.

Patients with mental health disorders were no more likely than others to report side effects from cannabis treatment. The latter finding is consistent with data from a 2022 study, which found that authorized Canadian patients were at low risk for psychiatric hospitalizations resulting from their medical cannabis use.

The study’s authors concluded: “This is the first comprehensive, population-level prospective study to contribute evidence that MC [medical cannabis] is safe for a wide variety of symptoms. … No new safety concerns were identified relative to the published literature, although notable differences in AE [adverse events] profile between modes of administration and cannabinoid content ratios should be considered by health professionals.”

Full text of the study, “A descriptive analysis of adverse event reports from the Quebec Cannabis Registry,” appears in Drug Safety.