A. Unlike prescription pharmaceuticals, the cause of more than 20,000 deaths due to unintentional overdose every year, medicinal cannabis has no such reported deaths. Side-effects are few and include intoxication and effects upon the nervous system leading to slowed reaction time and loss of coordination. This may last for several hours after ingestion. As a result, these effects make driving a car or operating machinery hazardous. These activities should not be undertaken while under the therapeutic effects of medical cannabis.
Cannabinoids (such as THC) also produce cardiovascular effects. Immediately after inhalation the heart begins to beat faster, the blood vessels dilate and blood pressure may drop. In some people this can cause dizziness and heart palpitations.
Smoking plant material creates tars and combustion byproducts that may be harmful to the lungs, although cannabis is significantly safer than regular tobacco. There are many ways to use medical cannabis without smoking it such as vaporization, tinctures and edibles (e.g. cookies and brownies).