In the crazy, hectic, and stressful society we live in, it doesn’t come to much of a surprise as to how many people suffer from mental health disorders in the U.S. alone. Out of roughly 40 million people in this country, nearly seven million suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), fifteen million suffer from social anxiety disorders, and 7.7 million suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a 2015 study by ElementsBehaviorHealth.com. Instead of physicians giving patients anti-anxiety pharmaceutical prescriptions, there’s a better treatment out there medical marijuana. So, how does weed help with anxiety and what should you be aware of when consuming this medicine?
Each year, more people are diagnosed with anxiety disorders, and as a result, physicians prescribe anti-anxiety medications like Xanax. However, in many instances, these drugs make matters worse by either leading the user into addiction, worsening their anxiety, and getting them hooked on something unnatural. Thankfully, weed has shown to be very effective for users with anxiety disorders, but, there are a few important factors to know beforehand.
CBD and THC
Cannabis contains Cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid within cannabis that’s both anti-inflammatory and analgesic, according to HelloMD.com. When CBD is combined with appropriate amounts of THC (the psychoactive chemical in cannabis), a calming effect can be produced without feeling high. CBD alone contains a variety of benefits including anti-anxiety, anti-spasm, anti-pain, and anti-inflammatory effects without feeling stoned. Through different studies, it has been found that CBD is the main compound that treats and relieves anxiety best.
Furthermore, although CBD has powerful anti-anxiety properties, THC on the other hand, is often linked to an increased amount of anxiety in users. For example, as stated by Herb.co, “Studies have shown that low doses of synthetic cannabinoids modeled after THC are potent anxiolytics”, but, due to THC’s activation of the amygdala part of the brain, which is responsible for fear, some users experience paranoia and heightened anxiety.
However, AnxietySocialNet.com mentioned an interesting fact, which is that CBD counteracts such feelings from THC, and certain studies explain how CBD on its own can lower and even eliminate anxiety.
Do all types of cannabis help?
For those suffering from anxiety disorders, cannabis could be an effective treatment, but, there are a few factors that should be kept in mind. For starters, the type of strain a person consumes has a lot to do with what effect(s) they’ll feel after usage. Some cannabis strains – particularly sativas – have a higher likelihood of causing paranoia than others. Whereas, indica strains produce a feeling of strong physical relaxation and oftentimes, these strains impact the body more than the head. Generally, high-THC strains are more likely to cause anxiety and paranoia than CBD rich strains, as stated by Herb.co.
Anxiety disorder sufferers should make sure to find the right dosage based on their individual needs, and it’s always better to start off small and work your way up. According to Herb.co, “High doses of THC can cause paranoia even in those who don’t typically experience that sort of thing. This is because THC is flooding the brain, temporarily triggering the organ’s fear processing center.” Therefore, it’s crucial to pick the right cannabis strain, the appropriate dosage, and pace yourself, especially if you’re a beginner.
Another thing to keep in mind is that cannabis can trigger and also calm anxiety, which often depends on factors like the strain, the dosage, and a person’s individual body chemistry. As noted by Herb.co, “Your likelihood of experiencing extreme anxiety and paranoia with cannabis may be partly genetic.” More research needs to be conducted, however, so far, low-dose THC could be a potent anti-anxiety medication in addition to CBD rich cannabis products such as CBD oil, tinctures, sprays, and/or edibles.
Strains are a big factor!
Overall, cannabis is able to treat anxiety, but not all types of cannabis can do so. All marijuana strains provide different effects, which makes this kind of medicine really unique because it can be and should be customized to fit each person’s specific needs. Some people experience anxiety-relief from cannabis, but others feel increased anxiety after smoking or consuming weed. What’s important to note though is that certain medical cannabis strains with higher levels of CBD have been proven to help treat anxiety disorders, as stated by AnxietySocialNet.com.
Moreover, researchers in Canada and the U.S. have been looking for answers regarding cannabis’s potential mental health benefits, and it has already been found that cannabis can benefit people dealing with social anxiety, depression, and PTSD, according to Time.com. The plant needs to be studied and explored much further though. Thus far, various weed strains are particularly bred to contain certain levels of each recommended compound or to treat different conditions, therefore, it’s possible to find the right strains to treat anxiety disorders.
Unfortunately, for someone who suffers from anxiety and/or an anxiety disorder, the anxiety doesn’t typically go away because it often impacts their everyday activities, job performance, and relationships/friendships. However, multiple studies have proven the fact that cannabis can significantly decrease feelings of anxiety, especially with high doses of CBD rather than high doses of THC.
Overall, weed can be used to treat anxiety, but users must put time and effort into finding the right strains, dosage, and understanding of the specific medicine they will be consuming. An ending quote by AnxietySocialNet.com states the following about cannabis and anxiety, “Studies prove that medical marijuana with high levels of CBD provide a therapeutic effect on those with anxiety disorders.” Thus, treating anxiety disorders with weed is a valid, effective, and helpful method that more people should consider in the future.
To learn more about the differences between Indica and Sativa strains, check out the interesting article here: https://www.leafbuyer.com/blog/sativa-and-indica-pure-strains/
Article by: Nicole Skrobin