Millions of people across the world suffer from an anxiety disorder, making it one of the most widespread mental illnesses. In pursuit of more effective treatments, scientists have been looking into cannabis as a possible form of alleviating symptoms associated with this ailment.
Cannabis is an exceptionally intricate plant, containing two key compounds: cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Through binding to the body’s endocannabinoid system—a complex network of receptors and neurotransmitters that helps control emotions, stress levels, etc.—these elements are able to influence a variety of processes.
Even though medical marijuana use for anxiety treatment still remains a controversial topic, this blog will provide an in-depth look into what the scientific evidence says about it.
Additionally, readers can also gain insights on the potential risks and benefits that come with cannabis use as well as how it ties in with legal implications concerning its acceptance for treating anxiety.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a mental health condition that can manifest as EXCESSIVE worry, fear, and nervousness about future events, situations, or even everyday activities.
Generalized anxiety disorder can significantly impact an individual’s ability to function and negatively affect their quality of life.
Social anxiety disorder and panic disorder (panic attack) are two of the most common forms of anxiety and can lead to difficulty in interacting with people, avoidance of activities, and physical symptoms such as sweating or trembling.
According to the World Health Organization, anxiety disorders are the most PREVALANT mental health condition globally, affecting approximately 301 million people .
With traditional anxiety treatments such as psychotherapy and medication not being effective for all, ALTERNATIVE therapies such as cannabis have gained popularity.
Cannabis contains compounds that interact with the endocannabinoid system, which is thought to play a role in REGULATING mood and anxiety. As a result, many people are exploring the option to smoke weed to alleviate anxiety symptoms.
Pro Tip: Check out the five senses coping technique for anxiety when exploring different treatment options .
Cannabis and Anxiety
Cannabis contains over 100 different chemical compounds, known as cannabinoids, that INTERACT with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system is a COMPLEX network of receptors and neurotransmitters that helps to regulate various physiological processes, including mood, appetite, and pain perception. The two most well-known cannabinoids found in cannabis are THC and CBD.
THC is known for its psychoactive effects and is responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis use. CBD, on the other hand, is non-psychoactive and has been found to have potential THERAPUTIC effects.
The relationship between cannabis and anxiety is complex and NOT fully understood. While some studies suggest that cannabis use may help alleviate symptoms of anxiety, others suggest that it may actually worsen symptoms in some individuals.
It is thought that the effects of cannabis on anxiety may DEPEND on the doses of CBD, the individual’s tolerance, and the specific type of anxiety being treated.
Cannabis vs. Other Treatments for Anxiety
When it comes to treating anxiety, there are various treatment options available, including:
Prescription medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and benzodiazepines, are COMMONLY prescribed for anxiety treatment.
Even though these medications can be helpful, they may also result in a variety of unwanted side effects, such as fatigue, dizziness, and headaches.
Additionally, patients should be aware that these drugs have the potential to become addictive which could prove dangerous for some individuals.
Pro Tip: Start with low doses of medication and consult with your doctor to find the most effective treatment plan.
Psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), can be an EFFECTIVE treatment for anxiety.
Through this therapy, people can detect the root of their fear and develop techniques to deal with it. Even though it demands dedication over a prolonged period of time, the results are WORTHWHILE AND PERMANENT.
Lately, alternative treatments like yoga, mindfulness-based therapy and acupuncture have become more sought after for managing anxiety.
Additionally, aromatherapy has risen in popularity as a method of reducing stress and calming the mind to achieve greater peace of mind.
While there is LIMITED research on these therapies, they are GENERALLY considered safe and may help to reduce anxiety symptoms in some individuals.
Natural remedies, such as HERBAL supplements and mindfulness practices, have also been found to be helpful in reducing anxiety symptoms. However, their efficacy is not well-established, and some individuals may not respond to these treatments.
Pro Tip: Consult with your doctor before taking any herbal supplements or natural remedies.
It is believed that the cannabinoids in cannabis, particularly CBD, may have ANTI-ANXIETY effects. One advantage of cannabis is that it can be easily accessible in states where it is legal.
Additionally, cannabis use can lead to several short-term and long-term SIDE EFFECTS, including impaired coordination, memory problems, and respiratory issues. It can also have the potential for addiction and abuse.
The legality of cannabis VARIES across the United States. While some states have legalized cannabis for both medical and recreational use, others have only legalized it for medical use or have not legalized it at all.
Medical cannabis refers to the use of cannabis for medical purposes, such as alleviating symptoms of anxiety. To obtain medical cannabis, individuals must have a QUALIFYING medical condition and obtain a recommendation from a licensed healthcare provider.
Recreational cannabis, on the other hand, is used for non-medical purposes and can be purchased by anyone who is of LEGAL AGE in states where it is legal. Also you need to remember to purchase cannabis products from licensed dispensaries like Mission Organic.
Legal implications of cannabis use for anxiety treatment depend on the state in which it is used.
In states where medical cannabis is legal, individuals with qualifying conditions can obtain a recommendation from a LICENSED healthcare provider and purchase cannabis products from licensed dispensaries.
Pro Tip: It is important to note that cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, which can create legal complications for individuals who use cannabis, even in states where it is legal.
In summary, anxiety can be treated with a variety of methods, including prescription medications, psychotherapy, alternative therapies, natural remedies and cannabis.
Each method has its own benefits and risks; it is important to weigh these carefully before deciding on a treatment plan. Additionally, legal implications should be considered when using cannabis for anxiety treatment.
It is also important to remember that anxiety is a treatable condition, and there are many resources available to help individuals manage their symptoms. With the right treatment plan and support system, individuals can live happy and fulfilling lives free from the grip of anxiety.
- World. Mental disorders. Who.int. Published June 8, 2022. Accessed February 25, 2023. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-disorders
- 5-4-3-2-1 Coping Technique for Anxiety. Rochester.edu. Published 2018. Accessed February 25, 2023. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/behavioral-health-partners/bhp-blog/april-2018/5-4-3-2-1-coping-technique-for-anxiety.aspx