Is Cannabis Good for Anxiety?

Posted September 8, 2022 by in Lifestyle
Joint, matches, and marijuana leaves on a pink table

Cannabis is believed to have many health benefits. One health benefit claimed by many users is the ability to reduce anxiety. Many people suffering with diagnosed anxiety conditions like PTSD and GAD like find that cannabis can help to calm them, helping to make certain day-to-day tasks easier. Unfortunately, other users have reported that cannabis can make their anxiety worse. So what is the truth?

Well, it’s likely that cannabis affects different people in different ways. Those with a higher tolerance may find cannabis more relaxing rather than anxiety-inducing. It also comes down to the strain you buy and where you get it from. This post explains more. 

Cannabis leaves next to matches and a joint on a pink background

Watch the THC levels

The unique effects of cannabis are the result of two main ingredients: CBD and THC. CBD is the ingredient that makes you feel calm, as well as having anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce pain. THC is meanwhile the ingredient that produces the ‘high’ – it binds with neurotransmitters in the brain that affect our mood and our perception.

CBD is the ingredient that is likely to have more of an impact on anxiety – it relaxes muscles and releases feelgood endorphins around the body, while reducing cortisol levels (the stress hormone). THC can also help release endorphins making us more happy, but high levels of THC may have the opposite impact and create intense feelings of fear. High levels of CBD do not have this effect.

In other words, if you want a greater chance of combatting anxiety, you want to look for cannabis strains that have high CBD levels and relatively low THC levels. Alternatively, you can opt for products containing solely CBD (such products are more widely legal because they don’t produce a high). It depends on whether you want the high or not. You can read more about buying CBD here at Medical News Today

Get the dose right

You also need to be careful about how much cannabis you consume/inhale at once. Even a low THC strain can cause anxiety if you take too much of it. 

Inhaling cannabis is one of the fastest ways to feel the effects. It’s much easier to pace yourself because of this. Edibles can take longer to have an effect – while they can be a healthier option as you don’t have to smoke anything, some people can end up taking too high a dose because they do not wait long enough for the effects to hit before eating more. 

All in all, you want to get the dose just right in order to guarantee a THC intake that is just right for your tolerance. Such a dose is more likely to reduce your anxiety than increase it. 

Buy from a trusted source

Where you buy from also matters. Some dealers have been known to mix cannabis with all kinds of other ingredients. This is a good reason to buy cannabis legally – in most countries where it is legal to manufacture and sell cannabis, such cannabis is regulated so that you can be certain that there are no other drugs mixed in with it. You can also shop more easily for specific strains.

You’ll find many legal online sellers of cannabis such as Cloud Cover Cannabis that you can trust. Some states also have legal walk-in dispensaries. You generally need to be over 21 to buy from these sellers, plus you may have to meet other requirements (some states do not allow you to buy cannabis and others may only allow you to buy it as a prescription for diagnosed medical conditions). 

Consider the type of anxiety

Finally, you should consider the type of anxiety you are trying to treat. If you are trying to combat driving anxiety, cannabis is clearly not a good option as it can impair your ability to drive (in most states, it is illegal to drive while high). Similarly, if you suffer from work-related anxiety, some employers may not appreciate you turning up high and it may even be a dismissible form of misconduct. Cannabis is best taken at home or in situations that don’t require too much responsibility – if your anxiety affects you in these instances, then it may be a good option, but otherwise you’re better off avoiding it.