The Right Way to Treat Anxiety With Cannabis

By  //  September 17, 2020

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dosing cannibis responsibly is key to success

Marijuana is the proto-typical chill-out drug. It relaxes the body and mind, dispels negative sensations like tension and pain and irons out any wrinkles of concern. If you are feeling worry or stress, you can roll one up and let those feelings melt away.

This is why so many people who suffer from anxiety turn to weed, either as self-medication or a suggested treatment by their doctor.

However, while cannabis does alleviate the symptoms of anxiety in the short term, it isn’t always beneficial for anxiety management in the long term. Here is a look at how we understand marijuana and anxiety to interact and how you can best utilize the drug to keep your anxiety in check.

Cannabis Can Make Anxiety Worse

For the most part, evidence that cannabis can help users manage anxiety is largely anecdotal. Those who suffer from anxiety often report that they feel less anxious while using the drug, which encourages others with anxiety to dabble (or dab, as it were).

However, prior to a few years ago, virtually no scientific studies had been performed on the effects of cannabinoids on anxiety. This is almost entirely due to cannabis’s status as a Schedule I drug, which makes it almost impossible for researchers to procure both funding and high-quality cannabis for study.

As a result, most medical marijuana programs that allow patients to obtain marijuana for anxiety management do so based on the overwhelming and relatively unfounded belief that cannabinoids are beneficial for this kind of treatment.

Fortunately, as more states legalize recreational marijuana, scientists have more access to the drug and money to understand it. Unfortunately, early research on cannabis treatments for anxiety has not been promising.

Though different users do seem to react to the drug in different, somewhat unpredictable ways, for the most part, regular-old weed tends to make general anxiety worse.

The dominant compound within marijuana, THC, causes physical effects like increased heart rate and increased blood pressure as well as psychological effects like confusion, paranoia and hallucinations. Thought not all users experience these effects, many do, and their anxiety is not benefited by them.

Unfortunately, those users who do find their anxious thought patterns effectively interrupted by weed will likely not experience long-term benefits by using the drug.

Instead, research suggests that anxious marijuana users rely on the drug like a security blanket; they come to use weed compulsively to fend off anxiety, thereby developing a psychological addiction to the substance. This increases the likelihood of THC overdose, which can exacerbate the symptoms of anxiety and cause full-on panic.

But Marijuana Can Also Be Beneficial

Marijuana is the proto-typical chill-out drug. It relaxes the body and mind, dispels negative sensations like tension and pain and irons out any wrinkles of concern.

If you are feeling worry or stress, you can roll one up and let those feelings melt away. This is why so many people who suffer from anxiety turn to weed, either as self-medication or a suggested treatment by their doctor.

However, while cannabis does alleviate the symptoms of anxiety in the short term, it isn’t always beneficial for anxiety management in the long term. Here is a look at how we understand marijuana and anxiety to interact and how you can best utilize the drug to keep your anxiety in check.

Cannabis Can Make Anxiety Worse

For the most part, evidence that cannabis can help users manage anxiety is largely anecdotal. Those who suffer from anxiety often report that they feel less anxious while using the drug, which encourages others with anxiety to dabble (or dab, as it were).

However, prior to a few years ago, virtually no scientific studies had been performed on the effects of cannabinoids on anxiety. This is almost entirely due to cannabis’s status as a Schedule I drug, which makes it almost impossible for researchers to procure both funding and high-quality cannabis for study.

As a result, most medical marijuana programs that allow patients to obtain marijuana for anxiety management do so based on the overwhelming and relatively unfounded belief that cannabinoids are beneficial for this kind of treatment.

Fortunately, as more states legalize recreational marijuana, scientists have more access to the drug and money to understand it. Unfortunately, early research on cannabis treatments for anxiety has not been promising.

Though different users do seem to react to the drug in different, somewhat unpredictable ways, for the most part, regular-old weed tends to make general anxiety worse. The dominant compound within marijuana, THC, causes physical effects like increased heart rate and increased blood pressure as well as psychological effects like confusion, paranoia and hallucinations.

Thought not all users experience these effects, many do, and their anxiety is not benefited by them.

Unfortunately, those users who do find their anxious thought patterns effectively interrupted by weed will likely not experience long-term benefits by using the drug. Instead, research suggests that anxious marijuana users rely on the drug like a security blanket; they come to use weed compulsively to fend off anxiety, thereby developing a psychological addiction to the substance.

This increases the likelihood of THC overdose, which can exacerbate the symptoms of anxiety and cause full-on panic.

But Marijuana Can Also Be Beneficial

Most of the concern regarding marijuana use — both in general and specifically to treat anxiety — is related to THC, the dominant, psychoactive compound within weed. However, there is another compound unique to cannabis called cannabidiol or CBD, which could provide benefits to anxiety sufferers without the common pitfalls of pot.

Companies like Effex also provide a solution to the potential anxious effects of marijuana through their Delta 8 THC offerings. Delta 8 THC provides a pyscho-active high without the intensity of marijuana which contains Delta 9 THC.

Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive; instead, it seems to compel the body’s systems to relax and reestablish balance, which can quell anxious thoughts and behaviors quite effectively. In fact, there are so many differences that it is important to compare CBD vs. THC before selecting any marijuana product.

There is some emerging research that indicates marijuana might be beneficial for certain types of anxiety disorders, like post-traumatic stress disorder, which manifests as brief but intense episodes of panic. By administering cannabis at the right time during their episodes, sufferers can lessen the effects and relax, interrupting their disordered mental patterns.

However, more research is warranted to better understand the long-term effects of weed on PTSD and other panic-type anxiety disorders.

If you don’t want to worsen your anxiety with marijuana, you might talk to your doctor or a mental health professional about the possibility of using cannabis in your case. You should also research the best types of cannabis for anxiety management, most of which are high-CBD strains and products.

While using, you should try to take note of all the effects you experience, so you can avoid products that do make you feel worse. By preparing properly, you can avoid exacerbating your existing stress and fully enjoy the positive effects of marijuana.

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