Should You Use Marijuana to Treat Anxiety?
Now, while the use of marijuana is a highly debatable topic, users have been defending that marijuana helps with a lot of their problems like muscle spasms, insomnia, loss of appetite, and anxiety. Many people suffer from anxiety for various reasons; some may be experiencing financial problems, work, or personal life stress. Anxiety may also be caused by physical health conditions and a family history of mental health issues. Regardless of what triggers anxiety in a person, finding yourself having an anxiety attack is a horrible feeling.
Some of the symptoms of an anxiety attack are:
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle tensions
- Chest pains
- Difficulty concentrating
Without a doubt, these symptoms can be overwhelming; this is why people with anxiety have established different coping mechanisms to help them overcome it.
In places where medical marijuana has been legalized, it has been deemed effective in treating and helping to manage the symptoms of PTSD, epilepsy, chronic pain, and anxiety, to name a few. Despite this, there have also been reports by people who use marijuana stating that it sometimes makes their anxiety worse. Since this is the case, it's understandable that you'd be confused about whether marijuana will help you or not when coping with your anxiety striking you with the mind-boggling question: Does marijuana help with anxiety? It depends. Several factors contribute to whether it will or will not help you. First, we must understand what happens to our body when it's under the influence of cannabis. How does it affect our body? Once we've got that covered, we'll go ahead and tackle what makes marijuana a good treatment for anxiety, as well as why sometimes it isn't. Be sure to speak with a budtender at a nearby dispensary for help with this matter. They can't/won't give you medical advice but they'll provide their expert personal opinion.
Marijuana and Its Effects on Your Body
Marijuana is known to alter a person's sensory perception. Some marijuana users have stated that it has caused them to see brighter colors, hear sounds a lot louder, have a heightened sense of smell and taste. Still, it doesn't go as far as leading them to hallucinate in a way that hallucinating drugs do.
What makes cannabis stand out from any other plant or drug is that it contains cannabinoids, an active ingredient found only in cannabis.
Two Types of Cannabinoids Found in Marijuana
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - is known to have intoxicating effects. Since it's a psychoactive compound that makes a person high, it's also responsible for the euphoric experiences of those who intake marijuana.
- Cannabidiol (CBD) - a non psychoactive component. It is commonly used to help control seizures, lower anxiety levels, help relieve pain, and many more while not causing a person to get high.
Sometimes, the sensory overload caused by cannabis can be blissful to users, elevating their mood and having them see or experience things positively, thus benefiting them. For example, if you've been experiencing appetite loss, having a heightened sense of taste may trigger you to eat more, leading to binge eating, which isn't always a good thing. Yet, there are times that marijuana can negatively alter a person's senses. It can alter what a person sees, making it seem dim and not pleasing, and its other effects may also negatively affect a person's day-to-day life. An example of this is how cannabis is used to treat insomnia in some people; sometimes, these altered sensory perceptions that cause you to hear sounds louder could make it even harder for those with insomnia to fall asleep.
It's important to take note that marijuana can affect each person differently. For some, marijuana gives them an energy boost to start their day, keeping them on their feet, productive, and flowing with creative juices. It makes them feel euphoric and all giddy. On the other hand, some users say that when under the influence of marijuana, they tend to be more laid-back, very relaxed to the point that some end up being couch-locked.
Why Is Marijuana Being Used to Treat Anxiety?
Since anxiety is known to be one of the most common psychiatric disorders, finding a cure or having treatment to help alleviate its symptoms would help many individuals who are currently struggling.
Ever since the legalization of medical marijuana, accompanied by a few studies that suggest marijuana as an effective treatment for anxiety, people have turned to marijuana to ease or treat their symptoms. A study conducted in 2010 found that CBD oil is effective in easing anxiety symptoms; this was made possible because CBD altered the blood flow in the brain areas associated with anxiety.
Another study was conducted in 2020, covering the effects of CBD on individuals suffering from anxiety. Those who took part in the study and used CBD to help with their symptoms reported that their quality of living had significantly improved in the span of only 3 weeks. They also reported that their use of CBD helped reduce symptoms associated with anxiety, depression, and chronic pain.
Furthermore, several studies have shown that the level of CBD and THC in cannabis products plays a role in alleviating or worsening anxiety in its users. Tests have been conducted, and no matter the level of CBD, whether high or low, has helped combat anxiety. On the other hand, THC in low doses was also effective in alleviating anxiety, but it worsened anxiety in high doses. You may also research the different types of strains and how their THC or CBD levels could affect you. The type of cannabis product and how you intake it are also important to keep in mind. Some cannabis products will take some time to take effect, while others will only take a few minutes; this is why you should be responsible for your intake.
Here Are Some Varieties of Using or Intaking Marijuana and How Fast They Kick In
- Marijuana sprays and tinctures (15 to 30 minutes)
- Vaping and Smoking (2 to 10 minutes to take effect)
- Edibles (30 to 60 minutes)
- Topicals (some topicals can take as fast as 15 minutes to take effect while others can take longer)
Many researchers are still studying the correlation between anxiety and marijuana. But regarding studies that have been published, the findings show that marijuana effectively treats anxiety, which is why it's being prescribed to patients.
Things to Know Before Opting for Marijuana
After reading how marijuana can help relieve anxiety, as well as being informed about its effects, you're probably planning on using it yourself. After reading how marijuana can help relieve anxiety, as well as being informed about its effects, you're probably planning on using it yourself.
Here are some things to keep in mind before opting for marijuana:
- Not all marijuana is made the same. There are different types of strains available in the market, each bred differently and has a different effect on its users. One of the famous strains available in the market for coping with anxiety symptoms is Charlotte's Web. This strain is known for its high CBD levels while offering minimal THC content. Charlotte's Web was originally bred to reduce seizures by the Stanley Brothers of Colorado. It also has no psychoactive effects on its users, making it a great choice for patients who want to feel relief from anxiety without getting high.
- While some states allow recreational use of marijuana, some states only allow it for medical use. In places where medical marijuana is legal, you must have a Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMICP). Your MMICP will serve as proof that your doctor has recommended you to use marijuana for medical purposes.
- Do not self-diagnose, especially since you're planning to use it for medicinal purposes and if it's your first time. It is considered best to seek a professional or a specialist's help before intaking marijuana to reduce anxiety. Again, marijuana's effects may vary from person to person; therefore, consulting a specialist will surely benefit you since you will know which products or strains would be the most effective. Marijuana will not work in alleviating anxiety for everyone. You must always take into consideration how your body will process cannabis.
- Always get marijuana from a licensed dispensary. Licensed dispensaries have employees that are well educated on the effects of marijuana and can guide you in choosing which strain is suitable for your needs.
- Be familiar with the laws in your area regarding the use of cannabis. Each state has a few different rules and regulations you must follow.
In conclusion, while marijuana does have properties that can help you treat anxiety, the type of strain and how your body processes it also plays a big factor. Always seek advice from professionals before using any substance to treat any disease or alleviate any symptoms.