According to a 2017 study conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, around 3.8% of the global population suffers from anxiety disorders. That means that 284 million people in the world suffer from Anxiety at extreme levels. There are different kinds of anxiety disorders. While there are traditional methods to treat it, they are not very useful. As a result, the researcher is looking for alternative medicines. Marijuana is illegal in several countries, but it has attracted the attention of many researchers. Several studies are taking place right now that can prove the effectiveness of Marijuana. Read on to know more about medical Marijuana for Anxiety.
Human beings use Anxiety as a response to any stressor. Anxiety is a feeling of ‘apprehension’ or ‘fear.’ You usually feel anxious before attending a significant event or completing a difficult task. Being anxious is a part of life, and it cannot be eliminated. Anxiety might act as a motivator, and it might help you to do better. However, it might be deadly if it is present at extreme levels. Suppose the feeling of Anxiety is present for a specific duration of time and interfering with your daily activities. In that case, you may get diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Research on Marijuana and Anxiety
A lot of people believe that there are several medical benefits of Marijuana. The national survey was conducted in 2017. It was reported that around 81% of the 9000 survey participants believed that Marijuana could be used to treat several medical conditions. But there has been an ample amount of research that proves otherwise. Hence, which hypothesis is correct? Let’s find out! Research has been conducted to show that Marijuana is helpful for people diagnosed with agoraphobia, Social Anxiety, PTSD, panic disorders, and phobias.
Moreover, it can also provide relief for those who suffer from sleep-related disorders. Marijuana and Cannabis are not the same. However, Cannabis is an umbrella term for Marijuana or hemp. Cannabis plants have major components – THC and CBD. Marijuana is the cannabis Sativa species, and it is rich in THC. Although, it might contain small amounts of CBD. Even though CBD is considered an anxiety-reducing agent and THC is an anxiety-inducing agent. Yet, Marijuana is an excellent alternative method to treat Anxiety.
However, the results might differ from one person to another. Even if Marijuana helps some people to deal with Anxiety, it might be deadly in some patients. High levels of THC can cause anxiety symptoms. It can lead to racing thoughts and increased heartbeat. According to a 2015 review, CBD is an excellent method to reduce several anxiety disorders. Even THC in low dosage can be used to treat anxiety disorders. Marijuana contains both, and hence, it can be prescribed to anxiety patients.
How Does Cannabis Treat Anxiety?
There is an ample amount of research on Cannabis use for anxiety disorder. THC and CBD are the two primary cannabinoids in Cannabis. Cannabinoids interact with the Endocannabinoid System of your body. It attacks the cannabinoid receptors of your brain. It affects all the bodily processes such as sleeping, mood, appetite, memory, mood, and perception of pain levels. While THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is a psycho-addictive compound, CBD or cannabidiol is not.
The Sativa strains contain high amounts of THC, and the Indica strains contain high amounts of CBD. THC increases anxiety levels while CBD decreases anxiety levels. A randomized, double-blind study observed that CBD reduced anxiety symptoms in the 24 participants. All of them suffered from Anxiety. During the speech performance task, a single 600 mg dose of CBD helped reduce their cognitive impairment and performance anxiety. A 2015 literature review suggest that CBD is not only useful to treat social anxiety disorder, but CBD can also treat:
- GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder)
- OCD (Obsessive Compulsive disorder)
- Panic Disorder
- PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Health Benefits of CBD were observed in PTSD patients. The systematic use of Cannabis leads to a reduction in irritability, restlessness, and sleep difficulties. Moreover, it leads to greater emotional regulation, reduced anxiety levels, and overall well-being in such patients. Usually, both CBD and THC are present in controlled amounts in various strains to use medical Marijuana for Anxiety.
Which Types of Cannabis are better for Anxiety?
Anxiety is different for everyone. How you might experience Anxiety can be drastically different from someone else’s dealings with Anxiety. Hence, you need to know which type of Cannabis can provide you with relief from Anxiety. As mentioned earlier, there is a clear difference between the Indica and Sativa strains of Cannabis. Indica strain induces a calming effect. However, Sativa tends to increase your brain’s activity level, which leads to an increase in anxiety symptoms.
But research has suggested that more than the strains, the THC to CBD ratio matters more. THC has psychoactive properties that can increase one’s paranoia. While THC can provide you with instant relief and make you ‘high,’ CBD can help you to reduce anxiety symptoms on a deeper level. As a result, you need to choose Indica strains over Sativa strains to treat Anxiety. However, that does not mean that you will completely disregard THC. Low levels of THC can help you to control your Anxiety. It would be best to talk with a medical health professional before choosing any Cannabis product for Anxiety.
How Medical Marijuana Affects Anxiety?
Medical Marijuana treats the top five medical conditions in the US. Anxiety is one of them. Medical Marijuana contains parts of the marijuana plant or the chemicals present in it. It is similar to recreational Marijuana. However, you can only use it to treat medical conditions. It would help if you had a licensed medical health professional’s prescription to acquire it. It contains around 100 cannabinoids, out of which CBD and THC are the most important ones. As mentioned before, CBD is an active compound of medical Marijuana. It interacts with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) of your body. It is responsible for controlling your responses to stressors. The cannabinoid receptors are present in several parts of the brain, such as the:
- Prefrontal cortex
Our bodies can produce compounds similar to Cannabis. However, the levels might change from time to time. Medical Marijuana for Anxiety replaces these compounds and interacts with the ECS receptors. As a result, it helps to gain relief from Anxiety. Apart from CBD, THC at low levels can help you to deal with Anxiety. A study in January 2020 indicated that endocannabinoid – 2 AG helps to reduce anxiety levels by reducing the anxiety-inducing associations between the frontal cortex and the amygdala. While the amygdala is responsible for fear-related responses, the frontal cortex is responsible for various cognitive abilities. Endocannabinoid -2 AG binds to the same receptors as THC does. Hence, both CBD and THC can be used to experience relief from Anxiety.
Does Marijuana Interact with Anti-anxiety Medication?
There isn’t enough research to prove whether medical Marijuana for Anxiety can interfere with anti-anxiety medications’ effectiveness. Hence, you need to avoid taking Marijuana if you have recently started using anti-anxiety medication. Therefore, you will be able to check whether the medication is working on its own or not. Based on the patient’s reports and available studies, some observations have been made. SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors) are the most common anti-anxiety medication. Some of them are Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, and Zoloft. There have been no adverse interactions between these SSRIs and medical Marijuana for Anxiety yet. Research on NDRIs (Norepinephrine and Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitors) also has similar results. Some of the medications, however, have shown a few severe side effects when taken with Marijuana. These are:
- Tricyclic anti-depressants
The side-effects observed include increased heartbeat and blood pressure. You should always consult a medical health professional before mixing the two up.
How to Choose the Right Marijuana Strain for Anxiety Relief?
As mentioned earlier, some strains work better for Anxiety. Medical Marijuana for Anxiety has various strains that you can choose from. You should always consult a doctor before you start using a strain. Commonly used Anxiety treating strains are:
- Jack Herer (THC dominant)
- Canna Tsu (Balanced CBD – THC ratio)
- Remedy (CBD dominant)
- Harlequin (Balanced CBD – THC ratio)
- ACDC (CBD dominant)
- Bubba Kush (THC dominant)
Hence, it can be concluded that medical Marijuana for Anxiety works effectively. As a result, you need to choose which strain works the best for you carefully. There are several different ways through which you can use medical marijuana. Two of the standard methods are – inhalation methods and ingestible methods. The various products you can use include CBD oil vapes, Cannabis dried flowers, cannabis tinctures, and cannabis edibles. However, you should always consult a medical health professional before you decide to use any cannabis product. Don’t believe in hearsay. What might work for others may not be suitable for you.
Moreover, Marijuana is not the only solution to manage Anxiety. You have to live a better lifestyle to get your anxiety levels in control. There are several medications as well as cognitive-behavior therapies that can help you to live a better life.