12 Sep Medical Marijuana and Anxiety
Everyone who has ever smoked marijuana in a place that still considers possession a criminal offense has experienced anxiety and paranoia. It’s a common side effect when you’re doing something you could get in trouble for. On the other hand, people are using marijuana to relieve chronic anxiety and stress in places that it is legal to use and possess. For every story of anxiety attacks brought on by being too high, there are two stories about people who have received life-saving relief from chronic anxiety from marijuana.
Studies have actually shown that medical marijuana has anti-anxiety properties and can provide relief for people with several forms of anxiety including both chronic and sporadic as well as PTSD and social anxiety.
A lot of different things contribute to the effectiveness of medical marijuana for people with anxiety, too. Things like your tolerance level, your pre-existing conditions, the composition of the cannabis strain, and the things found in your environment. All of these can affect whether you feel panicked or anxious after smoking.
There are two sides to how medical marijuana affects our anxiety. Here we will look at evidence and explanations that explain what anxiety is and how it can either help your anxiety or hinder you.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety disorders affect over ⅓ of the US adult population for at least a period in their individual lives. Others live with chronic anxiety their whole lives.
Generally speaking, anxiety is like a bad feeling that doesn’t go away, no matter how logical your mind may be. It’s a feeling of worry or concern or general uneasiness which can be brought upon genetically through brain chemistry or can sporadically appear when awaiting a big event or a situation that isn’t certain. It can motivate you to study or get your work done, or it can warn you that a situation could potentially be dangerous.
Anxiety disorders that are caused by brain chemistry can affect people throughout their lives, and it can affect their personal relationships, work, and overall health.
Other anxiety disorders include things that are brought on by trauma, like post traumatic stress disorder ( PTSD), social anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and panic disorders along with general forms of anxiety. Each and every specific case of anxiety is different and causes debilitating symptoms. All of these disorders can be caused by a number of things, including your personality, genetics, and your gender. Females are more likely to experience chronic anxiety.
Can Medical Marijuana Help?
It’s no secret the effects of cannabis on anxiety. No matter who you are, it helps relax your mind, calm your nerves, and help you come to terms with situations you can’t do anything about. It helps you to stop worrying about the things that cause anxiety and to realize that in most situations, it is what it is. Katt Williams probably put it best when he said “there is a chemical in weed called “F*** it” and if you can just get that in your system it can change your life”.
A vast percentage of the medical marijuana cardholders in Colorado are recommended for marijuana to find relief from their anxiety. Many of the people who have been using it for a long time will happily tell you that it reduces anxiety and the side effects of stress relief and relaxation are beneficial as well. But the good news is that science is starting to understand why it might be a highly effective treatment for anxiety disorders. Along with the anecdotal pieces of evidence, there is plenty of concrete scientific evidence that backs up what many users claim to experience.
The first evidence of medical marijuana being used to treat anxiety was described in text by a Portuguese doctor by the name of Garcia de Orta in 1563. In this text, he described that marijuana could help people suffering from anxiety avoid “all worries and care”. Hundreds of years of practice isn’t wrong. We know that medical marijuana provides relaxing, calming and even hypnotic effects.
In 2014 a study was conducted at Vanderbilt University that came to the conclusion that smoking cannabis can increase the levels of chemicals in our brains called endocannabinoids, which are often too low in the cases of people with chronic stress, anxiety, and depression. Low levels of endocannabinoids are typically the cause of most mental disorders, but almost all anxiety disorders.
It’s also a safer and more effective alternative to prescription anxiety meds that can cause several other problems, including suicidal thoughts and tendencies.
Recently, the Canadians performed a study that found that 40% of people using prescription medical marijuana for anxiety and pain were able to completely stop using benzodiazepines altogether, which are commonly prescribed anti-anxiety drugs that are highly addictive.
Studies have also show that cannabis is an effective treatment for PTSD. Cannabis can help you forget things that have caused trauma in people who have survived rapes, witnessed violent crimes, or go to war. Experts believe that it can help sufferers forget bad memories and experiences altogether. Since it was added to the list of qualifying conditions in many of the medical states, veteran suicide rates have been on the decline, since most prescription PTSD medicines had one fatal side effect: suicidal thoughts.
Can Medical Marijuana Cause Anxiety?
As a short answer, no. Medical marijuana cannot cause clinical anxiety, but it can cause short term anxiety or paranoia in large doses. The best thing about marijuana is that once you’re done being high, you’re completely back to normal. You can’t get permanent anxiety from smoking cannabis.
However, you can get anxiety when you first get high. Short-term anxiety or paranoia can be caused when you’re a new smoker, you’re in a stressful or unfamiliar environment, or you just smoke too much because you didn’t take your tolerance level into consideration.
A study from Oxford University found that injecting a low dose of THC directly into the bloodstream of healthy adults who had previously used cannabis led to paranoia and anxious thoughts in 20% of the study’s participants. However, the negative and anxious affects went away as soon as the THC left the bloodstream.
Medical Marijuana use and anxiety have a complicated relationship that is still mostly unclear as far as long-term effects go. Science is still debating whether or not the increased anxiety in cannabis users is a result of using cannabis or if people with anxiety use it to medicate their pre-existing conditions.
Overall, many people have experienced anxiety from smoking marijuana at least once, but it’s still an effective treatment for chronic anxiety disorders because of the way it reacts with our endocannabinoid releases.