The content presented on this page is presented purely for information purposes and is not intended to be constituted as medical advice in any way.
- If you are suffering from or suspect you are suffering from anxiety, consult with a doctor.
- If you think that Cannabis may be helpful in your circumstances, ask your doctor.
We believe that Cannabis is an astoundingly beneficial molecule that has an incredible array of uses.
However, content on our website is no substitute at all for the qualified opinion of a medical professional.
For similar reasons, we have made no product recommendations on this page. Our only recommendation is to follow the advice of a doctor, which may or may not include Cannabis.
The only way to consider Cannabis for Anxiety is under the recommendations of, and supervision of, a medical doctor. You must consult with a doctor if you are suffering from Anxiety and are wondering if Cannabis is right for you.
Cannabis for Anxiety
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety and related disorders are among the most common mental disorders. The lifetime prevalence of anxiety disorders is reportedly as high as 31 percent, according to the Canadian Anxiety Disorders Guidelines Initiative1)https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-244X-14-S1-S1. In other words, nearly a third of Canadians will struggle with some form of anxiety in their lifetime.
“Anxiety disorder” is a broad term that encompasses Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Social Anxiety Disorder, Agoraphobia, and Specific Phobias.
Does Marijuana Help with Anxiety?
Despite the past controversy over the medicinal value of marijuana, its positive effects can no longer be refuted. Marijuana studies consistently reconfirm and support the benefits of medical cannabis as a treatment for many conditions.
Researchers are now more closely examining the positive effects on people who suffer from anxiety. And while studies continue, it’s safe to say results are very promising for some anxiety sufferers. A landmark research project in 2017 reviewed doctor-supervised medical cannabis treatments which led to a sharp drop in benzodiazepine reliance among Canadian patients. (Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs primarily used for treating anxiety).
Within a year of being prescribed medical cannabis to treat anxiety and pain, 45 percent of the patients eliminated the use of benzodiazepines. That’s astonishing! Experts are typically encouraged by an efficacy rate in the neighborhood of 10 percent.
“To see 45 percent effectiveness demonstrates that the medical cannabis industry is at a real watershed moment,” says Dr. Neil Smith, Executive Chairman of Canabo2)http://www.canabocorp.com/milestone-study-shows-dramatic-reduction-in-pharmaceutical-reliance-among-canadian-medical-cannabis-patients.
Can Marijuana Help Me with My Anxiety?
If you are considering marijuana as a treatment for your anxiety, you’re going to have many questions. Perhaps most importantly:
Does marijuana help anxiety attacks?
Once a full-blown anxiety attack has started, anecdotal evidence suggests it is unlikely that marijuana will help, but marijuana can certainly help stop the attacks before they happen.
Can marijuana be prescribed for anxiety?
Because of the drug’s controversial nature, many doctors are hesitant – even with legalization in Canada – to recommend or prescribe marijuana as an anxiety treatment, especially since most doctors have little to no experience on how to correctly use marijuana for anxiety. However, younger doctors are often open to non-conventional treatments more likely to consider prescribing marijuana or marijuana oil for anxiety.
How does one go about getting a prescription?
Start a conversation about it with your family doctor or practical nurse but be prepared for some negative feedback. Unfortunately, the history of stigma has made it much more difficult for recent research to reach health professionals.
Check out online resources such as the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids3)https://ccic.net and Cannabinoids Medicines4)http://www.cannabis-med.org/index.php?lng=en for more information. Arm yourself by printing out documents that will help you make your case.
Is Marijuana a Cure for Anxiety?
Many ask us if marijuana can cure anxiety. The answer is, unfortunately “no”; there are no magic marijuana pills that permanently cures anxiety.
Others ask if marijuana can help them control anxiety, and the answer is “yes”, but it is not going to help everyone. Using marijuana to treat anxiety is very effective for many people and therefore well worth exploring, but whether using medical marijuana for anxiety will help any one individual depends on the type and severity of the anxiety disorder, the personality traits of the individual and the chemical composition of the specific strain of marijuana for anxiety relief. Whenever possible, consult your doctor or health professional before proceeding.
The Best Type of Marijuana for Anxiety
There are two main chemicals in marijuana: Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Of the two, THC is responsible for the psychoactive euphoria recreational users seek. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive.
Many studies conclude high doses of THC can exacerbate or even bring about anxiety, but lower doses of THC coupled with moderate to high CBD can help treat certain types of anxiety.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD, is characterized by chronic stress, tension and constant worrying resulting in anxiety. GAD is closely related to the human instinct known as the fight-or-flight response. When we sense danger, the body responds physiologically, preparing itself for a survival situation. The adrenal glands increase adrenaline production, which pours into the bloodstream to dramatically increase the heart rate. In people with GAD, this body response gets triggered in situations that do not call for it, which leaves sufferers unable to relax. The symptoms of GAD include a rapid heartbeat, sweating and chest pain, and hyperventilation. For many with GAD, the right marijuana for anxiety in the right doses can help.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD describes unwanted, repetitive thoughts, “obsessions,” or behaviors “compulsions”. The NIH claims that people with OCD carry out compulsions, or “rituals”, such as excessive hand washing, counting, and cleaning, in the hopes of reducing anxiety. Anxiety increases substantially when these compulsive actions are not performed by OCD sufferers. It is believed to be caused by abnormalities in certain areas of the brain, specifically the frontal cortex and subcortical structures. Because so little is known about OCD, little research has been conducted about how marijuana helps anxiety caused by OCD.
Panic disorder could be broadly described as a more severe form of GAD. Instead of a mild, constant worry, sufferers of panic disorder experience sudden, uncontrollable bursts of fear, also known as a panic attack. Panic attacks are sudden and severe. People experiencing panic attacks often believe they are having heart attacks and will seek out emergency medical services. Unlike other anxiety disorders, it is unlikely that using marijuana to treat anxiety caused by panic disorder will be effective because it happens so quickly and intensely.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is psychological stress caused by traumatic experiences. Veteran Affairs Canada stated that the leading causes of PTSD for military Veterans relate to direct combat duties, being in a dangerous war zone, or taking part in peacekeeping missions under difficult and stressful conditions. For civilians, the trauma can stem from physical or sexual assault, accidents, and witnessing the death or injury of others, or natural disasters5)https://anxietycanada.com/disorders/social-anxiety-disorder. However, there are no hard and fast rules to define this type of trauma.
It is not yet clear how medical marijuana helps relieve anxiety caused by PTSD are related, but many veterans swear by the benefits.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Everyone experiences some degree of anxiety in social situations. The challenge for some is when their anxiety becomes excessive, even harmful. According to Anxiety Canada, “social anxiety disorder is one of the most common anxiety disorders. People with social anxiety feel nervous or uncomfortable in social situations.” Sufferers feel like they are under the spotlight or will do something embarrassing or humiliating.
Medical marijuana can help relieve social anxiety, but effectiveness will vary between individuals. To reduce the risk of adverse effects of medical marijuana for anxiety treatment, it is wise to start with a strain low in THC and begin with very low doses; this will reduce the risk of exacerbating the anxiety.
Marijuana for Anxiety a Promising Alternative
Medical marijuana as a treatment for anxiety is a very promising field that researchers are intensely analyzing. If you are considering medical marijuana anxiety disorder treatment, talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner and discuss the available options.
Marijuana for anxiety relief is well-founded on years of first anecdotal, and observational evidence; It is far from being a fad. Marijuana as a natural alternative to the conventional and highly addictive narcotics most doctors currently prescribe is well worth looking into.
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