Everyone experiences stress from time to time, but if you suffer from anxiety, you know this heightened sense of distress, nervousness, and fear can really prevent you from living your life. Marijuana is an excellent treatment option for those suffering from a general anxiety disorder. And recent studies provide us with even more insight into how cannabis can treat mild to extreme forms of anxiety. Keep reading to see exactly how marijuana works in the body to treat this condition.
In 2014, a research team at Vanderbilt University investigated the effect of cannabis on neurological processes. They found that cannabinoids – especially anandamide – are directly related to our brain’s response to stress. There are enzymes in our bodies that degrade these cannabinoids, which contributes to the feeling of anxiety. The Vanderbilt team discovered that increasing anandamide stops intense stress in its tracks. Their experiments are a compelling example of how marijuana has therapeutic advantages.
Did you know that social anxiety disorder (SAD) is one of the most common forms of anxiety? It affects 12% of Americans, making it one of the most common psychiatric disorders as well. Just as the name implies, SAD is an intense fear of social interactions and situations. This condition can be overwhelming, but there is hope!
In 2011, a team of Brazilian scientists published a study on cannabidiol (CBD) and it’s positive effect on SAD. They tested human subjects who had been diagnosed with SAD and measured the effects of this cannabinoid on the brain. The results? Not only did CBD reduce the perception of anxiety, its activity in the parts of the brain regulating emotion had a tangible anxiolytic effect (anti-anxiety).
Phobias are an unreasonable, intense fear of something that poses little to no danger. These irrational fears are intrusive and can prevent you from living a normal life. Exposure therapy is a common way to treat phobias, but it’s not always effective on its own. A research team from the University of Michigan published a study in the January 2013 issue of Neuropsychology showing how they improved the success rates of exposure therapy by incorporating synthetic THC into the treatment process. The inclusion of this cannabinoid supported the brain’s ability to overcome phobias and build new associations with what was once feared. Not only does this experiment show the beneficial properties of cannabis use, it shows that cannabis use can be combined with standard medical practices to yield even greater results.
Hormonal imbalances wreak havoc on our bodies. Imbalances can stem from poor lifestyle, poor sleep, lack of exercise, high stress, PMS, or any another disease/condition. Increased anxiety is a common symptom of hormonal imbalance, and it makes an uncomfortable situation even more difficult. The good news? Marijuana can help bring your body back into balance, without the side effects and risks that come with pharmaceutical drugs. Our endocannabinoid system extends throughout our bodies, allowing the components of marijuana to interact with different organ systems and provide relief. This includes the endocrine system, which is responsible for hormone production and regulation. With regular, responsible use, cannabis can treat the underlying causes of your anxiety while also relieving your stress in the moment.
Does Marijuana Increase Anxiety?
The key to avoiding anxiety from marijuana is choosing the right strain. Look for indicas or hybrids with a high concentration of CBD. And avoid sativas or hybrids with a high concentration of THC until you know exactly how you react. Cannabigerolic Acid (CBG) is another cannabinoid that plays a major role in reducing anxiety. CBG directly affects receptors in the central nervous system that allow it to counteract the paranoid, “heady” high you get from THC. It also inhibits GABA uptake, which decreases anxiety and muscle tension, mirroring and enhancing the effects of CBD. Major and minor cannabinoids work together to create a more powerful and balancing result in our bodies. This is known as the entourage effect. You don’t have to become an expert (that’s our job!) but pay attention to the amount and ratio of different cannabinoids to ensure you get the result you’re looking for.
We grow our own cannabis and can help you find the right solution for your anxiety. Send us a chat, give us a call, or stop by the dispensary. We’re ready to match you to the perfect strain.