Person making marijuana joint

Marijuana for Anxiety – Does Weed Help?

Anxiety is basically feelings of apprehension and uneasiness. Sometimes, the condition gets out of hand and could stay on for prolonged periods. A significant number of people with depression have tried using marijuana to reduce anxiety.

But does weed really help? Marijuana is a popular drug that has been in use in many parts of the world for centuries. Yet it is only recently that its medicinal and recreational use was allowed in the country.

This is mainly because there isn’t enough evidence to show that marijuana can be used as treatment for anxiety. However, studies such as this reveal that cannabis significantly reduces ratings of depression, anxiety, and stress. That is why there has been an influx of cannabis based products such as CBD oil for anxiety.

But to determine if cannabis can really help with anxiety, we need to understand how it works. The cannabis plant has compounds that interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). ECS plays a crucial role in the human body – it has receptors all over the body and helps regulate vital processes such as mood, stress, sleep and appetite. It has been found to regulate anxiety, stress responses, and fear. Read more.

The compounds in cannabis are known as cannabinoids and are responsible for bringing out different effects (uplifting or therapeutic) when ingested. Human bodies produce cannabinoid-like compounds known as endocannabinoids. Cannabinoids usually attach to receptors in the brain causing a wide array of effects.

Effects of Weed for Anxiety

If not controlled, anxiety may negatively affect day to day activities. Some forms of anxiety include social anxiety disorder (SAD), panic disorder, phobias, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Therapy is conventional treatment for anxiety disorders. It involves seeing a counsellor, being in support groups or consuming self-help material such as books to manage the condition. Medication consists of drugs such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

It’s only recently that health practitioners have started recommending cannabis products like CBD oil. As we had mentioned earlier, weed products contain cannabinoids that are responsible for changing your brain functioning and consequently causing a relaxing effect.

Note that weed doesn’t induce the same effects in people. One needs to exercise caution when using marijuana for anxiety.

Indica or Sativa for Anxiety – Which is Better?

So, which strain should you use for anxiety — indica or sativa? As we have seen, cannabis has numerous active compounds and the two most popular are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).

THC is the psychoactive material that gives users an uplifting effect while CBD provides full-body effects. Sativa usually has higher levels of THC than CBD while indica has more CBD than THC.

Some researchers suggest that the increased activity in the brain caused by intake of high levels of THC is actually bad for anxiety patients. It usually worsens the condition. Considering that patients require products that cause a calming effect, it’s only logical that you go with products with high CBD levels. View a research on this by the University of Washington.

Cannabis Dosage for Anxiety

Some reports show that long-term use of marijuana may cause negative effects such as: insomnia, lack of focus, loss of memory, changes in mood/irritability, and a high heart rate.

This would of course exacerbate the anxiety condition that you’re trying to treat. That is why you need to use the right dosage. There’s no specific amount to start with since reaction usually depends on factors such as age, weight and intensity of the disorder. You can start with 10 grams and then increase or decrease depending on how it impacts your body. Focus on finding the minimum that can provide the desired effects.

And you need to ensure that intake of cannabis products doesn’t become an addiction. This is one of the problems that users face with medical marijuana. When you become overly dependent on it, it may cause further issues when you reduce or stop using it. Anxiety is heightened in addicted individuals.

Another safety precaution to take is to buy the weed from a dispensary. Unless you have done enough research and know your ideal product, don’t just buy from any shop. Get it from a dispensary and you will get expert-advice on the right strain and dosage.

Although anecdotal evidence shows that marijuana significantly reduces anxiety, use it only as supplementary treatment. Don’t assume it will provide full benefits: speak to a medical practitioner and combine it with other treatments such as yoga.

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