The attention that marijuana was recently given made the medical community particularly interested in the range of illnesses and other conditions that can be treated with cannabis. And oh boy, is this range wide!
Cancer, nausea, epileptic seizures, Alzheimer’s Disease, Crohn’s Disease, HIV/AIDS, PTSD — these illnesses are in the spotlight right now. Nonetheless, among these diseases, there is one socially impairing condition for which marijuana is an effective and, above all, natural medicine.
It’s anxiety. How does the chemical structure of the cannabis plant influences anxiety disorders? There is a good amount of research conducted by marijuana advocates in the medical community that explains the relation between the herb and anxiety.
Anxiety And Other Social Disorders
Source: Optimal Living Dynamics
There is more to anxiety than just temporary worries or fear. A person suffering from an anxiety disorder will experience constant fear that doesn’t go away and deteriorates over time. This affects daily activities of such a person, including job performance, relationships, and being in public.
Although anxiety can be linked with different conditions, such as depression, alcoholism, or a dire experience in the past, it’ worth to get a physical evaluation in order to check if the anxiety is not paired with a physical illness.
Pharmaceutical drugs only mask the symptoms of anxiety and after giving up on pills, a patient may enter the vicious circle, being unable to function without the medicine. Hopefully, many people suffering from anxiety disorders have found relief in using medical marijuana. They claim
that cannabis decreases anxiety levels. Despite not being researched so well in this particular illness, marijuana shows a huge promise for further treatment methods.
The Chemical Structure of Cannabis
The cannabis plant has been used worldwide throughout history. It was only 400 years ago when the people of India used it to treat depression and other health conditions, such as nausea or chronic pain. Although commonly known for centuries, the information about health benefits of using cannabis has been successfully masked by the prohibition in the U.S. before WW II.
There are 85 natural constituents in the cannabis plant. These compounds are known as cannabinoids, and they relieve symptoms of many illnesses by attaching to certain receptors in the brain that look for familiar compounds produced by the human body. Strains that are dedicated for the medical use of marijuana are bred to balance the levels of each constituent depending on a condition.
Among these 85 compounds, there is one that has been recently found to bear strong benefits for people who suffer from anxiety — cannabidiol. Strains rich in CBD can be prescribed to patients struggling with inflammation, insomnia, spasms, and social disorders. Moreover, you won’t get high from consuming cannabidiol. On the contrary, this compound can mitigate anxiety-driven tendencies of THC, providing a user with the feeling of relaxation and clear mind.
On the other hand, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has become a significant substance in treating muscle pains, inflammation, epileptic seizures, and cancer. It also stimulates appetite and lowers blood pressure. Actually, most medical marijuana strains are bred for the high concentration of THC in relation to CBD.
How Does Marijuana Treat Anxiety?
Source: Dynamic Homeopathy
Most patients using medical marijuana claim it helps them relieve anxiety, but there are also many voices from the opposite side of the wall. Some people say they even feel more anxious after using cannabis. Like I said, most medical marijuana strains are bred for high THC content, so the key is to mitigate the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol by cannabidiol.
THC is associated with feelings of paranoia and anxiety, as it triggers the amygdala sector of the brain, which is responsible for feeling fear. Fortunately, taking CBD with THC (or on its own) can lower — or even eliminate — anxiety. There is much more research to be done in that matter because THC sells better by providing the euphoric and soothing high commonly experienced when smoking marijuana. Therefore, it’s more popular among people, so it may take some time for CBD to be as much recognized as the other compound.
Fortunately, THC triggers anxiety and raises its levels after a certain threshold is breached. If you find a relevant medical professional, he or she will tell you about the appropriate cannabis strain for anxiety — one that is rich in CBD.
Study-proven Benefits of Medical Marijuana in Treating Anxiety
Animal studies have shown that subjects consuming CBD had lesser levels of anxiety, as well as the reduced severity and frequency of seizures. This is a serious ground for a claim that CBD-rich marijuana strains can treat anxiety in human cases.
Another study, one published by the Institute of Psychiatry, indicated that CBD comes with the great psychiatric potential. That being said, it can be used as an antidepressant or anxiolytic during a treatment. Again, the study involved animals who were put under a series of tests, some of which included swimming and puzzle mazes. The study found that animals given CBD had lower levels of anxiety and depression.
There was an experiment conducted in 2011 that was aimed at determining CBD’s impact on social anxiety disorders during public speeches. Two groups were involved: the placebo group, and the group of patients who used CBD. The first group experienced increased cognitive impairment, discomfort during the speech, and general anxiety symptoms. Interestingly, the latter reported the opposite — they experienced less stress during their speeches, felt more relaxed, and noticed lesser discomfort.
Some latest studies found that the use of medical marijuana can help people with PTSD deal with their illness. Marijuana proved to create a soothing effect on the brain, so it’s highly probable that CBD will soon be used in treating PTSD on a larger scale — or once cannabis becomes legal on the federal level again.