Anxiety is a normal human emotion experienced by almost everyone from time to time. Anxiety becomes a mental disorder when it starts to affect the patient’s daily routine and disrupt their ability to function normally.
There are many types of anxiety disorders including simple phobia, social anxiety disorder, panic attacks, generalized anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Dealing with anxiety can be difficult. Although most anti-anxiety medications have significant side effects such as sleepiness, weight gain, etc., medical marijuana has very few adverse effects if taken in the correct dosage. In the following article, we will discuss how medical cannabis helps with anxiety disorders and why you should opt for cannabis treatment instead of prescription drugs.
Private clinics and dispensaries
If you are thinking of buying medical marijuana to treat anxiety, the following information will be useful.
Before purchasing cannabis, it is important to note that not all strains are recommended for anxiety. The two major cannabinoids responsible for anti-anxiety properties are THC and CBD. CBD-dominant strains are usually better suited for those who suffer from anxiety.
Now how can you become a medical cannabis patient?
If you live in countries like the UK, you may have to buy your prescription privately. There are places like https://themedicalcannabisclinics.com where you can book a consultation to speak with a doctor.
However, in the USA or Canada, you should be able to go to your local dispensary. There are also websites online where you can find the nearest dispensary to you such as https://weedmaps.com/.
How does medical marijuana help with anxiety disorders?
The main chemical responsible for regulating mood in your brain is called serotonin. When a person starts to take marijuana, the THC in the plant interacts with their cannabinoid receptors and boosts their serotonin levels. This results in a relaxed and calm feeling which counters the effects of anxiety.
Medical marijuana also stimulates anandamide production which reduces physical pain and improves your mood by reducing stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline etc.
A study has shown that people who smoke weed daily have more dopamine (happy hormone), endorphins (natural pain relievers), and another chemical called norepinephrine (noradrenaline) in their brains when compared to non-smokers [R, R2]. These chemicals make you feel happy and enhance your immune system preventing anxiety disorders.
Since medical cannabis stimulates both serotonin and endorphin production, it is an effective treatment for anxiety disorders.
What are the best strains for treating anxiety?
- Low-THC/high CBD. Low THC and high CBD strains are the best choices for treating both general and social anxiety disorders. Many medical cannabis users prefer Sour Tsunami (a low THC high CBD strain), due to its calming effects [R].
- Sativa. Most sativas tend to have a stimulating effect on your brain which helps you fight depression, fatigue, and lethargy [R]. A study from the British Journal of Psychiatry suggests that sativas can be used as a remedy for depression [R]. Also, when taken in small doses, sativas improve your mood by increasing dopamine levels. Sativas are therefore great for treating anxiety-causing mental disorders like PTSD, OCD, etc.
- Stress-reducing strains. Some strains have the ability to reduce stress and induce relaxation which helps you fight anxiety disorders. These strains contain limonene terpenes which have a citrusy scent. Other compounds found in these strains are Myrcene, Linalool, Pinene, etc. Lemon Skunk (a strong lemony smelling strain), White Widow (a very calming strain with earthy/piney aroma) are some examples of these kinds of strains [R].
- Indica. Indicas are generally used as an effective treatment for insomnia because they help the user achieve restful sleep due to their sedative effects on the body [R]. However, indicas can also be used as an anti-anxiety medication because they help relax your mind and induce sleep which reduces anxiety. A good example of a strain is Bediol (a CBD dominant strain) which has been shown to have anxiolytic properties.
How to use medical marijuana for anxiety disorders?
- Smoking/vapourising. The most popular mode of using medical marijuana for treating anxiety disorder is by smoking it. Take a few puffs directly from your weed vapouriser or roll up some of the dry herbs of your choice in cigarette papers and smoke it slowly. You can control its effect better if you use small quantities.
- Edibles. Patients who do not want to feel the ‘high’ effect of marijuana should take it in the form of an edible. You can also mix weed with your favorite food so that you don’t have to worry about dealing with the taste.
- Tinctures. Cannabis tinctures are liquid extracts from dried cannabis plants soaked in alcohol or glycerin which is used as a sedative and an analgesic. This mode of delivery makes it very easy for people who cannot smoke but still want all the medical benefits of cannabis [R]. Some examples include Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), CannazALL, Dixie Elixirs THC, Elixirs 500, etc.
- Topicals. Medical cannabis can be applied topically on aches and pains to reducing pain. There are many products that can be used for this purpose such as lotions, balms, oils, salves, etc.
What are the side effects of using medical marijuana for anxiety disorders?
Although medical marijuana is generally considered safe to use with minimal side effects, you should always consult your physician before trying it out. Some of the common side effects include dizziness, dry mouth/thirstiness, drowsiness/lethargy, etc.
But make sure you don’t mix medical cannabis with other sedatives or alcohol if you suffer from anxiety disorders as they can enhance each other’s effect causing lethargy or unconsciousness leading to serious accidents. Also since the THC in most cannabis plants is high, it is recommended to use a strain that is high in CBD and low in THC for treating anxiety disorders.
The endocannabinoid system in your body is responsible for regulating mood, stress levels, appetite, blood pressure, etc. Cannabinoids are special types of chemicals that are produced in the body or derived from plants like cannabis which can help in managing anxiety disorders. Although research on using medical marijuana for treating anxiety disorder is still growing and more clinical trials are needed, medical cannabis is the most popular natural remedy for treating anxiety and related disorders.
Alicia Saville did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.
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