There are many claims surrounding the use of cannabis for anxiety relief. Some people say it helps to manage their anxiety, while others say it can make anxiety and related mental health issues feel worse.
We’re going to take a look at the science behind marijuana and what current research studies and surveys have been conducted around the subject of anxiety. As you’ll see, it’s much more than a cut and dry answer of “yes” or “no” to answer the question of whether or not cannabis helps with anxiety.
Strains & Components of Marijuana
There are different strains of cannabis and every plant that is grown has its own ratio of components that make it up. The three main strains of cannabis are indica, sativa, and hybrids of those strains.
In general, the indica strain is best known for increasing feelings of relaxation, sleepiness, happiness, and euphoria. Sativa is best known to give you a boost of energy, an improved mood, and inspiration. Hybrids, of course, will give you some combination of these effects.
When we break down the main components of all cannabis, we are mainly looking at THC and CBD. Here’s a quick refresher on the key elements of both:
- THC is the psychoactive compound responsible for the “high” feelings, whereas CBD does not produce the high that is associated with marijuana.
- Both of these substances mimic natural compounds found in our bodies that interact with our endocannabinoid system.
- This system is responsible for regulating many processes throughout our body such as pain, memory, mood, immunity, and the stress caused by anxiety.
- Cannabis helps activate the endocannabinoid system to return these processes to normal function.
A Scientific Study on CBD Oil
In 2010, a study was conducted on both animals and humans that examined the ability of CBD oil to reduce social anxiety symptoms. Participants had their brains scanned, revealing that CBD oil triggered changes in blood flow to regions of the brain which are linked with feelings of anxiety. The results suggest that CBD is an effective treatment for addressing anxiety. Cannabis can be found with varying levels of both CBD and THC, making it a viable treatment option for people seeking additional support for social anxiety disorders.
Exploring Experiences with Cannabis for Anxiety Relief
Research studies that have been conducted around the subject of cannabis and anxiety are limited, and are often subjective. Some of the best conclusions we can draw are found within surveys taken by people who have personally used marijuana to ease their anxiety. Cannabis survey participants are much easier to recruit as survey participants now that many states have legalized marijuana recreationally and medically.
In 2018, survey results were published in the Journal of Affective Disorders that looked at cannabis relief for anxiety and depression. The results found that cannabis had significantly reduced ratings of depression, anxiety, and stress in participants’ experiences. It also found that low levels of THC/CBD were best for reducing symptoms of depression, while high levels were better for symptoms of stress. In addition, women reported larger reductions in anxiety than men did.
Related Article: The Health Benefits of Cannabis
Effects of the Variations in Marijuana
Some studies can also be found in which people report increased anxiety symptoms with marijuana use. A 2014 study which looked at marijuana as a treatment for neurological disorders found that some study participants reported symptoms of anxiety as an adverse effect.
Adverse effects can often be attributed to when someone is new to marijuana, and so during their first-time experience in navigating cannabis products, there may have been uncertainty about the amount to try or about duration between taking it and feeling the effects of it.
Marijuana is available in flowers, concentrates, and edibles, and each product has varying strengths of THC. Overdoing it has potential to increase one’s feelings of anxiety and paranoia. It is best to start low and go slow, to take your time! That means low levels of THC and in very small amounts. Marijuana takes time to take effect in your body and varies significantly from person to person, especially depending on whether you smoke, vape, or ingest edibles. As an alternative, many people new to marijuana products start with CBD products, which don’t contain the psychoactive component of THC.
Everybody is unique and will have their own personal reactions and experiences with cannabis and anxiety relief. When shopping for marijuana products, choose a dispensary like CanEx that has in depth product descriptions, mood indicators, as well as transparent THC and CBD levels to help you make an educated purchase. It’s advisable to be prudent when weight the pros and cons of CBD products for anxiety.
Our online dispensary is convenient and helps you find the products that are a perfect match for your needs. Order today and get fast delivery straight to your doorstep!