Medical marijuana can help treat anxiety disorders, such as panic attacks, as well as other mental health illnesses like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Anxiety is a symptom of different medical conditions just like chronic pain.
As compared to high THC concentrations, low-to-moderate THC medical cannabis flower and CBD-rich products may be more useful for treating anxiety disorders.
What is Anxiety and Panic Disorder?
The word “anxiety” serves as a catch-all for a variety of ailments. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are a few of the types of anxiety. PTSD is also categorized as an anxiety condition in several mental health manuals.
A person who suffers from panic disorder experiences sudden, severe panic attacks. Not all anxiety disorders include panic disorder. But, a lot of them share the sensation of panic, making panic disorder a subset of other anxiety disorders.
Phobias (an uncontrollable, irrational, and persistent fear of a certain thing, circumstance, or action) are anxiety-related, though they aren’t always a sign of panic disorder.
Anxiety disorders are one of the most prevalent types of mental illness in the United States with 40 million people aged 18 and over affected each year. One in five Americans are likely to experience an anxiety-related disorder at some point.
Current Treatments Available for Anxiety
The following are current treatments for anxiety and conditions linked to anxiety:
- There are several types of therapy, such as integrative or holistic therapy, behavior therapy, humanistic therapy, psychoanalysis, and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
- Exercise, dietary improvements, and sleep cycle control.
- Antidepressants, such as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors).
- Sedative drugs like benzodiazepines.
- Some people use herbal medicines to treat anxiety.
How Can Medical Cannabis Be Beneficial?
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most frequently prescribed medications because anxiety has an impact on serotonin receptors.
Some patients receive prescriptions for medications like valium, lorazepam, and benzodiazepine. But, these have addiction issues as well as many other negative side effects.
Additionally, benzodiazepines have the potential to worsen several types of anxiety disorders, including PTSD (if it is considered an anxiety disorder).
Cannabinoids may be very useful as an alternative treatment for anxiety. THC, CBD, pinene, and limonene are a few of the cannabinoids that have anxiolytic properties. However, a THC overdose could result in an anxiety episode, thus microdosing is essential.
Anxiety and depression are frequently co-occurring disorders therefore always consider a person’s overall health before choosing a certain cannabinoid ratio.
Cannabis appears to be an effective anxiolytic that alters anxiety-related behavior and neurotransmitter release in stressful conditions.
Medical marijuana can help with health issues linked to anxiety, including headaches and migraines, chronic pain, sleeplessness, nausea, and vomiting.
The multiple benefits of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids suggest that medical cannabis can help many people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and other anxiety-related diseases to enhance their quality of life (QOL). Additionally, medical marijuana can cut the need for prescription medication.
Pros of Using Cannabis For Anxiety
The following are the pros of using cannabis to treat anxiety:
- Several anxiolytic terpenes found in cannabis act as stress relievers. They include borneol, linalool, and beta-caryophyllene.
- Cannabidiol (CBD) may enhance the brain’s regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF), which lowers anxiety.
- During anxiety or panic attacks, pinene can help prevent hyperventilation. Hyperventilation can result in chest aches and worsen anxiety.
- THC in low dosages can help to some extent in reducing anxiety.
- CBD and medical cannabis can alter glutamate-GABA systems, which can function as a sedative for an anxious mind.
- CBD may have sedative effects in moderate to high doses that may help lower anxiety.
Legality of Marijuana for Anxiety
The use of medical marijuana to treat an identified anxiety illness is now permitted in several states. The three states including Pennsylvania, North Dakota, and New Jersey have approved this use.
Even though certain states have legalized marijuana for either medical or recreational purposes, federal law still considers any product with more than 0.3% THC to be illegal.
Can Anxiety Be Treated Permanently?
Although there is no known cure for anxiety, the correct strategy can help manage and treat it. Possible treatment choices include therapy, medicine, lifestyle modifications, self-care techniques, and medical cannabis.
Treatment aims to lessen the intensity of anxiety symptoms while also enhancing the general quality of life. Many people with anxiety can have happy and fruitful lives with continuing support and therapy.
Using medical cannabis for treating anxiety is one of the effective methods. For getting optimal results, microdosing is recommended. Higher THC doses, often over 10-15 mg per day (depending on tolerance) have the potential to worsen the anxiety brought on by cannabis.
For medical cannabis to be beneficial, it is necessary to balance the THC with CBD, CBC, CBG, and terpenes like linalool, myrcene, pinene, limonene, and beta-caryophyllene.