How Can Marijuana Help You Deal with Anxiety? [Cannabis and Health]
Years ago, having passed my hardest moment, desperate and overwhelmed by a ball of nerves, I thought alcohol was the ideal substance to calm anxiety, regain peace and overcome insecurities. How many of you have had this experience? Do you rely on alcohol? Is alcohol a solution? No…! Alcohol brings you back to the reality of anxiety and depression once its euphoric effects have passed!
And what can we say about marijuana and anxiety? Certainly, many people experience anxiety if they abuse cannabis, especially with strains high in THC. However, well used, to its right extent, cannabis can help you with anxiety. For instance, have you ever experienced deep relaxation after puffing a joint a few times? Those who have suffered from anxiety know well how difficult it is to control it on many occasions. Moreover, you can choose to ingest non-psychoactive cannabinoids such as CBD.
Returning to alcohol, according to Antonio Escohotado, the Greeks had no problem with sex, but they feared alcohol. Young men and women were forbidden to drink it, as it was considered a source of irrationality. The Western perception of alcohol changed with the rise of the Roman Empire and the arrival of Christianity, where wine was a symbolism of the blood of Christ.
Although I do not support prohibition, psychotropic substances, which include alcohol as a depressant, i.e. a substance that slows down central nervous system activity and cannabis (SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), should be taken in moderation.
What is Anxiety?
Nervousness, obsessiveness, fear…We all have experienced it, but someone who suffers from anxiety experience it every day or almost every day. Imagine waking up, your stomach is completely shut, you experience nausea, something worries you excessively. You might wonder, why am I worried about it? Why do I experience this feeling?
There are many causes of anxiety, some people just suffered from obsessive thoughts (manageable with psychological therapy) while other people suffer from OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) or trauma and stressor disorders.
- Anxiety disorders are characterized by excessive fear. This excessive fear causes both behavioral and emotional consequences.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: this is a more serious condition. OCD is thought to have a genetic component; however, the cause is unknown. The compulsions are repetitive acts that the person does to reduce anxiety. For example, a person who is afraid of germs will constantly wash his hands.
- Trauma-stressor disorders: this is a stress disorder related to a traumatic situation or a stressor (starting a new job, taking an exam…)
According to Anxiety.org, there are other anxiety disorders caused by a specific phobia, post-traumatic stress disorders, generalized stress disorder among many others.
What Causes Anxiety? [Marijuana and Anxiety]
We still do not fully understand what causes anxiety. However, we know it is a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Genetic studies have proved a link between heritability and anxiety. Moreover, parental behavior could also trigger anxiety. In other words, many times it is a combination of both genetics and environmental factors.
Marijuana and Anxiety: How Can it Help?
The link between marijuana and anxiety is controversial. Some people claim THC consumption leads to psychosis while some others claim it has superb relaxant properties. There is not a definitive answer to this question, and it depends more on the person and frequency of consumption.
Cannabis contains many cannabinoids and not all of them have the same effects. For example, CBD a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, is useful in reducing anxiety. In addition, CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, which means that you will not feel high when you vape it, smoke it or ingest it (edibles, tinctures…). On the other hand, THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid, is more suitable to treat pain. For example, THC can raise your heart rate, which might cause anxiety in some users.
THC may release your anxiety temporarily, but it can exacerbate it after a prolonged use. Therefore, you need to pay attention to dosage and get advice from a doctor if you want to use THC to treat your anxiety.
Moreover, if you use cannabis strains rich in THC, you will develop cannabis tolerance. In short, you will need to discontinue its use for 2-3 days, sometimes even a week to feel the effects again. Alternatively, you can use CBD which is non-psychoactive and you can use it daily without experiencing tolerance.
THC and Anxiety
THC can help you decrease anxiety temporarily. Nonetheless, if you suffer from chronic anxiety or any other anxiety conditions such as OCD, then you better reduce its consumption or choose other cannabinoids such as CBD. There is a link between marijuana and anxiety. To be more precise, between THC and an anxiety. Consequently, cannabis strains rich in THC should be used in moderation.
For example, there are many cases of chronic users who have developed psychosis and paranoia after years of consuming THC rich cannabis strains. In conclusion, do not take THC if your anxiety is very serious.
Medicines depend on the patient and not all people react the same way to substances. For example, if you do not have a heart condition, heart medicines are not suitable for you. We can apply the same principle to cannabinoids such as THC. Marijuana and anxiety have two sides, on one hand, it is very useful for many patients, both CBD and THC. On the other hand, excessive consumption of THC rich strains can cause the opposite effects, i.e. more anxiety.
Marijuana and Anxiety: Conclusion
There are many things to consider about marijuana and anxiety. Firstly, it depends on your needs. For instance, if you suffer from serious anxiety, then you better choose CBD rich strains instead of THC rich ones.
THC is efficient in reducing anxiety in specific cases, but not for people who suffer from chronic anxiety.