About 40 million American adults have an anxiety disorder. What’s more, anxiety seems to be on an upward trend.
If you’ve noticed you’re having more anxious thoughts or your behavior has changed, it may be time to talk to a doctor.
You might be wondering about the treatments available for anxiety disorders. There are many medications out there, but some people want more natural solutions. Recently, there’s been interest in what cannabis could offer to those with anxiety.
Can you use marijuana for anxiety management though? It may be more effective than you think.
Can Marijuana Help with Anxiety?
Although the research in this area is still limited, many studies have shown that cannabis can help reduce the symptoms of mood disorders.
Some of the conditions researchers have looked at include:
Social anxiety disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder
One recent study found one puff of cannabis was enough to reduce depressive symptoms. Two puffs helped to ease the symptoms of anxiety.
How Effective is it?
Most studies, as well as the participants, have reported high rates of symptom reduction.
In one study, participants reported a nearly 60 percent reduction in anxiety symptoms.
Even though the study groups have been small so far, these drastic results still suggest cannabis could be effective for many people.
How Does Cannabis Help Anxiety?
The idea that cannabis could help people manage their anxiety isn’t without merit. Some recent studies conclude cannabis could actually help with severe symptoms.
The evidence is strongest for cannabidiol or CBD. Researchers know CBD acts as a vasodilator, which means it relaxes your veins. This lowers blood pressure, which may help physical symptoms of anxiety.
CBD also acts on the brain to increase levels of serotonin. Serotonin is a “feel-good” neurotransmitter. Increasing serotonin can help people feel calmer.
There’s some suggestion CBD works on the brain structures that govern mood more generally. The CBD entourage effect may also play a role. CBD works together with compounds like terpenes to enhance calming and de-stressing effects.
What about THC?
Most people are familiar with THC, another cannabinoid found in marijuana. THC is generally known as the substance that gets people “high.”
Unlike CBD, THC seems to have more mixed results when it comes to affecting mood. For some people, THC promotes calmness and relaxation.
For others, though, it can produce the exact opposite effects. Too much THC seems to produce anxiety. Some people may experience paranoia, especially if they’re in an unfamiliar place.
The dose of THC is also important. Everybody has an “optimal” dose of THC, which is the point at which they experience the most benefit. Above this threshold, some people begin to experience negative effects.
Unfortunately, the threshold is different for everyone. The optimal dose for one of your friends could be far too much THC for you.
CBD seems to temper the effects of THC. Taking a high dose of CBD and a low dose of THC helps maximize the benefits for anxiety sufferers. Again, finding the right dose for each person is important.
Choosing Marijuana for Anxiety
Based on these findings, the best marijuana for anxiety is high in CBD and low in THC.
High CBD marijuana strains for anxiety include:
You may also want to consider other cannabis products, such as cannabis oils. Since CBD seems to be more effective for anxiety symptoms, you may also choose a high-quality CBD oil. CBD oils can be made from either cannabis or hemp.
Choosing High-Quality Products
When it comes to medical marijuana, you want to be sure the products you’re choosing are of the highest quality.
Do some research before you buy any product. You should ask questions about how the plant was grown. Were there any pesticides used on it?
You’ll also want to see the results of third-party lab testing. If you’re selecting an oil product, ask about the extraction process used.
Finally, compare the number of cannabinoids in any product. This can help you determine the dosage, but it can also show the quality of the product.
Finding the Right Amount
If you want to use medical marijuana, your first step should be talking to a doctor. In many states, you’ll need a medical marijuana card.
A medical marijuana doctor can do more than sign paperwork for you though. They can also give you advice on the products you’re most likely to benefit from. They may also be able to recommend strains.
The most important advice a doctor can offer is an idea of how much medical marijuana you should be using.
Dosing is incredibly individual, but the doctor will be able to help you decide on a starting point. They can also make recommendations for increases or help you find a new strain. In this way, they can help you find the most effective marijuana solution for you.
The best advice is to always start low and go slow. You can always increase the dose until you achieve symptom relief.
Combining Medical Marijuana with Other Treatments
There’s some early evidence medical marijuana is good for anxiety. That doesn’t mean it’s the only solution that will work. You should consider other treatments as well.
Medical marijuana often works best when it’s integrated with more holistic treatment. You may want to consider:
Adjusting your diet
Meditation and other relaxation activities
A new exercise regime
Improving your sleep schedule
All these factors can help you achieve balance and better manage anxiety.
Anti-anxiety medications and psychotherapy may also be helpful. Talking to your doctor can help you design an anxiety management plan that really works for you.
Is Medical Marijuana Right for You?
If you think medical marijuana for anxiety could help you, then it’s time to talk to a doctor. Get in touch with a qualified medical practitioner in your area. Discuss how cannabis could be part of your effective anxiety management program.