Anxiety is one of the least talked about health epidemics of our time and yet it affects tens of millions of people around the world. Living with this disorder is no easy feat, as it can affect your social, personal and professional life. Sufferers are known to undergo debilitating feelings of fear and a constant nervousness about the past and/or future.
Benzodiazepines have always been the most accepted form of treatment for anxiety but they come with quite a number of side effects and risk factors. For example, they’re highly addictive which poses a serious risk with patients that have a predisposition to addiction.
That’s why some physicians prefer alternatives like SSRIs which don’t come with the same risks. But, they’re not a perfect solution either because the exact mechanism of action for SSRIs is still unknown.
So the medical establishment is exploring the possibility of medical marijuana as a viable and risk-free treatment for anxiety. If you want to find out more about marijuana as a possible treatment for anxiety, read on for more information below.
Before we explain the benefits of marijuana as a form of anxiety treatment let’s take a look at what it means to suffer from anxiety. Some of the most common symptoms of this disorder include:
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble sleeping
- Tingling of the hands and feet
- Heart palpitations
Sufferers often experience stress and unrealistic worry about events in the past and the future. They may also dread certain everyday tasks like being around other people or the fear of loneliness. Anxiety can be short lived or it can persist over a long period of time. For some people it can even become a life sentence.
Anxiety should not be confused with stress because stress implies that there’s a realistic situation or threat to worry about. Whereas anxiety is usually based on unrealistic fear.
Also, stress is not considered to be a disease which is why the chief prescription for it is to distance oneself from stressful conditions as much as possible, or to deal with the underlying issue.
The Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is one of the most essential organisms in the human body. Most people don’t realize this but the ECS regulates several of our most important functions such as communication between neurons and our perception of pain
The ECS is composed of endocannabinoid receptors that are located all throughout the body, the brain and in the nervous system. They’re known as “CB1” and “CB2” and experts believe that they’re responsible for things stress response and even our reproductive functions. They also help to modulate the endocrine system, how our brain works and the function of our immune tissues.
But, where ECS gets interesting is in its ability to regulate the secretion of stress reducing hormones. This means ECS directly affects our experience of fear and anxiety. Understanding how the ESC works seems to be a step in the right direction to developing alternative anxiety treatments for patients that don’t respond to regular forms of medication.
Cannabis and the Treatment of Anxiety
Most of us are familiar with the strain of cannabis that contains a compound known as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). A lot of research has been conducted on the action and effects of this compound on the human nervous system. While most people are only are of THCs psychoactive effects, it has plenty of other properties and benefits.
In controlled doses, THC can be an effective treatment for anxiety. But, if you take it in extremely high doses then it can actually trigger anxiety. That’s why cannabis is highly regulated in countries that have legalized it for medial consumption.
It’s often recommended to take THC medical marijuana at night before bedtime because even in low doses it might still have a slight intoxication effect in some people.
Alternatively, you can take cannabidiol (CBD) which is another major compound of the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive effects. It comes with all the benefits of medical marijuana without the “high” often associated with the plant.
It’s been attracting a lot of attention lately due to its ability to reduce anxiety and other mental disorders. The best part is that you can take CBD during the day and the dosages aren’t as strict as what you’d find in the THC compound.
Anxiety Disorder and Cannabis
It’s important to note that cannabis is only a treatment of anxiety and not a cure. But, it can help you to manage and eventually overcome anxiety if you take it in conjunction with psychotherapy to solve the underlying issues.
It’s a viable form of alternative treatment to conventional anxiety medication and it’s perfect for anyone who feels like the latter doesn’t work for them. Just be sure to consult with your physician before you take it to ensure that it’s the right move for you. For more information about cannabis and human use, visit https://www.icannabis.com.au/