Many people think of Marijuana as a kind of miracle drug because it offers healing to certain medical conditions that prescription meds are not as natural and potent for. Anxiety disorder is one of those severe illnesses that Marijuana extracted compounds are now popular for giving relief and effective treatment.
But little is known to some people about this revolutionizing discovery. There are already studies noting that the cannabinoids, in particular, extracted from marijuana plants could reduce anxiety levels and provide mental relaxation.
Marijuana’s THC, however, might heighten anxiety disorder as a result of excessive consumption or as an adverse reaction. Therefore, using the substance at the proper dosage is very important. As a consumer who looks to take advantage of weed products’ medical and recreational benefits, your first job is to do enough research about their properties, effects, and formulations. This is to ensure that you are buying safe and quality products.
In this article, you will learn about the effects of Marijuana on anxiety disorder. If you are going through this medical condition more frequently, this can offer you some guidance on how and why to consider marijuana supplements as part of your health regimen.
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana is also known for other popular names, such as weed, bud, herb, and other slang terms. This is scientifically defined as a greenish-gray mixture of the dried flowers of Cannabis sativa. It had become popular for its medical and recreational use and has been debated before it was made legal in some countries, including Canada and the United States. Some people smoke Marijuana in hand-rolled cigarettes called joints, blunts, or pipes.
When Marijuana was made legal, the weed market began to flourish. More product variants emerged, and users explored various ways to consume the substance. It now has numerous forms, such as concentrates, oils, edibles, topicals, and more. You can even brew marijuana tea or mix it with brownies, cookies, and other popular beverages. If you want to vape Marijuana, there are also vaping devices that are discreet and easy to use.
One of the most potent forms of Marijuana includes sensimilla and concentrated resins that contain high doses of therapeutic and psychoactive properties. Some popular designs are hash oil, amber-like shatter, and waxy budder, which are increasingly popular among people who consume them for medical and recreational purposes.
The main psychoactive compound in Marijuana that produces intoxicating effects is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It’s usually found in resin extracted from the leaves and buds of the female cannabis plant. Researchers claim that there are more than 500 other chemicals in the herb, including over 100 compounds called cannabinoids (CBD).
What are the Effects of Marijuana?
When you smoke, Marijuana, CBD, THC and other chemicals are produced and enter your lungs down into the bloodstream. The substance would spread across your body and brain through specific receptors. You can experience the effects almost instantly, which generally involve a pleasant euphoria and a sense of relaxation. Other common effects may include heightened sensory perception, increased appetite, laughter, and altered perception of time, varying among different users.
Suppose you mix Marijuana in foods or beverages. In that case, the effects may be somewhat delayed, usually appearing after 30 minutes to 1 hour, because the substance still has to pass through your digestive system. This method of consumption also delivers less THC into the bloodstream than smoking the herb. The delayed effects may cause some people to consume more THC than they intended.
Some users don’t get pleasant experiences from Marijuana, though, which means that the substance hits people differently. Instead of euphoria and relaxation, they might experience anxiety, distrust, fear, or panic. These are usually caused by overdosing on the substance or going beyond one’s tolerance level. It’s also possible to experience an acute psychosis, including delusions, hallucinations, and a loss of the sense of personal identity.
However, such unpleasant effects should not be mistaken for severe psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. They are just temporary reactions that can subside over time. While the detectable amounts of THC may remain in your body for days or even weeks, the noticeable effects of smoked Marijuana can generally last from 1 to 3 hours. If you consume the substance from food or drink, the effects may last for extended periods.
How Marijuana Produces its Effects?
As scientific research finds, the THC found in Marijuana Flower has a similar chemical structure to the brain chemical called anandamide. This similarity in structure allows your body to recognize THC and alter everyday brain communication. It mainly affects the brain areas that influence thinking, pleasure, memory, coordination, movement, sensory and time perception.
The neural communication network that involves cannabinoid neurotransmitters also plays a crucial role in the normal functioning of the nervous system. So when THC interferes with it, you may experience profound effects, such as impaired thinking and inability to learn and perform complicated tasks. Marijuana users may also find it difficult to drive safely when THC disrupts brain areas that regulate balance, posture, and reaction time.
On a positive note, THC can activate the brain’s reward system related to pleasurable behaviours such as eating and sex. The substance can also stimulate the brain to release signalling chemical dopamine at higher levels to naturally rewarding stimuli. The surge of dopamine drives the brain to repeat the rewarding behaviour, which is why marijuana addiction can develop.
The Link between Marijuana and Anxiety Disorder
Studies prove that when Marijuana is used correctly, it can be beneficial in treating anxiety symptoms. However, the THC and CBD from the plant extract may also trigger anxiety due to excessive dosage and other factors at play. Let’s explore the scientific findings and anecdotal evidence about the link between marijuana and anxiety disorder to understand this matter.
What is Anxiety Disorder?
It’s essentially a mental health condition wherein you may respond to certain things and situations with fear and dread. Other manifestations include physical signs of anxiety, such as sweating and a pounding heart. Some cases may go beyond regular nervousness and slight fear from time to time. You know that you’re going through this illness when:
- You can’t control your responses to situations.
- Anxiety interferes with your ability to function.
- You often overreact when something triggers your emotions.
Generally, people with anxiety disorders are experiencing difficulty getting through their day. This condition might need immediate medical intervention to manage the symptoms. But some patients are looking for an organic alternative in weed products. Hence, it’s interesting to know whether Marijuana can relieve or treat anxiety disorders.
Can Marijuana Treat Anxiety Disorder?
Treating anxiety disorder by the use of Marijuana has been the subject of various scientific studies and surveys. As found out, the substance could be an effective alternative treatment, especially when taken in CBD oil form. This product reduces anxiety symptoms in people with social anxiety disorder, based on a 2010 study. It also revealed that the substance triggered changes in blood flow regions in the brain linked with feelings of anxiety.
In a 2015 medical review, it was emphasized that most studies found CBD oil to reduce several anxiety disorders potentially. These include generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Another relevant study in 2018 also indicated that medical weed users reported a 58% reduction in anxiety and stress.
Effects of Marijuana on Anxiety Disorder
Perhaps you’re asking how Marijuana works to treat anxiety disorder. It’s already known that THC and CBD have therapeutic effects. But going deeper into this topic, you’ll understand how the compounds can effectively treat such a medical condition. Let’s break down all the scientific facts in a layman’s language.
What Does Research Say?
Several studies confirmed that taking CBD from marijuana extracts can increase a neurotransmitter called anandamide. As a result, it can boost your mood and soothe your nerves and muscles, allowing you to relax. Some researchers noted the use of the substance in treating stress and anxiety disorders. The psychoactive compounds in the marijuana plant can also influence the endocannabinoid system or the system of receptors and regulators.
CBD has been found to help relieve anxiety symptoms, such as paranoia, fear, and nervousness. There’s a body of scientific evidence showing that the substance has a great potential for managing generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder. However, the effects of Marijuana differ among users; it can result in heightened anxiety in other patients. This might happen among users who self-medicate with marijuana products containing higher THC amounts.
Endocannabinoid System’s Role in Anxiety
The human body has its endocannabinoid system, a complex cell-signalling system. This is expressed in all brain regions that are important for processing anxiety, stress, and fear. It was discovered that this cellular function has control over such reactions and is thought to ensure an appropriate response to stressful events.
Endocannabinoids tend to modulate highly interactive stress and reward networks, consisting of the ECS and dopamine system. These networks establish the balance between well-being and distress. In this case, Marijuana can produce a desired state of calmness. This phenomenon is mediated by interactive anxiolytic effects of increased cannabinoids and rewarding effects of elevated dopamine.
Ways that Marijuana Treats Anxiety
Here’s the gist of the story: Marijuana may treat anxiety disorder in several ways. Knowing how the extracted substance can work miracles to your medical condition can quicken your treatment and recovery.
- Marijuana improves brain health and function.
Anxiety may stem from mental health issues that a person goes through. If this is the cause of the problem, marijuana products can offer relief. There is a growing body of evidence supporting the mental health benefits of CBD and THC due to their therapeutic or medical properties. They can potentially reduce anxiety, stress, depression, and mood swings. Some people also use weed products to relieve migraines and headaches or even fight brain tumours.
- Marijuana relieves symptoms of anxiety.
Anxiety symptoms can include panic, rapid heart rate, twitching muscles, trembling, and overall body tension. These can prevent you from performing your day-to-day responsibilities and even affect your productivity and personal relationships. As studies found, CBD products can help manage these symptoms and give needed relief. The substance can also treat palpitations, nausea, and insomnia, accompanying anxiety disorders.
- Marijuana reduces inhibitions
THC-rich cannabis products have potent psychoactive effects that reduce inhibitions and mental noise in social events. The substance may help promote social interactions during parties, just like a glass of wine does. Researchers found that CBD in Marijuana can also relax brain functions, allowing you to enjoy any social event. But results vary among consumers, depending on dosage, potency, and personal factors.
- Marijuana regulates homeostasis
Homeostasis functions to reduce hormonal imbalances during stressful situations. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating this biological process. Many experts believe that the cannabis substance interacts with receptors in the ECS, which helps treat anxiety disorder. This interaction can be beneficial for people who have social anxiety.
- Marijuana keeps mood swings in check.
Mood swings can be another manifestation of anxiety. If this behaviour is not managed correctly, it can affect work productivity and personal relationships. By taking Marijuana, you might get relief, and anxiety can rest easy. The substance can help bring mood swings under control, regardless of how severe they may be. CBD products release chemicals that interact with brain receptors to regulate moods.
- Marijuana enhances healthy sleeping patterns.
Using Marijuana can enhance healthy sleeping patterns and calm anxiety as you get enough rest. The substance could either be used with other treatments or work best on its own. You can expect to shake off insomnia as Marijuana offers mental relaxation and induces better sleep. Its THC content may also help maintain overall wellness when proper dosing is observed.
- Marijuana stimulates a good appetite.
Some people with anxiety disorder experience severe panic attacks that affect their appetite. They may not get proper nutrition if this is not addressed. By using Marijuana, the CBD content may aid in maintaining a healthy appetite when taken in the proper doses. CBD interacts with endocannabinoid systems and works closest to various receptors, including the digestive system. A consistent dosage of the substance is said to help get normal appetite back on track.
- Marijuana prevents memory loss.
Severe anxiety and panic attacks can result in memory loss. The patient may not know how this condition affects their memory and perceive everything as usual. Medical Marijuana can be used to prevent the worst effects of anxiety. Some sources are skeptical about the substance, but available evidence shows that it has already changed the lives of millions of people.
Why Marijuana has Anxiety Reducing Effects?
Using Marijuana is widely known to have a calming effect due to its interaction with GABA, which can stop anxiety in its tracks. GABA levels are the target of common anti-anxiety drugs like benzodiazepines. The substance in the plant can also lower cortisol, the stress hormone, when taken regularly.
One of the popular options today is CBD oil. It can relieve anxiety without getting you high. CBD alone is considered pretty safe to consume. It’s believed to work by affecting the CB1 receptor in the brain, which can positively affect serotonin levels. There’s promising research claiming that the substance can reduce anxiety in people who receive 400 mg of CBD compared with placebo.
Using Marijuana to Treat Anxiety Disorder
Like other medications for anxiety, proper dosing is also essential when using Marijuana to treat anxiety disorders. Other critical factors to consider include the quality of the product, method of consumption, and tracking. It’s essential to discuss your needs with your doctor as there are varying degrees of anxiety.
There are also different forms of Marijuana, including concentrates, flowers, isolates, capsules, edibles, oils, products in a stinky bag, and many others. Experts say that there are four best ways to take the substance for anxiety. They include ingesting, inhaling, sublingual, and topical applications. It is also recommended to use CBD-based products if you are looking to mitigate anxiety symptoms.
You may also consider using CBD vape juice to reduce your anxiety just a few seconds before a nerve-wracking moment. Many researchers merit the use of the substance to relieve anxiety symptoms. However, THC cannabis may induce anxiety, so it’s essential to avoid self-medicating with THC products.
Medical Marijuana versus Prescription Drugs
Surprisingly, marijuana doctors claim that medical cannabis can replace prescription drugs for anxiety. But how do these two differ? Let’s examine the facts. One of the popular anti-anxiety medications is benzodiazepines that manage neurotransmitter levels known as GABA. This medication can balance anxiety levels, but it also comes with side effects, such as quick tolerance and overdose.
On the other hand, cannabidiol (CBD) found in Marijuana has also managed the amount of GABA in the brain. The substance has shown the potential to lower cortisol levels of stress-related hormones. For some marijuana doctors, medical Marijuana can serve as a holistic alternative to prescription drugs without the adverse side effects.
It is now being used as an effective treatment for anxiety disorders in many patients. Marijuana products with high CBD content have been used successfully in patients suffering from anxiety and other medical conditions such as chronic pain and epileptic-type spasms. CBD does not produce feelings of euphoria and comes with many therapeutic properties. But before using this product, it is safe to consult with a cannabis-trained professional to ensure the use of the right marijuana strains.
Tips for Safe Use of Marijuana for Anxiety
If you have recurring anxiety and want to try Marijuana as a new treatment, there are a few things to ensure safe use. By following the tips below, you can get the desired effects without running the risk of worsening your anxiety symptoms:
- Consult your therapist. If you’re working with this medical professional, make sure they know about your plan to take Marijuana. They can provide medical opinions and guidance on how the substance will work with your symptoms.
- Choose CBD over THC products. You might assume that it doesn’t matter whether the product contains more THC than CBD. The truth is, higher levels of THC mean that your anxiety symptoms might get worse. So, it’s recommended to choose CBD products instead.
- Start with a low dose. Dosage matters because excessive substance consumption can exacerbate your condition or lead to adverse reactions. As a safe habit, you have to give plenty of time to work before using more.
- Know about drug interactions. Marijuana can interact with prescription drugs or reduce the effectiveness of your medications, vitamins or supplements. That’s why it’s essential to let your doctor know if you’re using Marijuana.
- Purchase marijuana from a dispensary. This is the best way to get a legitimate product. Trained staff can also offer guidance based on your medical conditions and help you find the right marijuana product for your needs.
Possible Side Effects of Using Marijuana
Marijuana is generally safe to consume if you follow proper dosing and consult your doctor for necessary guidance. You can self-medicate, but you need a professional opinion to ensure your safety in some instances. It’s because there are potential side effects associated with excessive or inappropriate use of the product, such as the following:
- Increased heart rate
- Increased sweating
- Decreased motivation
- Difficulty sleeping
- Racing or looping thoughts
- Irritability or other changes in mood
- Confusion, brain fog, or a numb state
- Problems with concentration or short-term memory
- Hallucinations and other symptoms of psychosis
Marijuana Dependence and Addiction
Some people think that Marijuana doesn’t cause dependence and addiction. But the reality is the opposite. Some studies found that using the substance frequently to numb emotional or mental distress can develop such medical conditions. This can be considered an abusive use of the substance, also known as marijuana use disorders. If you develop this condition, you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms when you decide to quit.
As reported by people who use Marijuana quite often, they have experienced irritability, decreased appetite, restlessness, cravings, and mood and sleep difficulties. These adverse reactions usually occur within the first week of quitting the substance and the last two weeks. Marijuana dependence develops when the brain adapts to large amounts of the drug by reducing proportion and sensitivity to the endocannabinoid neurotransmitters.
It becomes an addiction when you can no longer stop using Marijuana even though the substance interferes with many aspects of your life. To date, the number of people addicted to Marijuana is controversial. This is partly because the epidemiological studies of substance use often require dependence as a proxy for addiction, although it’s possible to be dependent without being addicted.
Self-Medication Using Marijuana for Anxiety
Some people prefer to use Marijuana to alleviate uncomfortable anxiety symptoms without consulting a medical professional. This habit develops from the tendency to use the substance for recreational use that helps mask the symptoms. Eventually, people get used to it and feel normal consuming the substance even without any medical concern. However, this self-medication practice can be dangerous, especially when trying to treat anxiety or depression.
By adding psychoactive substances like Marijuana, you might make your anxiety worse, especially when the CBD and THC compounds interact with prescription drugs or are consumed excessively. Even if you’re working with a doctor, treating mental conditions can be tricky as it often involves a period of trial and error. You need to keep your doctor updated on the effectiveness and side effects of your medication. If a drug proves ineffective or causes many side effects, your doctor may adjust the dose or switch your medication.
In many cases, self-medicating can be unpredictable. When you take Marijuana without any guidance, the substance may do more harm than good. For example, if your anxiety is tied to an underlying issue like schizophrenia or other disorders that can cause psychosis, Marijuana may worsen the symptoms. It is always recommended to consult a physician to ensure your safety.
When using Marijuana to relieve your anxiety, choosing high-quality weed products from credible and reputable sellers is essential. Remember that not all cannabis items you come across depict desirable quality. Each product comes with varying ratios and amounts of CBD, THC, terpenes, and other phytochemicals. As a good habit, you have to research every ingredient in the label before buying the product. Likewise, the delivery method you choose is crucial as it affects the substance’s potency in helping to treat your anxiety.
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