Marijuana for anxiety
One of the most notorious side effects of a bad high includes paranoia and anxiety, which is why so few consider marijuana for anxiety treatment. While it is true that this uncomfortable feeling can be an adverse effect of consuming cannabis, the most frequently reported sensations include more positive results like euphoria and full-body relaxation, which is what makes marijuana for anxiety such a powerful and effective tool in tackling the symptoms that go along with this diagnosis.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a mental health issue that can be difficult to detect, even for the most experienced medical professionals. Anxiety can be felt at any time and is generally triggered by stressful situations or events, but some battle this intense feeling for months and even years on end. In long term cases, there is typically internal trigger such as a chemical or hormonal imbalance, but the resulting symptoms are always the same.
Symptoms of anxiety
Some people never receive an official diagnosis for their anxiety, and many who are affected shrug off the idea that something might be wrong and never seek help, because everyone is stressed out these days, aren’t they? Though there is no official test for anxiety, and most definitely no effective method of receiving a diagnosis online, there are some of the most commonly reported symptoms from sufferers of anxiety.
- Fever / Chills
- Trouble with breathing
- Heart palpitations
- Feeling panicked
- Chest Pain
- Periods of rapid breathing
- Difficulty with decision making
- Stiff muscles
- Gastrointestinal issues
Does marijuana help with anxiety?
Cannabis products of all different kinds can be useful for treating the symptoms of anxiety, as they can help to soothe, heal, relax and melt away many of the adverse effects in the moment. With care, marijuana can also be effective at reducing foreseeable bouts of panic that might occur during high-stress times, like at a work meeting or an interview.
How does using marijuana for anxiety work?
Using the right marijuana strains for anxiety in small doses can provide instant relief from many of the uncomfortable symptoms by releasing a wave of calm that helps to relax muscles, relieve stress, reduce pain and open up the airways which for some, makes it a little bit easier to breathe. This euphoric effect is produced by THC, and according to research from Washington State University, it can also be enhanced with the addition of CBD.
Relevant studies/clinical trials
There has so far only been one in-depth research study into the effectiveness of marijuana for anxiety, and what they found was challenging to decipher. After scrolling through over 65 other articles, journals, and results on the topic including two that recorded real-time patient opinions and feedback, researchers concluded that more study is needed to figure out how and why treatments using marijuana for anxiety work, and how to utilize the components of the plant most effectively.
Dosing with marijuana for anxiety
Though most research up until this point has been focused on THC and it’s possible effects, the recent release from the Journal of Affective Disorders suggests that cannabis strains that produce significant quantities of both THC and CBD are most effective for stress, but for patients with anxiety almost any kind of marijuana seemed to provide a relieving effect.
THC vs CBD
Since both of these primary cannabinoids are believed to be beneficial for reducing the symptoms that are associated with anxiety, it is important to understand and balance the pros and cons of each of them to determine what type of strains might work best for you.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive component that is produced by marijuana plants, and it is primarily responsible for the stereotypical high that consumers feel after smoking or eating cannabis products. Though it is generally assumed that this element is the most effective option for treating the symptoms of anxiety, in high doses, consumers are more prone to experiencing this adverse sense of panic rather than relief.
- Will help you to sleep
- Relaxes stiff and sore muscles
- Calms anxiety
- The intensity of the cannabinoid might make it difficult to wake
- Motor function delay
- Memory problems
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most talked about marijuana cannabinoid, and that is because it is primarily used for medicinal purposes, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and regulatory benefits. CBD, unlike its counterpart, is non-psychoactive and doesn’t offer the same intensity of anxiety relief, and it can actually exacerbate many of the symptoms of anxiety including insomnia.
- Will not impact motor function or memory
- Provides a boost of energy
- Offers system regulatory benefits that can naturally help to reduce symptoms of anxiety
- May interfere with prescribed medications
- Known to cause frequent sleep interruptions
- Effects are not as instant or intense
Indica vs Sativa
No matter what the problem at hand is, one of the first questions that consumers ask is,” Which one is better?” but the truth is that what works for you might not work for someone else. It is also important to recognize that both types of cannabis can offer a couch lock high or a lighter more uplifting sensation, as these labels have absolutely nothing to do with the effects that you should expect from a marijuana strain. The only time this difference in genetics might be relevant is if you are growing your own medicine, as Indica strains are thicker, bushier varieties that do best in cooler temperatures, and Sativa strains are taller, produce smaller buds with massive fan leaves and prefer a hotter more humid environment to thrive.
Methods of ingestion
Many potential consumers are turned off by the idea of smoking, especially if they don’t use tobacco products prior to considering this kind of treatment. Luckily, technology has advanced, and there are now some pretty incredible and healthy ways that you can use marijuana for anxiety issues. The fun is in experimenting to find out which ones you are more comfortable with, and later, which types you prefer the effects of:
- Sprays (oral & topical)
- Smokables (buds, concentrates)
- Vaping (vape juice, bud flowers, concentrates)
- Topicals (cream, balm, salve, lotion, bath bombs)
Best strains of marijuana for anxiety
So far there isn’t a whole lot for reliable research into the specific chemical components and which ones work best, but the bit that’s available, points towards marijuana strains that offer a reasonable CBD content paired with a lower THC level, which is the most effective for the relief of anxiety symptoms. Below you will find a list of the top 10 strains with these exact characteristics from all over the world.
- Ringo’s Gift
- Charlotte’s Web
- Sour Tsunami
- Stephen Hawking Kush
- Valentine X
- CBD Auto Cheese
What strains to avoid if you have anxiety
Using marijuana for anxiety treatment can be incredibly effective, but unfortunately, especially in the case of brand new or less experienced consumers, it’s a good idea to stay away from high THC strains. THC is the element that is responsible for the intense relaxation, but in higher quantities, it can also cause adverse effects like the sensation of dread or increased anxiety. Instead, opt for low THC strains and whenever possible CBD inclusive strains for the best chance at achieving a comfortable level of relief.
Other Ways to Reduce Anxiety
If you still aren’t sure about using marijuana for anxiety and would like some additional, more natural coping strategies to help you to make it through feelings of anxiety, then check out these top 6 suggestions from medical professionals all over the world.
- Eating Healthy
- Stay active
- Be social
- Maintain a strong support system
- Get plenty of sleep
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and other drugs