The movement towards including cannabis in therapy and psychology

Published Sep 11, 2019 11:00 a.m. ET
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Are psychologists moving towards using cannabis in their practice as a tool in therapy?

Cannabis research is at the forefront of medical studies for its health benefits and has already made its mark in the healthcare system, for treating numerous conditions including:

  • epilepsy
  • anxiety
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • muscle spasms
  • chronic pain

Important facts about cannabis and therapy

  1. Marijuana and anxiety can be healthy partners when used appropriately and with the guidance of an informed health provider.

  2. The legalization of cannabis throughout Canada and numerous states in America hopefully will remove the stigma that remains attached to the marijuana plant and its use for medical concerns.

  3. Psychologists acknowledge that for years, many of the patients they see admit to using marijuana to ease the anxiety issues they have. Along with helping sleep problems and nightmares, cannabis can help to relieve physical pain.

  4. Mental health providers often miss the psychological benefits of cannabis use. When used appropriately, cannabis can bring out the inner soul as opposed to the dulling of emotions that some patients experience. Emotions and senses are positively enhances, as cannabis use can release pent up feelings to your psychologist and yourself, that you could not express comfortably before using it.

  5. Bob Marley, an avid cannabis user, once versed "When you smoke the herb, it reveals you to yourself." Cannabis research is revealing that those words are perhaps more accurate than previously thought.

The movement for incorporating cannabis into our mental health care system is gaining speed, as the stigma attached to the plant is removed, and more cannabis research is implemented. However, there is cannabis research that supports the use of the two most common cannabinoids in the plant THC and CBD, but both can have different effects.

THC vs CBD

THC has been known to encourage psychotic episodes and can produce anxiety as a side effect. Higher doses of THC have shown the increase in these conditions, whereas CBD works as an anti-psychotic and also provides anxiolytic effects.

Methods of ingestion

As more cannabis research is completed, which will include the many weed accessories used to indulge in cannabis, the stigma surrounding the plant will hopefully decrease.

Some of the hottest accessories currently on the market include;

  • rolling papers
  • vape pens
  • bongs
  • edibles

All of these accessories can be used to ingest cannabis to treat psychological and therapeutic conditions.

Cannabis research shows an increase in the use of cannabis as a medical tool is on the rise. In Canada from April 2017 to September 2018, a 96% increase in the number of patients using cannabis was noted. These numbers may be rising steadily due to the 67% of physicians and psychologist that are now willing to prescribe medical marijuana to their patients.

September 2018 saw the number of physicians' who have authorized cannabis for patients rise to a staggering 18,086. On average, patients in Canada are prescribed 2.1 grams per day, so the future looks promising for the cannabis movement to include its health benefits in therapy to treat a myriad of mental issues and physical conditions. Remember that whether you are using cannabis for medical or recreational use do so with caution and professional expertise whenever possible.

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