Marijuana for Anxiety : How Effective Can It Be? - October 27, 2021

Life can often present challenges and make it difficult for us to get through the day. However, when you do get overwhelmed by stress and anxiety, it becomes imperative to look for ways to get back on track by calming yourself down.

This is easier said than done. People with anxiety have to deal with intense and prolonged worry on a daily basis, which can further deplete and worsen their condition. It can bring about additional medical problems like insomnia, accentuated headaches, and a lot many other conditions too.

Anxiety needs to be treated, and marijuana can act as a non-addictive alternative. So, sit back and read further as to how marijuana can be a great rescue for those troubled by anxiety.

What Is Marijuana?

Marijuana can refer to either of these – the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the cannabis Indica or the cannabis Sativa plant. The plant contains a lot of chemicals, more than 100 of which fall in the category of cannabinoids.

Marijuana is usually known for its relaxing and calming effects and is used for the same. In most U.S states, it is also recommended to assist many medical conditions, including chronic pain, glaucoma, and even poor appetite.

But today we will inform all of you about how cannabis can be used to relieve different types of anxiety and how the mentality towards cannabis has changed over the years.

Keep in mind that while cannabis comes from a plant and is considered natural, it can still have strong effects, both positive and negative.

How Does Cannabis Alleviate Anxiety?

medical marijuana for anxiety

Before we start on the Anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties of marijuana, we need to tell you that there are two major chemical compounds called cannabinoids found in marijuana namely THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol). As these two compounds play a major role in determining how you feel after consuming cannabis, we ask you to remember these terms as we go on from here.

Cannabinoids interact with our Endocannabinoid System and regulate a wide range of physiological processes, one of which is stress and anxiety.

There are still a lot of talks going around as to how anxiety can be alleviated. An anxiety attack can be caused by any and almost everything there is out there. It clearly depends from one person to another. These episodes can disrupt daily life activities and can be very disconcerting.

The reason why we look for an effective solution and there are studies that have shown CBD to be helpful in reducing stress and invoking a sense of calm.

How Do Cannabinoids Affect the Brain?

Both the earlier mentioned compounds, CBD and THC work on receptors that release neurotransmitters in one’s brain.

THC is a CB1 and CB2 (Cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2) agonist. This means that THC binds itself with these CB receptors and copies the function and role of endocannabinoids, the cannabinoids naturally produced by our bodies.

on the other hand, endocannabinoids are generally termed as ‘the Master Regulator of our bodies.’

They basically regulate various cardiovascular, nervous, and immune system functions inside cells. This allows our body to carry out the necessary functions seamlessly.

CBD, on the other hand, is a positive allosteric modulator of the GABA – A receptor. This means that CBD reduces anxiety as it changes the shape of the GABA-A receptors, in a way, that amplifies its naturally occurring calming effects side-by-side.

GABA receptors are used to control our anxiety and stress levels along with brain activity. The easiest way to describe what GABA receptors are is to think of them as a brake that slows down the car when needed. The moment GABA activity increases, nerve transmission slows down. This makes us feel relaxed and reduces stress.

Difference between THC and CBD

Both CBD and THC have the exact same molecular structure. A slight difference in how the atoms are arranged accounts for the differing effects on your body. In spite of their similar chemical structures, CBD and THC don’t have the same psychoactive effects.

CBD is psychoactive, just not in the same manner as THC. It doesn’t produce the ‘high’ associated with THC. CBD is shown to help with anxiety, depression, and seizures.

THC, on the other hand, is the compound responsible for the ‘high’ associated with the consumption of marijuana alongside controlling pain, mood, and other feelings.

Types of Anxiety Marijuana Can Overcome

There are several ways marijuana affects our bodies. As we have mentioned earlier CBD and THC have their own sets of effects on us. Similarly, there are various segments of anxiety that people suffer with. Let’s see how marijuana helps relieve them.

GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder)

GAD is characterized by excessive, exaggerated anxiety and worries about everyday life events for no apparent reason. People who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder are always on the lookout for disaster and can’t stop worrying about their health, money, family, work, school, or anything in particular.

SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder)

Excessive anxiety in situations where a person may feel judged, such as performance situations and situations involving interpersonal contact with others, characterizes SAD.

PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

PTSD is a common psychiatric disorder. It frequently manifests as a cluster of symptoms, such as reliving traumatic events through intrusive memories and nightmares, avoiding certain distressing factors, and changes in mood, level of arousal, and cognition.

Medical Marijuana and Its Uses

Cannabis use for medicinal purposes has become common as the days go by, including treatment for a number of disorders such as insomnia, muscle spasticity, and chronic pain to name a few. Medical marijuana is basically the same marijuana used recreationally, but for medicinal benefits.

There are some strains of marijuana that are not available for recreational use but for people suffering from chronic pain and other serious ailments, more potent strains are available. All of this can be accessed easily through a medical marijuana card, which one can get after a recommendation from a state-licensed doctor.

On November 5th, 1996, Proposition 215 was officially approved. This was the first legislative legalization of medical marijuana at a state level. Ever since more than 30 other states have legalized medical marijuana with high THC content and more than 15 states have legalized the use of Limited Access Marijuana Products with high CBD content.

Is Medical Marijuana Legal Across the USA

Laws are changing all the time on cannabis. Many states allow medical marijuana, containing THC, for several uses.

As part of the Farm Bill in December 2018, Congress legalized hemp. But there are still rules about where and how you can sell products that contain CBD. You can’t sell some across state lines, for example.

Laws are changing all the time on cannabis. Many states allow medical marijuana, containing THC, for several uses.

As part of the Farm Bill in December 2018, Congress legalized hemp. But there are still rules about where and how you can sell products that contain CBD. You can’t sell some across state lines, for example.

Legal Status of Medical Marijuana in the USA

State / Territory Legal Status Medicinal Marijuana
Alabama Yes
Alaska Yes
Arizona Yes
Arkansas Yes
California Yes
Colorado Yes
Connecticut Yes
Delaware Yes
District of Columbia Yes
Florida Yes
Georgia Yes
Hawaii Yes
Idaho No
Illinois Yes
Indiana Yes
Iowa Yes
Kansas No
Kentucky Yes
Louisiana Yes
Maine Yes
Maryland Yes
Massachusetts Yes
Michigan Yes
Minnesota Yes
Mississippi Yes
Missouri Yes
Montana Yes
Nebraska No
Nevada Yes
New Hampshire Yes
New Jersey Yes
New Mexico Yes
New York Yes
North Carolina No
North Dakota Yes
Ohio Yes
Oklahoma Yes
Oregon Yes
Pennsylvania Yes
Rhode Island Yes
South Dakota Only for Dravet Syndrome and other severe forms of epilepsy.
Tennessee Partially
Texas Yes
Utah Yes
Vermont Yes
Virginia Yes
Washington Yes
West Virginia Yes
Wisconsin Yes
Wyoming No

With medical marijuana, it isn’t just a simple yes or no that can get you your desired answer. CBD and THC products both fall under this broad category. There are states like Tennessee and Wyoming to name a few which don’t allow any form of Medicinal Marijuana. Whereas states like Texas have prescriptions for medical cannabis than recommendations.

Also, On May 14, 2021, the Mississippi Supreme Court justices overturned the voter-approved medical marijuana law on procedural grounds. Mississippi’s medical CBD law, enacted in 2014, is currently in effect.

So, what we’d like to say is to always check your state laws before opting for or consuming medical marijuana.

Other Therapeutic Benefits of Marijuana

There is still a lot of research remaining in the field of medical marijuana, such that it can help treat a number of conditions including:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Appetite loss
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Diseases affecting the immune system like HIV/AIDS or Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Eating disorders such as anorexia
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Mental health conditions like schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Seizures
  • Wasting syndrome (cachexia)

Did You Know?
You can use CBD oils and products to relieve pain and anxiety in dogs too.

Has the FDA Approved Medical Marijuana?

Epidiolex (cannabidiol) was approved by the FDA in 2018 for the treatment of seizures. These seizures were associated with two really rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and Dravet syndrome.
In addition to this, the FDA has also approved the use of three synthetic cannabinoid medicines – Marinol (dronabinol), Syndros (dronabinol), and Cesamet (nabilone) to treat nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy.

Ways in Which You Can Consume Marijuana

marijuana and anxiety

In popular culture, cannabis consumption is often synonymous with smoking. But smoking isn’t for everyone. Some people have cardiopulmonary issues that prevent them from smoking. Also, it’s not always the most convenient way to consume cannabis.

Here are several other methods for consuming cannabis without smoking:

Edibles

Many forms of ediles have now come up, rather than the age-old ‘brownie’. You can have CBD and THC gummies to satiate your cannabis need.

Tinctures

A cannabis tincture is a concentrated extract made by soaking the flowers and/or leaves in a solvent like alcohol. It allows for precise dosing, down to even a drop of it.

Cannabis Topicals

Applied directly to the skin, cannabis balms, gels, salves, and lotions can be used to treat pain, muscle aches, and more. They do not produce a psychotropic effect.

Sublingual Sprays

Sublingual sprays take advantage of the mucous membrane under the tongue and allow the active ingredients to bypass the digestive process and enter straight into the bloodstream.

Vapes

Vaping heats up cannabis to a level that releases cannabinoids and other compounds into the air, producing a vapor that is then inhaled. There is no smoke and it’s easier on the lungs.

Conclusion

THC and CBD, the two main active ingredients in marijuana, appear to have different effects on anxiety. Pure THC appears to reduce anxiety at low doses while increasing anxiety at high doses.
Pure CBD, on the other hand, appears to reduce anxiety at all doses tested. With regular use, there appears to be tolerance to these effects after a short period of time.
Individual differences in marijuana responses are influenced by a variety of factors.

Many people report using marijuana to cope with anxiety, and this may be especially prevalent among those suffering from a social anxiety disorder. Those who are concerned about marijuana causing anxiety are unlikely to use it, whereas those who use it and find it beneficial are likely to continue using it.

Selena Mora

A writer at heart and a sub-editor by habit, Selena Mora churns content for various online businesses. Her unique specialty is cannabis, and she has been following the industry for the past five years. She brings her writing personality, research, facts, SEO insights, and experience to the table. Besides cannabis, she also covers niches like travel, beauty, health, law, marketing, and literature. She is currently providing content solutions to Online CBD Store and other respected companies.