Marijuana and Anxiety

For every story of panic resulting from being too high, there is another about how marijuana has provided life-changing relief from chronic anxiety.

Studies show that marijuana has anti-anxiety properties, which can help people with disorders such as PTSD and social anxiety.

Many factors contribute to marijuana’s effect on anxiety. Strain composition, drug tolerance, environmental factors and pre-existing conditions can all influence whether you feel panicked or relaxed after using marijuana.

Here we look at the evidence and explanations underlying both sides of this complex story.

Relief from anxiety is one of the most commonly cited reasons for using marijuana. What’s more, scientists are starting to uncover evidence that marijuana may be a highly effective treatment for anxiety disorders.

The use of cannabis for treating anxiety was first described in 1563 when Portuguese physician Garcia de Orta claimed that cannabis could deliver sufferers from “all worries and care.” The effects of marijuana have been described as calming, relaxing and even hypnotic.

Many long-time users of marijuana report that the drug reduces their anxiety, citing relaxation and stress relief as the main benefits.

In addition to anecdotal evidence, there is some science to back up what many users claim.

A 2014 study from Vanderbilt University found that smoking marijuana can increase the presence of naturally occurring brain chemicals called endocannabinoids, which are reduced as a result of chronic stress. Some researchers think that a reduction of endocannabinoids could be a major cause of anxiety disorders.

Marijuana may also be more safe and effective than traditional anxiety medications.

A recent Canadian study found that within 90 days of using prescribed medical cannabis for anxiety and pain, 40% of patients were able to stop using benzodiazepines — a commonly prescribed anxiety drug with a number of side effects, including a high potential for abuse.

Studies also suggest that marijuana could be an effective treatment for PTSD. Since marijuana is known to play a direct role in memory extinction, some experts believe that it could help PTSD sufferers forget bad memories and negative experiences.

Much more about Marijuana and Anxiety at Leaf Science

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