Medical marijuana, or cannabis, has come under harsh scrutiny in recent years, particularly since its popularity for treating health conditions is soaring. Many professionals advocate using it to treat anxiety, while others think it's risky and can have detrimental effects. If you're considering medical marijuana for your anxiety disorder, it really comes down to the individual ingredients. Here's what you need to know about getting the right kind of cannabis.
A Brief History
The use of marijuana is deeply rooted in history, especially India's. The earliest mention of cannabis is around 2000 B.C., and it was one of a handful of plants that were regarded as sacred. The ancient writings referred to cannabis as a source of happiness and a way to "lose fear."
When the British learned of the widespread use of cannabis in India, they decided to conduct a study in the 1890s to determine if long-term use was dangerous. Specifically, they were concerned that the drug was making the natives go insane. The results of the study led them to conclude that cannabis, in moderation, was perfectly safe. In fact, they found that alcohol was a bigger problem.
Arguments Against the Use of Cannabis
A quick internet search can reveal numerous studies on the use of medical marijuana, along with accompanying opinions on its safety and efficacy. Many people are against the use of cannabis at all, but they are particularly opposed to its use for the treatment of anxiety.
As you may know, anxiety and depression often go hand in hand. No one has proven why the relationship exists, but it could be because people who battle anxiety often have trouble sleeping, eating, and performing day-to-day tasks. These symptoms compound the anxiety and can cause the patient to suffer from feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and despair. Ultimately, it's believed that anxiety and depression result from a chemical imbalance in the brain, and medication is needed to stabilize those chemicals.
Many doctors prescribe medical marijuana to treat anxiety and depression. But here's the thing—cannabis can contain a compound called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which can actually elevate feelings of anxiety and depression.
THC is a psychoactive ingredient, and it activates the amygdala, the part of the brain that triggers the fight-or-flight response. In other words, this is the drug that is linked to those feelings of paranoia and fear—a commonly known and often joked-about experience among those who smoke weed.
There is some acknowledgment that symptoms of depression are probably diminished while the drug is still active in the body, but by the time the "high" wears off, the depression can return. And over time, chronic use of the drug might make symptoms of depression and anxiety worse.
If this is the case, why are there practitioners who advocate for the use cannabis to treat anxiety?
Arguments for Its Use
You have a basic understanding of what THC can do and how it affects the brain. But what you may not know is that not all medical marijuana contains THC.
Remember that medical marijuana can contain THC? Well, there are many different strains of marijuana available, and they all have varying levels of chemicals, all of which can be manipulated to treat certain disorders.
One particular compound known as CBD (cannabidiol), actually counteracts the effects of THC. In fact, studies have demonstrated that CBD, when taken on its own, may not only reduce anxiety but effectively eliminate it as well. A study published by the NIH showed that CBD worked well to combat both anxiety and depression in lab animals.
Medical marijuana has traditionally been grown to contain high levels of THC, simply because the drug works great at treating conditions like cancer, eating disorders, and even seizures. But CBD has been shown to have the same positive effects on the same disorders.
Can Medical Marijuana Work for You?
Since CBD has been shown to effectively treat anxiety as well as the depression that so often accompanies this disorder, effective treatment will depend on your doctor helping you find the right dose.
Hemp oil is high in CBD and low in THC, so this is often a great way to get what you need. But CBD can also can be made into a tincture or capsule. Your doctor can help you decide which route of administration is right for you.
For more information, contact a company like California Herbal Relief Center.Share