In most people, anxiety is a normal reaction to stress.
In fact, not many people know this but some amount of anxiety can actually be beneficial in many cases. Anxiety helped our ancestors become aware of dangers around them, like a predator and take necessary actions to survive. Becoming anxious about completing work-related tasks within deadlines can help motivate us to work harder towards achieving goals.
However, some people can develop cases of abnormal anxiety which makes them incapable of performing day to day activities. Take social anxiety for instance which makes people fearful and nervous about approaching other people.
Anxiety manifests itself in various types. One of the most common anxiety disorders is PTSD. This is a common occurrence in veteran soldiers returning from battle or people who have gone through a tragic accident in life.
Some anxiety disorders are easy to detect based on the external and physical symptoms. Others can be harder to detect because the symptoms are internal and the patient shows no outward displays of anxiety.
Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders can create a variety of symptoms that can cause mental and emotional problems for the affected person. These symptoms can deteriorate day to day function and decrease the quality of life for people in a number of ways.
- Some of the more common symptoms of anxiety disorders include the following.
- Severe physical reactions due to anxiety such as loss of breathing, sweating, faster heartbeat and nausea.
- Feeling of dread or apprehension for no particular reason
- Loss of sleep
- Fatigue and headaches
- Inability to concentrate on a given task
- Inability to clear mind or stop thinking about an event especially something traumatic
- Restlessness and pounding in chest
Treatments of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders are typically treated in one of two ways. The first method involves specialized psychotherapy while the second method makes use of medication.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
The underlying principle behind CBT is that a person’s thoughts, feelings, sensations and actions are connected. Negative thoughts give rise to more negative thoughts starting a vicious cycle that builds anxiety in the patient.
Under cognitive behavioral therapy, the patient is encouraged to talk about the underlying events that start the negative cycle and the therapist attempts to reshape the memories by associating something positive with it.
CBT can also reduce anxiety by talking about the event or situation that triggers the anxiety attack. Some patients use a coping mechanism where they consciously try to suppress the thoughts or memories that make them anxious. By talking about it, the doctor helps the patient look past the memory which can reduce the feelings panic associated with it.
Medication for Anxiety
Medical doctors and psychotherapists may also prescribe medication that helps reduce anxiety symptoms. Some of the more common medicine used for anxiety includes Xanax, Klonopin, Valium and Serax. These medicines can reduce anxiety, panic, and phobia attacks. They have a temporary effect and do have some side effects
There is no permanent cure for anxiety but the condition can be reduced and controlled with a combination of medicine and CBT.
Clinical Research on Medical Marijuana and Anxiety
Use of medical marijuana for dealing with anxiety has been gaining some traction with people. The medical herb has especially been useful for people with PTSD.
The growing interest has also led to more researchers looking into the drug for its effects of patients.
A study in 2014 reported that marijuana can enhance the function of endocannabinoids in the body. These are naturally occurring chemicals found in the brain, spinal cord and other parts of the body.
The study that was led by an international research team at Vanderbilt University concluded that THC and CBD cannabinoids in marijuana attach to the receptors in the brain. The endocannabinoid system controls anxiety and reduces stress by decreasing the signals sent by neurotransmitter glutamate.
One thing to note is that while the study showed the use of marijuana lowers anxiety, excessive use actually had the opposite effect and increase anxiety in the test subjects.
Another recent study from Canada found that 40% of the patients who used medical cannabis to treat anxiety and reduce pain showed a significant decrease in reliance on pharmaceutical drugs. Cannabis treatment completely removed the need for using benzodiazepines in less than 3 months for these patients.
Finally a study on PTSD patients showed that stress symptoms can be greatly reduced by Marijuana, as much as 75% for some patients. Researchers believe that CBD dramatically reduces anxiety disorders due to its effects on the limbic and para-limbic areas of the brain.
History of Medical Marijuana Use for Anxiety Disorders
Medical marijuana has been used throughout history to treat a number of illnesses and disorders. In India, cannabis seeds, flowers and leaves were being used to treat stress and depression as far back as 1500 AD. A mixture of milk, honey and cannabis known as bhang was used by warriors before going to battle to overcome fear and panic.
Even American journals were recommending hemp seeds and roots to treat inflamed skin and venereal disease during the 18th century. Medical doctors popularized the use of cannabis in England and Americas for the treatment of pain, nausea and stress.
Medical Marijuana as a Treatment of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety attacks require the patient to worry more about the long term effects of the condition rather than anything short term.
There are plenty of anecdotal accounts of anxiety treatments with marijuana while research also seems to point in a positive direction. The research has shown that cannabis has a similar effect on patients that pharmaceutical products like benzodiazepines have. The cannabinoid compounds in cannabis attach with the receptors in the body and balance the levels of a neurotransmitter called GABA which makes patients more relaxed and calm.
The major advantage of Marijuana over pharmaceutical medication is that it can serve as a complete medication for patients suffering from anxiety and related disorders. When used in the prescribed quantity the drug leaves little to no side effects and reduces stress for patients.
The psychotherapeutic effects of marijuana take place immediately. As marijuana can make people more calm it is particularly beneficial for social anxiety. Marijuana medication pills and vapor can make open up receptacles in the brain and make it easier for conversation to flow between for people who get stressed out in social conditions.
Best Strain of Medical Cannabis for Anxiety Disorders
Medical marijuana comes in a variety of strains. While some strains are more beneficial for other conditions like spasms and multiple sclerosis, there are specialized strains developed for treating anxiety and panic attacks in particular.
Some of the more famous strains of marijuana that are used for treating anxiety are listed here.
This strain contains a higher percentage of Sativa which means it gives a slightly better boost of energy compared to Indica based strains. This makes it perfect for use during the day as it won’t make you as drowsy as other strains. Once a patient develops affinity to this strain it can give an even better kick.
This is a hybrid stain which means it contains both Indica and Sativa compounds. It produces a strong relaxing effect and gives an energy boost. It is good for controlling depression and reducing pain.
This strain has a slightly higher amount of THC, similar to Amnesia Haze. This helps people keep their mind clear and alert. This strain is particularly good for people suffering from PTSD or those who find it difficult to concentrate.
This is a 100 percent Indica strain. This particular strain produces a strong feeling of relaxation for the whole body while numbing pain. It also causes drowsiness and effective for people suffering from insomnia. This strain should be used in the evening or when going to bed.
Girl Scout Cookie
The Girl Scout cookie strain is popular and not just among people suffering from anxiety disorders. It is known for giving a very strong high and producing a feeling of euphoria in people. It can make people concentrate better and reduces panic in people.
Another Indica based strain that causes drowsiness and reduces stress in patients. This strain can relieve pain and makes people sleepy.
Side Effects of Medical Cannabis
While cannabis can certainly help patients suffering from anxiety, we must warn people about the dangers of excessive use. Every medication can create side effects in patients. This is why every prescription medicine comes with instruction on dosage and not to consume too much too quickly.
Medical cannabis is no exception. The drug generates a feeling of happiness and euphoria in people and excessive use can lead to negative side effects. Some of the more common side effects include red eyes, increased hunger, drowsiness, headaches, dry mouth, short-term memory loss and an increase in anxiety.
If you are interested in using medical marijuana as an alternative therapy for anxiety make sure to follow the prescribed dosage accordingly. This will help you avoid any side effects. You can get your medical prescription from a qualified marijuana doctor in New York and California through our service.
In case of side effects, please make sure to get in touch with your doctor.