Latest News & Information on Medical Marijuana & CBD for Anxiety Treatment
- 6 min read
- Updated 406 days ago
Over the years, big pharma companies have developed dozens of treatments for anxiety patients, but users have grown tired of the baggage that comes with these medicines
CBD and Medical Marijuana as Treatments for Anxiety
One “discovery” for treating anxiety that has everyone excited hails from an unlikely source—cannabis. This plant was used regularly for medicinal purposes thousands of years ago but has only recently made headlines as a strong alternative to pharmaceutical anxiety treatments.
Cannabis plants generate a lot of useful products. Two of these products—cannabidiol (CBD) and medical marijuana (MMJ)—are making their mark among circles of anxiety sufferers
The information in this article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis and does not replace seeing a mental health professional. If you think you are suffering from this disease, consult with a health professional immediately. To find a health professional in the Highbrow network, click here.
WHAT CAUSES DEPRESSION?
Everyone experiences moments of anxiety. We worry about bills, social situations, our appearance, becoming ill, our children, our parents, and countless other things. These feelings of anxiety are normal and actually healthy for you.
An anxiety disorder, on the other hand, is a serious medical condition, according to the American Psychological Association. Someone who suffers from this condition experiences anxiety repeatedly and overwhelmingly, to the point where it derails their ability to have a normal, happy life. An anxiety disorder simply cannot be ignored.
Scientists don’t know what, specifically, causes anxiety disorder, but they do know that both environment and biology play a role. They also know that several medical problems, like heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disorders, and hyperthyroidism, are linked to anxiety. Even some of the medications we count on to treat other illnesses include anxiety as a side effect.
According to Mayo Clinic, your chances of developing an anxiety disorder increase with certain risk factors, including:
- Alcohol or drug use
- Mounting stress
- Mental health disorders
With so many potential causes for anxiety disorders, it becomes clear why so many people suffer from the condition and why finding effective treatments is so important.
More and more anxiety patients are turning to CBD and MMJ for a natural and effective way to alleviate their anxiety symptoms. Let’s explore each anxiety treatment to learn more about what it is and how it works.
Crash Course on CBD
Patients can self-administer CBD in the form of an oil, vaporized liquid, extract, or oil-based capsule. You can even eat CBD gummies. These products are for sale online, in health stores, pharmacies, and spas despite the World Health Organization confirming in 2018 that CBD “is safe, poses no health risks and is non-addictive.”
Their report on the topic also warned potential users that because CBD is unregulated, noting that “the purity, percentage dose and other ingredients can be left up to chance.” For this reason, most first-time buyers of CBD products rely on recommendations from friends and word of mouth to choose the product they want to use for their anxiety.
CBD is one of nearly 200 cannabinoids found in both hemp and marijuana plants. Despite what many people initially think, CBD will not get you high like marijuana does because it doesn’t contain marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). So, if it doesn’t make you high, what, exactly, does CBD do?
It calms you down. CBD bonds to and activates your body’s serotonin receptor. This produces a calming effect in your central nervous system, according to research published in The Permanente Journal. When you consider the fact that serotonin is a mood booster, the calming effect of CBD makes perfect sense.
If you’re wondering how well this works for anxiety, we’ll let science answer that question.
Research and Experts That Support CBD Oil for Anxiety
Here are some numbers that tell a little of the story about CBD and anxiety, along with some personal experiences from the experts:
- In a 2019 study, researchers monitored 72 adults over the course of a month and analyzed how CBD affected them. Anxiety dropped measurably in 57 of the subjects.
- The book Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research discusses a meta-analysis that found that over 60 percent of CBD users were taking it for medicinal purposes, mostly for pain, anxiety, and depression.
- Carlene Thomas RDN, a dietitian and author of CBD Drinks for Health, talks about her personal experience with using CBD for anxiety, saying that CBD’s effects were immediate, effective, and effortless. She added, “Of all the wellness tools in my toolbox, CBD oil has been the best addition to my life for anxiety.”
- When integrative therapist Isa Herrera started hearing about CBD oil from her patients, she bought a vial and began administering between seven and nine drops under her tongue in the mornings. The results shocked her. "It's changed my pain level, my anxiety level and my stress level," she reported.
Understanding Medical Marijuana Marijuana is a tougher nut to crack when it comes to relieving anxiety. At least one study has revealed that marijuana has anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) properties (University of Colorado, Boulder).
But other evidence seems to support the fact that marijuana’s key ingredient, THC, drives anxiety and anxiety disorders, rather than alleviating them. As we discussed in the earlier section, research into CBD has shown it lowers anxiety levels.
So why are we talking about MMJ here? Because when you combine the right levels of CBD and THC, good things happen.
The Journal of Psychiatric Research published the results from a 2019 study where 888 people who use MMJ recorded their use in more than 11,000 sessions. When they used cannabis that had a high CBD level and low THC levels, their anxiety and stress dropped 58 percent.
These results made scientists even more curious about cannabis’ anxiety-reducing properties. Now, the University of Colorado, Boulder is putting together another study that will focus on the distinction between marijuana strains that are THC-based, those that are CBD-based, and those that contain both THC and CBD in various ratios.
An Exciting Time for an Evolving Anxiety Treatment
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorders and phobias are all types of anxiety disorders, and their treatment typically includes one or more pharmaceutical drugs.
While various combinations of therapy and drugs can be effective for treating some anxiety disorders, finding the right “cocktail” for a specific patient is tricky. And when a drug does not work well for someone, they have to slowly wean themselves off the medicine, often enduring nasty withdrawal symptoms.
Even when the drugs work, they can create side effects so undesirable that they can make the patients consider quitting them cold turkey.
This could explain why many anxiety patients have responded so enthusiastically to CBD and MMJ as alternative components to consider in their anxiety treatment plans. Both CBD and MMJ boast a growing base of loyal users who swear by how well these products alleviate their anxiety symptoms.
Our understanding of the benefits of CBD and MMJ for treating anxiety will improve now that more clinical research is being conducted in the area. Check back with us periodically to stay informed on the latest findings and breakthroughs in this area.
"Of all the wellness tools in my toolbox, CBD oil has been the best addition to my life for anxiety"
- Traditional medication. Many people with depression find that taking prescribed medications (called antidepressants) can help improve their mood and coping skills. Medications have been around for decades, and for a good reason. When your anxiety is so intense you can’t get out of the house or take care of yourself, therapy alone is not enough. In response, the pharmaceutical industry has come up with a wide range of medications for anxiety, known as anxiolytics. Talk to your doctor about whether psychiatric medicine is right for you.
- CBD and/or marijuana therapy. Anxiolytics can have numerous unpleasant side effects. As a result, healthcare professionals have turned their attention towards cannabinoids. In fact, numerous experts believe cannabidiol can have a beneficial impact on the brain, provide pain relief, and reduce the symptoms of stress, depression, or anxiety. CBD products have seen massive growth as an OTC remedy for anxiety. With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in the US, and the full legalization of industrial hemp, CBD is set to become a nation-wide home remedy for anxiety, depression, and many other debilitating conditions. Even though research is still in the early stages in establishing whether hemp oil, cannabis oil or other marijuana products represent a significant treatment for anxiety, depression, and stress, people who have used them claim an overall decrease in symptoms.
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