Marijuana has long been associated with human anxiety. There are stories that have been passed down from one generation to another about severe levels of paranoia, or accounts from medical patients regarding its powers in the treatment of chronic anxiety. What we know for sure is that a link exists between cannabis and mental health. Amongst the numerous reasons that prompts people to seek medical cannabis, anxiety places second on the list. In the face of the inconsistent information, and numerous products, how do we know the solution to our anxiety, and what will aggravate the condition?
Despite abundant research that has focused on exploring the effects that marijuana has on the human brain, just a handful give specific information about the actual effects of cannabis on anxiety. The outcomes from these studies do not really hold for a number of reasons; ranging from the little time it has been legal, to the test subjects, which most times are animals, and in a few cases, healthy humans without any proof of anxiety. Having said that, there’s a lot to gather from our current knowledge of marijuana, and how it affects the activities of the brain to gain a fair knowledge of how it can solve our anxiety problem.
Upon usage of cannabis, we get high, and this is owed to the presence of cannabinoids in the flower binding to receptors all over our brains. Many constituents of cannabis, specifically THC, affects the activity of the amygdala, which is the portion of the brain responsible for emotional processing and how we respond to fear, stress, and paranoia.
Brains facing or may have faced severe levels of stress and trauma reflects a deficiency in endocannabinoids, so theoretically, THC and several other cannabinoid compounds (like CBD) can take up these spaces, therefore, providing treatment for anxiety. Particularly, the CB-1 receptors to which endocannabinoids bind reduces the extent to which your brain reacts to threats. Therefore, we are led to the question of the dual nature of the plant, and its likeliness to cause anxiety, and in some cases, also relieve it. And how much control we have on the results as consumers?
Once THC goes past a certain threshold, it begins to cause an over-excitement to the neural pathways, and consequently leads to anxiety. This could be why a 2009 research which focused on anxiety and cannabis implied that ardent users of cannabis experience higher levels of anxiety as compared to non-users – the more THC that we consume, the less sensitive our brains becomes to our own natural endocannabinoids. Without a doubt, the relationship between anxiety and cannabis is influenced by several factors, from how often it is used and what dosage is taken, to the situations in which it is used.
THC exhibits a concept known as bi-phase dose effect. This refers to the dual reaction it produces when taken in low doses, as well as high doses. Research which was carried out by the University of Illinois, Chicago explored this bi-phasic window to come to terms with the exact turning point in order to help people manage their intake and improve their experiences with cannabis. Results from the study indicated that 7.5mg of THC in the system of intermittent cannabis users led to an elevation in their mood and anxiety release, but 12.5mg of THC led them to anxiety and paranoia. This bi-phasic window is not the same for frequent cannabis users, of course, it becomes wider, owed to the tolerance that your system has built handling higher levels of THC with little or no anxiety or paranoia. For this reason, the standard dosage in areas that permits the use of marijuana is 10mg. Scientifically, this amount of marijuana has proven to provide users with the most peaceful experience.
So, what is the role of CBD in all of this? According to a study which was carried out in Washington State University, the role of THC to CBD ratios in the treatment of stress, anxiety and depression, CBD presents distinct benefits. The study indicates that high CBD/low THC strains reduced depression, and the low CBD/high THC strains reduced stress. Every strain produced positive results towards the scaling down anxiety levels, and were somewhat effectual, but its effects was based on the type of anxiety that the patient was struggling with.
So, what can we deduce from all this information, and how can we produce a cannabis-based treatment for anxiety with little or no flaws? From the study, the most vital information that has emanated is seen in the connection between THC dosages to the effects of cannabis. Hence, indulging in things like micro-dosing will most likely produce better effects if adopted as long-term treatments for anxiety. The consumption of prepackaged edibles which have their doses clearly stated on the packs, or taking in very minimal amounts of flower is most likely the most effective treatment.
More so, it can be concluded that, though sativas like Jack Herer and Sour Diesel are very good for energetic and social circumstances, they would probably increase your heart rate and bring about orthostatic hypotension in high-anxiety patients, owed to their already high THC levels. For that reason, it is a lot safer to deal on indicas or hybrids with a high CBD/low THC balance. Consequently, you are able to smoke more, with lesser fear of surpassing the threshold and landing in the negative aspects of the biphasic window. Strains like Grandaddy Purple and Cannatonic would produce effective results in the treatment of anxiety, particularly in patients that are struggling with chronic anxiety disorders connected with depression.
Despite the fact that this research is in its early stages, scientists are convinced that cannabis can provide a long term and long-lasting treatment to more severe conditions such as seizures and PTSD. With the increasing interest in the positive effects of marijuana, it can be said that marijuana is the potential answer to the numerous chronic problems that is troubling Americans, and will also most likely proffer a new form of healthcare that is not controlled by treacherous Big Pharma Industry.