Learn About the Ways Marijuana Can Affect Anxiety

April 9, 2019

Despite being demonized by many people, it is difficult to argue against the many health benefits associated with marijuana. Studies show that the marijuana plant is comprised of over 100 different cannabinoids, which are chemical compounds that naturally occur in the resin of the cannabis sativa plant. That said, delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), are two cannabinoids are often cited as being highly effective in treating the following health conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Mental health disorders
  • Cachexia
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea

It is important to note that the health benefits derived from marijuana have led to the drug being legalized in 33 states and the District of Columbia for medicinal purposes. Also, the FDA recently approved dronabinol and nabilone, two cannabinoid medicines used to combat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy treatments. In 2018, the FDA also approved Epidolex, which is currently being used to treat seizures stemming from one of two severe forms of epilepsy. However, many people have concerns about the role marijuana plays when it comes to anxiety and whether the drug helps or contributes to the disorder. In this article, we will take a closer look at these concerns and also detail the differences between street-level marijuana and marijuana sold by a licensed dispensary.

STREET-LEVEL MARIJUANA VERSUS MARIJUANA FROM A DISPENSARY

For those who have experienced paranoia or anxiety as a result of marijuana, these symptoms are, more often than not, underlying mental health disorders that have been pushed to the surface as a result of smoking or ingesting marijuana. In layman’s terms, it is more likely that marijuana use intensifies these feelings that may already exist in an individual as opposed to being the catalyst for them. It is also worth noting that the delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found naturally in marijuana is the primary ingredient that has been linked to paranoia and anxiety, especially when consumed in large amounts.

According to ScienceDirect, an online resource for scientific and medical research, street-level marijuana contains on average 12 percent of THC, the ingredient responsible for the psychoactive effects associated with marijuana use. This percentage is relatively low when compared to the THC found in marijuana sold by some licensed dispensaries, which can be as high as 35 percent. So it stands to reason that a higher concentration of THC would invariably give way to paranoia and anxiety, especially if the disorders were present before an individual began using marijuana.

CAN MARIJUANA REDUCE ANXIETY?

Having established that there is a nexus between high concentrations of THC and anxiety, the question then becomes whether or not marijuana can help reduce anxious feelings. When individuals follow guidelines for proper dosing and use the correct strain of marijuana, the all-natural herb can be exceedingly helpful in soothing paranoia and feelings of anxiety. That said, first-time users are encouraged to do their due diligence in finding a strain of marijuana and dosage that will work best for them.

HOW MARIJUANA CAN AFFECT ANXIETY

To better understand how marijuana can help reduce anxiety and paranoia, it is important that we also familiarize ourselves with the physiological effects that occur within the body when using the drug. According to the National Institute of Health, marijuana interacts with the GABA neurotransmitter, which is responsible for sending chemical messages through the brain and ultimately the nervous system to help combat anxiousness as well as feelings of paranoia. To help further put this into context, commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medications like benzodiazepines, for example, also targets the same GABA neurotransmitters, which explains why they are so effective at relieving anxiety and depression. The CBD cannabinoid in marijuana can also help boost serotonin levels, which further reduces feelings of anxiety. Having said that, if your primary objective for using marijuana is to cope with anxiety, depression, or paranoia, it is a good idea to look for a strain that contains a balanced mix of both THC and CBD.

WHAT STRAIN OF MARIJUANA IS IDEAL FOR MANAGING ANXIETY?

For many people, finding the right strain of marijuana is often a process of elimination in that they will try different strains and also titrate up or down in doses before finding what works best for them. While this can be effective, it is by no means the best approach. Ideally, individuals are encouraged to work with a licensed dispensary that can guide them in choosing a marijuana strain that has the right blend of THC and CBD that adequately meets their unique needs. That aside, studies have shown that a 1:1 blend of THC and CBD, commonly found in indica-dominant strains of marijuana, produces a sedating effect that can help reduce anxiety. Marijuana strains that are more THC dominant like those with a 0:1 blend of THC and CBD, for example, can cause the opposite effect in that they may trigger anxiety and paranoia. However, many people will still gravitate towards these strains because of the extreme psychoactive effects associated with them.

HOW MUCH DOES LEGAL MARIJUANA COST?

When it comes to legal marijuana, the cost can vary from state to state. For example, studies show that legal marijuana can be as much as 22 percent cheaper on the West Coast versus the East Coast with the disparity being attributed to the number of suppliers as well as the federal prohibitions placed on transporting marijuana across state lines. To further emphasize this point, you may be able to purchase an eighth of marijuana for just under $47 on the East Coast while the same amount would be about $36 on the West Coast. Also, like any other consumer good, supply and demand can also be a contributing factor when it comes to overall costs as well.

HOW TO GET A MEDICAL MARIJUANA CARD

Federal laws dictate that you must have a marijuana card to purchase, carry, and consume marijuana in some states, particularly those that have only legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes. Of course, the process of getting a marijuana card can vary from state to state; however, there are three requirements that are universal across all states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes including

  • You must have a medical condition requiring that you possess a marijuana card. However, the specific medical conditions that you must have to receive a medical marijuana card vary according to the state where you reside. Also, the medical condition must be diagnosed by a licensed physician.
  • You must show proof residency, which can be in the form of driver’s license, passport, or any other government-issued document, in the state where you will be applying for a medical marijuana card.
  • Your medical marijuana card application must be signed by a licensed physician in your state.

If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, chronic pain, glaucoma, or any other condition and have questions about obtaining a marijuana card in Ohio, consider contacting Ohio Green Leaf (866) 457-5559 or visiting them online at ohiomarijuanacard.com.