As more states legalize cannabis use, the number of people turning to it to manage overwhelming anxiety and stress is increasing. However, there has been much discussion in the medical community and among citizens on the benefits of cannabis.
So, does cannabis help anxiety and stress, or does it cause them?
Understanding CBD and THC in Cannabis
Before diving into the discussion about cannabis use and anxiety, you must understand that marijuana comes with two active ingredients. These are:
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—One of over 400 compounds found in marijuana. It is a psychoactive element that gives you the feeling of highness. However, the chemical makeup of THC is like CBD, which combats the effects produced by THC.
- Cannabidiol (CBD)—Unlike most other cannabinoids in marijuana, CBD is not a psychoactive element. It is extracted from both hemp and marijuana plants. CBD is usually marketed as an option for treating various conditions including cancer, chronic pain, anxiety, and depression.
How CBD Works
The human body features various receptors, which are protein-based chemical structures that receive signals from different stimuli. CBD interacts with the CB1 receptors in the central nervous system and CB2 in the peripheral nervous system.
While the exact effect of CBD on the receptors in the brain is not fully understood, researchers have found it could change serotonin signals. The serotonin transmitter is a critical component of mental health. Low levels of this compound in the brain are associated with people dealing with depression and anxiety.
Conventional treatment for low serotonin levels may include Prozac, Zoloft, or other Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI). However, you can manage anxiety using CBD in place of SSRI medications.
How to Take Cannabis
Research shows that a dose of between 300mg and 600mg can help reduce anxiety for individuals dealing with a social anxiety disorder. The compound CBD is available in several products and forms. Some of these include:
Potential Benefits of CBD for Anxiety
For generalized anxiety (or GAD), CBD has helped reduce stress levels in rats and other animals. Subjects in tests showed lower anxiety behavioral and physiological signs such as heart rate.
CBD is also helpful for people dealing with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and other forms of anxiety. Plus, it’s been indicated that CBD can help in the treatment of insomnia because of anxiety.
Best Anxiety-Relieving Strains
Everyone responds to cannabis differently. Some of the most popular strains available on the market are:
- Indica Granddaddy Purple—for general anxiety
- Hybrid Girl Scout Cookies—for PTSD
- Indica Northern Lights—for OCD
- Sativa Jack Herer—for general anxiety
- Sativa Strawberry Cough—for social anxiety
- Indica Blackberry Kush—for insomnia
Research into the elements in cannabis suggests that some components such as CBD can help relieve anxiety and several common mental health disorders. But FDA does not regulate CBD treatment for anxiety, so the dosage and quality might differ between manufacturers and products. If you are currently on supplements or medications, you must consult a doctor before using cannabis.