Anxiety is an issue that affects a significant amount of people in our society. The types of anxiety people face can range from PTSD and OCD to social phobias and stress over deadlines and due dates. To help combat these anxieties, people are often prescribed medications by their doctors. Unfortunately, many of the medications using for anxiety have negative side effects, can be addictive, and can influence the mental state of the patient.
Now, however, we are seeing an increase in people using cannabis to treat their anxiety. Specifically, people are looking into cannabidiol (CBD), which is a compound found in most cannabis plants. It’s effective in treating anxiety without the same side effects. And, now that cannabis is legalized in Canada and the negative stigma around medical marijuana is diminishing, cannabis is becoming a more viable option for treatment.
What Does it Treat?
Remember, we are talking only about CBD here and not the cannabis plant as a whole. CBD may be beneficial in treating a number of anxiety-related disorders including:
- Panic Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Social Phobia
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Mild to Moderate Depression
Some studies have shown that cannabis has had a positive effect in treating anxiety. Some, however, suggest that using cannabis may make an individual more susceptible to anxiety or may even induce anxiety. There’s certainly a lot of room for research on the specific effects, but in the end, it appears that people may simply react differently to cannabis.
How it Works
CBD affects the brain in several areas, which could explain why it’s effective in treating anxiety. Before we begin, remember, most of the research on this subject has been from animal studies. Results from these studies don’t always transfer to human therapies.
5-HT1A –5-HT1A is a subtype of the serotonin receptor. Often, prescribed anxiety and depression medications target the serotonin system. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) work by blocking serotonin re-absorption in the brain. This increases the amount of serotonin available in the synaptic space, which improves mood and reduces anxiety. In some cases, CBD works similarly to the SSRIs, and in some cases has been shown to work more quickly than SSRIs.
Hippocampus –the hippocampus is an area in the brain that is responsible for things like cognition and memory. Scans of patients with depression and anxiety show than they actually have a smaller hippocampus. Many depression therapeutic aids show regeneration of neurons (neurogenesis) in this area. Both SSRIs and CBD have proven effective in promoting neurogenesis.
Click herefor more information on how CBD helps anxiety.
How to Consume
There are many different strains of cannabis that can be used to help treat anxiety. Usually, the best strains for anxiety are ones with high levels of soothing CBD and low levels of the high-inducing THC.
One of the most obvious ways to treat anxiety with CBD is by smoking or vaping. Some strains have much higher levels of CBD, making them better options for anxiety treatment. Some of these strains are ACDC, Harlequin, and Charlotte’s Web. If you’re interested in testing out high CBD strains like these, check out our strains.
The best way to treat your anxiety with cannabis, however, is typically with oils – specifically, CBD oils. Because CBD is the ingredient that seems to actively help with anxiety, using CBD oil is the most effective treatment. A CBD oil can be ingested, vaped, or even baked into edibles. Along with being easier to consume, oils are also more concentrated and more discrete.
Can CBD be considered a viable option for treating anxiety? So far the research finds that CBD seems to aid anxiety, but without some of the negative side effects of prescribed drugs. In the near future, CBD could easily become a favourable alternative to conventional anxiety medication. Of course, you should always speak with a doctor about how to treat your anxiety best. To find out where you can obtain a medical cannabis prescription near you, visit our clinics page.