Anxiety and depression are two mental health conditions that can make daily life feel unbearable. Those suffering from these conditions often spend countless hours looking for medication, lifestyle change, or therapy that brings some relief. Although these methods have proven effective for many, finding the right treatment plan can take months or even years.
As a person works toward healing their mental health conditions, medical marijuana can be used to ease their symptoms along the way. While using marijuana for symptom relief, many individuals discover that it’s the medication they needed all along and becomes their permanent solution.
Keep reading to find out how medical marijuana can help combat anxiety and depression.
Anxiety and depression are often grouped together as one condition; however, they feel very different from one another. These conditions are mistakenly seen as one in the same because their coexistence in a person is more common than not. That being said, a person can have anxiety without depression and vice versa (identifying the conditions is essential to finding a suitable marijuana strain).
Anxiety is the feeling of nervousness, worry, fear, or unease about a situation or upcoming event. For some, anxiety is near constant and occurs seemingly without cause.
Depression is a mood disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness and a lack of interest in activities they would typically enjoy.
Medical marijuana has been used to treat various health conditions for at least 3,000 years. History shows prominent evidence that India in particular has treated anxiety and depression with marijuana for at least 400 years. Since then, researchers have analyzed and studied how the plant interacts with a person’s mental health.
Although there have been a limited number of clinical trials observing the link between marijuana and mental health, consumer reports and animal studies have proven effectiveness.
In 2010, a study found that CBD oil reduced symptoms of anxiety in individuals with social anxiety disorders. A 2018 survey reported that marijuana consumption decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety by %58. Historically, studies show that higher levels of THC and CBD provide more symptom relief.
Medical marijuana helps with anxiety and depression in many ways.
When the brain of a marijuana consumer is scanned, you see increased blood flow to areas of the brain associated with anxiety.
Cannabis interacts with the CB1 receptors in our brain, which are responsible for modulating the understanding and processing of social interactions.
Using marijuana triggers the release of serotonin, also known as the body’s naturally occurring “happy chemicals”. An individual with anxiety or depression is typically found to have a serotonin deficiency, and using cannabis can stabilize those hormone levels.
Sativa marijuana strains in particular are known to provide feelings of happiness and euphoria. This euphoric high helps dilute or filter out feelings of anxiety and depression. Many marijuana consumers report that when they smoke, they forget about their worries altogether.
Sometimes, mental health conditions are the direct result of physical health conditions like chronic pain. Many marijuana users report a decrease in anxiety and depression once they use the medication for pain relief.
Although marijuana has proven to be a valuable treatment option for various mental health conditions, there are some instances where usage is not recommended.
Medical marijuana may not be the best option if:
You are obtaining cannabis illegally.
You may face criminal charges if caught illegally possessing marijuana. This risk often results in fear of getting in trouble and may heighten anxiety instead of relieving it. Dispensaries are the only place you can obtain marijuana legally. Find a dispensary near you here.
Suffer from paranoia disorders like schizophrenia.
Doctors do not suggest that marijuana be used to treat paranoia disorders. Since marijuana can sometimes lead to paranoia, using the medication may exacerbate these symptoms.
If marijuana interferes with a physical health condition.
Every person is different, and not all bodies will interact with marijuana in the same way. For example, marijuana can regulate one person’s blood pressure but raise another person’s blood pressure. Your doctor can help determine if medical marijuana will interfere with your physical health conditions.