Is Smoking Weed For Anxiety Effective?
While anxiety is felt by everyone at some point of their lives, anxiety disorder is an ongoing feeling of fear and worry that has a negative impact on your daily activities.
A surveyed 81% of people said that smoking weed had one or more health benefits, with nearly half listing anxiety relief. At the same time, just as many people in another survey stated that smoking weed had made their anxiety worse.
So, who’s right? Is smoking weed an effective method to relieve feelings of anxiety?
Before you can consider the possible effects of cannabis on anxiety, it’s important to take a deeper look into general anxiety and anxiety disorder to better understand how it affects the body.
General anxiety is completely normal, and something we all feel. It’s that nervous feeling about an upcoming event that leaves you restless or worried about the outcome of it . This could be about anything — a positive event like a wedding or something more uncertain like your boss asking to have a random one on one meeting with you.
Severe anxiety cases begin to affect your body’s physical activity and state, causing issues such as increased heart beat, issues breathing, trembling, sweating, and a surge of energy.
General anxiety becomes a disorder once it begins to have a negative impact on your daily activity or overall quality of life, and the negative feelings become present more days than they are absent.
Causes for anxiety have an extremely wide range, from mental to physical.
Physical conditions that may be associated with anxiety include heart disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, chronic pain, and a variety of other disorders. Some cases have been associated with chemical imbalances, while others are thought to be depression-related or fear-related based on the physical disorders.
Mental conditions that are associated with anxiety include events of trauma, a growth in daily stress, drug and alcohol abuse or withdrawal, and mental illness. Many phobias have been associated with anxiety, especially social phobias.
If general anxiety is not treated, it could lead to depression, hypervigilance, irritation, a destruction of lifestyle, and in extreme cases could lead to thoughts of suicide.
Standard Anxiety Treatments
Currently, there are two main focuses when considering treatment for extreme cases of general anxiety and for anxiety disorder: medication or therapy.
Medication revolves around the idea of changing the chemical reactions within your body to change the way you feel. Antidepressants are common as they react to your brain’s neurotransmitters in an attempt to balance your body’s chemical imbalances.
Therapy treatments focus on cognitive behavior, helping you focus on the issue, manage the symptoms, and work through the issues towards a more normalized lifestyle.
Medical treatments are considered short-term, since if you were to stop taking your medication, the issues could return, while therapy is considered a long-term solution that helps you better your life by learning to cope with the issues.
For some people, the idea of packing your body with medication seems like the last option, even though they want instant results. For this, they turn to natural remedies such as smoking weed.
So, with how impactful anxiety can be, can weed actually help?
Cannabis For Anxiety
When choosing your favorite bud to relieve anxiety, it’s important to be selective.
With so many factors of anxiety affecting people differently, along with the different aspects of cannabis affecting everyone differently, you have a lot of choices to make.
When considering the different strains of marijuanna, it’s important to look how they’ve historically reacted with people. Haze for instance, is known for giving users a boost of energy, with almost no CBD, which could be a great counter to some anxiety symptoms like fatigue, but terrible for other symptoms like restlessness.
THC and CBD also react differently with the body. THC is the psychoactive element of weed, giving you the feeling of being high, while CBD is the non-psychoactive element associated with various health benefits like improved sleep and pain relief.
Does Weed Actually Help For Anxiety?
Similar to antidepressants, some strains of marijuana are known for relaxing the individual. This relaxation is known to help with health issues such as phobias, panic disorders, sleep disruptions related to anxiety or fear, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
CBD is known to be the calming chemical in cannabis, which is also associated with a wide variety of other health benefits such as soothing everyday aches and pains, helping to improve quality of sleep, and even helping epilepsy patients with their seizures.
THC is most commonly known as the psychoactive element in weed, which gives you the feeling of being high. However, it is also known to cause an increase in energy and brain activity. For someone struggling with certain forms of anxiety, this increase in brain activity could cause worsened symptoms.
On the other hand, some people dealing with forms of shut in, or other anti-social forms of depression have found success with high THC strains. These forms of anxiety and depression can cause people to have dark thoughts, lose motivation, and ultimately stray away from the things they may otherwise enjoy.
This is where the confusion begins about whether we can say weed universally helps.
Some people need to ease their mind, while others need to kick it into gear. Weed has the ability to play both of these roles but with different traits.
Growers have the ability to control the levels of CBD and THC, even growing plants that are nearly all THC or all CBD, and any combination in between. This means if you primarily want CBD with a slight increase in THC to give a boost of energy, you can get the exact bud needed.
Do you know what you’re buying?
If purchasing your weed from a less than ideal source, especially for those users in non-recreational states, you can’t be quite sure exactly what you’re getting. Buying weed from a reputable provider will allow you to shop for more precise strains, THC, and CBD levels to ensure you’re receiving a bud that’s more likely to help with your specific type of anxiety. Even then, each person reacts to weed in a slightly different manner.
Cannabis For Medical Uses
It’s important to start using marijuana or CBD in a controlled environment, and ease your way into it. This will allow you to focus on the reaction that weed has with your anxiety to determine if it will help, if you react well, and how much you should take.
It’s encouraged that you start CBD at a max of 20 to 40 milligrams per day, keeping your dose stable for a week. At that point, if more CBD is desired, you should increase by 5 milligrams and use this dose for a week to check it’s effects.
Anxiety and Smoking Weed
With opposing causes and emotions associated with anxiety, and the opposing reactions with weed, it’s hard to give a definitive answer on if smoking weed works as a treatment for anxiety.
Sometimes weed can be an amazing treatment for anxiety, allowing the user to calm down and clear the sometimes imposing thoughts. Other times, weed can worsen the feeling of anxiety as it causes your mind to become more active.
The simple answer is: depending what your symptoms of anxiety are, and how you respond to the active THC and CBD levels in weed, cannabis could possibly be a great self-treatment for some anxiety. To know for sure, though, some trial and error is needed.