For many people who may not know much about cannabis, the idea of using medical marijuana to treat anxiety seems strange. Doesn’t smoking pot make people some people anxious? It certainly can in some scenarios, but like so many other myths, the idea of the anxious pot smoker is really a leftover piece of propaganda. One of the most fascinating things that the medical community has come to learn in the few years since restrictions on marijuana have been loosened is that it is an incredibly diverse treatment. People react to cannabis in many different ways, which is why there is a growing list of conditions and maladies that patients are finding relief from. Depending on the way that cannabis is introduced into the body and the dosage prescribed, marijuana can be very useful in the management of different types of anxiety.
One of the reasons that cannabis can be used to treat psychological stress is because of its ability to directly alter adjacent symptoms and problems. The term anxiety gets thrown around a great deal in the medical community, and is one of the most often reported problems from medical patients. In a great many of these cases, anxiety is being caused or exacerbated by physiological factors that can be treated by cannabis. For example, here are three physical issues often associated with anxiety—general inflammation, digestive issues and trouble sleeping. All of these problems are governed by the body’s endocannabinoid system—a complex network of neurotransmitters and chemicals that are controlled by cannabinoids that occur naturally in the human body.
Supplementing a healthy lifestyle with medical cannabis—whether it is taken topically or ingested—can often be the key to limiting anxiety that is caused be these types of issues. Once a patient is able to sleep better or find relief from digestive pain, there is often a cascade effect of improvement in other areas of stress. One of the most common causes of anxiety is high levels of inflammation caused by poor diet or genetic factors. Cannabis is a great first step to dialing back the body’s inflammatory response in a way that is safe and easily controlled with small dosages.
If we bear down on the specific treatment of stress using cannabis, we also find that the body’s endocannabinoid system plays a large role. Ongoing research into the direct treatment of anxiety with cannabis has found that chronically stressed brains often exhibit fewer endocannabinoids. More data still needs to be collected through human trials, but right now the science does seem to indicate a direct relationship between cannabinoids and the feelings that we experience as anxiety. It stands to reason then that by taking exogenous cannabis, we might be able to supplement for a lack of healthy neurotransmitters.
As with so many medical applications, one of the largest benefits of using cannabis in this way is safety. Standard treatment for anxiety often includes the use of benzodiazepines. These narcotics, the valiums of the world, are highly dangerous when compared to medicinal cannabis and also include a high potential for abuse.
Where to start?
If you are looking to manage anxiety and its related symptoms there are plenty of specific types of cannabis that fit the bill. For the most part there is no hard-and-fast rule about what type of marijuana will work for a specific patient. For many people, the calming full-body effects of indica seam to offer more relief whereas others will prefer the more uplifting impact of sativa-dominant strains. Of course there is also a huge range of hybrid marijuana species between those two poles of indica and sativa. You may find that trying different types of cannabis and seeing how they affect your anxiety levels is a great way to learn more about what is causing you stress. For example, maybe you are under the impression that most of your anxiety is just in your head, and your body is not the cause of the problem. By trying an indica-dominant strain of cannabis, you may actually find out that relaxing your body plays an important role in managing anxiety.
In light of the research showing that CBD plays an important role in regulating our stress response, a good place to start is with strains that offer a strong CBD profile. Cannatonic is a hybrid strain that has worked extremely well for those who suffer from anxiety. This strain offers moderate amounts of THC for those who may be looking to stay more alert while still obtaining the benefits from medical cannabis. For patients who may have tried just CBD supplements and not marijuana, cannatonic may be a good place to start pursuing relief from cannabis flowers.
Classics are classics for a reason, and when it comes to indica strains that have a reputation for relaxation Northern Lights is a good bet. When you want to achieve that satisfying full-body release of anxiety, when you feel your shoulders drop and your muscles loosen, indica-dominant strains are the way to go. Northern Lights combines all of those physical benefits, giving you the feeling of a spring being slowly unwound, while also nudging your mood in a positive direction.
If you are interested in pursuing a hybrid strain that offers both the benefits of sativa and indica while maintaining a focus on anxiety relief, Chemdog 91 is a good way to go. Happiness and relaxation are the calling cards of this classic strain, which is a great option for patients who want to stay energetic and focused throughout the day. Many of the strains from the Chemdog lineage offer patients bright, lemony and clean flavors. Another great thing about Chemdog is that many times it can be found as either a sativa-dominant or an indica-dominant hybrid, giving patients plenty of room to search around and find the batch that fits their needs.
If you are interested in limiting these sort of anxiety-adjacent issues using medical cannabis, talk to your doctor about dosage and method of consumption. If you determine that using marijuana is the right option, then you can begin to isolate signs and symptoms of anxiety and work your way forward to a happier future.