Anxiety disorders affect over 40 million people in the U.S. and make up what is considered the most common mental illness in the country. The varying forms of anxiety disorders can lead to other stress-related ailments and physical conditions, and people who suffer from them may feel irritable, feelings of dread, nausea, insomnia, fatigue, chest pains or heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and panic attacks, all of which can severely interfere with someone's daily life.
There are many common pharmaceuticals available for treating anxiety disorders, but unfortunately these drugs often have negative side effects, are highly addictive, and can lead to overdose. Now, as research on different cannabinoids continues, it seems that marijuana may be an effective treatment option in the fight against anxiety.
When administered in low doses, THC has been shown to reduce anxiety and worry. That being said, when the cannabinoid is taken in high doses it can actually produce the opposite effect, enhancing stress and producing panic attacks. Many researchers point to the entourage effect when talking about the efficacy of THC in treating anxiety, saying the synergistic effects of different cannabinoids working together is more effective than isolating THC or creating a synthetic version of the cannabinoid.
CBD has also been effective in targeting the symptoms associated with anxiety disorders. A 1982 study published in the journal Psychopharmacology found CBD was able to counteract the enhanced anxiety felt from high doses of THC. Studies suggest CBD can help combat Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), or cannabis can help erase bad memories, but the explanation for why cannabis may be able to do so can be provided by a joint study in 2014 involving researchers from three different universities. The study revealed that the endocannabinoid system in the human body is responsible for regulating anxiety and responding to stress. The study found "chronic stress and severe emotional trauma can reduce the production of endocannabinoids produced naturally by the human body. Thus, it is believed that the phytocannabinoids provided by cannabis supplement this cannabinoid deficiency."
As Whaxy says, many of the common pharmaceutical drugs currently used to treat anxiety "deliver agonizing side effects that are often worse than the conditions they are prescribed to treat." As research continues on the use of cannabis for treating anxiety disorders, people may have the opportunity to choose a medication that does not produce horrible side effects like insomnia, depression, hallucinations, or suicidal thoughts. Read this Whaxy article to learn all you need to know about cannabis for anxiety, including the history of its use, up to date research, and a list of strains that could be appropriate as treatment options.