Using Cannabis for Anxiety

Using Cannabis for Anxiety
HIghtimes main

Anxiety is a normal reaction to the subjective experience of stress, such as in “performance anxiety.” It can occur when anticipation of future events is associated in one’s mind with thoughts and feelings not rooted in the present moment. While anxieties can be considered a normal part of life, chronic or constant anxiety can be debilitating to one’s quality of life. In fact, such interference can produce very real physiological changes in the short and long term. It is estimated that almost two out of ten people in the U.S. suffer from anxiety disorder. Western medicine considers anxiety disorders mood disorders and defines five basic types: generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and social anxiety disorder (social phobias). Doctors often prescribe pharmaceuticals (e.g., anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressants) or psychological intervention to treat anxiety, particularly when underlying physical causes are absent. Adverse effects of pharmaceutical anti-anxiety medication range from mild to fatal. A thorough risk-versus-benefit analysis is advisable before committing to such a regimen. The Science Behind Cannabis & Anxiety Even though the combination of cannabis use and anxiety has been subject to extensive scientific scrutiny in the pre-clinical and clinical setting, the current state of the science of cannabis-based therapeutics in treatment of anxiety disorders is in its pre-clinical phase, yielding mostly negative, inconclusive, mixed, or contradictory results. This is presumably due to researcher bias and/or concerns about working with THC—its potential for inducing adverse effects when administered in inappropriate dosages or forms, the relatively low but present addiction potential, or its risk to various more vulnerable cohorts such as adolescents, pregnant women, or patients with a vulnerability toward developing psychosis, for example. The same, however, is not true for the use of CBD-based drugs or for the utilization of an essential oil of…

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