Anxiety is a common mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It’s characterized by excessive worry, fear, and nervousness about everyday situations, and it can interfere with daily life as well. While the traditional medications such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs helps, but nowadays some people are turning to an alternative treatments, such as medical cannabis for their relief. But can medical cannabis really help with anxiety? Well, In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the evidence.
What is medical cannabis?
Medical cannabis, also known as medical marijuana, is a plant-based medicine that is derived from the cannabis plant. It contains compounds called cannabinoids, which interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce various effects. The two main cannabinoids in cannabis are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC is the psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces the “high” associated with recreational use. CBD, on the other hand, is non-psychoactive and has been shown to have potential therapeutic benefits, including reducing anxiety.
How does medical cannabis work in?
Researcher suggests that medical cannabis may help reduce in the symptoms of anxiety by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This system plays a role in regulating mood, appetite, sleep, and pain sensation.
One study found that THC may help reduce anxiety by increasing levels of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. So, GABA is a neurotransmitter that inhibits brain activity, and low levels of GABA have been linked to anxiety and mood disorders.
CBD, on the other hand, has been shown to have anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects by interacting with serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and anxiety, and low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression and anxiety disorders.
What does the research say?
While there is some evidence to suggest that medical cannabis may help with anxiety, the research is still limited and conflicting. Some studies have found that medical cannabis can reduce symptoms of anxiety, while others have found no significant effect.
A 2018 review of 49 studies found that while there is some evidence to support the use of medical cannabis for anxiety, the quality of the studies was generally low. The authors concluded that more high-quality research is needed to determine the safety and effectiveness of medical cannabis for anxiety.
Another review of 31 studies found that while medical cannabis may help reduce symptoms of anxiety, the evidence is still inconclusive. The authors also noted that the long-term effects of medical cannabis on anxiety are unknown and require further study. It’s important to note that the effects of medical cannabis can vary depending on the individual and the specific strain and dose used. Some people may find that medical cannabis worsens their anxiety, while others may find it helpful.
What are the potential risks and side effects?
Like all medications, medical cannabis carries potential risks and side effects. The most common side effects of medical cannabis include dizziness, dry mouth, and fatigue. THC can also cause temporary memory impairment, impaired coordination, and impaired judgment, which can affect driving ability. There is also a risk of addiction and dependence with long-term use of medical cannabis, particularly with high-THC strains. While CBD is non-addictive, some CBD products may contain trace amounts of THC, which can lead to a positive drug test.
It’s also important to know that medical cannabis can interact with other medications, including antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. This can lead to potentially dangerous side effects and should be discussed with a healthcare specialist before use.
While medical cannabis may hold promise for treating anxiety, the research is still limited and conflicting. More high-quality studies are needed to determine the safety and effectiveness of medical cannabis for anxiety.