Can Cannabis Also Cause Anxiety
Cannabis is a double-edged sword of an anxiety treatment as it has an unfortunate dual effect: it can cause anxiety as well as alleviating it. This is possible because of the two main chemicals in cannabis. THC is the cannabinoid responsible for the euphoric high sensation most often associated with cannabis use. It can create relaxation as well as increase heart rate , as well as create anxiety at higher doses.
Another chemical, CBD , is non-psychoactive. CBD actually works against the high induced by THC and has anxiety-relieving benefits of its own.
A 2017 University of Washington study backs up these findings. In short, this study found that low doses of THC can decrease anxiety, while high doses of THC can increase it. Meanwhile, it confirmed that CBD decreases anxiety at all doses.
Using Cannabis Oil To Quell Anxiety Stress And Panic Disorders
Anxiety has a bad reputation in a society that champions strength, outgoingness, and resolute decision-makers. But what we dont easily see from anxiety are all the ways in which it is helpful.
Anxiety is a mechanism of the body that helps us stay in-tune with potential dangers that could affect our lives, jobs, relationships, and health. When those anxiety-producing Spidey senses get out of whacksay, from an intensely traumatic event or many small eventsthose heart-pounding, mind-racing moments can infiltrate life at inappropriate times. It can feel like being the one person whos scared to death on an airplane of hundreds of passengers. If you were really in danger, you would see a lot more people around you with the same reaction, but since youre the only one gripping the armrests with whitened knuckles you feel a sense of loneliness and isolation on top of the anxiety.
For anxiety sufferers, moments like that can pop up at just about any time of the day or night, triggered by sensations much more benign than air travel.
How To Reduce The Effects Of A Marijuana Panic Attack
What can you do if you find yourself in the midst of a weed panic attack? The good news is, despite how horrible it feels when it is happening, a panic attack cant kill you, and it wont last forever. Here are some tips to help you get through a cannabis panic attack as quickly and smoothly as possible. Not all of these tips will work for each person each time, but you might find yourself surprised by what ends up helping most.
- If you are feeling woozy, drink something sugary to raise your blood sugar. A carb-heavy snack may also help, but youll probably prefer something dry, like cake or crackers if you are also experiencing nausea or vomiting.
- Excuse yourself. A change of scenery can make a big difference go outside, or to a quiet room, or out to your car .
- Ask for help. Ask a friend to help you get water or a snack, or ask them to distract you, to go for a walk with you, or to talk you through the anxiety.
- Do some deep breathing and ground yourself into the present moment. Find something outside of yourself to focus your attention on the sensation of touching a soft blanket or holding your hand under running water, for example.
- Closing your eyes, listening to music, or watching TV might help, but also could be too overwhelming, especially at the peak of the panic attack.
- As you begin to come down from the panic attack, distract yourself with an activity if you can . Conversation with a trusted person may also be a welcome and effective distraction.
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The Best Cannabis Strains For Panic Attacks
While there is evidence suggesting that high-THC cannabis can promote the onset of panic and anxiety, there is also evidence that CBD, a prominent cannabinoid in hemp and some cannabis strains, can work to mollify it.
In a Current Neuropharmacology article titled Evidences for the Anti-Panic Actions of Cannabidiol, researchers conclude that CBD may be a promising drug for the treatment of PD . However, the authors of the study emphasize that clinical trials involving diagnosed PD patients will be needed to clarify the specific mechanism of action of CBD the safe and ideal therapeutic doses of compound .
Fortunately, at the time of writing, there is an active clinical trial of 50 participants titled Cannabidiol for the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders: An 8-Week Pilot Study. Results of the randomized and placebo-controlled study, which are set to be published late in the coming year, aim to identify an efficient dose of cannabidiol for the treatment of anxiety disorders like PD.
That being said, its important for readers to remember that the following picks on the best cannabis strains for panic disorder are suggestions only based on their high CBD content. There is no clinical information suggesting that any of the following strains will treat or cure panic disorder, or any form of anxiety disorder.
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Why I Decided To Use Cbd For Anxiety
Anti-anxiety medications are not for everyone seeking panic attack treatment. While they may help during a crisis, they are not safe for long-term consumption and are a known risk substance for abuse. Many people report significant side effects during and after use, like the loss of sex drive, a sense of apathy, and a feeling of being on autopilot. These side effects were the main reason why I chose to find an alternative therapy for my own battle with anxiety.
Anxiety is a complicated issue to tackle, no matter what your situation is. While I made many changes in my life that have gotten me to a better place, I found that CBD oil was definitely a major piece of the puzzle. It left me free to continue my journey without feeling overly sedated or like I was on autopilot. Mostly, I feel that it allowed me to move beyond my crippling daily anxiety, and let me explore other therapies like exercise, lifestyle changes and counseling.
Most importantly, it killed the overwhelming sense of dread I experienced on an everyday basis. Through some changes on my part, and daily use of CBD oil for anxiety, I am in a much healthier space mentally then I was two years ago.
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Best Cannabis Ingestion Methods For Treating Panic Disorder Symptoms And Side Effects
Patients find cannabis oil helps with their anxiety by regulating their responses to stressors but not impacting their work or relationships. Typically, it takes just one puff of marijuana to give you anxiety relief, but because of the nature of anxiety, many sufferers find they must continue treating themselves throughout the day to continue their relief. Because of this, they prefer cannabis oils discreetness and long-lasting effects.
CBD-dominant cannabis oil provides you with a gentle medication with very little side effects. CBD counteracts the psychoactive effects of THC, but also has potent anti-anxiety qualities, providing tolerable, safe relief from various panic disorders.
While smoking raw marijuana flowers rich in THC, CBD or both is the traditional way of getting your treatment, more modern methods are being used, like vape cartridges and sublingual sprays, to deliver the medicines benefits in a healthier way.
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The Risks Of Using Marijuana For Anxiety
Even if the restrictions on marijuana were lifted, and researchers could use it in their studies, there’s another problem. Both anxiety disorders and marijuana sensations are individualized. So, marijuana may help one person with their anxiety but not another.
Even worse, using marijuana could enhance symptoms of anxiety for some people, says James Giordano, PhD, a professor of neurology and biochemistry at Georgetown University Medical Center.
“Some are overly sensitive to the ‘activating’ effects of THC, and this can induce anxiety, rather than reduce or relieve it,” Giordano says.
Latest research: A 2020 study found that higher-potency cannabis may increase the risk of anxiety associated with marijuana use.
Then, there’s the chance that smoking marijuana won’t reduce or enhance anxiety at all. That was the case for college students surveyed in a 2012 study who said they did not see a significant change in their anxiety after smoking.
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Video: Cbd Oil Explained
CBD has gotten quite the buzz lately . Its suddenly being stocked on the shelves of every health food store, and it seems like CBD producers have no shortage of creative ways to mix it into foods and drinks. According to them, it can treat a laundry list of health problems, including anxiety. So are they right?
Lets take a look at the evidence on CBD for anxiety.
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What Not To Do If You Have A Weed Panic Attack
If you find yourself in the throes of a marijuana panic attack, the last thing you want to do is make it worse. Here are a few things that are highly unlikely to help you feel better and will probably make you feel worse:
- Dont call 911 . A weed-induced panic attack, intensely unpleasant as it may be, is not a true emergency. You are not going to die from a marijuana overdose. You are not going to die from having a panic attack. Your heart racing, shortness of breath, chills, and vomiting are symptoms of the panic attack and they will subside. Having the paramedics come will likely be more stressful and stimulating than waiting it out.
- Dont stay put if you are uncomfortable. Get out of the room, go back inside, go sit in your car, remove yourself from conversation or company that is making you feel uneasy. A change of scenery and energy can help you calm down faster.
- Dont try to focus on television or music if it feels overwhelming. These things can be great distractors when you are coming down. But if they dont feel good, try something else instead.
- Dont take Xanax or other benzodiazepine prescription anxiety drugs. CBD blocks some of the enzymes that help to break down drugs like Xanax. This can result in larger amounts of Xanax in the bloodstream and amplify the drugs side effects.
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What Are Panic Attacks
A panic attack is a sensation of intense fear that causes many unpleasant symptoms. Panic attacks occur when the brain believes its in life-threatening danger, even if its not true.
Panic attacks have to do with the fight-or-flight system, which exists to protect you from danger.
You have probably experienced at least a mild flutter of this system before. That moment when you think youve lost your wallet, hearing a scary noise in the dark, or a close call while driving can all cause the fight-or-flight system to engage.
Unfortunately, this system can be triggered by many experiences, including situations that are not a true threat, leaving some people vulnerable to panic attacks.
A panic attack often begins with a sensation in the body, such as noticing an increased heart rate. If the fight-or-flight system interprets this as a sign of danger, it pumps adrenaline into the blood to try and help you escape the threat.
In some people, the system goes into overdrive, pumping more and more adrenaline into the blood to try and escape the threat. This is what causes the symptoms of a panic attack.
- Feelings of intense fear
The Paradoxical Effect Of Marijuana
Given that marijuana is the most widely used recreational drug in the world, and given that the studies that document the anxiety causing effects of marijuana show that 70-80% of the people who smoke marijuana do not experience acute or chronic anxiety, we have to conclude that marijuana has a paradoxical effect. It is safe for many people, even the majority of people who use it. But scientific studies are also showing that it is harmful for a substantial minority of the people who smoke marijuana.
21% of longtime marijuana smokers have increased anxiety levels, but 79% of long time smokers do not.
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The Negative Effects Of Marijuana
The American Psychiatric Association study that describes the positive effects of marijuana also found that marijuana intoxication is associated with deficits in processing speed, attention, working memory, decision-making, motivation, time-perception, and reality testing.,
Many studies have shown that marijuana use increases anxiety. Studies have shown that marijuana use can cause both immediate and long term anxiety.
Several studies have shown that cannabis inhalation can cause immediate anxiety that only lasts for a short period of time in people who are not habitual users. They smoke the marijuana, feel anxious for awhile, and then the anxiety disappears as the effects of the marijuana wear off. About 20-30% of smokers experience acute anxiety when they smoke marijuana. This occurs most frequently when the drug is used at high doses, and among people who have not smoked marijuana before and among people who smoke marijuana in a stressful environment.
It is important to note that all experts in the field say the research done to date does not make it possible to determine whether cannabis use causes anxiety or whether people who have anxiety take to using cannabis to reduce their anxiety. More research will have to be done to determine what cause what.
Should I Choose Indica Or Sativa For Anxiety
The general consensus in the cannabis community is that people with anxiety tend to do well with relaxing indica strains, while sativa strains can be too intense and stimulating. However, because every individual strain has different CBD-to-THC ratios, each one causes different effects.
CBD effects on anxiety are more consistent and it can also help cancel out some of the unwanted effects of THC.
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How Cannabis Helps Anxiety
One thing that has traditionally held people back from treating anxiety with cannabis is the myth that it made anxiety worse through the manifestation of paranoia. The truth is, while some cannabis users feel a sense of heightened paranoia and exacerbated anxiety when they medicate with the plant, it is a side-effect that can be controlled by choosing strains whose unique set of cannabinoids do not create the effect. What we understand now is that paranoia can be a common reaction to strains with higher THC content.
The human body contains receptor sites all over that are filled by marijuanas cannabinoids , and by endocannabinoids, which are naturally produced by the body. The two compounds actually act a lot alike and shortages of these endocannabinoids occur in brains that have been exposed to excessive trauma. THC can have a relaxing effect in some people with endocannabinoid deficiency but too much does something totally different. THC over-excites the neural pathways and leads to added anxiety and paranoia, especially in those who are new to cannabis. What a way to start off! The exact mechanics are still a mystery but the endocannabinoid system is giving researchers all the clues to uncover it. It would stand to reason that cannabinoids from cannabis replenish the human bodys endocannabinoid system, resulting in a balancing effect that quells anxiety, physically, psychologically and emotionally.
Is This Different Than Normal Anxiety If So How
The answer to this question is both yes and no. While anxiety can manifest in different ways- increased heart rate, sweaty palms, racing thoughts- anxiety does not feel distinctly different when it is experienced as a result of marijuana. The root cause is simply different. For example, for some, anxiety only became a problem after they started smoking marijuana. Others have always experienced anxiety and their marijuana use simply exacerbated and intensified these feelings.
Anxiety is typically described as feelings of nervousness or worry about a specific incident. This can lead to overthinking and even physiological responses in the body. Those who experience anxiety after using marijuana may feel lightheaded, dizzy, tenseness in their body, racing thoughts, sweaty palms, accelerated heartbeat, and more. However, when anxiety occurs after using marijuana, there is no âspecific incidentâ at the root of the anxiety.
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Keep Calm And Eat Something
Using cannabis on an empty stomach can intensify the effects of THC, leading to a more serious high than you expected.
Theres an easy fix, though: Grab a snack. Even if you werent all that hungry to begin with, a light meal can help counteract the effects of cannabis and soothe the panic.
Some evidence also suggests terpenes like limonene, found in lemons, can help ease the effects of THC. So if you have lemons on hand, zest and squeeze one into a glass of water. Add sugar or honey if youre not a fan of the sour pucker.
If you dont have lemons, check your cabinets. Another common source of terpenes is black pepper.
If you have whole peppercorns, chew on a couple. If you have a pepper shaker on hand, give it a careful whiff. Just make sure you dont actually inhale it, as that will create an entirely different set of unwanted symptoms.
Anxiety Disorders And Marijuana Use
The relationship between substance abuse and mental health concerns is strong. There is often significant overlap between the two because people who have underlying anxiety conditions may use substances as a form of self-medication.
An analysis by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has found that 20.2 million American adults have a substance use disorder, and more than a third also have a concurrent mental health disorder.
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Why Self Medication Is Dangerous
Self-medication is the use of psychoactive drugs to alleviate uncomfortable symptoms without consulting a medical or clinical professional. In many cases, people dont seek out a drug as a treatment for issues like anxiety, but they find that recreational use helps to mask symptoms. Over time, the use of the drug stops being purely recreational, and you start using it alone, just to help you feel normal.
Self-medication can be dangerous, especially when youre trying to treat issues like depression or anxiety. Mental health problems can be complex, and adding a psychoactive chemical to the equation without a doctors help can make things worse. Even with a doctors help, treating mental health with medication can be tricky. It often involves a period of trial and error where you try a medication and keep your doctor updated as to its effectiveness and side effects. If a drug is causing too many side effects or proves ineffective, your doctor may adjust the dose or switch your medication.
Self-medicating means taking a drug and a dose without any guidance. In many cases, especially when taking illicit drugs, self-medication can be unpredictable. If you have an anxiety disorder, using marijuana on your own may do more harm than good. If your anxiety is tied to an underlying issue like schizophrenia or other disorders that can cause psychosis, marijuana may actually worsen these symptoms.