It’s easy to understand why so many people are using marijuana to treat anxiety and depression. Due to its mood elevation, people tend to think that smoking weed could reduce all anxiety and depression symptoms. Short term, yes, but long term use could actually induce panic attacks. Browse the relevant sections below and explore the effects marijuana could have on your anxiety.
Long term risks related to marijuana and anxiety
Why do people smoke weed for anxiety?
It’s no secret that we’re living in stressful times. The cost of living is high and our jobs demand most of our attention. When we do find the time to relax, it’s difficult to do so, because our minds are racing 1000 miles per minute. Some people like to head home, and smoke some weed to release the stresses of the day. And it helps, for a short time at least.
Why does it work for some people? The short answer is that we have a brain lipid called anandamide. It’s similar to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active component in marijuana that gives you a psychoactive “high”. Once the THC enters our system, it attaches to cannabinoid receptors, which results in the high. It’s why people immediately regard this as a convenient treatment for social anxiety, anxious thoughts, and depression.
Marijuana has varying effects on people - some may experience reduced anxiety symptoms, while others feel more nervous. So, why has it become a popular remedy? Legalisation. But, as mentioned before, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. There are many factors that you need to consider, including age, genetics, and marijuana strains.
5 marijuana strains that are said to help anxiety and depression
For those who are firm in their belief that cannabis is best for anxiety, there are five go-to strains:
Had a tough day at the office, and just about ready to forget about the work week? Granddaddy Purple’s influence may help. It’s an indica strain that helps produce a blissful high. Using this strain can help your body release any tensions of the day.
This is one that’s not for the faint-hearted. The strain includes a high THC-strain that can often produce dangerous results. This sativa-dominant strain provides calming effects, which explains why it’s renowned amongst anxiety sufferers. It’s also great for creatives, who need a clear head before tackling a project. However, due to its high THC-strain, it could make users more paranoid, and cause extra anxiety.
For those who are perhaps not into the high of Jack Herer, Cannatonic could be the answer. This strain has the terpene myrcene, which is said to contribute to the relaxing effects. It’s a hybrid strain that is often used to treat pain, muscle spasms, and migraines.
Girl Scout Cookies (GSC)
Like Jack Herer, this is also not for the faint-hearted. It has a high THC-strain and is commonly used for those suffering from PTSD. Experts often say that a little bit at a time is best. The strain can produce full body relaxation, and could also leave you feeling ‘trippy’. GSC is great for the treatment of severe pain, nausea, and appetite loss.
Let’s say you’re attending an event. You’re tired, and perhaps social gatherings do leave you with some form of anxiety. With Strawberry Cough, you’ll feel energised, yet calm enough to enter into conversations with strangers. It’s a sativa blend that is great for upliftment and can reduce social anxiety.
Long term risks related to marijuana and anxiety
Once you experience the bliss and calming effects of marijuana, it’s easy to want to use it continuously. Once in a while, to relieve stress is one thing. But, when it becomes a daily habit, you may reach the point where you’ll need cannabis to cope all of the time..
While you think you may be reducing your anxiety symptoms, you’re really only experiencing temporary bliss. Once the high is over, the anxiety comes back. For long term users, anxiety heightens and they can experience a marijuana-induced panic attack.
As said many times before, weed will have a different effect on each user, possibly based on one’s state of mind. If you suffer from severe anxiety, doctors would suggest you stay away from cannabis, as it could do more harm than good.
There are no common symptoms when it comes to a panic attack - they range from person to person - but reported symptoms experienced during a marijuana-induced panic attack include:
- Racing heartbeat
- Tunnel vision
- Constant sweating or chills
- Chest pains
- Difficulty breathing
During this state, your mind jumps to the worst conclusions - you’ve ‘overdosed on weed’, or you’re in the midst of cardiac arrest. The experience usually doesn’t last long. Remind yourself constantly that this is temporary. It’s also suggested that once the panic attack has passed, you slow down on the weed-smoking.
Alternative methods for treating anxiety
Smoking weed can be good for a short term release, but if you’re looking for effective ways to deal with your anxiety, there are alternatives.
Most would recommend medical marijuana to treat anxiety. However, for non-intoxicating alternatives, CBD seems to be the most effective. Although it lacks the THC content found in marijuana, a Brazilian study has shown that after use there’s a significant decrease in anxiety. The study was validated by performing brain scans showing cerebral blood flow patterns consistent with anti-anxiety effects.
If you’re averse to consuming cannabis, then adapting to a healthier lifestyle could help manage your anxiety. This includes:
- Regular exercising: Going for a walk, a jog, or a run could provide a burst of energy and increase endorphins. Exercising also has greater long term health benefits.
- Balanced diet: You were often told as a kid to eat all your fruits and vegetables, and in truth, a healthy diet is highly beneficial for your physical and mental wellbeing.
If your anxiety persists, it’s time to seek help from the professionals. They’ll recommend helpful mental exercise, and guidance on how to manage your anxiety.
AskMaryJ.com is a helpful guide and directory on where to find the best CBD or cannabis-related products. We only list reputable and respectable vendors.