July 11, 2020 marks the one-year anniversary that anxiety disorders were approved conditions for medical marijuana use in the state of Pennsylvania. Where are we today regarding marijuana and anxiety in PA? Is using medical marijuana for anxiety still considered an effective treatment? Today, we’ll explore these questions, as well as taking a closer look at some of the basics of anxiety and marijuana.
Anxiety continues to be a disorder that plagues many across the nation. Anxiety does not discriminate—it knows no age, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. While it is normal to experience occasional anxiety, those that suffer from an anxiety disorder have persistent and recurring intrusive thoughts and concerns. This affects their daily life, as some avoid situations completely out of worry or fear. There are several types of anxiety disorders including generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Often, those that suffer from anxiety disorders can also suffer from depression concurrently.
It is important to understand that anxiety disorders are real and serious medical conditions, just like any other physical disorder can be real and serious. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates that approximately one in five suffer from an anxiety disorder. Sadly, and despite the fact that anxiety disorders are highly treatable, only one-third of those suffering from an anxiety disorder receive treatment.
One such treatment option is medical marijuana. Pennsylvanians can obtain a medical marijuana card to treat anxiety. Let’s explore the relationship between anxiety and marijuana in PA.
Marijuana is made up of cannabinoids. These compounds act on various receptors in the brain that play an important role in various bodily processes, such as memory, perception of pain, mood, and appetite. The two most commonly known cannabinoids are CBD and THC:
Strains of cannabis exhibit certain characteristics and can often be blended to produce certain effects. The most common way to think about strains is to consider the similarities and differences between indica vs. sativa.
When evaluating the relationship between marijuana and anxiety in PA, it’s important to ask just how effective medical marijuana can be in treating anxiety? To date, studies on the topic have shown mixed results.
It has been shown that marijuana, specifically CBD-dominant strains, can offer temporary relief for anxiety. When using medical marijuana to treat anxiety, strains with a high level of CBD and a lower level of THC tend to be most effective. Of particular note, CBD has been shown to reduce anxiety symptoms. Several 2019 studies showed that CBD reduced or improved anxiety and symptoms in patients with a variety of anxiety disorders.
To be clear, marijuana is not a “cure” for anxiety. Nor should marijuana, including CBD products, be used as long-term treatment for anxiety disorders. As those who suffer from anxiety disorders often suffer from depression as well, long-term use of marijuana has been shown to worsen the symptoms of depression.
Just as studies show mixed results on marijuana’s efficacy to treat anxiety, it’s important to use caution when using marijuana to treat anxiety as results can vary. Marijuana use can be incorporated with other treatments under the careful management and guide of a medical professional and healthcare professional. Prior to using marijuana to treat anxiety, be sure to:
It’s important to consider the cannabinoid profile when choosing a strain to treat anxiety. Generally, a strain that is CBD-dominant is recommended to treat anxiety, especially for new users. Some do find the high associated with THC to be relaxing, thus mitigating the symptoms of anxiety, but THC-dominant strains may actually increase anxiety in some patients. Below is a short list of CBD-dominant and THC-dominant strains.
There are also strains with a balanced cannabinoid profile like Harlequin. Be sure to consult a pharmacist or PCC to determine the best strain for you.
At Solevo Wellness, the health and wellness of our patients is our first priority. In light of the current pandemic, we have options available to reserve medical marijuana online in addition to at our dispensary locations.