Medical marijuana refers to the use of the plant cannabis and its constituents, such as cannabinoids, in the management of certain medical conditions. Cannabis contains more than four hundred chemicals. However, the actions of only two chemicals - THC and cannabidiol have been studied until now.
THC is a chemical that is known for its impact on the CNS or central nervous system. It is responsible for stimulating the cannabinoid receptors, which triggers chemical reactions in brain. Very little has been established about cannabidiol. However, studies suggest that this substance reacts with THC causing sedation. It has anti-psychotic or neuro-protective or anti-inflammatory effects.
The history of using marijuana in therapy dates back to several centuries. It has been proven by various studies that medical marijuana can be effective in the treatment of conditions like premenstrual syndrome, nausea, weight and appetite-loss. Studies have established the effectiveness of using marijuana in treating pain and spasm, movement disorder and asthma. In addition to this, its use has been confirmed in conditions like migraines, inflammatory bowel disorder etc.
Of-late there have been several controversies regarding the use of cannabis in treating anxiety symptoms. The demand to authorize marijuana in US has once again revived the discussion about how this medicine can impact the brain and whether it can be beneficial in treating psychiatric problems, particularly anxiety related mental disorders.
The fact that marijuana can be used as an effective drug to treat anxiety disorders is often supported by various theories and studies done in the past. A study in Brazil discovered that canabidiol, a constituent of cannabis plant, could be used as an effective anxiolytic and anti-psychotic agent.
Marijuana and anxiety: Pros and cons
Anxiety is a change in mood that can progress into a mental disorder. It is characterized by uncontrollable or irrational worry about day-to-day issues. Long term and severe problems developed with anxiety are termed as anxiety disorders.
Anxiety is often diagnosed as generalized anxiety disorder or GAD. GAD occurs without any identifiable trigger or stimulus. Patients with generalized anxiety disorder often try multitude of options to cope with their problems. One of the growing approaches that people adopt to treat anxiety is using medical marijuana. Below is a brief overview of the pros and cons of using medical marijuana for treating anxiety disorders.
With the correct usage of medical marijuana, several patients are able to stay away from the use of tranquilizers and opiates, sleeping pills and other anti-depressant drugs. Unlike other medical disorders, patients suffering from anxiety and depression wear down which deteriorates their mind. They lose interest in day-to-day activities. In such cases, mood enhancement therapies work as a catalyst to the road to recovery.
A recent study was conducted to investigate the effectiveness of using marijuana in relieving anxiety. Scientists who conducted this study found that the responsiveness of this drug varied from individual to individual. It implies that some people may have a relieving effect and elimination of their anxiety symptoms while some may experience an increase in their symptoms and even worsening of the disorder.
Some other studies have revealed that marijuana can have relaxing effects on the brain and can give temporary relief to patients with anxiety problems. However, marijuana can create a psychological dependence as it shows faster response in coping with anxiety disorders in comparison with other drugs.
In addition to this, long-term usage of marijuana can cause damage to the brain memory. Marijuana can also have negative effects on motivation system of brain. Other proactive methods to cope with anxiety can be learned by proper counseling, self-help books. These approaches will have a long-lasting change in your condition without having the potential risk to your body and mind.
In a nutshell, using medical marijuana for treating anxiety disorders has temporary effect on brain, which gives a good feeling to the patient and relieves symptoms. However, these benefits are momentary and extended use of this drug can cause severe side effects. Even though other strategies to cope with anxiety disorders take time and involve lot of effort, they are completely safe and give long-lasting relief.
Learn more about anxiety including symptoms, causes, treatment options, types of doctors and doctor reviews in our Anxiety Resource Guide
Photo By Original uncropped image from Laurie Avocado (Cropped version of ) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons