Anxiety is a complex condition, but there are many ways to deal with it. Cannabis and its many chemical constituents could play a role in a broader and more comprehensive approach. Read on to find out more about the nature of fear and the potential of cannabis for this condition.
People have been trying cannabis for thousands of years to relieve their physical and mental ailments. In recent decades, modern science has studied cannabis and its components - with promising results. Despite the association between cannabis high and paranoia, several compounds have been shown to relieve anxiety symptoms.
WHAT IS FEAR?
Driven by feelings of discomfort, worry and fear, anxiety can significantly reduce a person's quality of life. It can appear at any time and can be mild or severe. Although it does not have a single cause, researchers believe that genetic and environmental factors play a role in its onset.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), one of the most common forms of anxiety, affects 6.8 million adults in the United States alone. The disease can result from several factors, including :
Overactivity of the brain
Past drug use
CANNABIS AGAINST FEAR: AN OVERVIEW
The cannabis plant produces an abundance of unique phytochemicals - including over 100 cannabinoids and over 200 terpenes. Different varieties and extracts contain varying concentrations of these chemicals and therefore produce different effects. Although cannabis is presented as a 'drug', the complexity of its chemistry means that it is relegated to the background. The terpene and cannabinoid profile of a strain can produce psychoactive effects completely different from those of any other cultivar.
Research in this field has shown that cannabinoids and terpenes work synergistically to amplify each other's effects - the so-called "entourage effect". Many of these molecules could affect anxiety symptoms in different ways, and some strains and extracts may work well in different people.
CBD PROMISES AGAINST ANXIETY
CBD is the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in most strains. The molecule is known because it shows promise and has beneficial effects on the modulating effect of biological systems. One such area of interest is the anti-anxiety potential of CBD. Although preliminary, research in this area has yielded promising results. Let us examine the mechanisms by which the CBD could positively influence the phenomenon of anxiety :
CBD appears to be an allosteric molecule on the 5HT1A receptor. This means that it could help to signal in the serotonin system, a network associated with mood, the main target of existing anxiety treatments.
Several animal tests have shown the anxiolytic potential of CBD. Interestingly, low doses appeared to be more effective in some situations, while other research has shown that medium doses were more effective than low or high doses.
A 2011 scientific paper showed that CBD was effective in people with APG in a simulated speech. People who received CBD showed a significant reduction in subjective anxiety, cognitive impairment and reduced discomfort compared to the placebo group.
A 2010 scientific paper is a detailed study that examined the effects of CBD on blood flow in the human brain. Using functional neuroimaging, it found that CBD can reduce anxiety by altering blood flow in limbic and paralyzing areas of the brain.
USE THC AND CBD TOGETHER
CBD evokes a clear and relaxing feeling without psychoactive effects. This makes the cannabinoid a more plausible option than THC for many people suffering from anxiety. However, users can also benefit from both cannabinoids at the same time.
Some varieties contain varying proportions of these two chemicals. A CBD/THC ratio of 1:1 gives a balanced effect, while a ratio of 8:1 or more has virtually no psychoactive effect. It is interesting to note that the CBD appears to block THC at the CB1 receptor, which may help to reduce the intensity of THC. These results suggest that THC-sensitive people may benefit from using CBD at the same time.
TERPENES ARE IMPORTANT
If THC and CBD are present in most strains, why do different cultivars produce different effects? While these cannabinoids make up the bulk of the effects of cannabis, terpenes provide a unique touch that makes each strain different. Like cannabinoids, terpenes have their own specific uses. Before consuming or growing a strain, examine the terpene profile of the strain to maximize results.
TIMING IS IMPORTANT
Once you have decided on the type and mix of phytochemicals that will work best for you, it is helpful to determine the best time to take them. There is not a lot of data on setting times, so you will need to experiment and find the one that works best for you.
For some users, consuming a high strain of CBD in the morning can help them control their anxiety throughout the day. Others may find it more helpful to take extracts or pull on a joint when their symptoms begin to appear. For those who have trouble sleeping, taking an Indica rich in THC and myrcene before bed can help them relax.
Remember that different products work differently. Edible products take an hour or more to take effect, but the effects last longer. Vaporization and sublingual administration are much faster, but the effects are more temporary. Many users also succeed in micro dosing, which involves taking a barely perceptible amount of cannabis to treat symptoms without feeling high.
CANNABIS CAN HELP BUT SHOULD NOT BE A SUPPORT.
Cannabis can make a huge difference to some people suffering from anxiety, but it should not be overused and should not be the only lifeline. It can, however, be part of a broader holistic approach. Diet, meditation, therapy, exercise and communication all play an important role in such a strategy. Balance is the key.
Finally, it should be mentioned that this list does not claim to be exhaustive. As each person is unique, it is also up to you to choose the strain that suits you, so experiment until you find the strain that suits you. To do this, it is essential to become familiar with the stoned before embarking on a long session. In general, smoking or spraying gives you much more control than dabbing or eating, which is why these methods of consumption are recommended.