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Can Marijuana Help Ease Coronavirus Anxiety?

Cannabis can help relieve symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With a national disruption to routine and a general destabilizing effect on our collective mood, the coronavirus is causing an uptick in anxiety nationwide. Between mid-February and mid-March, anti-anxiety medication prescriptions rose 34%, according to a new report from Express Scripts.

This represents a stark 180-degree turn, as doctors prescribed benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium less in recent years. Prescriptions for anti-anxiety medication dropped more than 12% over the past years, but the trend seems undone by the coronavirus pandemic. The rapid prescription rise corresponds with when the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic.

Anxiety isn’t the only mental disorder exacerbated by the global pandemic. Antidepressant prescriptions jumped 18.6% while sleep medications rose 14.8% as well in the same time span.

If you are experiencing these symptoms but don’t want to rely on pharmaceutical medications, cannabis can help. A 2015 rat study reported that marijuana “could potentially help” reduce symptoms from stress-induced depression. Additional animal studies found taking CBD amid dramatic instability resulted in less stressful experiences versus those that did not.

RELATED: Marijuana Users Indulging More Than Ever Amid Coronavirus

But a landmark 2018 study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders provides the most significant answers. Using data provided by marijuana app Strainprint, researchers saw that around 90% of patients reported decreases in symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress after smoking cannabis. Researchers did see less dramatic results over time with depression symptoms, but not with anxiety and stress. That’s why in a time of intensive short-term instability, marijuana might work best.

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Photo by Gift Habeshaw via Unsplash

“Cannabis reduces perceived symptoms of negative affect in the short-term, but continued use may exacerbate baseline symptoms of depression over time,” researchers concluded.

RELATED: Doctor’s Advice On How To Ease Anxiety Around Coronavirus

However, the study emphasized consuming proper strains of marijuana to combat specific symptoms. Those with anxiety often worry smoking marijuana will cause worse symptoms of paranoia and deep unrest. Because most people receive marijuana from a friend or a at party, it isn’t optimized for their best practice. In those situations, where the cannabis in question is purchased on the black market, you could be smoking a high-THC strain without realizing.

The aforementioned study says those strains aren’t ideal for anxiety symptoms. Instead, you should acquire high-CBD or 1:1 CBD/THC strains to lower feelings of anxiety or stress. If you can’t access a legal marijuana dispensary at this moment, you can always ingest a dose of CBD oil beforehand to even the cannabinoids in your system.

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