Current recommendations for anxiety patients is to utilize high-CBD, low-THC marijuana strains for the best results.
On the surface, using marijuana to treat anxiety symptoms seems like an obvious treatment option. Smoking a joint or eating an edible would result in relaxing times on the couch, maybe scrolling Netflix until another puff helps you fall asleep. This belief is pervasive: According to a 2017 national survey, about 47% of Americans believe marijuana helps manage anxiety.
Used effectively, marijuana can certainly benefit anxiety patients. A 2018 study in the Journal of Affective Disorders reported that about 90% of participants experienced reduction in symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression in the short term. Repeated use, however, did not cause any long-term decrease in baseline symptoms and could increase depression over time.
At high doses, however, some studies show that marijuana can worsen anxiety. This is due to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid that causes marijuana’s psychoactive effect. THC makes your heart beat faster and leads to racing thoughts, both of which can exacerbate anxiety. Sometimes, you hear someone with anxiety smoking a joint at a party, thinking it will relieve symptoms. Instead it causes them to feel worse and reject cannabis as therapeutic.
A 2015 review concluded that “current evidence indicates CBD has considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders.” This, in part, explain why new emphasis exists on CBD for anxiety patients in recent years. Higher doses of CBD work effectively in reducing anxiety symptoms, the review found, without any of the negative side effects associated with THC.
CBD works for different types of anxiety as well. A 2019 Japanese study followed older Japanese teenagers diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. Using the Fear of Negative Evaluation Questionnaire and the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale, researchers found CBD significantly decreased anxiety in both measurements.
Current recommendations for anxiety patients is to utilize high-CBD, low-THC marijuana strains for the best results. Remember: using a little goes a long way. If you consume too much, you might regret it.