Every person on planet earth is unique—with this individuality comes distinct tendencies and quarks in personalities. For the most part, these character traits should be celebrated, as originality in thought and action is what drives humankind forward. Nonetheless, due to a variety of influences—whether they be chemical or conditional—personality traits sometimes become pathological and evolve into phobias. Some researches feel that medical marijuana can help lessen the socially and physically debilitating effects of phobias.
Phobias manifest in the human mind in a variety of ways, but all phobias are characterized as “irrational fears” that are attached to particular circumstances, items, or concepts. Generally speaking, phobias manifest in the mind as extreme anxiety. To illustrate, a social phobia expresses itself as overwhelming fear and anxiety about social situations. Also, an example of a phobia about an object or circumstance would be an unreasonable dread concerning spiders or car accidents. There are no known medical treatments for phobias as the disorder is primarily psychological. However, therapists and psychologists can help those with phobias lessen their obsessive tendencies through “exposure therapy”.
Cannabis And Phobia Symptoms
The medical treatments for phobias are aimed directly at the disorder’s symptomatic manifestations in fear and anxiety. In terms of mainstream medicine, pharmaceuticals drugs with debilitating and addictive side-effects, like Xanax and Klonopin, are a mainstay in extreme phobia treatment. Needless to say, those suffering from phobias are in need of less-intrusive medications to help them function more comfortably their day-to-day lives—both socially and professionally.
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There are some interesting medical theories into the potential benefits of THC for phobias. Specifically, studies conducted at the University of Michigan during 2013 posit that dronabinol, which a synthesized form of THC, could help treat symptoms of phobias—namely that of irrational fear. This hypothesis was formulated based-off past studies conducted on laboratory animals, in which these animals showed a reduction in fearful behavior with the administration of dronabinol.
The researchers at the University of Michigan conducted a rather interesting study into fear responses in human beings and the use of dronabinol. The program was based on “skin conductance,” which is a method of measuring fear in a human subject through electrical conductivity of one’s skin as related to sweat secretion. The crux of this methodology is that the more one sweats, the greater the amount of fear is present in their minds. The research team generated fear reactions in the study group by way of “classical conditioning,” in which they created a psychological association with pre-disposed phobias by way of a formulated stimuli, such as flashing lights. These formulated stimuli triggered the psychological and physical reactions of phobia created fear in participants. Interestingly enough, upon administering the drabinol to the test group in a placebo controlled experiment, reports showed that those who received the synthetic THC compound perspired less—or were less fearful—than those who did not. Point being, if the University of Michigan’s theories concerning classical conditioning and skin conductance are correct, they could be making some headway into discovering a natural medication for extreme phobia symptoms.