Some people love to come to me and say stuff alongside the lines of “man, you should be smoking more weed, might help you chill you know?”
This is the polite, relatively tame, way to say whatever it is that they were saying (they were slurring and cursing a lot more, but that is beside the point) but the altogether question stays the same.
Now you know me and you know how much I don’t like magical solutions to such problems since they might very well make your anxiety and depression actually worse.
And cannabis just seemed to be exactly that – an alternative to normal antidepressants (and I say ‘normal antidepressants’ very loosely) with basically the same effects when it really comes down to it, but there are registered results that I could find after some research, and it did make me wonder about cannabis some more.
Now, Where I come from marijuana is Highly illegal, so bearing that in mind I did not want to mess with the law of some stupid drugs, my own curiosity quite frankly isn’t worth it.
So all I have is research to back up my facts, alongside a lot of testimonies from people who smoke weed claiming that it helps them reduce their anxiety.
All that being said and done, let’s actually review the main issue at hand
Do weed and anxiety go well together?
Keep in mind, this is actually slightly different than “will weed help your anxiety” and it is more important in the long run.
And since no solution is perfect, I’ve decided to review any possible danger.
And you know what? There is a lot of worthwhile danger to mention here.
Here’s the deal: Anxiety and marijuana have a complex relationship, but different types of marijuana can have negative effects on you anxiety disorder.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol if you prefer (you don’t), and CBD, Cannabidiol, can both be found in marijuana, and while we will get to CBD later, for now, I want to have a look at THC.
THC is what’s responsible to people having a “marijuana high”, it is also responsible for increased feelings of paranoia, particularly in high dosages.
I don’t feel like I should be saying this at all, but anxiety and paranoia
kinda go hand in hand, in case you didn’t know.
All sarcasm aside, Weed can cause paranoia, and panic attacks by extension.
Also, when I said “different types” I actually meant it.
Most marijuana is actually being made to contain lots of THC specifically, that makes most marijuana types more likely to damage you than you would think.
Some types might have less THC and more CBD (more on that later), but how would you know which is which?
You wouldn’t, not really. Until you end up smoking a lot of the stuff you won’t be able to tell how bad of an effect it has on you.
And sure enough, there has been a general agreement on the matter – research shows that generally speaking, marijuana increased the overall level of anxiety among participants and decreased their overall quality of life by extension (anxiety tends to do that).
That research is biased, in the sense that most marijuana contains high levels of THC and as such it is generally more likely for marijuana to make you feel worse rather than better by making panic attacks.
I do not agree with the results because of this very reason, the fact that they didn’t differentiate between the “types” of marijuana makes it wholly unscientific in my opinion.
Looking at these facts alone, I could pretty much conclude that marijuana wasn’t worth my time – sure, it might make me feel “better” for a few hours, but it had some major risks and didn’t help me to solve my issues at all, it just made me more dependent on it if anything.
That being said, I dug deeper and got some contradictory results in return.
Thus far I mentioned CBD a few times, but what is it really?
How will weed help your anxiety?
Alright, so unlike THC, CBD actually helps you.
What do I mean by that? Look at it this way – we have already established that there are “types” of marijuana, based on the way it was raised more so than anything and that most marijuana is a certain type that is loaded with a chemical that is outright dangerous for people who have anxiety.
People in the industry became aware of this fact, and after the legalization of marijuana in certain countries certain measures were taken against it, and unlike the measures are taken with alcohol and cigarettes, these actually proved out to be effective – the reduced the amount of THC and increased the amount of CBD, and the results were massive.
There’s plenty of research to confirm that weed, or more specifically, the CBD in it, help you out with anxiety, it reduces the size (or effects) of the amygdalae, leading to massive improvement with anxiety.
To those of you who don’t know, I have reviewed the topic in my meditation and social anxiety articles, but in case you don’t feel like reading both of them here is a quick summary: The amygdalae are two almond-shaped parts of your brain that are responsible, among other things, to the fight, flight, or freeze mechanism.
This mechanism is basically your brain going on to survival mode due to a feeling of danger.
You either fight (lash out at someone, or panic) flight (run away) or freeze.
Due to you suppressing yourself from fighting, as it wouldn’t be appropriate, it actually leaves you with the option of running away. And when you can’t – you freeze.
And that’s anxiety, in a nutshell, just your brain deciding that you are in danger for no real reason.
Marijuana affects the receptors in you amygdalae (plural form for the amygdala, in case you wonder) and as such it reduces the overall effect that it has on your body, making it easier to bear.
Seems reasonable thus far, right?
Well, it does take time for it to have any lasting effects, much like any other treatment, and as such, it isn’t a magic solution. Expect it to take time.
Also, marijuana actually works only in small doses, meaning that you can’t just smoke a lot of it, get high, and think that it will help you in the long term (it won’t).
The reason for marijuana only working in small doses is because your brain becomes too used to it after a while and its effects are nullified.
Think about it, if someone drinks a lot then it is going to take a lot more alcoholic beverages to get them drunk and get a hangover, right?
Just to get this out of the way – if you are going to smoke marijuana expecting it to help you with your anxiety then buy it from a regulated source.
Here’s the deal: In a lot of places all around the world marijuana is an illegal drug, and as such you can’t just go around to buying it, right?
If you want some of that green, you are going to have to buy it illegally off the streets.
But that’s a problem.
Such marijuana is unregulated by any medical expert on the matter, and as such it’s likely very low quality and contains a lot of THC (since it makes it cheaper, and the vendor gets more profit selling it to you), it will do you more harm than good, not to mention that it’s illegal – so don’t do it.
If your country does allow marijuana, or maybe you are simply able to get it as a medical necessity, consult an expert and have them give you some actual advice, it is likely that they know what they are doing.
Much like meditation, marijuana can only help you this much and it is not a universal remedy for anxiety – there isn’t any solution that would solve this problem for everyone.
In most cases, there is unregulated consumption of marijuana, and because of that, it doesn’t have any lasting effects on most people.
They become dependent on it because it comforts them at the moment, and they find themselves unable to live without it.
They don’t become addicted to it physically because there isn’t anything in marijuana to make it addictive, but they become psychologically addicted to it because of the state of mind that it offers them.
I don’t support being dependent on anything, so I don’t think of marijuana as a practical solution in most cases. It can help, but only if you take in in small doses and change your behavior alongside it, just like with antidepressants.
While weed may not be ideal, you might want to consider using the “Panic Away” method to treat your anxiety
Alright, so while you decide what to do, here’s a quick question for you – Have you ever smoked weed? Did it help you with your anxiety and depression?
Make sure to answer in the comments below.
Also, feel free to email me, I read and answer every single email that gets sent to me.
My email – [email protected]