• Quote of the Day
    "The only normal people are the ones you don't know very well."
    Alfred Adler, posted by David Baxter

David Baxter

Administrator
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
37,569
Points
83
Can Marijuana Calm Anxiety or Make It Worse?
by Eileen Bailey, HealthCentral.com
February 13, 2017

A common myth around marijuana is that smoking it relieves feelings of anxiety. In some cases, this is true. But it isn?t the whole story. The relationship between marijuana and anxiety is much more complex.

In recent years, a number of states in the U.S. have made marijuana legal for medical purposes, recreational use, or both. It remains illegal in many states. If you choose to smoke marijuana, please be sure to follow the laws in your state.

How marijuana helps reduce anxiety
Researchers at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee found that the endocannabinoid system in the brain, which regulates anxiety and the fight-or-flight response, doesn?t work properly in some people. Smoking marijuana helps to supplement the levels of these chemicals in the brain, working to restore balance and help reduce anxiety.
A study published in Trends in Pharmacological Sciences in 2013 found that when self- reporting on marijuana use, the second most common reason for use cited was for relief from stress, tension, and anxiety. The researchers also found that THC, the main chemical component in marijuana responsible for the high of the drug, reduced anxiety in those with anxiety disorders. THC may artificially supply what the brain is not able to and interact with other neurotransmitters in the brain, lowering anxiety levels and bringing about a happy, relaxed feeling.

These studies showed that, in the short-term, marijuana can help reduce anxiety. But in the long-term, it might actually harm you. According to the researchers at Vanderbilt, chronic use of the drug reduced the efficiency of the cannabinoid receptors in the brain, causing an increase in anxiety and requiring more of the drug to get the same desired effect.

Some people experience paranoia and increased anxiety
In about one-half of the people who were given THC reported increased feelings of anxiety, paranoia, worry, negative thoughts, lowered mood and changes in perception. Researchers at the University of Oxford in the UK injected participants with THC (injections were used to make sure all participants received the same level of THC) or a placebo. One-half of the participants who received THC reported negative feelings. The researchers believe that their study definitively shows that THC can cause paranoia and increased anxiety in some people.

The studies don?t explain why some people feel more relaxed when using marijuana and some people feel more anxious and paranoid. The researchers at the University of Oxford believe that paranoia, agitation and anxiety are more likely to occur based on how a person feels before using marijuana. Professor Daniel Freeman, the lead author of the study indicates that when someone is worried, before using marijuana, they have a skewed view of the world and the drug enhances those feelings, causing the person to more anxious.

Whether or not marijuana can be safely used to treat anxiety still isn?t clear. For some people, it appears to reduce anxiety; for others, it increases anxiety. Long-term and heavy use also tends to increase anxiety. With such mixed results from the Vanderbilt study, doctors might not feel comfortable prescribing it to a patient with anxiety. More research is needed in order to better understand why marijuana?s effect can vary so widely from one person to the next.


Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of Idiot's Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot's Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love and Essential Guide to Asperger's Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.
 

GDPR

GDPR
Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2011
Messages
3,415
Points
0
The studies don?t explain why some people feel more relaxed when using marijuana and some people feel more anxious and paranoid. The researchers at the University of Oxford believe that paranoia, agitation and anxiety are more likely to occur based on how a person feels before using marijuana. Professor Daniel Freeman, the lead author of the study indicates that when someone is worried, before using marijuana, they have a skewed view of the world and the drug enhances those feelings, causing the person to more anxious.

That's interesting.

I stopped smoking marijuana recreationally quite awhile ago but now have and occasionally use medical marijuana for PTSD.I rarely do though because sometimes it gives me bad anxiety,almost panic, and it's a horrible experience waiting for it to wear off.Other times though,I experience immediate relief and instant calmness,but since I am never sure which it will be I am usually too afraid to even try.

After reading this,maybe I can kind of know when to and when not to,according to which symptoms I am experiencing?Like,when I am already feeling paranoid,hypervigilant and unsafe,don't use it then but if I am depressed maybe that might be a good time to?The times it does help,it really,really helps,but when it makes things worse,omg it's such a horrible thing to go through.
 

David Baxter

Administrator
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
37,569
Points
83
If you're feeling depressed, cannabis may intensify that experience.
 

GDPR

GDPR
Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2011
Messages
3,415
Points
0
Maybe I should give it a try when I'm depressed to see how I react to it,that's when my husband tries to encourage me to but I always just say "I don't feel like it".

I have it because it's *supposed* to help me yet because of the bad experiences even thinking about using it and maybe having another bad experience gives me anxiety.

I don't understand this because I used to smoke on a regular basis,but that was stuff from the streets,medical is 100% different.
 

David Baxter

Administrator
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
37,569
Points
83
Maybe I should give it a try when I'm depressed to see how I react to it,that's when my husband tries to encourage me to but I always just say "I don't feel like it".

I have it because it's *supposed* to help me yet because of the bad experiences even thinking about using it and maybe having another bad experience gives me anxiety.

I don't understand this because I used to smoke on a regular basis,but that was stuff from the streets,medical is 100% different.

The reality is that medical practitioners and the medical research community are still very unclear as to when it helps and when it makes things worse. It does seem that it can help with loss of appetite and nausea in chemotherapy but most of the other reasons for prescribing it seem to be based on anecdotal evidence rather than real evidence, and sadly anecdotal evidence rarely provides the negative evidence for its value.

More anecdotal evidence I know, but in 30+ years of clinical experience it was very clear to me that long term chronic use of street cannabis provided brief temporary relief but made most mental health conditions progressively worse over time. Additionally, I saw clinical evidence of the emergence of panic disorder in several patients who previously showed no history of panic symptoms.

All of this has nothing to do with the legalization of cannabis or medical marijuana. The reality is that one can say the same things about chronic heavy alcohol use. The fact that for decades alcohol has been legal and marijuana illegal and punishable by prison time was always irrational and largely a situation created for political not scientific reasons.

But we should not fool ourselves into believing that cannabis is any safer or more desirable or more free of adverse side effects than alcohol simply because one is socially approved and the other is not.
 

GDPR

GDPR
Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2011
Messages
3,415
Points
0
More anecdotal evidence I know, but in 30+ years of clinical experience it was very clear to me that long term chronic use of street cannabis provided brief temporary relief but made most mental health conditions progressively worse over time.

I can attest to that,back when I was smoking every day,all day long,I did get worse even though I didn't realize it at the time.I can sure recognize it in hindsight though.

I want to be able to use marijuana and receive the benefits I'm seeking in order to replace medications like Alprazolam,but I don't know if it's going to work out for me.
 

David Baxter

Administrator
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
37,569
Points
83
I want to be able to use marijuana and receive the benefits I'm seeking in order to replace medications like Alprazolam,but I don't know if it's going to work out for me.

I'm not sure I understand why you want to replace an anxiolytic with known benefits and an established, identified list of potential side-effects with another drug with uncertain benefits and side-effects.
 

GDPR

GDPR
Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2011
Messages
3,415
Points
0
I'm not sure I understand why you want to replace an anxiolytic with known benefits and an established, identified list of potential side-effects with another drug with uncertain benefits and side-effects.

Well when you put it that way,it doesn't make sense that I would even consider replacing something that works,and works every time,with something that clearly isn't working and causes major problems for me,does it?

I guess I have just wanted to jump on the bandwagon.There's so many TV shows and articles claiming it's the safer,more natural route to take and supposedly helps/cures everything from headaches to cancer.I also liked the idea of growing my own medication,you can't grow Xanax or Klonopin.And I have also found all the cooking with cannabis shows very appealing.

That's what it is...it's very appealing to me,I'm just being completely honest about it.Even pets are being treated with it now.It's made to look like a cure all,and a safe,natural one to boot,just a harmless plant.
 

Clancey

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Messages
70
Points
6
I don't think anything is harmless in excess. I believe the argument is ultimately about money and market share. It isn't about health. How come you can buy tobacco and alcohol? Cannabis is a threat to a number of industries and until the Government figures out how to capitalize off of it, there will be a debate.

If standing on your head, in a canoe, in the middle of a lake brings you what you need and desire; I suggest you buy a canoe. No one needs to justify that. We all have a right to live a happy and healthy life. At what point does our personal preferences stop being everyone else's business? I guess when we choose to be responsible with our actions. Until then there will always be a need for control. Personally, I'm going to buy a canoe.
 

MHealthJo

MVP, Forum Supporter
MVP
Joined
Sep 11, 2012
Messages
2,525
Points
36
There is always a popular, fashionable 'wonder solution' getting a lot of talk and coverage... whether it be food related, diet, all kinds of things... always with strong believers on both sides of the discussion.... I'm just super grateful that we are able to do long-term science on things and get more comprehensive answers. I hope nothing ever changes that or threatens that.
 

GDPR

GDPR
Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2011
Messages
3,415
Points
0
Well I found out that it does help when I'm feeling depressed.Instantly.Just a teeny tiny amount is all that's needed since it's so potent.

The researchers at the University of Oxford believe that paranoia, agitation and anxiety are more likely to occur based on how a person feels before using marijuana.

I'm thinking that's true for me and probably the times it has made things worse has been when I have been triggered and already feeling paranoid,unsafe,scared,etc.I'm not positive about it,but I am unwilling to try it then to find out for sure,I don't want to take a chance.But I do think I need to talk to my Dr.,get my Alprazolam refilled or get something else for those times instead of suffering through it.

Thank you for posting this article because I don't think I would have even thought twice about any of this otherwise.
 

GDPR

GDPR
Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2011
Messages
3,415
Points
0
Yesterday I started feeling very unsafe and anxious,not sure what triggered it,and I became extremely hypervigilant and paranoid and at least 3 times I was so startled by my husband that I jumped and screamed so loud that if I had neighbors they most likely would have called the police.

Even though I had said I was unwilling to try marijuana again when I was feeling like that,I decided to anyway.I smoked just a teeny tiny amount,not even enough to really feel it and then a couple of hours used a little more and gradually increased the amount each time,every couple hours,and after about the 4th or 5th time I finally felt calm,and today I feel fine,no PTSD symptoms.

I am now thinking maybe that's the key,to gradually introduce it into my system instead of trying to use a higher amount right from the beginning.I think that instant intensity of the marijuana is too overwhelming for me,too much of a drastic change and taking it slow and easy is much better.

It also made me sleep better and I think that made a huge difference in the way I am feeling today.

I just wanted to put this here so I will remember this.It's easy to want to over-do something,wanting instant relief,but more isn't always better.
 

GDPR

GDPR
Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2011
Messages
3,415
Points
0
I don't think I'm going to use marijuana anymore.

Recently when I was struggling and feeling down,I think it made everything worse and made me even more depressed.I can see that now but at the time I thought it was helping me.

It does help with anxiety and other symptoms but I really don't think it's worth it anymore.Those symptoms are horrible to deal with and sometimes feel like they'll never let up,but depression is the hardest to go through I think,falling down into that deep pit of despair is hard to pull myself out of at times.

---------- Post Merged at 10:39 PM ---------- Previous Post was at 10:36 PM ----------

I have experimented enough,I keep coming up with different results,time to give it up.
 

GDPR

GDPR
Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2011
Messages
3,415
Points
0
Medical marijuana may be the trendy route to go but I think I'm just going to accept it's not something that works for me.
 

David Baxter

Administrator
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
37,569
Points
83
It seems odd to use the word "trendy", but that's exactly what it is.

I agree. It's being touted as the latest wonder drug.

It does appear that it has some valid medical uses, e.g., treatment of nausea and loss of appetite during chemotherapy, but it's not even close to a cure-all, nor is it without some undesirable side-effects.
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2009
Messages
6,498
Points
38
I also heard the CBD i think part of it is very safe and helps people with anxiety and so many other illnesses and maybe it does.

I am glad it helps some especially army people they deserve peace the do. But um to me it is still something that comes with no guarantees and the affects of it long term are not really known really. I hope they continue to study the CBD part of it i do and i hope it does help more to find a way out of the pain they are in both physically and mentally.
 

Latest posts

Top Bottom