If you have ever experienced paranoia from the use of marijuana, then you might wonder how it could possibly ever help anyone with anxiety. For some people, certain strains of marijuana can increase anxiety. However, there is significant research to support the fact that the right choices can make medical marijuana a terrific treatment to reduce anxiety.
The most important thing to consider is the amount of THC in the marijuana. This is the part of the drug that gets you high. The feeling of getting high is uncomfortable for many people, especially at first, and this can lead to or exacerbate anxiety. Therefore, medical marijuana for anxiety should be low in THC.
The other primary component of marijuana is CBD. It can help relieve anxiety, as well as other issues including pain and depression. Unlike THC, it is not psychoactive. CBD alone cannot get you high. Therefore, you want to choose a marijuana strain that is high in CBD and low in THC. Many people find that a 1:1 ratio works well because it provides the benefits of both drugs without the side effects. That said, you can get strains that are as high as 20:1 ration (CBD:THC).
Furthermore, there are different strains of marijuana. They typically fall into two categories: sativa and indica. (There are also hybrids that blend both.) As a general rule, sativa is higher in THC and lower in CBD. Indica is the opposite. Therefore, people are more likely to have negative side effects from sativa, when consumed in the same dosage as indica strains. When using marijuana to reduce anxiety, it makes sense to choose indica to start.
However, research indicates that sativa can actually be a great choice for people struggling with anxiety. Luckily, as medical marijuana increases in popularity, the number of choices grows. As a result, there are now high-CBD strains of sativa. These can be very effective in treating anxiety without risking adverse side effects from too much THC.
Additionally, THC and CBD aren’t the only things to consider when choosing medical marijuana. Each strain has other compounds, including terpenes. Terpenes are usually what gives the strain its smell. For example, a strain high in the terpene pinene will smell like pine. Pinene is known to improve focus, which can reduce anxiety. Therefore, people seeking marijuana specifically to treat anxiety may want to look for a high CBD strain of sativa with high levels of pinene.
The people working at medical marijuana dispensaries are typically trained to help you figure out which strain of marijuana is best for you. Don’t be afraid to share your issues with them so that they can help. Be upfront about the fact that you have anxiety and want to make sure that you get a strain that can help reduce the symptoms. If you don’t want to get high from your drug, let them know that you have concerns about the effects of THC. They can discuss the options with you so that you can make an informed choice.
Once you have selected your marijuana, take things slowly. People often find that very low doses of marijuana can help improve anxiety. For example, you may only need a puff or two to get through the day. Taking more doesn’t help and might make things worse. If you need more, you can always increase. This type of deliberate, considered approach will help guarantee that you get the results you are seeking from medical marijuana.
Dr. Jeffrey Ditzell is a Psychiatrist in New York City and specializes in issues involving anxiety depression and adult ADHD. Medical Marijuana is one of the many treatments Dr. Ditzell offers to treat a variety of mental health issues.