Why is Cannabis an Effective Treatment for Anxiety?

Lifestyle choices like an unhealthy diet, poor sleep hygiene, and lack of exercise can lead to anxiety. But sometimes things beyond our control can lead to symptoms associated with anxiety.  Finances, family problems, pressure to meet deadlines, quotas, or sales goals can all cause anxiety that leads to headaches, forgetfulness, neck pain from muscle spasm, poor appetite, chronic nausea, poor concentration, or disturbed sleep.

Some patients suffer from social or performance anxiety that interferes with their job responsibilities. This can cause shortness of breath, sweating, difficulty focusing, rapid heart rate, and feeling faint – in short, a panic attack.

The anti-anxiety effects of certain strains of cannabis come from multiple compounds in the plant, not just THC. While it is true that low doses of THC relieve anxiety, strains with high concentrations of THC actually have the opposite effect. High concentrations of THC are intoxicating and are more likely to produce anxiety and paranoia, especially in inexperienced users. 

A more effective compound for treating anxiety is cannabidiol (CBD). CBD, unlike THC, is not intoxicating and will not increase anxiety.  CBD interacts with serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin regulates a variety of biological and neurological processes, one of which is anxiety. CBD slows down the signaling of the serotonin receptor and minimizes the body’s excitatory responses, thereby reducing anxiety.

Because CBD does not have an intoxicating effect, it can be an appropriate workday treatment especially for unexpected anxiety-provoking situations.

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