In the two decades or so since the passage of California’s Compassionate Care Act in 1996, we’ve seen the medical cannabis industry explode into a multi-billion dollar cash cow. Today, more than 5 million Americans have gotten medical cannabis cards of their own for a massive variety of qualifying conditions. One of the most common of those conditions is an anxiety disorder.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, more than 40 million American adults have been diagnosed with some form of anxiety disorder. That’s about 19 percent of all American adults! Whether it’s a panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, OCD, PTSD or other stress-related disorders, or just generalized anxiety disorder, That’s where medical cannabis comes in!

No matter how you slice it, cannabis has a clear role to play in helping those dealing with anxiety issues take the edge off. Per a 2017 national survey of more than 9,000 Americans, 81 percent said that cannabis helped them deal with issues and symptoms associated with “anxiety, stress, and depression relief.”

But is that true? Is there actually any hard, well-tested science on this? Does getting a medical cannabis card of your own and heading to the local dispensary actually help you? Or is it just pseudoscience, folk tales, and the placebo effect running amuck? Well don’t worry, we’ve got your back!

Here at FadeMD, we’re all about quickly and easily linking patients with high-quality information about any and all things medical cannabis. So we’ve dug into the science and effects of medical cannabis products when it comes to anxiety disorders, giving you comprehensive, definitive final answers as to how and why these products are so effective at helping you feel relaxed, destressed, and managing your anxiety-related symptoms.

So with that in mind, let’s dig right into it!

What is Anxiety?

Before we dig too deeply into how and why cannabis is so effective at helping ease issues associated with anxiety disorders, we first think it’s important to break down what exactly anxiety is in the first place!

Like it or not, some level of anxiety is just a part of the human experience. Everyone has dealt with some form of anxiety in some way, shape, or form. Whether it’s the looming sense of dread before or after a big decision or event, a natural response to stressful things, or just a big of unease and uncertainty in general, everyone has felt anxious before. Anxiety disorders, however, are a whole different beast.

While anxiety is usually a fleeting, temporary feeling for many, those dealing with anxiety disorders feel those feelings of discomfort, dread, and anxiousness at elevated levels over extended periods of time. That near-constant presence of anxiety is what separates the normal human experience from disorder.

Those dealing with anxiety disorders often describe the feelings of dread and discomfort as near-constant, like a dark cloud of worries and nervousness following them around everywhere they go. And while it’s true that anxiety disorders are categorized as mental health issues, the physical symptoms can take a serious toll on your bodily health as well! 

Common symptoms for those dealing with anxiety disorders include, but aren’t limited to:

  • General feelings of nervousness, restlessness, discomfort, and a constant sense of danger
  • Heightened levels of stress and physical/mental health issues associated with stress
  • Difficulty concentrating/staying on task
  • Increased heart rate, frequent or excessive hyperventilation, sweating, trembling, shaking, etc.
  • Insomnia

So what role can medical cannabis play in helping those dealing with anxiety disorders to feel better, live healthier overall lives, and find some relief from their symptoms? According to research and science, a significant one!

Does Cannabis Ease Anxiety?

Yes, it does and we have the research and science to prove it.

Simply put, there’s absolutely no denying the link between cannabis and relief from anxiety. Going as far back as ancient India, the cannabis plant has been used to manage stress and help people relax for thousands of years. Today, the same concept applies especially when you’re talking about medical cannabis.

Whether it’s PTSD, OCD, panic disorders, or just general anxiety issues, the science and research show that medical cannabis has consistently and reliably provided a significant, measurable reduction in symptoms. For those dealing with anxiety disorders, that relief is vital to both their physical and mental health in the long term.

With that in mind, however, it’s important to pick and choose the right medication and products for you and what you’re dealing with as a patient. Thankfully, we’ve got you back in that regard as well!

Tips for Choosing the Right Medical Cannabis Products    

Just like pretty much every other medication on the market today, it’s important that medical cannabis patients have a firm grasp of what type, form, and cannabinoid profile they need from their medication to properly treat their symptoms. After all, you wouldn’t use heart medication to treat a broken bone, right? The same concept applies to medical cannabis! 

Here are some quick rules of thumb to keep in mind when you’re considering which medical cannabis products to pick up on your next trip to the dispensary:

  • Opt for CBD over THC – Researchers have found that high doses of CBD and low doses of THC are best for those dealing with anxiety disorders. So whether you’re opting for a strain, a tincture, or a vape cart, try to aim for more balanced 1:1 offerings.
  • Do your research – The internet is a wonderful resource for helping figure out what you need to ease your symptoms. You can check dispensary menus, do research on strains or products, read user reviews about their effects and check their terpene/cannabinoid profiles, and understand which products to avoid. Knowledge is power, after all!
  • Take the “Low and Slow” approach – No matter what product you end up with, take the low and slow approach to figure out your proper dosage. Since factors like tolerance, other medication, weight, and sex (just to name a few) all factor into your dosage, it’s highly personal, to say the least. With that in mind, start with a low dose, see how it affects you after about 30 minutes, and if you don’t get the desired effect, increase your dosage. Then rinse and repeat until you’re feeling the anxiety-reducing effects. Eventually, you’ll find the sweet spot for you and your needs!

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, it’s vital that patients consult with their certified cannabis doctors, like the ones we can quickly and easily connect you with here at FadeMD, and be smart about the types of cannabis products they use. Those experts, along with consultation from your therapist or other mental health professionals, will be able to provide the guidance you’ll need to feel significant, measurable results from your medical cannabis!  

Disclaimer: The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained in this article is for informational purposes only. No material from this article is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment before undertaking a new health care regimen. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.