How Cannabis Helps Relieve Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

Cannabis on a person's hand

Cannabis on a person’s hand | SOURCE: Pexels

Treating anxiety and depression using Cannabis is still a contentious debate, with sparse scientific search available in the past. However, lately, the rampant increase in several anecdotal and latest scientific reports has been witnessed on cannabis, suggesting it to be a quick source of relaxation for people with stress and psychiatric disorders.

As reported in NCBI, there’s a strong probability of successful treatment of ailments including generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social anxiety disorder through CBD (Cannabidiol).

Understanding the Basic Components of Cannabis

To better understand how effectively cannabis assuages social anxiety disorders, it is first pertinent to know the main chemicals present in Cannabis or more commonly known as Marijuana.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is classified as the hallucinogenic part of marijuana which results in the feeling of “being high”. On the contrary, Cannabidiol (CBD) also being psychoactive in nature does not give a high.

TWEET CAPTION: Weed Hub of Canada explaining the difference between THC and CBD

THC is typically used by people who tend to use marijuana for recreational activities and CBD is better suited for relieving stress and anxiety.

How is CBD a natural source in alleviating anxiety?

Woman smelling marijuana hemp; IMAGE SOURCE: Pixabay

This study (done, seemingly, by an American and a Swedish researcher) supports the claims of CBD exerting intrinsic anxiolytic effects among people affected by societal phobias. For instance, CBD lessens amygdalar responses to fearful impetuses; this mechanism consequently, can be responsible for the anxiolytic effect of the compound in social paranoia.

Distinctive Molecular Targets of Cannabidiol

An in-depth molecular study of CBD shows that it has a low binding affinity to both of the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) located in the brain. Cannabidiol attenuates depressive behaviors, possibly because it stimulates synaptic plasticity and facilitates neurogenesis. 

The distinguishing molecular processes behind these positive outcomes basically encompass various cellular targets which proliferate the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels. In simple words, the molecular composition of cannabidiol naturally caters to the cells in our brain which are responsible for the state of contentment and jubilation.

Cannabis Compounds Stabilizes Endocannabinoids

The naturally produced chemical compounds in the brain; endocannabinoids, directly affect our motor control, reasoning, conduct, and emotions. The Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) team at Buffalo University suggests these chemical compounds are similar to the chemicals found in marijuana, which possibly assist in the alleviation of stress. Hence, using the derived compounds from cannabis, restoration of normal endocannabinoid function can be done among patients of chronic stress and depression.

Why Is It Better Than Antidepressants?

Antidepressants are vastly used to cure psychiatric disorders but are often seen exacerbating a person’s overall health due to their multiple side effects. While more research needs to be done, so far as per the preliminary research done CBD doesn’t seem to cause similar problems, though we should still be careful in using Cannabis for medicinal purposes. 

Moreover, most antidepressant medications start showing results in weeks, whereas CBD has an instant and constant antidepressant-like effect.

Advice for Safe Use

In case you have taken CBD into consideration to cure any psychiatric issue, do consider the following before you begin:

  • First and foremost, consult your therapist and psychiatrist
  • Go slow with the doses initially
  • Stick to purchasing legitimate products from pharmacies

Conclusion

As long as you are taking safety precautions, using medicinal Cannabis seems to have little to no harm However, it is always recommended to go with clinically proven methods; this may include consulting psychiatrists and psychologists along with maintaining a healthy lifestyle to remedy any anxiety-related health conditions.

References:

  1. Eske, J., 2020. How to use CBD for anxiety. [online] Medicalnewstoday.com. Available at: <https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/how-to-use-cbd-for-anxiety> [Accessed 27 May 2021].
  2. Tambaro, S. and Bortolato, M., 2012. Cannabinoid-related Agents in the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders: Current Knowledge and Future Perspectives. Recent Patents on CNS Drug Discovery, [online] 7(1), pp.25-40. Available at: <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/221780271_Cannabinoid-related_Agents_in_the_Treatment_of_Anxiety_Disorders_Current_Knowledge_and_Future_Perspectives> [Accessed 26 May 2021].
  3. Maroon, J. and Bost, J., 2018. Review of the neurological benefits of phytocannabinoids. Surgical Neurology International, [online] 9(1), p.91. Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5938896/> [Accessed 25 May 2021].
  4. Wilde, C., 2015. RIA neuroscience study points to possible use of medical marijuana for depression. [online] Buffalo.edu. Available at: <https://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2015/02/004.html> [Accessed 27 May 2021].

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