There has been a global increase of medical marijuana use to treat various health conditions. Many studies have shown that medical marijuana can be used to treat anxiety and stress disorders. There are two sides to this belief – one will argue that the chemical makeup of cannabis is beneficial in treating anxiety while others will argue that it can actually cause anxiety. Over 400 years ago cannabis was used to treat depression in India and has been studied to determine the medical advantages and disadvantages for patients today.
Common side effects of cannabis are anxiety and paranoia. This is confusing because the herb is hailed for making so many of those suffering from anxiety comfortable with day-to-day routine. The overall effects of marijuana depends on the dose, strain, and individual’s body chemistry which we will cover below.
Not everyone will experience cannabis-induced paranoia, but those who do may not have the same experience every time. Both external and internal factors will determine the likelihood of someone having a paranoid reaction after consuming THC (the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis).
Here are some things to consider before smoking, vaping or consuming:
If you have never tried marijuana and you are in an environment that you are uncomfortable in, adding the herb may make things worse. The amygdala in your brain system helps control survival instincts such as flight or fight response. If you are in a new environment your body will most likely be hyper aware of your surroundings. Marijuana can exaggerate this awareness, especially with new consumers who aren’t familiar with what to expect.
Depending on the cannabis strain, some are more likely to trigger paranoia than others. Typically cannabis indica is less likely to cause anxiety versus cannabis sativa. Cannabis sativa strains produce more of an energizing, racing, and anxious experience whereas indica produces a strong physical relaxation feeling. Any cannabis high in THC is more likely to trigger anxiety and paranoia than different types of cannabis.
Smoking or eating too much marijuana can trigger paranoia. Even if you’re someone that never experiences anxiety or paranoia, high doses of THC can induce an anxious and paranoid state. Be mindful of the quantity you consume especially if you have never tried cannabis before.
All in all, cannabis can trigger anxiety but the same mechanisms that cause paranoia can also play a part in calming nervousness for those who suffer from stress and anxiety disorders. Many people that struggle with anxiety turn to cannabis for relief and in many cases it helps reduce their anxiety and put them in a calmer state of mind.
Like with most medicines finding the appropriate dosage for each individual is crucial. In closing we advise anyone who is considering using marijuana to treat depression, anxiety and stress approach it with caution and research. We also remind you to try it in a safe place free of anxiety inducing distractions.