It’s okay to be anxious, here’s how cannabis can help

We hear a lot about anxiety in this day and age, but what does it really mean? Anxiety is a normal response to any sort of stress you may be feeling in your day-to-day life. There are several different types of anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, and separation anxiety disorder. Even though statistics show that anxiety disorders are rare, they are a lot more common than we think because so many go undiagnosed.

Treatment can look very different for people struggling with anxiety disorders. There are two most common avenues of treatment for anxiety disorders, which are psychotherapy and prescribed medications.

Also known as psychological counseling, psychotherapy involves consistently working with a therapist to attempt to reduce anxiety symptoms. The most common form of psychotherapy is Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which focuses on teaching you specific skills to ultimately improve your symptoms and slowly return to the activities you had been avoiding due to your anxiety. CBT can also include exposure therapy, where you gradually encounter your triggers, ultimately helping you build confidence in managing the situation and your symptoms.

Regarding treatment with prescribed medications, there are several different routes that can be taken, which all depend on the type of anxiety disorder you are struggling with. Most commonly, certain antidepressants are prescribed and used to treat generic anxiety disorders. In other cases, doctors may prescribe benzodiazepines for treatment, which are not intended for long term usage.

For many years, cannabis has been used as an additional anxiety remedy. Although it shouldn’t fully take the place of prescribed medication, it can still be a helpful aid. However, due to societal stigmas there has been an ongoing debate regarding whether or not cannabis compounds are more effective than prescription anxiety medication.

Cannabis affects the Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA), which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that can ultimately stop anxiety in its tracks. GABA levels are targeted by benzodiazepines, but cannabis has been shown to lower these levels by targeting the stress hormone known as cortisol. Since stress is a main contributing factor to anxiety, this ultimately alleviates symptoms of anxiety.

CBD is another way to use cannabis to treat anxiety. CBD, or cannabidiol, is the second most prevalent, active ingredient in cannabis and can also be used to treat anxiety. Since it doesn’t contain THC, it won’t get you high, but it still has its benefits. CBD works by interacting with CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are mostly found in the central nervous system.

While cannabis can be extremely beneficial for people struggling with anxiety disorders, it’s important not to abuse it. It’s easy to try to drown your worries with cannabis, which is why balance is key. If you are in psychotherapy or taking prescription medications, we’re not saying to replace that treatment with cannabis usage, because cannabis usage doesn’t work the same for everyone. We are saying that cannabis has many positive effects regarding anxiety symptoms, and it’s worth a shot if you have been struggling.