Fear and anxiety are part of life. You may feel anxious before you take a test or walk down a dark street. This kind of anxiety is useful – it can make you more alert or careful. It usually ends soon after you are out of the situation that caused it. But for millions of people in the United States, the anxiety does not go away, and gets worse over time. Learn more about anxiety and Medical Cannabis; Information on Medical Marijuana treatments for Anxiety.
There is a wealth of new scientific understanding regarding how medical marijuana cannabis can be beneficial for treating Pain.
One person may suffer from strong anxiety attacks that strike without warning, while another gets panicky at the thought of speaking at an event. Someone else may struggle with a disabling fear of driving, or uncontrollable, intrusive thoughts. Yet another may live in a constant state of tension, worrying about anything and everything.
Types of Anxiety:
A Patients Guide for using Medical Marijuana for Anxiety, Sleep, Depression and Mood Disorders
One of the most well-known effects of cannabis is a feeling of overall well-being or happiness. Medical professionals and researchers refer to this effect as mood elevation, and know that it is caused by cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds in cannabis similar to those that the human body produces on its own when healthy. With certain conditions, such as anxiety, sleep, and mood disorders, the body may not produce these needed soothing agents. Medical marijuana can help replace these natural cannabinoids to relieve many of the symptoms common with depression, anxiety, sleep and mood disorders.
How Medical Marijuana Works for Anxiety, Sleep, Depression and Mood Disorders
It might seem strange that cannabis works across different anxiety, sleep, and mood disorders, since these conditions have many separate causes and symptoms that are not always related. One reason cannabis is effective is because it has 61 unique cannabinoids, each of which falls into one of eleven different groups that have different effects when used to treat conditions. This is why patients will see different strains of medical marijuana bred to have higher levels of specific cannabinoids. This specialization is based on years of deep scientific research.
- Therapies for major depression currently available have limited effectiveness, but research on cannabinoids shows that these compounds increase serotonin, an important mood controller, and even increases the generation of new brain cells (Endocannabinoids in the Treatment of Mood Disorders: Evidence from Animal Models, Rodriguez Bambico, F. et al.)
- Anxiety is a symptom of many psychiatric conditions, and recent research shows that the endocannabinoid system plays a role in modulating the feelings of fear that characterize anxiety. In particular, the CB1 receptor plays an important part, and can be activated to relieve feelings of anxiety with cannabinoids, either naturally produced or introduced into the body (such as with medical marijuana) (Modulation of Fear and Anxiety by the Endogenous Cannabinoid system, Chhatwal, J.P., and Ressler, K.J.)
- THC appears to be the primary cannabinoid contributing to feelings of sleepiness, while the cannabinoid CBD can cause feelings of wakefulness, suggesting that high-THC low-CBD strains of medical marijuana are best to overcome insomnia and sleeplessness (Effect of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol on nocturnal sleep and early-morning behavior in young adults, Nicholson, A.N., et al.)
- Adult medical cannabis users report more feelings of depression, possibly brought on by the conditions contributing to their use of medical cannabis, but also report relief from symptoms of depression and more positive moods through using medical cannabis (Decreased depression in marijuana users, Denson, T.F., and Earleywine, M.)
Since the cannabinoids that relieve symptoms of anxiety, sleep, and mood disorders are present in virtually any form of medical marijuana, patients can find relief from their symptoms in a variety of ways, including:
- Inhaled medical marijuana, whether through commonly used marijuana cigarettes or specialized devices such as pipes and vaporizers
- In recipes as a food item or as an addition to drinks; this method works best in edibles that have a higher oil content, since cannabinoids are oil soluble
Anxiety, sleep, and mood disorders can be very disruptive to daily life, but so can many of the traditional treatments available for these conditions. Those suffering from these upsetting symptoms might be able to supplement treatment for their conditions with medical cannabis, and should discuss this option with a qualified medical marijuana doctor.
United Patients Group is dedicated to making sure patients can have access to medicine that helps reduce their pain and symptoms, listing dispensaries and medical marijuana resources to ease that process. Feel free to contact us with any questions or to share your story of how medical marijuana has helped you.
Endocannabinoid-mediated modulation of stress responses: physiological and pathophysiological significance.
- Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, NCBES Neuroscience Cluster and Centre for Pain Research, National University of Ireland, Galway, University Road, Galway, Ireland. [email protected]
The stress response is associated with a broad spectrum of physiological and behavioural effects including hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activation, altered central nervous system activity, neuroimmune alterations, anxiety- and depressive-like behaviour and analgesia. While the acute stress response has essential survival value, chronic stress and dysfunction of the stress response can be maladaptive, contributing to the development and severity of psychiatric and pain disorders. The endogenous cannabinoid (endocannabinoid) system has emerged as an important lipid signalling system playing a key role in mediating and/or modulating behavioural, neurochemical, neuroendocrine, neuroimmune and molecular responses to stress. The weight of evidence, reviewed here, points largely to a system which serves to constrain HPA axis activity, facilitate adaptation or habituation of HPA axis and behavioural responses to stress, reduce anxiety- and depressive-like behaviour and mediate analgesic responses to unconditioned or conditioned stress. Possible involvement of the immune system and associated signalling molecules (e.g. cytokines) in endocannabinoid-mediated modulation of neuroendocrine and behavioural responses to stress is considered. The goal now should be to exploit our understanding of the role of the endocannabinoid system in fundamental stress physiology and pathophysiological processes to better understand and treat a range of stress-related disorders including anxiety, depression and pain.
Cannabinoids ameliorate impairments induced by chronic stress to synaptic plasticity and short-term memory.
- Department of Psychology, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel.
Repeated stress is one of the environmental factors that precipitates and exacerbates mental illnesses like depression and anxiety as well as cognitive impairments. We have previously shown that cannabinoids can prevent the effects of acute stress on learning and memory. Here we aimed to find whether chronic cannabinoid treatment would alleviate the long-term effects of exposure to chronic restraint stress on memory and plasticity as well as on behavioral and neuroendocrine measures of anxiety and depression. Late adolescent rats were exposed to chronic restraint stress for 2 weeks followed each day by systemic treatment with vehicle or with the CB1/2 receptor agonist WIN55,212-2 (1.2 mg/kg). Thirty days after the last exposure to stress, rats demonstrated impaired long-term potentiation (LTP) in the ventral subiculum-nucleus accumbens (NAc) pathway, impaired performance in the prefrontal cortex (PFC)-dependent object-recognition task and the hippocampal-dependent spatial version of this task, increased anxiety levels, and significantly reduced expression of glucocorticoid receptors (GRs) in the amygdala, hippocampus, PFC, and NAc. Chronic WIN55,212-2 administration prevented the stress-induced impairment in LTP levels and in the spatial task, with no effect on stress-induced alterations in unconditioned anxiety levels or GR levels. The CB1 antagonist AM251 (0.3 mg/kg) prevented the ameliorating effects of WIN55,212-2 on LTP and short-term memory. Hence, the beneficial effects of WIN55,212-2 on memory and plasticity are mediated by CB1 receptors and are not mediated by alterations in GR levels in the brain areas tested. Our findings suggest that cannabinoid receptor activation could represent a novel approach to the treatment of cognitive deficits that accompany a variety of stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders.