Is medical marijuana good for anxiety? That seems to be one of the most popular questions asked today, as more and more people are obtaining legal prescriptions for marijuana and anxiety disorders remain the most common mental health condition in the country.
But, how much does medical marijuana help individuals who are experiencing anxiety disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, or generalized anxiety disorder? Does it do more harm than good, or vice versa?
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a mental health condition that is characterized by excessive worry and fear that impacts daily activities. There are five major types of anxiety disorders:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Panic disorder
- Social phobia
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Each anxiety disorder comes with its own definitive set of symptoms, however, there are several symptoms that are shared across the board. This includes excessive worry, constant fear, irritability, and racing thoughts. Today, approximately 40 million Americans have an anxiety disorder. Even though this many people throughout the country are living with anxiety disorders, less than half of them receive professional help to treat their symptoms. When anxiety disorders are left untreated, a variety of unfavorable consequences can start to develop and even begin threatening one’s wellbeing.
How Does Anxiety Impact Daily Life?
Those who have an anxiety disorder know just how much anxiety can impact their daily lives. The more intense the anxiety disorder, the more challenging it can be to live with. People who have anxiety disorders like panic disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder may experience a number of effects on their daily life, including but not limited to, the following:
- Problems sleeping, leading to clouded thinking, poor focus, and agitation
- Changes in eating habits, such as emotional eating
- Increased stress responses to anxiety, leading to rapid heart rate, heavy breathing, and an overall inability to relax
- Fearing doing certain things, causing individuals to socially isolate or stay home
- Becoming disorganized both mentally and physically due to increased focus on anxiety and its symptoms
- Experiencing interpersonal problems with loved ones
- Having difficulty performing at work or upholding a job
Anxiety disorders can be absolutely devastating. Many people find ways to push through the challenges they face as a result of this disorder, however, continuing to go on without obtaining some level of treatment can make the situation much more complex. With therapy and medication a common go-to combination for treating anxiety disorders, some people have started looking for alternative solutions. This begs the question, “Is medical marijuana good for anxiety?”
Is Medical Marijuana Good for Anxiety?
Marijuana, the legality of it, its usage, and so on have been a hot topic of debate for some time now. Studies have shown that marijuana, while a mind-altering substance, offers several benefits for people who are experiencing a whole slew of physical and psychological challenges, including anxiety. On the other hand, there are some cons to utilizing marijuana to treat a condition like anxiety, however, the decision to include it into one’s treatment plan depends on their own unique needs.
Pros of Medical Marijuana for Anxiety
One study concluded that those who used medical marijuana reported 50% less depressive symptoms and 58% less anxiety symptoms. This is a huge benefit for those with an anxiety disorder, as the symptoms of the condition are what are often the most challenging to address. When individuals are able to turn down the volume on their symptoms, they are better able to begin addressing the root causes of their anxiety.
Medical marijuana can also help to lessen physical pain, relax muscles, and help the brain slow down enough to where some of the anxious thoughts stop or are reduced. It helps to keep gastrointestinal issues at bay (which are common in those with anxiety) and also serves as an overall stress reducer.
Cons of Medical Marijuana for Anxiety
Medical marijuana may be effective for many people with anxiety, but it can also produce some cons that make it more unfavorable to others. For example, medical marijuana can actually exacerbate symptoms such as worry and fear as well as impact one’s long-term memory. Individuals may also start to develop a tolerance to marijuana, leading to increased usage, which can cause cannabis use disorder. Lastly, those who consume marijuana have higher risks of experiencing a psychiatric disorder.
So, is medical marijuana good for anxiety? The answer to that question depends on the needs of the individual. Everyone who has an anxiety disorder can have different experiences with medical marijuana, which is why it is important to work with a healthcare provider who can prescribe and monitor the use of the substance.
Alternative Treatments for Anxiety
Medical marijuana is easily one of the most popular alternative treatments for anxiety, and with good reason. However, there are other options to help treat these types of disorders that do not involve medical marijuana or other traditional forms of treatment.
One of the leading alternative treatments for anxiety is holistic therapy. Through holistic therapy, individuals gain the opportunity to engage in a number of different, natural therapies that can help to reduce their anxiety. These can include yoga, mindfulness, acupuncture, massage therapy, and meditation. This whole-body approach to treating anxiety has been effective for countless individuals and focuses on treating the mind, body, and spirit. Each one of these therapies offers hope for individuals who want to get their anxiety under control without the use of traditional therapy.
Anxiety Treatment in Philadelphia
Living with anxiety can be extremely painful. If you are experiencing an anxiety disorder, or if you are unsure if you are or not, reach out to Wave Treatment Centers right now. Our team of devoted professionals is ready to help you get to the root of what is causing your anxiety so that you can start to feel better as quickly as possible.
Do not hesitate any longer. Call us right now. We can help.