How Does Cannabis Affect Anxiety?


If you’ve ever gotten anxiety from cannabis, it’s probably because you were smoking or ingesting a THC-heavy strain of the plant. Marijuana can either relieve or promote anxiety depending on which cannabinoid is most prominent. Use of cannabis as an anxiety treatment dates back to the days of yore. In fact, Native American medical literature praises the plant’s ability to help people be “delivered from all worries and care.”

THC Effect
how does cannabis affect anxietyTHC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main chemical responsible for marijuana’s mild hallucinogenic effects. It creates the “stoned” or “high” feeling depending on what strain is being used and promotes sleep, among other effects. THC-heavy strains of cannabis can also result in feelings of paranoia and anxiety, although this varies greatly from person to person. Some smoke THC-laced strains of cannabis regularly but do not experience anxiety or paranoia. Others smoke or ingest it for the first time and feel so paranoid that they eschew the drug for the rest of their lives.

CBD Effect

CBD-heavy cannabis has the opposite effect. It is the anti-psychotic cannabinoid that does not produce the “high” or “stoned” feeling. It is frequently used for medical marijuana purposes for this reason. CBD (cannabidiol) strains may be used to combat feelings of anxiety and paranoia from taking THC-heavy cannabis.

Why THC Strains Can Cause Anxiety

THC strains of marijuana cause anxiety because of how they affect the brain. The amygdala portion of the brain is responsible for fear, and this is the section THC stimulates. Most people associate marijuana with THC, which is why the anxiety and paranoia stigmas remain. There is also evidence that THC taken in low doses has an anti-anxiety effect.

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