We are slowly approaching a period of time where we might actually be able to see the dream of having medicinal Marijuana or Cannabis officially legalized to stand side by side the traditional allopathic medicines out there fulfilled. Thanks to the recent bold steps taken by the governments of various states into encourages the legalization of Marijuana, Millions of people who were suffering from the cold grasp of anxiety disorder are now turning to seek the aid of Medical Marijuana to get solace in their life.
What Exactly Is Anxiety Disorder?
Anxiety Disorder is often accompanied by various other signs and symptoms, but all of them have one thing is common, that is the tendency to persistently become over worried. Officially anxiety has been defined as “A Painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind, usually over an impending or anticipated ill”.
Some common diseases linked to Anxiety Disorder include Social Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder. When looking at the condition at a broader scale, it is seen that in the United States alone, 40 million people are now being affected by this mental illness which makes up about 18% of the total population. This is actually a pretty big deal.
Statistically speaking, the treatment for Anxiety using the general methods costs around $42 billion a year to the US which takes up almost 1/3rd of the country’s total capital allocated for the treatment of mental illness. Of that $42 Billion, more than $22.84 billion comes from the multiple doctor visits and the unfortunate patients who are being treated with the wrong kind of medicines, ultimately garnering no positive results at all. SSR’s and sedatives are amongst the common types of medicines which are prescribed to a patient of anxiety, and while they are able to momentarily suppress the distress, in the long run they are pretty much useless.
For the patients who are looking for a more affordable alternative which will act faster posing less side effects, Medicinal Cannabis seems to be a Mana from Heaven.
How does Medicinal Marijuana help fight anxiety?
Before going into “How” medicinal marijuana or Cannabis helps to treat anxiety, one should first know what are the properties of Cannabis that influences these positive effects, because there is still a misconception at large that Marijuana can be only be consumed for recreational purposes for generating the feeling of High and Euphoria.
So, The Cannabis plant is composed of more than 85 natural compounds which are also called cannabinoids. Specific strains of these cannabinoids specially bred helps to a greater extent to treat the illnesses of the human body.
You have probably heard of the two terms “CBD” and “THC”. CBD or Cannabidiol is a compound found in cannabis which is primarily responsible for the significant medical benefits of the plant. This is a highly biologically active and non-psychoactive compound which acts as a very strong anti-inflammatory, anti-pain, anti- anxiety and anti-spasm agent without infusing the feelings of Euphoria. The Euphoria inducing compound is THC is also very much abundant in Marijuana plants, and while THC might have the negative drawback of making you “Stoned”, it still has some properties which allows you to relax your muscle and reduce inflammation.
The key to most treatments is to find the right balance between the two.
What Is The Right Balance?
Very thorough researches have been conducted in this field to find out which compound effectively tackles the adverse effects of anxiety. Some say that medicinal Marijuana helps them to relieve their anxiety while making them more anxious later on, while others get more benefited from it. The reason for such altered results was the level of THC and CBD present in the consumed strain.
CBD and THC usually tend to work as polar opposites when dealing with Anxiety. THC is directly linked in increasing the feelings of paranoia and anxiety as it activates the amygdala are of the brain which is the pain inducer. On the other hand, CBD fights to counteract the feelings induced by THC, significantly lowering or even eliminating anxiety.
So what is the balance? The answer is not that much straightforward and it has also been seen that the increased level of CBD yet again negatively impacts the body by encouraging the effects of THC. So, the concluding scenario seems that for those patients who are willing to tackle the symptoms of anxiety is to find a strain with high levels of CBD and low levels of THC, since prolonged exposer to THC, at first starts to lower the level of Anxiety, but eventually starts to increase it.
A Recent Trial
As of recently, a very thorough and strict trial was conducted on this very particular topic in a simulated environment which has ushered a great deal of light on this particular subject matter and helped scientist to better understand the treating methodologies of Anxiety using Medicinal Marijuana.
The treatment was carried out by rounding up around 24 volunteers who were screened very thoroughly to ensure that all of them were non-smokers,, had not taken Marijuana more than 5 times during their life time, with the affirmation that they did not have any Marijuana during the prior year to the test. The subjects were all from the same demographic and social group, but they all had a common form of Social Anxiety Disorder in them.
The test was a double blindfolded test which where half of the participants were treated with a 600mg dose of CBD while the other half were treated with a placebo. Aside from these two groups, an equal number of (12) people of healthy people were assigned to act as being a control group for the experiment.
After the dosages were successfully administered, each test subject was introduced to various social controlled and simulated social experiments which involved interacting with random and unknown public.
During the ongoing experimentation, the test subjects were checked 6 times for various factors through sophisticated techniques what included summarizing the subjective ratings on a Visual Analogue Mood Scale (VAMS) and Negative Self-Statement Scale (SSPS) which was followed by a full physiological measurement to notice any change in blood pressure, heart rate and skin conductance.
The results were very pleasing, as it turned out that the placebo group had a much higher level of Anxiety, discomfort and cognitive impairment when during the experimentations as given by the above mentioned tests. While in contrast, the treated group showed almost flat and baseline signs of anxiety and social/emotional stress.