Cannabis has been said to have so many health benefits. It’s part of the reason why doctors prescribe it. People often use it to cope with anxiety.
However, for some people, it does just the opposite. Read on to learn what cannabis-induced anxiety is, the symptoms, and how to treat it.
Exploring the Brain
You’ve probably heard of people getting paranoid or anxious after smoking marijuana. However, you’re not sure how this happens.
Everything starts with your body. To get a better understanding, it will help to learn a little more about the science of the brain.
Let’s take a look at the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Put simply, endocannabinoids are natural cannabis-like substances.
The role of the ECS is to regulate some processes of the body including communication between cells and immune responses. It also regulates sleep and mood.
Now let’s explore some more of the brain. If you’ve taken a science class of any sort, you might have looked into the brain a bit.
One of the main parts of your brain is the amygdala which processes fear to dangerous or threatening stimuli.
If you’re familiar with types of cannabis, then you’ll know of THC and CBD.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main compound in cannabis. Cannabidiol (CBD) is another part of the cannabis plant.
Studies show that there is a connection between cannabinoids and anxiety.
THC decreases anxiety when used in lower doses and increases anxiety when used at higher doses. On the other hand, CBD tends to only decrease anxiety at any dose.
So where does this anxiety come from? THC.
What Is Cannabis-Induced Anxiety Disorder?
There are endocannabinoid receptors that bind to different parts of your brain. One area that they’ll bind to is the amygdala.
For some people, it is easier to get anxiety from THC. The substance has a lot of cannabinoids so when you take it, your brain has more than usual.
This will mess with your amygdala, and in turn, make you feel anxious. Cannabis paranoia can also occur through the same process.
What Are the Symptoms?
Of course, you’ll feel anxious if you suffer from a cannabis-induced anxiety disorder. You’ll feel paranoia. Overall, you’ll feel unhappy and unsettled. However, that’s not all.
You can also suffer from a panic attack. Here are some of the signs to look for:
- Racing heartbeat
- Sweating or shaking
- Feelings of fear
- Trouble breathing
If you feel off at all while you’re using THC, you could very well be suffering from a cannabis-induced anxiety disorder.
Why Does THC Cause Anxiety for Some People?
There are a few reasons why you suffer from cannabis-induced anxiety while others don’t.
First, your environment could play a role in how you feel when you do cannabis. If you’re in a stressful environment, you may not feel relaxed when using marijuana.
If you continue to use it in that environment, it could contribute to you feeling worse as time goes on.
Another possible cause is if you have underlying anxiety. You may try cannabis to help your anxiety but find that the more you have, the worse you feel.
As previously mentioned, people who use THC in higher doses tend to feel more anxious. That being said, the amount of THC you’re using could play a part in why you feel anxious.
It could also depend on your genes or even your sex. Studies show that higher estrogen levels can increase cannabis sensitivity. Since females have higher estrogen levels, they would be more likely to be sensitive to cannabis.
How to Treat Cannabis-Induced Anxiety
There are a few ways you can treat and manage your anxiety.
First and foremost, make sure to breathe. Remind yourself that nothing is actually wrong. Don’t breathe too fast, though.
Take slow, steady breaths to help calm yourself.
Relaxing is another key part of reducing the symptoms. Distract yourself to let your body process the THC.
If you’re with your friends, talk to them. If you need to ground yourself, rinse your hands under running water to help you remember that everything is going to be alright.
Create a relaxing environment for yourself. If you were in a stressful area, relocate to a calmer one. If the location you’re in is fine, make it more relaxing. A way you could do this is to play calming music.
Remember, not everyone suffers from cannabis-induced anxiety. Also, not all THC is going to make you feel anxious or paranoid. Explore the benefits of cannabis to see what might work for you.
How to Reduce Risk of Cannabis-Induced Anxiety
If you want to enjoy cannabis but you’re worried that you’ll suffer from cannabis-induced anxiety, try some of these tips.
Use CBD. This article described how THC in high doses is one of the main causes of anxiety. Try using more CBD which is more known to reduce anxiety.
Take a lower dose. As just mentioned, it’s the higher doses of THC that typically overstimulate your amygdala and cause anxiety. Try it in lower doses to help calm your symptoms without contributing any more pain.
There are still many health benefits of cannabis and it can still be used to help relieve anxiety and other matters.
Now you know the connection between cannabis and anxiety. If you enjoyed reading this article and learning more about cannabis-induced anxiety, then make sure to check out our health and food section.