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Debunking Common Misconceptions Surrounding Medical Marijuana and Anxiety: 5 Myths

Every day, countless patients turn to medical cannabis for anxiety relief and long-term healing. But many of these patients started their journeys from a place of skepticism. After all, marijuana hasn’t always received positive media attention.

At TeleLeaf, we understand that people (patients and their loved ones) might be hesitant to consider medical marijuana as a valuable treatment option. However, we’ve seen the powerful results of intentional cannabis treatment firsthand, and we know that many patients are effectively using marijuana to discover long-term recovery from anxiety.

In this guide, we’re debunking five myths about marijuana you’ve likely heard in the media—you may have even heard them from your traditional healthcare providers. If you’re looking for the facts about using marijuana for anxiety, read on.

Myth #1: All Cannabis Products Get You High

The Facts: There are hundreds of cannabinoids present in the Cannabis sativa plant, and only some of them produce psychoactive effects.

For decades, popular media has boiled down cannabis use to a few recognizable, digestible images: lighting a joint, lazing on the couch, and getting the munchies, for instance. But the first thing you should know about cannabis is that not all marijuana products produce intoxicating effects.

To understand why, let’s explore cannabinoids.

Cannabinoids are compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant that interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). There are two types of cannabinoids:

  • Major cannabinoidsTetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the most well-recognized cannabinoids, and they can be present in relatively high concentrations in some strains of the marijuana plant.
  • Minor cannabinoids – In addition to THC and CBD, there are numerous other cannabinoids present in the Cannabis sativa plant. Cannabichromene (CBC), cannabigerol (CBG), and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa) are just a few.

Of these compounds, THC is the only psychoactive cannabinoid—so, only cannabis products that contain a non-negligible concentration of THC have the potential to get you high.

Today’s medical cannabis patients have countless options for products, and not every product on the market includes THC. CBD products and concentrates of specific cannabinoids are widely available, so it’s very easy for patients to avoid products that produce a high.

Even if you aren’t looking to get high, there’s a cannabis product for you.

Myth #2: Weed Makes You Paranoid—And Paranoia Fuels Anxiety

The Facts: Each strain of the marijuana plant produces unique effects.

Not all weed products get you high—and not all weed products induce paranoia in patients. Why?

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  1. There are many strains of the Cannabis sativa plant – There are hundreds of subtypes of the Cannabis sativa plant; these are called strains. Each strain features a unique combination of cannabinoids and other compounds (terpenes, for example), and these combinations produce unique effects.
  2. People respond to each strain differently – While some strains might increase arousal in some patients, others might respond to the same strain in a completely different way.

Strains generally fall into one of three major groups: indica strains, sativa strains, and hybrid strains. While effects can vary, many patients report that Indica strains produce a mellow, relaxed feeling, while sativas spark creativity and complex thought. But this isn’t always the case.

The best way to find a strain that produces the effects you’re looking for is to experiment. Ask your medical marijuana doctor and your budtender (the expert working at your pharmacy or dispensary) for recommendations based on your desired effects, and try different options until you find your ideal formula.

Myth #3: Weed Is a Depressant, So It’ll Make You Drowsy

The Facts: Weed is classified as both a stimulant and a depressant, just like alcohol. Patients can customize their medical cannabis dosages and strains to prevent depressive effects if desired.

Prescription drugs, naturally occurring compounds, and other substances are often categorized as either depressants or stimulants.

Generally speaking, depressants can make people feel:

  • Relaxed
  • Drowsy
  • At ease

Stimulants, on the other hand, often produce effects like:

  • Elevated mood
  • Creativity
  • Increased body temperature

Marijuana is a complex substance with nuanced effects that vary widely on an individual basis. As a result, it’s classified as both a depressant and a stimulant.

If you live with anxiety, you might already be using a depressant medication for everyday symptom management—a benzodiazepine like alprazolam (Xanax), for instance. If you’re looking for an alternative, finding the right strain of marijuana could provide the perfect balance between relaxing and stimulating effects.

Myth #4: Marijuana is a “Gateway Drug” to Other Substances

The Facts: Marijuana has a low risk of habit formation, and the context around marijuana use has changed drastically in the last decade.

One of the most widespread myths about marijuana is that it’s a “gateway” to illicit substances. But for the average medical cannabis patient, this simply isn’t the case.

The myth circulated due in part to historical context, specifically:

  1. Proximity – When marijuana was only available on the black market, patients had to source cannabis from dealers—people who often had access to (or attempted to sell) other illegal substances. Today, medical cannabis is lab-tested, regulated, and available at reputable dispensaries that don’t sell other substances.
  2. Lack of information about marijuana – In the past, information about drugs (both prescription and illicit) was limited. Neither the scientific community nor the general population had a fact-based understanding of the nuances of different drugs. So, when marijuana wasn’t available on the black market, people might have turned to other substances that they thought would produce the same effects. Today, we know that marijuana simply isn’t the same as other depressants (like alcohol or heroin) or stimulants (like cocaine or amphetamines).

The average medical cannabis patient in today’s market has improved access to well-regulated marijuana products and reputable information from medical professionals, both of which can facilitate productive and safe marijuana use.

Myth #5: Medical Marijuana Doesn’t Work for Anxiety

The Facts: Many patients with anxiety find lasting recovery and relief with medical marijuana.

Can marijuana help with anxiety? For many patients, the answer is yes.

While it’s true that the scientific community is still gathering controlled clinical data about medical marijuana, anecdotal reports, and early evidence show that cannabis can help people find relief from anxiety.

Here are just a few testimonials from people who have found long-term healing:

“I don’t like taking pills—medical cannabis is a form of medication that allows me to deal with my anxiety/stress in a natural way.”
Marlyn O.

“I would highly recommend medical marijuana to anyone living with anxiety or pain daily.”
Tracie S.

“It helps me with my daily pains and gets my mind straight. I haven’t taken any antidepressants or anxiety medications in the year that I’ve been on medical cannabis.”
Allen H.

The missing link for many patients is intention. Anyone can smoke a joint, but using marijuana specifically as a healing tool—to slow down, explore your inner thoughts, and be present with your emotions—takes time and practice. When patients approach marijuana with the intent to heal, they can uncover revolutionary results.

Is Medical Cannabis Right for You?

With these myths debunked, you might be considering incorporating medical marijuana into your healing journey.

Can you get your medical card for anxiety? The answer depends on your state, but access to medical cannabis is constantly improving.

Is medical cannabis right for you? Marijuana is often a good fit for patients looking for:

  • A plant-based, all-natural solution
  • An alternative to traditional treatments (like pharmaceuticals)
  • A complementary treatment for strategies that are already working for them (like mental health counseling)

The best way to find out if medical marijuana is right for you is to chat with a cannabis doctor—an expert who can help you find the relief you deserve.

TeleLeaf: Empowering Recovery from Anxiety

While myths about medical marijuana are widespread, information is empowering—and TeleLeaf is here to help you find the facts so that you can make informed decisions about your health and healing.

When you’re looking for a safe, all-natural recovery tool, reach out to our providers for a consultation. If you’re a good fit for medical cannabis, our licensed healthcare experts can provide a recommendation and help you fine-tune your treatment to discover long-term relief.

Schedule your first appointment now.


VeryWell Health. What Are Cannabinoids?

Healthline. Is Weed a Depressant, Stimulant, or Hallucinogen?

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