How to Use Medical Marijuana for Anxiety
Did you know that 49% of Americans have tried marijuana? In 2015, that percentage hovered around 40%. As more states approve recreational and medicinal marijuana use, several people have started seeing its advantages.
If you or a loved one deals with anxiety, you may wonder if medical marijuana for anxiety is a viable option. There are several steps that you must take before purchasing medical marijuana at a qualified dispensary.
However, many people find it improves relaxation and sleep quality with generalized anxiety disorder. Are you interested in learning more? Our guide will review common anxiety symptoms, how cannabis for anxiety helps, and what strains to look for in your next purchases.
Anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health conditions. The term “anxiety” actually encompasses a wide realm of anxiety disorders (more on that below). Experts estimate that around 31.1% of adults in the United States will have an anxiety disorder at some point in their life.
Here are some of the most common anxiety disorders:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Separation anxiety disorder
Phobias have another host of sub-categories, like agoraphobia, arachnophobia, and much more. For this article, let’s focus on GAD or more general anxiety symptoms. GAD is broken down into three types:
Medical experts found that 15% of adults experienced one of those three categories of GAD during the past two weeks. As expected, severe GAD affects less of the population at around 2.7%.
Common Anxiety Symptoms
Anxiety is primarily characterized by excessive worry. In return, this can lead to several physical symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Muscle tension
Anxiety can increase sleep disturbances and other mental health conditions. Research also points toward anxiety and increased risk for illness or other health conditions.
While it is difficult to determine if health conditions cause anxiety or vice versa, they can exacerbate asthma, COPD, and IBS. Patients diagnosed with hypertension and cancer also reported higher rates of anxiety. When researchers interviewed several thousand individuals with debilitating health conditions, they found that anxiety usually preceded the illness.
Anxiety Disorder Treatment Options
There are several tools that individuals use for anxiety relief, from prescribed medication to holistic remedies. Even things like mindfulness, yoga, or meditation can be useful tools. Some ways you can start managing anxiety at home include:
- Healthy lifestyle changes (e.g., increased physical activity, healthier eating, quitting smoking)
- Limiting caffeine consumption
- Improving sleep quality
- Managing triggers
With mild anxiety disorders, these simple tools could be extremely helpful. Moderate to severe anxiety might need more professional guidance. Two other common treatments are therapy and medication.
Therapy includes working with a professional mental health therapist that provides counseling. This professional might use tools like cognitive behavioral therapy or psychotherapy to help manage triggers and reduce negative thought patterns.
Lastly, traditional medications are another tool to manage anxiety symptoms. Unfortunately, these medications can have several adverse side effects and might not work for everyone.
Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants are two of the most commonly used ones. Patients may experience drowsiness, nausea, weight gain, or other negative reactions.
Medical Marijuana for Anxiety
Marijuana for anxiety has increased in popularity now that many states have relaxed legislation on marijuana bans. Twenty-one states proceeded with legalizing recreational marijuana use. Another 37 states legalized medical marijuana use, even with federal legislation still listing it as a Schedule I substance.
With many states approving (and continuing to approve) medicinal marijuana use, anxiety has become a forefront contender for prescriptions. There are also several FDA-approved medications with THC, including Marinol and Cesamet.
While medical experts have found several advantageous effects of THC and CBD, there is little research on long-term implications. Most cases of medical marijuana use are used for things like anxiety relief, relaxation, and more.
Effects of Medical Marijuana
Studies show that medical marijuana can help improve quality of life in some individuals. Most patients that used medical marijuana had a cancer diagnosis or non-specific pain.
Marijuana can reduce feelings of stress or apprehension, which could decrease your anxiety symptoms. It should be used as an adjunct treatment to other healthy treatment tools like therapy and lifestyle changes. As stress decreases, you might also notice positive changes in your focus, productivity, and sleep.
Using full-spectrum marijuana helps you receive all the benefits of cannabis, apart from THC and CBD. There are other useful cannabinoids that might benefit you.
It is important to note that excess cannabis can increase anxiety symptoms. You should start with lower dosages and carefully choose your product and route of administration before starting.
Choosing Your Marijuana for Anxiety
Although THC is beneficial in some cases, it is not ideal in high dosages for those with anxiety. THC produces the “high” that many individuals associate with cannabis. Some people might find that their paranoia increases.
It is best to start with strains that are lower in THC and higher in CBD for anxiety. Arguably, the two most popular strains are Sativa and Indica. Indica is more closely associated with relaxation effects.
People use it to help them rest and reduce feelings of stress. Within Indica strains are Myrcene terpenes. These terpenes are strongly tied to drowsiness and might aid in a restful night’s sleep but should be avoided if you need to stay productive throughout the day.
CBD and CBN are two other cannabinoids that aid in relaxation. Contrarily, Sativa strains offer energy and euphoria.
It can help boost creativity and productivity but should be avoided in higher doses for anxiety relief. One of the risks associated with these strains is lower blood pressure.
Anxiety Relief Dose
Research is limited on dosages for anxiety relief or other symptoms. One study looked at medical marijuana used for patients with chronic pain. Chronic pain can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression, so it is a good starting point to use.
Ultimately, a qualified pharmacist or physician can help you pinpoint starting dosages. In these studies, participants used medical marijuana strains that were CBD-predominant.
Researchers used several protocols, starting at CBD dosages between 5 to 10 mg twice daily. THC dosages started at 2.5 mg. Researchers would titrate up over the course of seven days, reaching 40 mg at most.
Effects were noticeable between thirty minutes and two hours after THC administration. Titrating slowly and starting at the lowest dose was more closely tied to fewer side effects and improved comfort.
Best Medical Marijuana Routes of Administration
Since anxiety is usually systemic and affects many systems, topical cream might not be ideal for you. If you also deal with other conditions, like chronic pain, it is useful for localized effects. Other forms of medical marijuana are:
Edibles are one of the easiest and most commonly used methods. It does take longer to digest, and you might not notice symptom relief right away. Tinctures are highly potent and faster-acting.
Tinctures use concentrated dosages, and you would only need a couple of drops beneath your tongue. Since it is more potent, it is essential that you purchase and review safety protocols with a qualified pharmacy.
Smoking or vaping is another fast-acting method. However, it is not advised since there are higher risks of respiratory distress while smoking or vaping that can lead to other illnesses or respiratory disorders.
Medical Marijuana License Card
There are three main steps to receiving a medical marijuana license card. First, you must register through a qualified site like TeleLeaf. After registering, you can choose a provider or have one selected for you.
The second step is meeting with a provider and determining your medical marijuana eligibility. Usually, if you have a qualifying condition, the appointment should be fairly straightforward.
There are circumstances where you will be denied a medical marijuana license card, and you can get a full refund for your consultation. Once a physician approves a medical marijuana license, you can register through your state and start purchasing through a qualified pharmacy.
Qualifying Medical Marijuana Conditions
There are several qualifying medical marijuana conditions, including anxiety. Other common health conditions include:
- Chronic pain
- Autoimmune disorders
- Alcohol use disorder
- Migraine headaches
- Muscle spasms
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- And more
Additionally, patients who receive palliative care may qualify for medical marijuana. Lastly, if you do not see a condition on this list but are interested in medical marijuana, a physician might be able to approve you. If a physician deems a specific condition debilitating enough, you may still qualify.
How Do Pharmacies Work?
Once you have approval from a physician, you can start purchasing medical marijuana through a qualified pharmacy. It is essential that you check local state rules and regulations on marijuana distribution first.
Qualified pharmacies help set up a consultation with a pharmacist to discuss different types, administrations, dosages, and more. Speaking with a pharmacist or physician is also crucial to avoid drug interactions or adverse side effects. Remember, this is still a controlled substance and requires careful medical monitoring.
Since marijuana is a holistic treatment, your risk for serious health concerns is low. Your qualified pharmacist or physician might also recommend a lower dosage to start.
Some states dispense edibles within the 2.5 mg to 5 mg range. You can see how you feel on a lower dose before ramping up, and talk to a pharmacist about trying different avenues like topical creams or tinctures.
How To Find an Access Platform for Medical Marijuana
When trying to find medical marijuana for anxiety, you need a reputable and trustworthy platform. Here are a few tools to help you get started:
- Check online reviews
- Ask about guaranteed refunds
- Check qualifying states
A qualified platform will help you access licensed physicians and pharmacies in a user-friendly format. TeleLeaf specializes in cannabis for anxiety by helping individuals pair with local physicians who reside in states like Louisiana, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, and more.
There are several pharmacies located throughout Louisiana that TeleLeaf partners with to help you access quality cannabis for anxiety relief. The best part is you can complete the entire appointment and registration process online at your convenience.
Final Cannabis Verdict
Does cannabis reduce symptoms of anxiety disorder? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as clear as many would like.
First, marijuana is a holistic treatment, and there are several individual characteristics that can impact its effectiveness. Aspects like body composition, age, gender, and other co-morbidities can impact its effects.
When researchers paired CBD against THC, they found that CBD had more relaxative effects than its counterpart. The researchers involved did not entirely dismiss THC, stating it is dose-dependent and higher doses were closely associated with increased anxiety.
From this study, medical experts such CBD-dominant strains for anxiety disorders, but future research is needed to evaluate its full effects. Some simple ways you can monitor how you react are by keeping a journal, taking it around the same time daily, eating a healthy diet, and following recommended physical activity guidelines. This ensures you keep similar routines and limit the effects of food, stress, or other supplements from interacting with it.
Start Your Medical Marijuana Card Registration Today
Have you wondered how to begin the process of using medical marijuana for anxiety? You will need a medical marijuana license or card to start purchasing cannabis for anxiety.
While medical marijuana is relatively new to the medical field, cannabis has been around for centuries and is used as a holistic approach to several ailments. At TeleLeaf, we can help you start the process.
Check out our website and approved states before filling out our registration form and start speaking with a qualified physician on your timeframe!