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Marijuana and Anxiety
normg posted:
I have some mild anxiety. I do not have depression. I have read warnings about using Kava, Passionflower, etc potential damage to liver. I am concerned about pharmaceuticals/chemicals used long term for anxiety and their reported damage to normal brain functions of serotonin or dopamine functions --- and that in fact some of these flatline emotional response and require a person to take them for life once they start. I would prefer a "natural" solution. I can't smoke (asthma), but I wondered if any research has been conducted on the use of oral marijuana for treatment of anxiety. I have no desire to be a zombie or "stoned" all the time, but read marijuana has good results --- yet I read other posts on this site that indicate it may cause anxiety! I live in a state that allows medical marijuana use/sales.
notevenmeanymore responded:
I am interested in this same thing. I do not want to be all high, but I think marijuana would definitely beat the alternative of these crazy drugs they want to put you on. I swear they make me worse, and I have heard alot of horror stories on the long term affects. I do not want to go there again. I think I might do some research and will get back with you. Maybe even get my green card. It sure cant hurt.
Patricia Farrell, PhD responded:
I can understand your concern about taking any medication for prolonged periods of time. Research does indicate that some medications can cause cognitive dulling or slight memory problems. What everyone has to consider, who is taking any medication, is whether the cost-benefit analysis favors taking the medication versus not taking it. In other words, if you were not to take it what would your quality of life be like?

Although some research reports, which appear frequently in TV news programs, play up problems in certain medications, you must still remember that one research report does not indicate that it is 100% totally correct in everyone's case. Like everything else, research must be taken with a grain of salt and one of those grains has to do with who funded the research and where it was done and on whom. Much of the research is done with mice and, although it may be a convenient model, is it necessarily totally applicable to human beings?

I am not an M.D. and I cannot provide you with any information regarding marijuana for the use of anxiety, although I do know that persons with multiple sclerosis find it useful in pain management. Some people, probably, do use it for anxiety and in some states, where it is legal, it is formulated in edible forms. Therefore, it isn't necessary to smoke it.

Of course, you know that lifestyle changes can play a great role in anxiety management as can simple, regular exercise and hobbies, outings with family and friends and some meaningful activity that gives you joy. So, I would first suggest that you do an evaluation of your life and look to see if something might be missing and you might be able to help yourself with your anxiety.

I would also suggest that you view our relaxation breathing video in our Tips column and begin to use that technique on a regular basis. Use it as often as you wish.

I hope you find some of this information useful and that your anxiety does decrease.
miranau responded:
Hey Norm,

I've suffered from anxiety for close to 10 years now. I tried marijuana when I was around 19 to try and alleviate some of the symptoms. For me, it did not - it actually made it worse. I felt like I was losing control of my body, thought I was going to pass out, and I could feel my heart racing in my chest. Basically, it made me oversensitive to everything and caused me to panic. Now, if your anxiety isn't related to the way your body feels (instead of being anxious that you're sick, which is my "thing", and you instead had social anxiety or something like that) then it may very well help relax your mind. All depends on what kind of anxiety you have.

Give it a try, that's all I can say. It won't kill you or do any lasting harm, and it may very well help you out. Best of luck .
normg replied to Patricia Farrell, PhD's response:
Thanks! I don't see the referenced "tips" video for relaxation video and can't find it in a search. Do you have a link to it? I have begun exercising and it helps. Years ago my doctor prescribed BuSpar but the side affects were worse than the anxiety! Also, it seems doctors always steer people toward anti-depressants...I am not suffering from depression! Ironically, when I hurt my back they put me on a low dose of the medicine I later discovered was the same thing as valium. I liked the way I felt; calm, relaxed, not stoned or drugged --- again it was a light dose and I also know valium is addictive and requires higher doses to maintain the same effects. I don't want to take it. I had hoped marijuana might be an alternative, but as I do more research it seems it can exacerbate anxiety. Again, thanks. Would like so see a link for the relaxation breathing video.

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