- December 27, 2022
Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. Perhaps the person has watched a scary movie or seen something upsetting on TV. Or more ominous, perhaps the person has experienced or witnessed a crime. Anyone might get anxious in these situations, but the person with an anxiety disorder has persistent or recurrent anxiety that prevents him or her from full participation in life. Anxiety can range from relatively mild (occasional “butterflies,” jitteriness, accompanied by a sense of unease) to severe (frequent, disabling panic attacks). Severe anxiety disorders can lead the person to alter his lifestyle to accommodate the anxiety, for example not leaving home. (American Psychiatric Association, Expert Q&A: Anxiety Disorders, https://psychiatry.org/patients-families/anxiety-disorders/expert-q-and-a#5269)
Marijuana may be of benefit to patients with anxiety. Many patients are looking for alternative ways to treat anxiety aside from utilizing of benzodiazepine derivatives such as Xanax or Ativan.
22% of patients who use marijuana report benefits treating anxiety. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36147312/)
While it may alleviate anxiety, in some individuals, especially in higher doses may cause anxiety. (https://translational-medicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12967-020-02518-2)
Many patients of mine have reduced or stopped using prescription anti-anxiety medications in lieu of marijuana. However, marijuana as all chemical substance known to mankind, may have potential for both short-term and long-term side effects. The longer-term side effects may take years to become present. Therefore, it’s advisable to use the lowest dose possible of marijuana that helps your symptoms.