Can cannabis help people handle fear, phobias, and anxiety? Anyone who regularly deals with anxiety knows how it can be a decisively negative influence on life. Anxiety is not easy to control. If anxiety and fear are omnipresent, permeating into every aspect of everyday affairs, they may amount to an anxiety disorder. Cannabis is known to have soothing, calming effects, and this is why some people use it to reduce feelings of anxiety. On the other hand, some people indicate that (too much) cannabis makes them feel anxious and panicked instead. So what can this plant do for anxiety? In this blog, we explore the possibilities of controlling anxiety and associated disorders with weed.
How Anxiety Can Dominate Your Life
We all experience anxiety; most people do so on a regular basis. A certain level of anxiety is perfectly normal when you are moving to a new home, starting a new job, or have an important test coming up. Sure, the anxiety comes with a sense of insecurity, and the associated tension is not a pleasant sensation. However, these levels of anxiety can help boost motivation and increase your will to succeed. They will not keep you from living your life the way you want to. In case of an anxiety disorder, though, the sense of anxious dread is a constant, and it usually keeps you from doing the things you would like to do.
If you are suffering from anxiety disorders, you will refrain from doing certain things. You tend to avoid activities that generate anxiety; even if these are things you would enjoy doing otherwise. Even everyday activities that are perfectly normal for other people can become too much: entering an elevator, talking to strangers, or even leaving the house can become nearly impossible. For most people, such anxieties only grow worse over time if left unchecked.
Various types of anxiety disorders exist, including:
- Panic disorder: People suffering from panic disorder are suddenly overcome by panic attacks. This can be complicated further when the fear of having another panic attack becomes a source of anxiety of itself;
- Phobia: A specific situation, activity, or object triggers excessive, irrational fear and anxiety;
- Social anxiety disorder: Involves extreme fears of specific social events, such as being judged by other people;
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD): Constant repetition of irrational thoughts cause repeated fixed behaviour patterns;
- Separation anxiety: The fear of being abandoned by others, or of leaving familiar settings such as the home;
- Hypochondria: Anxiety about threats to personal health;
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Fear and anxiety triggered by past traumatic experience.
Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety
Anxiety is a uniquely personal experience. We all feel it in different ways; both in terms of intensity and in the ways it expresses itself. A common experience for many people facing anxiety is a perceived loss of control. Physical symptoms of anxiety include:
- Increased heart rate;
- Rapid breathing;
- Difficulty concentrating;
- Sleeping problems.
How Cannabis Could Help Control Anxiety
No matter how you look at it, anxiety is an experience most of us would rather avoid altogether. And perhaps there are ways to do just that. Especially in case of anxiety disorders, the anxiety is triggered by things that shouldn’t be a cause for concern at all. Even though you know this is true, however, your anxiety keeps getting the better of you, time and time again. Indeed, anxiety is a complicated affair.
Cannabis has quite a bit of potential to help us deal with anxiety. However, that potential is not simply a matter of smoking some weed or eating some edibles to get rid of anxiety just like that. Anxiety is complex; but so is cannabis. Whatever works for one person may be completely ineffective for the next. As you have seen, anxieties come in all shapes and sizes, and every cannabis strain produces different effects for different people. On top of that, our fears and anxieties tend to evolve over the years, which suggest any treatment (whether with cannabis, regular medication, or otherwise) should adapt as well. In addition, there are situations in which cannabis can increase your sense of anxiety rather than help you control it. That makes it very difficult to pinpoint exactly how cannabis can help any individual person overcome their uniquely individual anxieties.
Caution: Cannabis Can Also Make Anxiety Worse
Anxiety and anxiety disorders are complex phenomena, as are the effects of marijuana. That’s why you need to be very cautious if you plan to use cannabis to control your anxiety. Weed is actually a double-edged sword when it comes to anxiety, since it can either help keep them under control, or make them worse instead. The reason for this ambivalence is the multitude of active ingredients found in cannabis plants, each with their own specific effects. That’s all the more reason for you to find out exactly which strain produces the best effects for your individual circumstances.
How Cannabinoids And The ECS Interact
The complex relationship between marijuana and anxiety is due to the way cannabis interacts with the body, and with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in particular. The ECS is an intricate system of receptors, extending all throughout the body. It is connected with vital organs and tissues such as the brain, the skin, the immune system, digestive tract, and many more besides. The endocannabinoid system tries to maintain optimal balance within the body, called homeostasis. The human body produces its own supply of endocannabinoids (‘internal cannabinoids’) that are capable of interacting with the ECS. Occasionally, though, endocannabinoid production stagnates, and that is when cannabis may come in handy. Cannabis can affect our body and mind because the phytocannabinoids (‘plant cannabinoids’) produced by marijuana plants can interact with the ECS in the same way.
Our ECS helps determine how we handle our anxiety, fear, and stress to considerable extent. The system regulates how you respond to certain stressors. This explains why cannabis can help people control anxiety. Specific cannabinoids can sensitize or desensitize the receptors of our nerve cells, making them more or less responsive to certain stimuli. Nonetheless, predicting just how THC and weed’s other active compounds affect any person’s individual receptors is still a highly complex affair.
How To Pick The Right Cannabis Strain Against Anxiety
Studies demonstrate that certain types of cannabis work better than others when it comes to controlling anxiety. Yet every person responds to such strains in slightly different ways. That makes it all the more important to find the strain that works best for you. If you are just starting to explore how weed might help you overcome anxiety, it is best to try small doses first. That allows you to accurately assess the effects, and it helps avoid the feelings of fear, anxiety, and paranoia that too much THC can cause. Unfortunately, it is impossible to specify anyone’s ideal personal dosage, but the right cannabis knowledge and some common sense will help you on your way. The first step is to pick top quality cannabis seeds – and you’ve come to the right place for that!
Be Honest About Cannabis: To Yourself And To Professionals
If you are seeing a doctor or therapist for your anxiety, always notify them of your plans to try cannabis for your problems and ask for frank advice. We are all about responsible cannabis use, and an open, transparent relationship with (medical) professionals should always be part of that. Avoid cannabis becoming a taboo in your efforts to get rid of anxiety, because that will only make matters worse. If you feel that a certain marijuana strain doesn’t get you the results you’re looking for, it is better to just stop using it. You can always try another one at a later stage.
Cannabis With CBD And THC Against Anxiety
The cannabinoids generated by cannabis produce a wide diversity of effects throughout the human body (including the brain). Strains with more CBD appear to be effective in treating anxiety, although in certain cases, THC seems more successful, mainly due to the stress-relieving potential of its psychoactive effects. As a consequence, finding out what works in your particular situation can be quite an odyssey. If you intend to use cannabis to treat your anxiety, you’ll find plenty of high quality genetics in our web shop. All strains contain THC and CBD in varying ratios. We also have special CBD marijuana seeds in our collection, with buds that contain more CBD than THC, rather than the other way around.
As mentioned above, THC (tetra-hydrocannabinol) is not the only cannabinoid that can help reduce anxiety. Non-psychoactive cannabinoids such as CBD (cannabidiol) appear effective against anxiety, too. The same applies to cannabis with high levels of CBG (cannabigerol). In certain cases, however, THC works best against anxiety precisely because its psychoactive effects can help reduce stress. Besides cannabinoids, cannabis contains a host of other organic compounds, including terpenes and flavonoids, that can influence the effects of THC and CBD through the entourage effect. That makes it quite an expedition to find out exactly what works best for your personal situation. Don’t worry, though – we’re here to help you on your way.
CBD And CBG Supplements
At Amsterdam Genetics, you’ll find more than just marijuana seeds to grow your own cannabis against anxiety. Our web shop also offers special CBD and CBG supplements without THC that will not get you high. Both our CBD Oil and CBG Oil produce various soothing effects that could help you keep your anxiety in check. Besides oil, CBD is also available as CBD Tablets and edibles such as delicious fruit-flavoured CBD Gummies. The main advantage these supplements provide is their non-psychoactive effect, allowing you to take them at work or in traffic. That makes them worth a try for anyone dealing with anxiety disorders while leading an active, busy life.
Dosage Is Crucial!
Scientific studies demonstrate that both CBD and THC may help mitigate anxiety and anxiety disorders. All these findings did underscore, however, that the right dosage and proportions of these cannabinoids can make all the difference.
THC works best against anxiety at low doses. In higher concentrations, it can actually aggravate feelings of anxiety instead, depending on personal factors such as THC tolerance. That supports the idea of looking for low-THC strains, somewhere in the 10-15% range at most. More experienced cannabis consumers can opt for higher THC strains, but novices are encouraged to keep it modest. Of course, you can also dose the amount of THC you consume by using small quantities of cannabis at a time. This is an important piece of advice, though: too much THC at once can trigger feelings of panic and paranoia. That’s something you definitely don’t want if you’re already dealing with an anxiety disorder!
CBD works differently against anxiety and anxiety disorders than THC does. This compound has soothing effects, but these do not work by the same interactions with the ECS as those of THC. It appears that CBD-rich strains can reduce feelings of anxiety and panic in two ways. On the one hand, they have their own effect on the emotions that that contribute to anxiety. On the other hand, CBD can moderate the sense of panic induced by consumption of (too much) THC. That makes special CBD cannabis strains like Blue Monkey CBD all the more interesting when it comes to anxiety disorders. Be cautious, however, because these strains do contain relatively small quantities of THC in addition to their CBD content. This would still cause a high, so don’t just get in the car after using it, and don’t take it right before you go to work.
Cannabis Terpenes And Their Effect On Anxiety
Apart from cannabinoids, cannabis contains many more compounds, some of which have their own particular influence on feelings of anxiety and panic. Of these compounds, terpenes are the most important. They are aromatic substances that determine a strain’s taste and scent, but they can also subtly influence the way cannabinoids effect our system. Although that doesn’t necessarily make your search for the perfect anxiety strain any easier, it does provide some additional options worth exploring. Our special terpene blogs tell you more about specific terpenes and their qualities, including myrcene, humulene, limonene, and caryophyllene.
Over one hundred different terpenes have been identified in cannabis samples so far, and we are bound to discover more as research progresses. That makes for a dazzling array of subtle added effects and nuances, but two terpenes stand out when it comes to the ability to modulate anxiety.
Limonene is associated with citrus aromas found in strains such as our Lemon Haze or Lemongrass genetics, for instance. Limonene can activate brain cell receptors that increase our natural production of dopamine. Dopamine is capable of regulating feelings of anxiety, which makes limonene an interesting terpene to look out for in cannabis strains against anxiety issues and disorders.
Caryophyllene is another anti-anxiety terpene to look out for. It is recognizable by its spicy scent, and strains that have a fiery touch in their aroma usually contain higher concentrations of caryophyllene. Studies have demonstrated that caryophyllene has anxiolytic properties: after experiencing stress, mice showed less anxiety in their responses after receiving caryophyllene.
Sativa Dominant Strains
Crudely stated, all marijuana strains can be divided into two categories: cannabis indica and cannabis sativa. Most strains available to grow or purchase today are combinations of both types: these are called hybrid strains. An important general distinction between sativa and indica weed strains is that sativas tend to focus their effects on the brain, while indicas often concentrate their influence throughout the body. Since anxiety and anxiety disorders usually present themselves in terms of mental problems, the obvious course of action would seem to zoom in on strains containing loads of sativa genetics.
Indica Dominant Strains
Still, we would be mistaken to overlook the other main branch of the cannabis family tree. These are the so-called cannabis indica strains, generally available as indica-dominant variants. Again, we are riding roughshod over the nuances here, but inidcas can be said to focus their effects more on the body than on the brain. That can be very helpful for certain anxiety disorders, as so-called biofeedback (signals received from within your own body) can aggravate your sense of panic and anxiety. If, for instance, a certain indica strain can help you relax your body, it can help to relieve tense and cramped feelings. This in turn can help break the chain of effects that make you anxiety worse.
AG Cannabis Strains Against Anxiety And Anxiety Disorders
The Amsterdam Genetics seeds catalogue contains dozens of strains for home growing. Some of these are particularly interesting for use against anxiety, both because of their THC and CBD content and for the terpenes they produce. Our special Grow Blogs contain everything a grower needs to easily grow cannabis at home, for a personal supply of medical marijuana. That way, there is no need to rely on dispensaries or other third parties to grow medicinal weed against anxiety disorders, even by fully organic means. Moreover, home grown cannabis ordered from a premium seeds supplier is more consistent in its effects than your average strain obtained from other sources, granting greater control over the factors that determine effectiveness against anxiety.
Below, we provide three examples of cannabis seeds fit to grow for anti-anxiety purposes. Keep in mind, however, that the perfect strain against anxiety can be different for everyone: it may take some time and investigation to pinpoint the perfect marijuana seeds for PTSD, OCD, or any other specific anxiety disorder.
AG Anxiety Strain 1: Blue Monkey CBD
Blue Monkey CBD is our purest CBD cannabis strain. Its CBD : THC ratio in harvestable buds is about 35 : 1. That results in a highly interesting cannabinoid profile for countering the symptoms of anxiety. The main advantage of the Blue Monkey profile is CBD’s potential to counter the psychoactive effects of THC, on top of its own potential against anxiety symptoms. This can help prevent panic and paranoia in case of overconsumption.
AG Anxiety Strain 2: Lemon Ice
Lemon Ice seeds contain a considerable load of sativa genetics. The effect of this strain is activating and uplifting, culminating in a cheerful to euphoric brain buzz. The specific high can help anxious thoughts at bay and prevent a spiral of panic from setting in. The downside of this sativa, however, is its comparatively high THC percentage. That makes it all the more important to keep Lemon Ice dosages low, especially for people who are just starting out.
AG Anxiety strain 3: Blue Magic
Blue Magic cannabis seeds present growers with a firm, steady 90% indica strain. The associated high is much more body-oriented, particularly in its relaxing effects. Blue Magic is definitely worth a shot for anyone kept awake at night by anxiety. The strain’s terpene profile is capable of further expanding its soothing potential, chiefly because of caryophyllene and linalool content.
Weed And Anxiety: Treat Them Responsibly!
As you now know more about the relationship between cannabis, anxiety, and anxiety disorders, it is up to you to act responsibly upon that knowledge. Anxiety disorders are serious conditions that deserve serious attention. Remember that weed is no miracle cure for any condition whatsoever. If anxieties (threaten to) dictate your life, always reach out for professional support. Your doctor or GP can be a good starting point.
Anyone interested in trying cannabis to treat anxiety will find high quality seeds in our web store. Every strain contains THC, CBD, and a host of terpenes in varying proportions. If you are getting counselling from a therapist, always notify them that you intend to try cannabis and ask them for advice. If you or your therapist, counsellor, or doctor get the feeling that a specific cannabis strain is not getting you positive results, it’s best to stop using it. You can always try another one at a later stage.
Of course, it is wonderful if growing cannabis seeds turns out to help you deal with your anxieties, but even then, having a bit of external support from a professional is always a good idea. Feel free to make the most out of our seeds collection to improve your mental well-being, but make sure to keep talking about your anxiety as you do so. Only the right combination of good counselling, the right lifestyle, and – who knows – the perfect cannabis seeds will put and keep you on top of your anxieties in a responsible way!
Disclaimer: Local laws and legislation on cannabis cultivation and germination of seeds vary between countries and states. Amsterdam Genetics products and information are exclusively intended for use in areas where such use is fully legal. Check your local rules; do not act in conflict with the law!