Cannabis and anxiety disorders: Can it help?

Cannabis has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties, but after being punished for most of the 20th century - when it was considered illegal worldwide - many countries are now beginning to review the legislation surrounding cannabis and the conversation about the plant's medicinal uses is beginning to reopen.

Anxiety disorders

Among other medicinal uses of the plant, there is research showing that certain components of cannabis can also be effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders. These are a group of mental health conditions that can cause intense feelings of fear, intrusive thoughts, worry and nervousness, and can have episodes of intense anxiety manifested with symptoms such as hand or body tremors, sweating or chills, nausea, shortness of breath and increased heart rate. These disorders can significantly affect a person's daily life, making sleep, work and especially social interactions difficult, and may require medication and therapy to manage effectively.

Traditional medicine for anxiety disorders

Common treatments for these types of disorders include benzodiazepines and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that work by increasing the effects of certain neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate mood. The problem with these traditional medications is that, while they may be effective in some patients, they often have unwanted side effects and may not work for everyone. A pill or dose that works perfectly for one individual may not work for another, or the side effects may be more intense for certain people, with symptoms ranging from drowsiness, loss of creativity and decreased libido or sex drive, to digestion problems, nausea and headaches.

Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex system in our body consisting of receptors, endocannabinoids produced by our cells and enzymes that break down these endocannabinoids. Our SEC plays a crucial role in regulating various physiological processes, such as sleep, appetite, pain, and also mood and anxiety.

Cannabis in our brain

Cannabis contains numerous cannabinoids and other active compounds that can affect the brain and body. The two best known cannabinoids in cannabis are THC and CBD. THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis, while CBD is non-psychoactive and has been shown to have therapeutic properties. But there is much more to these two compounds than that. These two cannabinoids can interact with our SEC, binding to receptors found in our central nervous system and in our skin, and it has been shown that they can regulate the response of our neurons to different types of signals, and through this process moderate our anxious and fearful reflexes.

Anxiety reduction

Studies have shown that CBD can be effective in reducing anxiety in people, including those with generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). CBD may work by interacting with serotonin receptors in the brain, which play a role in regulating mood and anxiety.

However, using cannabis for anxiety disorders is not as simple as popping a pill. The effectiveness of cannabis for anxiety disorders depends on several factors, including the strain of cannabis, the method of use, and individual differences in response.

Different Cannabis Varieties

Cannabis strains can vary significantly in their composition and percentages of THC and CBD, which can affect how cannabis affects anxiety. Strains high in THC may not be ideal for treating anxiety, as a high dose of THC in a person's brain can increase anxiety and cause paranoia, depending on the person. On the other hand, strains high in CBD and low in THC may have better anti-anxiety effects.

Consumption Method

The method of cannabis consumption can also affect its effects on anxiety. Smoking or vaporizing cannabis can produce a faster onset of effects, which can be helpful when a patient is about to have an anxiety episode or is already experiencing one, but the effects may not last as long as other methods. Edibles, on the other hand, can produce a longer-lasting effect and may be more useful for maintaining a regulated mood throughout the day, but may be more difficult to dose accurately.

Differences in the response of individuals

Individual differences in response to cannabis may also affect its effectiveness for anxiety disorders. Some people may be more sensitive to the psychoactive effects of THC and may experience increased anxiety as a result, or simply feel a lack of coordination and control in going about their daily activities. On the other hand, some people may not experience significant effects from cannabis at all, either for genetic reasons or because their brain receptors have become accustomed to cannabinoids due to prolonged or periodic use.

Potential side effects

While cannabis shows promise as a treatment for anxiety disorders, it is essential to consider potential side effects and individual variations in response. Some common side effects associated with cannabis use include dry mouth, dizziness, decreased coordination and cognitive changes. And if the method of consumption is smoking it, it could have an impact on a person's throat and lungs over the long term. In addition, the psychoactive effects of THC can vary between individuals and should be taken into account when using cannabis for anxiety management.


While more research is needed to fully understand the potential of cannabis in the treatment of anxiety disorders, the existing evidence is promising. However, it is important to be aware of differences in individual response and possible side effects. As with any treatment for anxiety disorders, it is recommended that individuals consult with their healthcare professionals to determine the best course of action, and always use verified, properly labeled cannabis products of the highest possible quality. Fortunately, those of us living in Barcelona - and thanks to decriminalized marijuana legislation in Spain - can have access to top-quality cannabis products and ensure that they come from government-approved suppliers. All we have to do is apply for an invitation and register with a cannabis association or weed club in Barcelona. Once we are accepted, we will have access to a diverse menu of cannabis products, a private space where we can consume them in a social setting, and knowledgeable and knowledgeable staff who can advise on best marijuana consumption practices.


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