Is Marijuana a Miracle Drug for Curing Anxiety?

Due to its mind-altering psychoactive effects, marijuana tends to have binary anecdotal effects on anxiety. Many have heard of others feeling scarily anxious when high, while others have claimed it calms and relaxes them

The body naturally produces its own endocannabinoids, which regulate anxiety and the body's flight-or-fight response to stress by dampening excitatory signals in the brain, according to a 2014 study. Marijuana's own cannabinoids (like THC or tetrahydrocannabinol and CBD or cannabidiol) do the same, helping to stabilize mood like an opioid would. But it's a double-edged sword, and chronic use can desensitize users, Vice reported.

Read more: Does Marijuana Cause Mental Illness? What We Know About the Long-Term Effects of Weed

From the study, the researchers hypothesize that some marijuana users don't naturally create enough endocannabinoids and then fall into a dependency on marijuana or other drugs. Long-term users have self-reported panic attack-like highs, according to a Reddit thread on the matter. 

A study from 2016 somewhat parallels this, finding that while cannabis doesn't increase someone's risk for anxiety, its usage is linked to increasing the risk for other drug use disorders, like alcohol by threefold and nicotine by twofold. 

There are multiple products with cannabidiol extract available on the market that are aimed at those with anxiety, such as sprays or vape cartridges, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. There are even CBD supplements made for anxious dogs that hit the market in November 2015, according to Fast Company. However, it won't get Fido high. 

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Kathleen Wong

Kathleen is a branded content staff writer at Mic. She is based in New York and can be reached at kathleen@mic.com.

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