Have you ever felt worried but struggled to put your finger on why? Or maybe you became overly concerned about something that should be manageable? If you’ve ever felt overly panicked about something, don’t worry. You aren’t the only one who suffers from a panic disorder.
Millions of people around the globe have this condition, and all of them feel anxious to the point that it affects their work, personal relationships and overall well-being. Fortunately, there’s a way to reduce the effect that panic has on your life without risking the threat of side effects—and that’s with cannabis.
What Exactly Is a Panic Disorder?
Any one of the many types of anxiety disorders that features recurring panic attacks can be classed as a panic disorder. Panic attacks are unpredictable, but they usually come when a person gets anxious, stressed or worried.
There are many types of panic disorders, including:
- Phobias: Phobias are one of the most common types of panic disorders. People who have this are afraid of a specific activity to the point that they worry about it even if the activity doesn’t pose any threat. People may go to great lengths to avoid certain situations, and this may ultimately lower their quality of life.
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): People who have GAD are anxious a lot of the time even if there’s no need to worry. The anxiety can become too much to handle and it may eventually hinder a person’s ability to carry on with their daily responsibilities.
- Social anxiety disorder: Social phobia is the fear of social situations and ultimately being rejected by others. People who have this condition can appear extremely shy when in public. A good example of this disorder is stage fright.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): People who have experienced tragic or brutal events in their lives may suffer from PTSD. This includes military veterans as well as folks who’ve had near-death experiences, lived through natural disasters and other traumatic events. The disorder makes sufferers feel extremely sad, scared and detached from reality.
How Cannabis Can Help Ease Panic Disorders
But how does cannabis work to reduce feelings of panic? Well, cannabidiol (CBD) has been confirmed to deal with anxiety and stress effectively. CBD interacts with the CB1 receptor in the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a network of receptors found in most parts of the body. The ECS regulates anxiety by depressing those signals in the brain. So, CBD can naturally tell the brain to calm anxious feelings.
There has even been research showing that when anxiety patients took cannabis, they felt more at ease. Not only that, but physical stress markers, like cortisol levels, dropped.
However, taking marijuana should be limited to small quantities as sometimes too much cannabis can increase anxiety. So it’s all about dosing your cannabis intake properly and ensuring you prioritize CBD over tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
What's also great about cannabis is that unlike traditional pharmaceutical medications, there’s zero risk of death from overdose.
Best Cannabis Strains for Alleviating Panic Disorders
- Granddaddy Purple: One of the most popular cannabis strains for dealing with panic disorders, Granddaddy Purple imparts full-body relaxation with a peaceful mindset. This can be a heavy-hitting marijuana strain with sedative effects, so proceed with caution if you’re new to the strain.
- GSC: Formerly known as Girl Scout Cookies, GSC has won a number of Cannabis Cup awards thanks to its effectiveness in dealing with PTSD sufferers’ panic attacks. However, this strain is a bit unique because instead of having high amounts of CBD, it has the exact opposite and has high levels of THC.
So why does GSC help PTSD patients so much? A study found out that people with PTSD have low levels of a THC-like compound called anandamide. Anandamide is actually an endocannabinoid dubbed the bliss molecule, because it imparts feelings of calm. When PTSD sufferers topped up their system with THC, it seemed to fix this deficiency and helped them feel good.
- Canna-Tsu: If you’re interested in medicating with marijuana, but don’t want to feel high every time you’re panicked, Canna-Tsu may be the cannabis strain for you. Canna-Tsu has high-CBD levels that can help keep your head clear from any worries. Though this marijuana strain does have a little THC in it, it’s counterbalanced nicely with the CBD to provide a relaxing effect.
- Jack Herer: You may be surprised to see Jack Herer on this list, as it carries a pretty high THC content. But this cannabis strain’s well-balanced euphoria will undoubtedly soothe your senses and make you forget your troubles. In other words, it has what it takes to calm you down fast.
- Cannatonic: For folks who are THC-sensitive, Cannatonic is a high-CBD strain that’s perfect for relaxing and uplifting mood. Cannatonic is a hybrid marijuana strain that has a 1:1 CBD to THC ratio. This makes it an effective cannabis strain to combat anxiety without intense psychoactive effects.
- White Fire OG: This marijuana strain may have high THC levels, but a number of folks who experience panic attacks are already discovering White Fire OG’s benefits in combating them. This is thanks to its terpenes myrcene and limonene—these chemicals help promote stress relief and relaxation.
- Strawberry Cough: Looking for a cannabis strain that will make you a more sociable person while giving you the energy to mingle with a group? Look no further than Strawberry Cough. What’s great about this cannabis strain is that it has a balance of calming and energizing effects, making it easy for you to talk to people without feeling paranoid.
- Harlequin: Here’s a hybrid marijuana strain that typically has a 75:25 sativa to indica ratio and a CBD to THC ratio of 5:2. Harlequin is a CBD-rich cannabis strain that doesn’t make you feel very high, but is sure to boost your mood while reducing anxiety. Take Harlequin in the afternoon for best results.
We don’t always have full control over our lives, because unforeseen external influences can happen at any time. While it’s important to learn how to deal with and accept change in our lives, cannabis can certainly help support people throughout their journey to a calmer, less anxious life.
Photo credit: Demeter Attila