I have crippling anxiety during COVID, can marijuana help?

From the COVID pandemic to intense economic pressures and an upcoming political election, it's a delicate balance to manage our emotional and physical wellbeing.

These back-to-back events can affect the way you are dealing with anxiety and how much rest may be able to get. If chronic pain is an issue, the levels of stress and cortisol in your system may be triggering flare-ups. Fortunately, cannabis is known to treat various symptoms, whether they be physical, emotional, or psychological.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is commonly known for its psychotropic effects which lead to the feeling of being "high." THC is also linked to improved mood, decreased feelings of stress, and significant pain relief for many people. Recent studies, including the one conducted by HelloMD and UC Berkeley, indicate that cannabis with THC offers better pain relief than traditional pharmaceuticals.

Cannabidiol (CBD) interacts with the endocannabinoid system in a similar way to THC, without the intoxicating effects. CBD is best known for its therapeutic qualities for quelling anxiety, as well as providing pain relief. Studies have shown that it may help reduce seizures related to epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease/irritable bowel syndrome, and depression. CBD can also be helpful when it comes to inflammation, stress, and sleep problems.

In studies, CBD has shown promise in the treatment of anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. CBD activates and enhances specific serotonin receptors in the brain leading to reduced feelings of anxiety and stress. For some, CBD may be able to replace or augment traditional pharmaceuticals consumed for acute anxiety.

CBD is also known to reduce feelings of anxiety following a stressful event, such as public speaking. Other lifestyle practices to consider for anxiety reduction are meditation and breathwork. Regularly practicing mindfulness meditation and breathwork, such as box breathing, have shown to have a positive effect on reducing anxiety and stress levels.

Of course, as with all treatments, it's important to educate yourself on what works best for you. Understanding dosage, your preferred method of consumption or application, and your specific reason for including THC or CBD in your health and wellness routine is necessary to have the best results.

Dr. Olson