Calming Anxiety With Cannabis

Calming Anxiety With Cannabis

More people are turning to marijuana for anxiety management and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) as more states legalize cannabis. Although there is not much scientific evidence, there are many anecdotal reports and scientific studies that marijuana can temporarily alleviate anxiety symptoms.

Self-Medication with Marijuana

Self-medicating is when you decide to use a substance for a medical condition or to manage it. Self-medicating can often provide immediate relief from uncomfortable symptoms. This reinforces its use.

Self-medication has a problem because, although medical marijuana use is more accepted, we don't know enough about its effectiveness for certain medical conditions or long-term effects.

Potential benefits and risks


  • This may reduce the symptoms of depression temporarily
  • This may temporarily relieve anxiety
  • May reduce stress

There are risks

  • Higher levels of psychiatric disorders
  • Can this create psychological dependence?
  • Memory loss can occur over time.
  • The symptoms may get worse
  • May be susceptible to cannabis hyperemesis syndrome
  • Increased tolerance and increased need


Recent research by the scientific community on the effects of cannabis on anxiety has shown that there are short-term benefits.

Washington State University scientists published a study in the Journal of Affective Disorders that found smoking cannabis can reduce self-reported levels of anxiety, depression, and stress in the short-term. But, long-term effects of cannabis use don't appear to be as significant. In some cases, it may lead to an increase in depression.

There are risks

The effects of marijuana on your body go beyond the mere fact that it gets you high. The high you get from smoking marijuana or inhaling it is caused by tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical compound responsible for marijuana's psychoactive effects.

Alternatives to Marijuana

It is okay to feel anxious when faced with something that seems threatening. If you feel anxious and unable to control it, it's time to seek professional help.


Counseling, support groups, self-help books, and educational websites can help you develop proactive coping strategies that will bring about lasting change.

Cognitive behavior therapy and other therapies can help you to identify the root cause of anxiety and make it easier for you to manage it. 2 Discuss your concerns with your doctor and create a plan that works best for you. A psychotherapist can help you manage anxiety.


Certain prescription medications, such as the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), have been proven safe and effective in treating anxiety disorders.

Prescription medication is better than marijuana because the long-term risks are better understood and could be less serious than long-term marijuana use. Some anti-anxiety medications are used daily while others are used intermittently during panic attacks or extreme anxiety. If you are experiencing anxiety, your primary doctor or psychiatrist can recommend anti-anxiety medication.

Cannabidiol Oil (CBD)

A marijuana extract, CBD oil, is commonly administered under the tongue using a dropper. It doesn't contain THC so it won’t have the same mind-altering effects. Although there is evidence that CBD oil may be effective in treating anxiety and addiction, more research and clinical trials are required.

A Final Thought

Anxiety symptoms can be treated. Research shows that medication and psychotherapy are effective for most people. However, the long-term effects on self-medicating using marijuana have yet to be established. Tell your doctor if you have recently tried marijuana for anxiety treatment.