Anxiety and depression are two of the many diseases that attack modern societies as a result of new frustrations, the rhythm of life we lead or a reality that increasingly seems to demand more of us as individuals without offering us the long-awaited reward.
Among the many beneficial effects that the consumption of marijuana entails for health, one of the most widespread worldwide is its use as a drug to relieve stress, anxiety or depression. These shadows that seem to haunt us in our day to day seem to dissipate between the puffs of smoke from the best herb.
But, apart from what we all already know about cannabis as a recreational or therapeutic drug, what is certain about its use in the treatment of depression and anxiety?
The Anxiolytic Effects of CBD
Among the more than 60 cannabinoids present in marijuana, CBD (cannabidiol) is one of those that most interests researchers in terms of therapeutic applications. As you may already know, cannabidiol is the key to therapeutic marijuana and whenever you acquire a CBD marijuana variety it is because this component is present in a much higher percentage than usual to compensate for the psychoactive effects of the other most important cannabinoid in the plant, THC. .
The benefits of CBD have long been known as anti-inflammatory and relaxing and its properties that are especially useful for calming muscle and joint pain. But there are other interesting aspects of study about this substance:
Cannabidiol for treating anxiety
The consumption of marijuana with high levels of CBD concentration has important effects on the endocannabinoid system of the brain, which is precisely what is responsible for naturally regulating our levels of anxiety and stress.
Studies have shown that when consuming medical marijuana, CBD causes a reduced blood flow to certain areas of the brain (for example the hypothalamus), which in anxiety situations are characterized by being in a state of hyperactivity.
Consequently, it could be concluded that marijuana would be easing the blood flow in these conflictive areas of the brain in its moments of maximum stress also allowing the release of chemical substances (those produced by the brain itself and those contained in marijuana) that favor the reduction of anxiety.
THC also acts in this way, but being a psychoactive its consequences are more difficult to control from a strictly therapeutic point of view. However, on a scientific level, the truth is that this cannabinoid works exactly like one of the first endocannabinoids that were discovered in the human body: anandamide.
Cannabidiol for the treatment of depression
CBD would have a double function apart from making the cannabis user add himself to a very pleasant state of peace and relaxation, perfect for combating anxiety problems.
As reflected in some studies through MRIs, there are other areas of the brain that are involved in this process of seeking happiness that instinctively seems to be unleashed in the brain and in the body when marijuana is used. In this case, the hormone responsible for these changes is serotonin.
In depressed patients there is a dysfunction in the serotonin receptors that the endocannabinoid system of the human body is not able to solve on its own, which is why among the frequent symptoms of this pathology are the loss of enthusiasm or motivation.
The CBD present in a higher percentage in certain medicinal marijuana plants is like a key with which it is possible reopen these receivers and manage to put them into operation allowing the patient to recover those positive feelings that he was not able to assimilate. Precisely for this reason both doctors and patients are increasingly interested in trying alternative natural therapies instead of traditional antidepressants, associated with a large number of side effects.
Excessive doses can have the opposite effect
Despite the fact that cannabidiol (CBD) is a substance whose effects have been proven with positive results in the treatment of anxious behaviors in certain animals and in people, the truth is that setting an exact amount for this type of treatment to work does not work quite simple.
What does seem to have become quite clear is that the use of marijuana in the treatment of anxiety and depression can be counterproductive in two types of scenarios. The first of them is when it is given to patients who have previously presented psychotic pictures. Despite the fact that cannabis intended for therapeutic use has lower levels of THC and higher levels of CBD, seeking as far as possible an almost perfect balance so that the therapeutic effects of one outweigh the psychoactive effects of the other, currently existing clinical evidence reveals that routine use of marijuana in people with psychotic disorders tends to aggravate their symptoms.
The other relevant question about the treatment of anxiety and depression with cannabinoids is the fixation of a dose. The limit of the recommended amount can sometimes be very sensitive and it is difficult to determine the exact cannabinoid content of a plant. In these very specific cases, it must be taken into account that an overdose can have just the opposite effect and instead of providing calm and relaxation end up generating more anguish and stress in the subject, so the suitability of starting or not such a treatment. For this reason, therapeutic marijuana emphasizes the application of CBD (cannabidiol) not THC, whose effects can be so different depending on the person.