For many people, there’s nothing like a nice bong rip or a few hits from a joint to relax. Many regard marijuana as a kind of panacea because of the generally calming, sedative-like effects.
Positive effects of weed range anywhere from mild cognitive or physiological alterations through major, life-changing outcomes as seen in its ability to restore lost appetite for those undergoing cancer treatments or stop seizures. However, for some of us, weed does opposite of what you'd expect by making us highly anxious or paranoid.
If you’re the kind to experience overwhelming anxiety, please realize: you’re not alone. Though I can’t cover every detail for the "why and how," I want to point out some correlation to the phenomenon with credible studies to explain why this happens and discuss what you can do to help.
Though marijuana is generally considered to be a safe substance that relieves anxiety, it is important to remember that it has also been shown to exasperate mental illness just as much as treat it. It’s a weird a double-edged sword – while a recommended treatment option (where legally applicable) for both physical and mental conditions, there’s some fine print to the process.
The axiom “moderation is the key to life” applies here as THC only does so much for anxiety – in larger doses, it’s detrimental to combating anxiety, having the opposite effect past a certain intake threshold, depending on the user’s tolerance. In smaller doses, it effectively treats anxiety symptoms.
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Anxiety and related mental illnesses come from a variety of sources. For example, chronic PTSD can manifest from a highly disturbing event. In other cases, conditions like schizophrenia tend to be latent through adolescence and early adulthood until it finally reveals itself later in life, usually when someone reaches their mid-20s. These conditions somewhat unpredictable, meaning it’s uncertain as to whether (or when) they will manifest however, those who begin smoking weed at younger ages are shown to dramatically increase their odds for developing an anxiety-based mental illness.
This means that for some of us, we could have been perfectly fine smoking in our teens and early 20s but one day discover that you feel off after smoking.
There are many things that trigger anxiety, whether an obvious cognitive event or an emotion that's anywhere from troubling us in the back of our mind through an active thought process. Ingesting marijuana produces physiological effects that also parallel anxiety symptoms, meaning it also serves as a trigger – smoking increases heart rate and blood pressure, while also reducing the oxygen reaching the heart. By paralleling the the physiological affects of an anxiety attack, it also creates them for those afflicted with such conditions.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to revisit this idea later down the road as it’s a deep subject, meaning there’s a lot to say on the matter. For now, try these tips: