One of the most exciting prospects of Canada legalizing cannabis is the opportunity to properly study and research the plant. Many medical benefits of cannabis are widely known, but there is still so much left to discover, with legal boundaries often limiting the amount of research that is possible.
Even then, current research has indicated that countless types of symptoms and conditions are treatable with cannabis. While most of these are physical ailments, there many mental conditions that are thought to be treatable with cannabis, most notable with anxiety conditions.
Anxiety is a debilitating condition that has a huge impact on those that suffer it.
While the severity of the condition varies from each person, side-effects can be incredibly detrimental to the sufferer, such as a constant feeling of unease, feelings of detachment, and even a fear of leaving the house to avoid inducing anxiety.
So, the fact that research indicates that cannabis may be an effective treatment is very promising.
Firstly, it’s worth noting that it’s not the entire cannabis plant that may offer treatment for anxiety. While some report that THC helps ease anxiety, others note that it also exasperates the condition, but it’s not the psychoactive ingredient of cannabis that works to reduce anxiety.
Research indicates that cannabidiol (CBD), one of the main cannabinoids present in cannabis after tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), offers an effective treatment for anxiety.
CBD is produced in cannabis when another cannabinoid called cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) is synthesized during cultivation, converting it from CBDA into CBD. A similar effect occurs to the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), which converts into THC as the plant grows.
THC is known for its psychoactive effects, which causes the high most people to associate with cannabis, but CBD doesn’t provide any effect. It still carries many benefits for our minds and bodies, just without the feeling of being high and all that comes with it.
It’s believed that CBD reacts with one of the brain’s endocannabinoid receptors known as the CB1 receptor. When consuming cannabis, the cannabinoids attaches itself to the receptor, causing an interaction where signals are sent throughout the body/
In the case of THC, these signals lead to the psychoactive feelings being processed in the brain to give us the feeling of being high, but because CBD has no such properties there is a totally different interaction taking place.
Researchers believe that the interaction between CBD and the CB1 receptor leads to changes in serotonin. Depression and anxiety are linked to low levels of serotonin, which is why CBD may hold the key to reducing anxiety and many other conditions.
One study showed that when animals were given a dose of CBD they were less likely to experience feelings of anxiety or depressing when attempting to complete tests.
Another study has indicated that CBD reduced pathological anxiety in people. Subjects were given either CBD or a placebo, with those receiving the CBD reported a reduction in social anxiety because of its unique effects on brain activity.
While these studies don’t paint the entire picture, it certainly bodes well for future research, which will become more widespread upon legalization.
CBD rich plants are already being grown for the medical benefits of this cannabinoid, while CBD oils are also becoming widely available, so be sure to consider as an alternative treatment for anxiety.