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Marijuana & Anxiety Treatment

By June 24, 2008

There is a startling article in Elle magazine about a woman who self-medicated her anxiety disorder with marijuana. I'm troubled about the message and worry that this could lead to more people experimenting with marijuana to cope with anxiety. The drug does have relaxing effects in the short term, but developing a psychological dependence on a drug to soothe a difficult emotional state is something that very few would consider "healthy." For more on the best treatments for GAD read here.
Comments
June 30, 2008 at 7:05 pm
(1) nicole says:

i myself have been self-medicating for the past five years, and could say from personal experience that it is a matter or quantity and quality. it is said that the sativa strand of marijuana has a calming effect on those who suffer with anxiety such as myself. but the truth is, too much of anything isn’t good. i do however smoke everyday but i smoke very little after school just to take the edge off and relax. i consider it to be better than taking pills every morning such as lexapro, which i have tried and hated. i like to be able to tell the difference between when i am sober and when something is chemically effecting me. to take medication every morning for a cognitive disorder seems to be masking the problem rather than helping it. now if someone with gad can deal without the use of any medication, maybe doing some exercise such as power yoga and going to therapy, i suggest cognitive behavioral, then that’s great! but if not, i personally prefer a little weed rather then pills every morning. peace to everyone seeking it and thanks for reading : )
btw: you can get licensed to smoke marijuana legally in CA if you are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder

July 2, 2008 at 6:27 pm
(2) Paul Greene, Ph.D. says:

It’s understandibly tempting for some people to cope with anxiety by smoking marijuana or drinking alcohol. These options offer short term solutions to feelings of anxiety. However they are extremely unlikely to help you learn to cope better with anxiety in the long run. Learning process anxious thoughts and feelings differently, without drugs or alcohol, can result in long term improvement. By facing the anxiety more directly and learning to do so in a healthy way, many anxiety sufferers have learned to reduce anxiety to the point where it is no longer problematic. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, relaxation training, and meditation are all helpful ways to bring about this kind of lasting change.

July 7, 2008 at 10:04 am
(3) Peter says:

In my late teens and early twenties, I found that pot relaxed me from a constant and very unpleasant feeling that would overcome me. As years went by and my life situation changed, I started to drink because the pot was making me feel unpleasant. Then I realized that the pot was making feel worse, and I moved on to become an alcoholic.
It took me thirty years to get the proper diagnosis, and I know from my own experience and watching my friends. that marijuana is NOT a treatment for anxiety, and does negatively affect cognition.

July 25, 2008 at 2:34 am
(4) Paul says:

If anyone begins to abuse drugs or alcohol to cope with anxiety than it is clearly time to seek professional help. Drugs, any type, are not always the answer since they don’t deal with your core issues. Drugs only mask the problem.

Paul
anxietyguru.net

August 7, 2008 at 2:29 pm
(5) Dave says:

Developing a psychological dependence on a drug to soothe a difficult emotional state is something that very few would consider “healthy.”

Drugs like Lexapro, Zoloft, and Celexa (SSRIs); Effexor and Cymbalta (SNRI), and Xanax (benzodiazepine)?

November 6, 2008 at 1:42 pm
(6) Scott says:

Cannabis is a medicinal herb with psychoactive effects. Anxiety patients are otherwise given highly addictive chemicals (xanax, valium, klonopin, etc.) which make the situation dangerously worse if the medicine becomes unavailable. Cannabis is not physically addictive, and has been shown to help this condition. It is unfortunate that anyone suffers enough to have to use drugs/medicines for treatment, but the fact that cannabis produces a euphoric effect is not a good reason to ignore its well-balanced, God-given medicinal properties. Even non-drug anxiety treatments are usually pretty euphoric.. yoga, meditation, exercise, etc etc. I treat my chronic anxiety with all of the above, and a little cannabis when its hard to get to sleep at night. Its so nice that there are medicinal plants that can make us feel good, and heal us without dangerous side-effects.

A psychological dependence on a generally safe substance that is not physically addictive sounds like the start of a learning experience that the person might need to go through anyway. I used to smoke a little too much, but self-control is one of many things Cannabis has taught me. I have achieved happiness and success in my life, and I firmly believe I am only better because of my openness to this medicine.

January 10, 2009 at 2:05 pm
(7) John says:

Your sick… You are prescribing medications that are far worse for you than marijuana… I just want to know if this is because i dont know maybe they advertise on your site? Were you paid for this?

It really pisses me off when people like you prescribe people with anxiety a med that is just to make money. it probably has 130 side effects but you dont mention any of those… you just say how startled you are that somebody uses SOMETHING THAT COMES NATURALLY FROM THE EARTH to take care of anxiety

You disgust me

January 13, 2009 at 7:01 am
(8) Matt says:

I agree with Scott and Jon. It’s ridiculous that marijuana has such a bad reputation with doctors. (well at least the one’s I’ve seen) Ive had depression, social anxiety, and intense sleep anxiety for the last 6 or 7 years. Marijuana has helped immensely with this, yet every time I have a doctors appointment I am lectured and scolded for my “drug problems” and told how bad marijuana is for you.

Unfortunately I am allergic to the active in benadryl and by association most other sleeping medications. So, to help me sleep I started smoking pot at night and had great results.

I have been self medicating with marijuana for 4 years now as a treatment for my depression and anxiety. Pills prescribed from the doctors over the years all had intense negative side effects, but marijuana has always been my ace in the hole.

I smoke 3-7 times a day on average now, am in college, and have a 2.9 gpa. However, when I was on my depression medication the side effects had an extremely negative impact on my grades and I nearly failed out of school.

If “proper” and legal medication’s are not working for you I would highly recommend smoking marijuana. However, not everyone will have the same benefits from it, after all we’re all different.

Either I need to move to California or our country needs to wake up and realize what a safe, non addictive, and miracle drug marijuana really is.

January 19, 2009 at 1:21 pm
(9) Justin says:

Doctor’s are mere slaves in the game. They are told what is “healthy,” and they in turn tell us. It’s jsut like when dentists tell us that fluoride has no negative effects on humans. RIGHT.

The pharmacy’s would close if marijuana were used to treat conditions that also had some quick fix pills that some douche bag in a white coat and glasses tells us we need.

“One day everybody will read again”

- Vanilla Sky

January 31, 2009 at 1:27 am
(10) johnny says:

There’s so much confusiong when people talk about marijuana, marijuana is not a single drug like aspirin, it is a natural cocktail. one strain of cannabis might not be effective for certain ailments. I can attest that strains with high thc ratio to other cannabinoids ( cbd, thcv, and others) have more psychedelic effects, an example of this is patients ingesting marinol recreationaly find it is a more psychedelic high. there is no current psychiatric study that takes these differences into account. cbd has been found to work as well as antipsychotics in easing symptoms of schizophrenia. in moderation it makes managing anxiety symptoms much easier, without being careless. go the ‘legal’ route if you want but don’t believe these substances are 100% safe, and every substance has side effects be prepared to deal with them and therapy is a must

February 5, 2009 at 5:38 am
(11) Michael says:

It’s my opinion that if your not working to solve a problem, your just trying to forget that a problem exists. Maybe it’s time to face the reason for the anxiety rather than try to mask it with drugs, alcohol, or herbs. Some people say smoking a ciggarette cools them down when they get upset or stressed others use weed or tea, and many other forms of uppers downers depressants and anti depressants, but they never seem to stop and solve the problem that is stressing them out. Self medicating is almost as ridiculous as taking a prescribed drug, not because the marijuana is harmful but because your by-passing the problem at hand to remedy it with a chemical reaction. If you hate your life change it- and for petes sake stop blaming everything and everyone but yourselves for your problems. thanks have a good one!

February 28, 2009 at 4:57 pm
(12) Anton Luis Emille Lizarondo Reyes says:

Hi Guys, please take time to read this. I’m seeking for some help about my side effects in marijuana. I feel numb, I feel I can’t cherish any moment, and everyday is the same and many feelings that are unexplainable for a normal person. can anyone help me to cure my marijuana side effect problem? I’m suffering this for almost 4months now and I can’t take it anymore. hmmm, please help me guys. Jah Bless!

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