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Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are a prevalent group of mental health conditions characterised by overwhelming feelings of worry, fear, and apprehension. These disorders often interfere with daily activities, personal relationships, and overall well-being. Anxiety can manifest in various forms, such as generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias. The causes of anxiety disorders are complex, involving a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Recognizing the symptoms and seeking professional help is crucial for effective treatment, which may include therapy, medication, and self-help strategies. Developing a better understanding of anxiety disorders is essential for promoting mental health awareness and improving the quality of life for those affected.

What is Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are a group of mental conditions characterised by excessive and persistent feelings of worry, fear, or nervousness. They can significantly impact a person’s daily life, relationships, and overall well-being.


Common symptoms of anxiety disorders include:

  • Excessive worry or fear
  • Feelings of restlessness or being on edge
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Physical symptoms, such as muscle tension, rapid heartbeat, or shortness of breath


The exact cause of anxiety disorders is not fully understood, but they are thought to result from a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Some potential risk factors include:

  • Family history of anxiety disorders or other mental conditions
  • Exposure to chronic stress or traumatic events
  • Personality traits, such as shyness or behavioural inhibition
  • Physical health problems, such as thyroid disorders or heart arrhythmias


While it may not be possible to completely prevent anxiety disorders, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk and manage anxiety symptoms:

  1. Develop healthy coping strategies: Learn and practice stress management techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or mindfulness meditation.
  2. Maintain a balanced lifestyle: Prioritise regular exercise, a healthy diet, and adequate sleep to support overall well-being and resilience against stress.
  3. Build a strong social support network: Connect with friends, family, and support groups to share your feelings and experiences.
  4. Seek professional help early: If you notice signs of an anxiety disorder, consult a mental health professional, such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, or therapist. Early intervention can lead to more effective treatment and improved quality of life.
  5. Limit exposure to triggers: If you know certain situations or environments exacerbate your anxiety, try to limit your exposure or develop coping strategies to manage those situations.
  6. Educate yourself: Learn about anxiety disorders, their symptoms, and available treatments to empower yourself and better understand your condition.

Medical Marijuana as a Treatment

Medical marijuana, also known as medical cannabis, refers to the use of the Cannabis plant and its components (cannabinoids) to treat various medical conditions, including anxiety disorders. The two main cannabinoids used for medicinal purposes are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

How does medical marijuana help?

The exact mechanisms through which medical marijuana helps alleviate anxiety symptoms are not fully understood, but it is believed to involve the interaction between cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the human body. The ECS plays a key role in regulating various physiological functions, including mood, stress response, and fear conditioning.

  1. CBD and anxiety: CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that has shown promise in reducing anxiety symptoms. Studies have suggested that CBD may have anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects by acting on serotonin receptors in the brain, which regulate mood and emotional responses. CBD may also interact with the ECS to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which can contribute to anxiety disorders.
  2. THC and anxiety: THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis responsible for the “high” associated with marijuana use. In low doses, THC may have some anxiety-relieving effects due to its activation of CB1 receptors in the brain, which are involved in regulating fear and anxiety. However, high doses of THC can actually exacerbate anxiety symptoms, so caution must be exercised when using medical marijuana containing THC for anxiety treatment.

Cannabinoids and Terpenes for Anxiety Disorders

In addition to the major cannabinoids like THC and CBD, there are other minor cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis plants that may have potential benefits for anxiety disorders.

Which cannabinoids and terpenes are most effective?

  1. Cannabigerol (CBG): CBG is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that has been shown to have potential anxiolytic effects. Although research on its effectiveness for anxiety disorders is still limited, some studies suggest that CBG may modulate the activity of GABA and serotonin receptors, which could help reduce anxiety symptoms.
  2. Beta-caryophyllene: This terpene is found in many cannabis strains and has demonstrated anti-anxiety effects in preclinical studies. Beta-caryophyllene interacts with CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system, potentially helping to regulate mood and emotional responses.
  3. Linalool: Linalool is a terpene commonly found in lavender and some cannabis strains. It has been shown to have calming and relaxing effects, which may be beneficial for individuals with anxiety disorders. Linalool is thought to act on GABA receptors, promoting relaxation and stress relief.
  4. Myrcene: Myrcene is another terpene found in various cannabis strains and has been associated with sedative and muscle-relaxant effects. These properties may help alleviate some physical symptoms related to anxiety, such as muscle tension and restlessness.

It’s important to note that research on the specific effects of cannabinoids and terpenes for anxiety disorders is still limited and ongoing. As more studies are conducted, our understanding of the most effective combinations and dosages for anxiety treatment will likely evolve.

If you are considering using medical marijuana for anxiety, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional who is knowledgeable about medical cannabis. They can help you determine the most appropriate treatment plan and monitor your progress to ensure the safe and effective use of medical marijuana for your specific needs.

Dosage and Consumption Methods

Recommended dosage:

Figuring out the right dose of medical marijuana can be hard because people’s reactions to cannabinoids and terpenes can be very different. Factors such as the specific condition being treated, the patient’s weight, metabolism, and prior experience with cannabis all play a role in determining the right dosage.
Most of the time, it is best to start with a low dose and slowly increase it until you get the effects you want while minimising any possible side effects. For patients who are new to medical marijuana, starting with 2.5–5 mg of THC or CBD and slowly titrating upwards is often advised.

However, consulting a healthcare professional experienced in medical marijuana is essential to developing a personalised dosing plan tailored to the patient’s needs.

Consumption methods:

There are several methods of consuming medical marijuana, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Some common consumption methods include:

  1. Inhalation (smoking or vaping): Inhalation provides rapid onset of effects, usually within minutes, making it suitable for patients requiring immediate relief. However, smoking may pose respiratory risks, while vaping has been associated with lung injuries in some cases.
  2. Oral ingestion (edibles, capsules, tinctures): Ingesting medical marijuana provides longer-lasting effects compared to inhalation but has a slower onset, typically taking 30 minutes to 2 hours for effects to be felt. This method is suitable for patients requiring sustained relief but may require careful dosing to avoid overconsumption.
  3. Topical application (creams, balms, patches): Topicals can provide localised relief for conditions such as arthritis or skin disorders without producing psychoactive effects. The onset of action and duration of effects can vary depending on the product formulation and individual absorption rates.
  4. Sublingual administration (tinctures, dissolvable strips): Sublingual products are absorbed through the mucous membranes under the tongue, providing rapid onset of effects without the need for inhalation or ingestion. This method offers discreet consumption and precise dosing.

Obtaining a Medical Marijuana Card

Why get a medical marijuana card?

Getting a medical marijuana card is helpful for patients who are looking for other ways to treat their conditions.

  1. Legal protection: A medical marijuana card allows patients to possess, use, and in some cases, cultivate cannabis for medical purposes, within their state’s legal limits.
  2. Access to quality products: Medical marijuana dispensaries offer a wide range of tested and regulated cannabis products, ensuring patients receive safe and effective medication.
  3. Tax savings: In some states, medical marijuana patients are exempt from certain taxes applied to recreational cannabis sales.
  4. Professional guidance: Medical marijuana cardholders have access to healthcare professionals who can provide personalised recommendations, dosing advice, and ongoing support.

How to apply:

The process of obtaining a medical marijuana card varies by state but generally involves the following steps:

  1. Consult with medical marijuana consultants to determine if medical marijuana is appropriate for your condition and obtain a written recommendation.
  2. Complete an application with the required documentation, including proof of residency, identification, and the healthcare professional’s recommendation.
  3. Submit the application to the appropriate state agency, along with any required fees.
  4. Await approval and issuance of the medical marijuana card.

Risks and Side Effects

Potential risks:

While medical marijuana can offer relief and improve the quality of life for many patients, it also carries certain risks and side effects. Some potential risks associated with medical marijuana use include:

  1. Dependency and addiction: Although the risk of addiction is considered lower than that of opioids or alcohol, some individuals may develop a dependency on cannabis.
  2. Impaired cognitive function: THC, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, can impair memory, attention, and reaction times, particularly with prolonged or heavy use.
  3. Respiratory issues: Smoking cannabis can cause respiratory problems, including bronchitis and lung irritation. Vaping has also been linked to lung injuries in some cases.
  4. Mental health concerns: High doses of THC or predisposition to mental health disorders can lead to increased anxiety, paranoia, or exacerbate existing mental health conditions.
  5. Drug interactions: Medical marijuana may interact with other medications, either enhancing or diminishing their effects. It is essential to discuss potential drug interactions with a healthcare professional before starting medical marijuana therapy.


Medical marijuana might not be right for every patient, especially those who already have certain health problems or risk factors. Contraindications to medical marijuana use may include:

  1. Personal or family history of substance abuse or addiction
  2. Severe liver or kidney disease
  3. Severe cardiovascular disease
  4. Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  5. History of psychosis or other severe mental health disorders
  6. Allergies or hypersensitivity to cannabis or its components

Legal Status

Where is it legal?

In the United States, the laws about medical marijuana are always changing. Currently, over 30 states and the District of Columbia allow its use under certain conditions. Each state has its own rules and a list of medical conditions that are allowed to use medical marijuana.

Even though some states have made medical marijuana legal, it is still illegal at the federal level because it is a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act.

This difference between state and federal laws can make it harder for medical marijuana patients to get jobs, find housing, or travel across state lines, among other things. Patients should research their state’s guidelines and remain aware of potential legal risks.


Medical marijuana could help relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life for many people with long-term or debilitating illnesses.

When thinking about this treatment option, it’s important to know the right dose, how to use it, how to get a medical marijuana card, possible risks, side effects, and legal status.

Work closely with a doctor or nurse who knows a lot about medical marijuana to find out if it is a good and safe choice for your needs.

As the legal landscape surrounding medical marijuana continues to evolve, staying informed about changing regulations and guidelines is essential to ensuring responsible and compliant use.

As the field of medical marijuana continues to evolve, it’s crucial for patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers to stay informed about the latest research and developments. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the current landscape, but it’s always important to consult with healthcare providers for personalized advice.

Note: This article’s content is provided for educational purposes only. This information is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional legal or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or queries regarding laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult a lawyer, physician, or other licensed practitioner.