How Medical Cannabis Helps with Anxiety

January 8, 2021

How Medical Cannabis Helps with Anxiety

Anxiety can be hard to manage; simple activities can feel impossible to do. Medical cannabis could be your solution to your feelings of apprehension.

20% of all Canadians will experience a mental health problem in any given year.

With a population of a little over 37 million people, this equals out to a little less than two million citizens who have some form of anxiety, causing mild to severe impairment.

But enough with the numbers.

Anxiety can be debilitating for many people. Daily tasks become increasingly hard to accomplish and simply swinging your legs off the side of the bed in the morning can seem like a substantial act of courage.

Anxiety disorders are different for everyone, and their random, sporadic nature makes them extremely unpredictable.

If you're apprehensive about obtaining your medical document, don't worry. In this article, we've compiled all the information about medical marijuana you need to be at ease and get back to feeling like yourself again.

What is Medical Cannabis?

Let's start with the basics. Medical Cannabis is simply the technical term for using any part of the cannabis plant for medical purposes.

The Cannabis Act passed in June 2018 and made it legal to ingest cannabis in any form both recreationally and medically in Canada. Certain restrictions may exist depending on the province in which you live. For example, you must be 18 years old to purchase marijuana products in Alberta and Quebec, but that age requirement is raised to 19 in all other provinces.

To apply for your medical card in Canada, you must be a Canadian resident. This registration will be valid anywhere from three months to one year.

Within that time, your prescription will allow you to travel anywhere within Canada with marijuana (up to 150 grams, the average 30-day amount).

Popular Cannabis Terms

If you've been doing any research so far, a lot of the marijuana-related jargon can get confusing at times. Here are just a few of the words or terms that you'll probably hear:

Cannabinoids are the ingredients inside of the cannabis plant that triggers a biological response when ingested into the human body.

Although their name probably makes you think of marijuana, there are over 100 different types of cannabinoids found all over our natural world. They can be found in other plants, as well as reproduced in laboratories to create the active ingredients in our common over-the-counter medications. The human body itself produces cannabinoids!

The most popular cannabinoids inside marijuana are THC and CBD.

THC produces the intoxicating effects that can make you feel "high" when ingesting marijuana, while the effects of CBD are non-intoxicating. Both effects serve their own pharmacological purposes and can counteract one another when smoked at the same time.

Finally, when purchasing marijuana you may want to know the difference between user-named strains of weed. Two of the most common are Indica and Sativa. Indica generally has tranquil and calming effects while Sativa produces uplifting and invigorating effects.

It's important to remember that the names of these strains are not scientifically validated but can be beneficial to remember as a user.  

Forms of Medical Cannabis

Cannabis can be consumed in a variety of different forms.

One of the more common forms of consumption is by inhalation or smoking, through a pipe or water-powered bong. Marijuana can also be rolled into a cylindrical shape and smoked, similar to a cigarette.

You can also smoke marijuana through a vaporizer. This uses oil or wax that can be burned by an internal battery and smoked, creating a much simpler version of ingesting cannabis where you don't have to grind the herb yourself.

Vaping is ubiquitous due to its ability to heat the cannabis past the boiling point of the active ingredients (so you can feel the benefits), but not reaching the point of plant matter combustion (avoiding any unwanted components).

Read why many users have been switching from smoking to vaping.

Ingesting marijuana through edibles has been increasingly popular as well because it avoids the by-products of burning plant matter on the lungs. A lot of people opt for this method because smoking can have a slightly uncomfortable burning sensation at the back of your throat and lungs at times if you are not used to it. Marijuana can be in many different edible forms like brownies, cookies, or little gummies.

You can also feel the effects of cannabis through oils or extracts that are commonly rubbed on the inside of your palms or neck. In certain forms, it can be added to other foods topically.

The intensity of effects from marijuana depends on a few factors including how it's consumed, how much is consumed, and how your own body responds to the ingredients inside.

Consult with your doctor or healthcare practitioner to decide which form of medical cannabis is right for you!

Medical Cannabis and Anxiety

If you recall how cannabis contains cannabinoids, there also cannabinoids that exist naturally in your brain. These are called endocannabinoids. Your levels of endocannabinoid are directly related to stress, fear, and anxiety.

More endocannabinoids = less stress.

The problem with this equation is that too much stress can actually cause a decreased level of these chemicals. Research is still being conducted and updated, but many scientists believe that fewer endocannabinoids in your brain can be a significant cause of anxiety disorders.

While THC in higher dosages can create the "high" feeling, it provides a momentous relief of tension by increasing the level of endocannabinoids in your brain.

Benefits of CBD

Because CBD doesn't make you high like THC, it can be a great addition to your usual anti-anxiety medications or taken alone to experience significant therapeutic benefits.

Different strains of marijuana can have different helpful effects depending on the symptoms of anxiety you are having. For example, if you can't sleep, certain strains have been known to cause brief drowsiness with sleep-inducing ingredients.

On the other end, if you can't seem to stay awake, medical cannabis can help you receive a boost of energy and focus throughout the day!

CBD has also been seen to reduce pain and muscle spasms, as well as alleviate nausea that cancer patients experience after chemotherapy.

Helping With Hormones

There is one main hormone that affects our mental health: cortisol.  

Cortisol is basically a hormone that causes you to feel stressed, and therefore cause anxiety and depression. Stuck in traffic? Cortisol. Five missed calls from your dad? Cortisol.

Marijuana helps to lower these levels in your body, creating a dulled reaction to stress.

Creating Happiness

Similar to a hormone, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is often considered the "happiness" chemical, as lower levels inside the body have been found in people who suffer from anxiety and depression.

Typically, people with lower serotonin levels can treat this by taking SSRI's such as Prozac or Zoloft. However, these pills are only available by prescription which can be difficult to obtain. Here you can read why they've also been known to make anxiety worse within the first few weeks of using.

The good news is that the routine use of CBD can also be used to obtain the same effects and manage your condition.

Beating PTSD

In a recent study, a group of individuals who struggled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder were given vaporized and edible medical cannabis to research the effects it may have on their condition. 75% of those studied saw significant symptomatic improvement.

The cause of this improvement was the positive effects that CBD had on the limbic and paralimbic parts of the brain.

Possible Side Effects

Because cannabis is so versatile and our body's reactions to it can be quite different, trying to determine the different side effects you may get is difficult.

Common side effects are typically dry mouth, red/watery eyes, giddiness, or drowsiness. However, due to this versatility, someone's negative effect could be your positive. Your ideal dose and ratio of THC to CBD could look a lot different than your neighbour's, even though you may experience the same effects.

While you're still trying different strands and finding your right dosage, it's important to never drive right after using cannabis. The sedative effects could impair reaction times and other motor skills that are critical to safe driving.  

Can You Get Addicted?

One of the biggest concerns among people considering medical marijuana use is the possibility of becoming addicted.

While addiction is much more common in drugs like cocaine and heroin, it is possible to abuse any substance and become addicted. People can get addicted to sugar or coffee the same way they can feel addicted to cannabis.

Abusing medical marijuana would be to smoke or consume a much higher dosage than what your doctor has recommended. If you do become dependant on cannabis, you may experience mood swings or abnormal cravings. You might also experience negative effects related to withdrawal.

Why Get a Prescription

So why should you get a prescription for medical cannabis? If it's already legal recreationally throughout Canada, why take the extra step?

Well, for starters, your license allows you to travel with cannabis throughout Canada as we mentioned before. This alone provides you with a ton of freedom! You can take that extra family vacation or get out of the city for a while without worrying about an anxiety flare-up.

Second, recreational marijuana can be expensive and unpredictable. Why risk putting unknown chemicals into your body when medical marijuana is available in all the same forms while also guaranteeing quality?

Finally, medical cannabis can be covered by your insurance! Free weed? Sign me up. Check out this article for more information about how you can get your medical cannabis covered.

How to Get Your Prescription

You cannot purchase medical marijuana unless you have the right documentation from your doctor confirming diagnosis and need.

Luckily, obtaining this documentation is a breeze!

You can get your license in less than a day with Namaste MD. Head to their website to fill out a free application. You'll need proof of identification, some basic personal information, and your medical history.

Once completed, you'll be able to schedule a brief video consultation with a nurse in order to finalize the application. If you're approved, you'll find out almost immediately and receive the license in fifteen minutes!

You no longer have to leave the comfort of your own home or experience the inconvenience of travelling to meet with a doctor in person.

With Namaste MD, you can also renew your prescription online.

Purchasing Medical Cannabis in Canada

Once you acquire your medical license, you'll be able to purchase medical cannabis.

There is no universal price of marijuana throughout Canada as prices vary by province. Check out a list of the specific prices per gram to expect where you live.

On average, one gram of herb cannabis in Canada is less than ten dollars but can range from about five to twenty.

Online stores like cannmart.com make the purchasing process extremely transparent and fun. They offer herbs, oils, and a variety of edibles so you can find the perfect form of medical cannabis to ease your anxiety.

Each product is clearly labelled with its ingredients and prices, as well as the exact ratio of THC and CBD inside the product. This lets you decide if you'd rather relax and calm down or have your spirits lifted.

Your Next Steps

Anxiety can be extremely debilitating, and no one deserves to feel trapped. Luckily, medical cannabis may be the key to starting your new life towards happiness and healthiness.

You can read more about the benefits that your medical license will bring you, like tax benefits and special products only available for you!

When you're ready to fill out an application, Namaste MD is ready to help.