With medical marijuana legalized in 29 American states and the District of Columbia, there has been a considerable change in the mindset of people regarding cannabis use. It is now one of the most easily available drugs, commonly used by individuals dealing with anxiety or stress. Its anxiety-relieving properties make cannabis one of the most abused drugs in the U.S. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), it was abused by approximately 51.8 percent individuals in the age group of 18 to 25 years in 2017.
The ingredients in medical marijuana have made it a home remedy for various medical conditions, like depression, anxiety, etc. Cannabidiol or CBD, which is the main ingredient of marijuana, is said to be helpful in treating anxiety, while tetrahydrocannabinol or THC has been found helpful in preventing nausea and vomiting in cancer patients, among others.
The drug’s medicinal properties notwithstanding, several studies in the past have proven that the chemical composition of the weed might actually prove to be harmful for an individual.
Cannabis affects individual differently
A combination of various compounds, cannabis affects an individual’s health in different ways. While some of these compounds might increase an individual’s appetite, others might help in reducing inflammation and even help in fighting cancer. Of the multiple compounds, THC and CBD are the commonly recognized cannabinoids and are known to affect the state of mind and sense of well-being of an individual.
In a human brain, cannabinoids bind to a receptor known as cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1). This led researchers to discover which natural compounds (endocannabinoids) bind to CB1. The discovery has helped researchers to understand these compounds’ importance in everyday life functions – from sleep to appetite to even the rush of adrenaline. This happens with the release of other neurotransmitters, which impact an individual’s mood and level of energy more directly.
CB1 receptors are present in high numbers in those brain regions that play an important role in determining threat and managing an individual’s response to fear. With the binding of endocannabinoids, there is a noticeable slowdown in the brain’s reaction to threat, which is why many people believe cannabinoids help in relieving anxiety.
But the effect of this drug varies with individuals. An individual’s experience depends on his/her age, genetics, body fat and other factors that might influence the way in which cannabinoids compete with endocannabinoids for binding to the CB1 receptors. Apart from an individual’s body, the effects of the drug also depends on factors like its growing condition, the time taken to harvest the plant, etc. All these factors impact the plant’s chemical composition, which, in turn, alters its effects.
It must be understood that a prolonged use of the drug in any form is dangerous. Even a little of it makes one mellow, a little more tends to make one anxious. The line between the two is thin. This is because its regular use tends to reduce the number of CB1 receptors, which, in turn, makes some areas of the brain less sensitive to the naturally present endocannabinoids. But withdrawing from the drug can help in restoring the receptors to their normal functioning.
The road ahead
Using any form of drug may give an individual a sense of fun and excitement in the beginning, but it soon turns out to be the wrong decision when the person develops a dependence and addiction to the drug. One must seek expert’s help and follow the right treatment plan for any sort of mental or physical health condition.
If you know someone who is dealing with anxiety and is looking for the anxiety disorder treatment centers, contact the Anxiety Treatment Centers of California. Call our 24/7 helpline (855) 972-9459 or chat online with an expert to get complete information about the best anxiety treatment centers in California.