Medical cannabis has been shown to have various benefits for mental health, including helping reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and improving sleep. It can also help individuals in recovery process their experiences, address underlying emotional issues, and heal from trauma.
Many of these studies were done with marijuana purified compounds or whole plant extracts administered directly (using oral doses) or topically (using salves). Some investigated pure CBD, others looked at both CBD and THC, and some studied only cannabinoids that are naturally occurring.
Some research focused exclusively on pediatric patients, while other studies included all age groups. Because people’s reactions to cannabis vary depending on whether they smoke it or ingest it, how you administer it, and your personal history, what works for one person may not work for another.
It is important to note that most studies were either case reports or small case-control trials, which are limited by sample size. Therefore, we cannot make any definitive claims about the effectiveness of cannabis as a treatment for any condition beyond those cases reported.
Furthermore, many studies were done years ago, before medical standards for diagnosing certain conditions changed. As such, researchers might have used different diagnostic criteria than what is commonly accepted today. This could affect how well participants were screened for potential confounding factors, making it difficult to determine if there was truly an effect due to the intervention.
Does cannabis affect mental health?
Whilst there are some studies that suggest using marijuana may help treat certain symptoms of depression, anxiety or stress, these studies are very small and/or short-term.
Studies have also found that regular use can increase risk of developing mood and substance use disorders. Due to the fact that individuals with psychiatric conditions are at higher risk of abusing substances than the general population, it is difficult to determine if this increased risk comes from smoking pot or being diagnosed with a disorder.
Furthermore, many people suffering from psychological issues already feel stressed and anxious, so adding more THC to their system could actually make things worse for them.
It is important to note that although marijuana (hemp) has been shown to be an effective treatment for pain in several randomized controlled trials, it should not be used as a cure all solution for emotional wellness.
More research needs to be done to see whether cannabinoids work for specific indications, but due to the potential risks involved, we recommend limiting your daily intake to less than 2 grams per day.
Here are some tips for managing mental health when using cannabis
Finding out more about the potential benefits of medical marijuana can be tricky, as there is no clear definition of what makes a product help improve mental or emotional wellness.
That means it’s hard to know if one product is better than another- or even whether any products make a difference at all!
A review of the available studies suggests that CBD may have beneficial effects in people with anxiety disorders and OCD, while other types of cannabis seem to reduce symptoms of depression.
But before you pick up your vape pen or bottle of cream, there are some things you need to know about how well these products work and risk factors related to use.
Get your cannabis from a reputable source
Recent research is finding that not only does marijuana help treat mental health conditions, but it may also be effective in preventing some diseases and improving others.
Studies have shown that cannabinoids reduce anxiety and depression by affecting neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. Endogenous (or naturally occurring) cannabinoids are found throughout our bodies, including in the brain.
Certain drugs containing CBD can actually improve mood and decrease symptoms of psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia. And preliminary studies suggest that cannabidiol may prove helpful for other conditions, such as epilepsy, pain, inflammation, cancer, and more.
But before adding weed to your treatment plan, make sure you’re using it responsibly. Unfortunately, just because something has been determined to be safe for recreational use doesn’t mean it’s okay to take it when you should be lying down or eating food.
Likewise, people with serious medical conditions shouldn’t use marijuana as a self-treatment option. There’s a risk of adverse side effects, and few things are guaranteed to work.
In fact, one recent study conducted at the University of California, San Diego showed that THC (the compound in marijuana responsible for its psychotropic properties) was associated with an increased incidence of suicidal thoughts and behaviors among individuals who used the drug over a period of six months.
So while smoking MJ once in a while might feel good, it could do much more harm than good.
Know your dosage
As mentioned before, cannabis can have varying effects on mental health, so it is important to know how much you are consuming. Unfortunately, there are no standard guidelines for how many grams of CBD or THC you should ingest per day.
People usually start off with either lower doses or higher doses than what we recommend here! The best way to determine whether or not your current dose is enough is by looking at the changes you want to see in your symptoms and then comparing them to one week ago. If they are less severe, then you can continue your present dosing schedule for however long as needed.
If you notice that his symptoms are getting worse though, then you can gradually increase yours until you find an adequate balance. Just be sure to monitor yourself over the course of several days to make sure everything is okay.
There is also an interesting theory about why some people need more CBD or THC than others to achieve their goal. This theory suggests that individuals have different levels of “cannabinoid receptors” throughout our bodies. People who have more CB2 receptors may require more CBD to experience its benefits while those with fewer will need more THC.
However, this does not apply to all patients. What works for one person may not work for another.
Whilst there is no evidence that cannabis can cause mental health issues, making sure you are drinking enough water may be important to help prevent symptoms of anxiety or depression.
Research suggests that alcohol can make it more difficult to sleep, which can contribute to mood changes and feelings of stress. Therefore, if you’re trying to manage your use of cannabis, then also limiting your alcohol intake may be a good idea.
We don’t know whether cannabis causes long-term problems with mental health, but we do know that prolonged heavy alcohol use can have serious consequences for your physical health.
Making healthy choices around drugs and alcohol will be helpful in maintaining your overall wellbeing.
Drinking too much can have adverse effects on your body and mind, so try to keep yourself within recommended limits as best you can. This includes both alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic beverages such as plain water.
Regular exercise helps to keep your weight under control and has been linked to improved emotional wellness. Find ways to include some activity into your daily life, such as walking or swimming.
Talk to your doctor
Over the past few years, there has been an increase in the number of studies exploring the effects of cannabis on mental health. While some find small benefits that are worth experimenting with for anxiety or depression, most studies have found no significant changes from using marijuana as part of treatment.
That does not mean it is impossible for CBD to help you! There may be other things involved in the drug’s effect that make it difficult to determine if it helped because of the cannabinoid content or something else. For instance, people who use cannabinoids like THC for pain often experience improved sleep and mood.
It is important to note though that even if CBD doesn’t work for your symptoms, that doesn’t mean it won’t work for someone else with the same condition. People’s conditions overlap and individual medicines can affect them differently.
Many people feel more comfortable trying new treatments than ignoring possible answers, but doing so requires knowing what works and what doesn’t. You should never stop seeking care just because another approach hasn’t worked before — that would only put more pressure on yourself.
Instead, focus on looking at all available options and asking about alternatives. If nothing helps, then next step might be medication, which could include CBD.
Reduce your alcohol consumption
Recent studies show that cannabis can be just as effective as many prescription drugs in treating mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and PTSD. But before you start self-medicating, make sure to do some research first!
Studies have shown that marijuana use is associated with higher rates of mood and substance abuse disorders. It also increases risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors in people who are already at risk.
Because of this, it is important to discuss cannabis use with your doctor to see if it can play a role in treatment.
It’s also very important to note that not everyone agrees about the effects of weed. People may respond differently to different strains or levels of THC (the compound in cannabis that produces psychological effects) and CBD (that work by interacting with receptors in our bodies).
Given these potential differences, there isn’t one clear way to manage pain, treat anxiety, or enjoy life. Therefore, even though someone with the same condition might feel better after smoking a joint, how they respond to treatments will differ.
Seek help from a mental health professional
Recent years have seen an explosion in interest in cannabis as a potential treatment for many conditions, including anxiety, depression, stress, pain, and more. While earlier studies of marijuana use were largely observational, looking at people who used weed and those who did not, newer research is much more definitive.
Increasingly rigorous randomized clinical trials (RCTs) show that cannabidiol (CBD), one of the most common active compounds in medical marijuana, can be effective in treating certain types of emotional disorders.
Because CBD does not produce the same psychoactive effects as THC, it comes with no lasting sedation or intoxication. This makes CBD an especially promising compound to treat symptoms like anxiety and panic where overactivity of the nervous system can cause problems.
While there are some reports of individuals experiencing transient negative emotions while using CBD, this seems to occur less frequently than with pharmaceutical anti-anxiety drugs.