What Medical Marijuana Can Do for Your State of Mind
A recent study conducted by the University of Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) has provided evidence that chronic stress-related depression could be eased by certain elements found in medical marijuana.
The primary focus of the preliminary rat study was endocannabinoids, which are chemicals found in the brain that are similar to cannabinoids – a chemical found in marijuana. These chemicals are associated with our pain sensations, mood, memory and appetite, alongside emotions, behavior and cognition.
Researchers found that these endocannabinoids are reduced when under chronic stress, which is what causes the depression. Medical marijuana can help to restore the function of these chemicals, potentially helping to stabilize moods and ease depression.
Mental Health and Cannabis
This study is one of many medical examples involving marijuana and many debates continue as to the benefits of this drug. The complexity of mental health and the variance of each case means that the treatments offered need to be tailored to each individual.
However, chronic pain, stress, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are all health conditions that have been found to be relieved with the use of medical marijuana. Stress relief was found to be one of the principal reasons that people smoke cannabis, according to research undertaken by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Speaking about their findings, the researchers suggested that the elements found in marijuana can affect a wide range of things from pain to metabolism. However, they reiterated that the prime usage of this drug is to help remove anxiety, tension and stress.
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Getting the Right Balance
There are a number of different strains of marijuana, which can affect the levels of the chemicals found within it. CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are the two main chemicals found in cannabis and can have opposite effects when they’re used in the treatment of anxiety disorders. THC can cause anxiety and paranoia while CBD can counteract these feelings, and it is CBD that has been linked to eradicating these anxious feelings.
CBD is thought to have a number of benefits as it is the non-psychoactive component in marijuana; however, too much of this can enhance the effects of THC. A lot of medical marijuana plants are produced to have high levels of THC as this is common in the treatment of seizure disorders, eating disorders and cancer. It also provides the user with a feeling of euphoria, giving them their ‘high’, which is another popular reason for smoking the drug.
However, recent studies have increased the awareness of CBD and its benefits, which has meant it has become a growing feature in medical studies.
Ultimately, those looking to treat any type of anxiety, depression or stress with marijuana will need to ensure they are getting the right dose. As THC can increase the effects of anxiety once the levels reach a certain point, patients will need to seek medical cannabis that boasts higher levels of CBD.
Lillian Meyer is a medical research scientist who enjoys sharing her thoughts with the general public on medical topics. She also loves to travel and is a huge dog lover.
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