Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cannabis in Anxiety and Depression

Medical use of marijuana can be very beneficial in chronic pain management, cancer, AIDS, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis, but smoking weed? Not a good idea, especially if you suffer from anxiety and depression.

There are numerous studies into effect that marijuana has on us, but the results are contradictive. Some of them say that weed can have an antidepressant effect, some that it may cause your anxiety and depression, panic attacks or even paranoia, psychosis and schizophrenia. The opinions also vary between claiming that cannabis can have a sedative effect or be a stimulant.

The information is so confusing because cannabis is very individual drug with individual side-effects. Here are just some of them:

- It affects short-term memory, concentration and motor function;
- Impacts limbic area of the brain which is responsible for your emotions and behaviour;
- Distorts perception;
- Cause difficulties in problem solving;
- Makes you more susceptible to infections, affects your heart and respiratory system;
- Lowers the frequency of your alpha brain waves which usually allows you to go into state of light relaxation.

Although it's unclear if marijuana causes mental problems, worsens them or helps with them, there are some facts that we know and can draw conclusions from:

- at least 10% of young smokers of weed develop psychosis;
- marijuana increases your risk of psychiatric disorder by 30%;
- cannabis predispose you to schizophrenia and can cause a relapse in those who are already schizophrenic;
- cannabis are linked to anxiety and panic attacks, paranoia and depression.

OK, now we know some of the side-effects and some of the studies results, and it looks like marijuana use is definitely not good if you have anxiety problem or experience panic attacks. Paranoia? Psychosis? Predisposition to schizophrenia? Distorted perception and difficulties in problem solving? Definitely not a good combination for your anxiety. Reduced frequency of alpha waves responsible for your ability to relax also doesn't help. So if I were you I wouldn't touch cannabis if you think you are suffering from this particular mental health disorder.

What about its effect on depression?

Well, in depression your brain chemistry is already messed up so as your emotions and motor functions according to the list of common depression symptoms. Although there is no prove that marijuana causes or worsens your depression, it looks like it doesn't help too. You basically add up to the problems you already experience so you have to work twice as hard to fight your depression.

What do you think of this? Please, share your thoughts and experience!

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