Treating Anxiety Disorders With Cannabinoids

Dr. Danial Schecter, MD, CCFP, Family Physician, talks about how Cannabinoids can be used in the treatment of anxiety in certain patients.

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Dr. Danial Schecter, MD, CCFP, Family Physician, talks about how Cannabinoids can be used in the treatment of anxiety in certain patients.
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Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Danial Schecter, MD, CCFP, Family Physician

Duration: 2 minutes, 48 seconds

Anxiety is actually the most common reason why people use cannabis. It’s interesting to note that patients report cannabis can alleviate anxiety, but in a certain subset of patients cannabis can actually worsen both anxiety and depression.

There are many different components of cannabis. The main two components are THC and CBD. THC is a component that actually makes you feel high, or causes that typical sense of euphoria. CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t cause euphoria and will counteract the high that you get from THC.

The part of cannabis that causes relief from anxiety is usually reported to be THC. There’s interesting research looking at CBD as being an anxiolytic, or anti anxiety, although research in CBD as being an anxiolytic is still in its infancy, and a lot more research has to be done before we start recommending CBD as a primary treatment for anxiety.

Many patients wonder whether using cannabis for anxiety can cause tolerance or dependency, or even things such as addiction. Most patients who use cannabis do not become addicted to cannabis, although in certain situations it can actually worsen anxiety.

Cannabis usually makes you feel happy, hungry and sleepy. When you use it often and regularly enough you become dependent on it, and when you don’t have it in your system or you stop using it, you can start feeling the opposite.

So instead of happy, you can actually become more irritable, or some people feel more anxious. Instead of hungry you can have nausea or lack of appetite, and instead of sleepy you can feel like you have insomnia or difficulty sleeping. So while you don’t become addicted to cannabis, you can definitely get worsening of anxiety when you get withdrawal from cannabis.

While everyone experiences symptoms of anxiety, it’s actually not necessary to treat anxiety in every single situation. Anxiety is a perfectly normal state of being. It’s what gets us out of bed in the morning, it’s what makes us go to work. Anxiety only needs to be treated when it starts interfering with day-to-day activities.

If you would like some more information on how cannabis might be able to benefit treatment in anxiety disorders, please go and speak with your family physician, pharmacist, or health care provider.

Presenter: Dr. Danial Schecter, Family Doctor, Midland, ON

Local Practitioners: Family Doctor

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.