Cannabis For Stress Relief: Can Cannabis Regulate Stress And Anxiety written by: thewordsmith
Writing in the ancient Indian book known as the “Atharvaveda” the writers refer to a drink known as bhang which is noted as a “relief from anxiety”. This drink was a mixture of cannabis paste, milk and spices. What those ancient healers knew was that cannabis was one of the most effective ways to relieve stress.
Like a lot of ancient wisdom, the evidence that cannabis is an effective stress reliever, has been ignored by the modern scientific community. In recent years that has changed. There’s been increasing recognition of the importance of the benefits of medicinal marijuana, and in specifically cannabis as a treatment for stress. A growing number of clinical studies clinical have helped confirm that cannabis does in fact help to regulate anxiety.
How cannabis helps to alleviate anxiety
Anxiety is regulated in the part of the brain known as the amygdala. Located in the amygdala is the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system consists of lipids and their receptors. Essentially the endocannabinoid system is able to naturally dampen stress signals in the brain. This helps to regulate feelings of anxiety.
When someone is suffering from chronic stress the brain produces fewer endocannabinoids. In turn stress levels begin to rise. By consuming cannabis externally users are able to compensate for the lower production of natural endocannabinoids. This in turn can lead to lower stress levels.
Clinical studies on cannabis as a stress reliever
In the past decade there has been significant research into the use of cannabis as a stress reliever. In 2013 researchers at the University of Haifa looked at whether cannabis could mediate to the effects of chronic stress. Over a two week period researchers restricted the movement of a group of rats which led to a stress reaction. Half of the rats were treated using an agonist which activated the cannabinoid system. The other half of the rats acted as a control for the experiment. The agonist used to activate the cannabinoid system is similar to that of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It was found that this application was able to reduce the effects of chronic stress. What’s more it was able to alleviate the cognitive problems that caused by being exposed to continuing stress.
Similar research into the effect of cannabis on regulating stress and anxiety was conducted by researchers at Vanderbilt University. The research conducted by Dr Sachin Patel was published in the peer-reviewed journal Neuron. The research showed that cannabis can be used to dampen stress signals.
Objections to cannabis as a stress reliever
While studies do support that cannabis can play an important role as an anxiety reliever. There is evidence to suggest that long-term use of cannabis may reduce the sensitivity of the cannabinoid receptors in the amygdala. This suggests that over consumption of cannabis could be problematic. The effect on the receptors may lead users to become psychologically dependent on cannabis in order to continue to enjoy lower stress levels. However, given the fact though that cannabis has few noted side-effects for long-term use this may not in fact be problematic. Especially when compared to pharmaceutical medications commonly prescribed for stress relief.
Cannabis has been used as a stress reliever for thousands of years. Modern science is now confirming what people have long known. That cannabis is a natural way to regulate stress and anxiety.