Intermittent anxiety is a normal part of life . There are numerous reasons to worry and often life can feel overwhelming when looking at “the big picture.” Anxiety, while universal, can feel very different for each person. The physical and mental toll of anxiety can also vary by person. Sometimes anxiety affects relationships, jobs, financial security and overall physical well-being. When anxiety interferes with everyday life, the prevalence of a disorder is likely. If this is the case, you may qualify for medical marijuana in Florida. Florida medical marijuana doctors are recommending medical marijuana for anxiety, depression and many other mental health conditions. To determine if you qualify for medical marijuana, please fill out this simple questionnaire.
Harvard Medical School reports that an estimated 31.1% of U.S. adults experience any anxiety disorder at some time in their lives.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America states that anxiety disorders are the most common and pervasive mental disorders in the United States. Anxiety is one aspect of a broader condition- anxiety disorder. Anxiety.org lists numerous anxiety-related illnesses, however the following are a small sample:
The term “anxiety disorder” refers to specific psychiatric disorders that involve extreme fear or worry, and includes generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder and panic attacks, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, selective mutism, separation anxiety, and specific phobias.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, also called IBS, is characterized by abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea.
Depression is a condition in which a person feels discouraged, sad, hopeless, unmotivated, or disinterested in life in general for more than two weeks and when the feelings interfere with daily activities. Major depression is a treatable illness that affects the way a person thinks, feels, behaves, and functions. At any point in time, 3 to 5 percent of people suffer from major depression; the lifetime risk is about 17 percent.
There are a variety of treatment options to help patients cope with and heal from anxiety disorders. Medications can be used along with therapy. Pharmaceuticals come with side effects, though, and may vary from person-to-person. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “medications do not cure anxiety disorders, but often relieve symptoms.” There is no single cause of anxiety disorders. Genetics, brain structure and function, and environmental factors all seem to be involved. The SAMHSA also states that “researchers are exploring the role of genes in anxiety disorders. Some research has found that a subgroup of people with panic disorder have a common gene. It is unclear whether there are distinct genetic forms of panic disorder, or one set of genes that make a person more likely to have panic disorder or anxiety disorders generally.”
Medical marijuana is another option for patients suffering from anxiety. A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders (a publication of the International Society for Affective Disorders: ISAD) discusses how cannabis is commonly used to alleviate symptoms of negative affect, i.e. anxiety, depression and stress. According the the publication, medical cannabis users perceived a 50% reduction in depression and a 58% reduction in anxiety and stress following cannabis use.
Even mainstream media has delved into the medicinal properties of cannabis and the science-based culture that cannabis heals. Men’s Journal published an article titled “Marijuana Can Help Battle Depression, Anxiety, PTSD and Addiction. The article described how “the most comprehensive research review ever done on the topic found that marijuana can help battle depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even addictions to alcohol and painkillers.” The research Men’s Journal is referring to is the 2017 journal article published in Clinical Psychology Review titled: Medical cannabis and mental health: A guided systematic review. The authors conclude that:
- Mental health conditions are prominent among the reasons for medical cannabis use.
- Cannabis has potential for the treatment of PTSD and substance use disorders.
- Cannabis use may influence cognitive assessment, particularly with regard to memory.
- Cannabis use does not appear to increase risk of harm to self or others.
- More research is needed to characterize the mental health impact of medical cannabis.
The Journal of Affective Disorders published a 2016 Swedish study which surveyed 8598 Swedish men and women. The researchers concluded that:
- Cannabis users had no increased risk of depression and anxiety at follow-up.
- They found no associations between depression/anxiety and cannabis use onset.
Published in 2016, “Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research,” written by Michelle Sexton, Carrie Cuttler, John S. Finnell and Laurie K. Mischley, examines patterns of medical marijuana use and the perceived efficacy. Their sample included 1,418 participants of a variety of backgrounds and medical conditions. The authors determined that patients are increasingly seeking Cannabis to treat a broad range of medical conditions. They also stated that “nearly 60% of medical users in our survey report substituting Cannabis for prescription medications. This illustrates that Cannabis may function as a harm reduction tool, particularly relevant with regard to current epidemic of prescription opiate-related deaths.” Furthermore, the authors concluded that “cannabis is being used for a wider variety of conditions than traditionally accepted by the scientific community and reported to be effective for some symptoms.”
Patient self-reporting and clinical trials are the most efficient methods of understanding how well medical cannabis can help even those with severe symptoms related to anxiety and anxiety disorders. Patients may need to experiment with a variety of methods available for medical marijuana consumption. Each patient should consult their medical marijuana physician for a recommendation on the method and strain to meet each patient’s unique needs.