Emotional Wellbeing

Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

Cannabis as Medicine: Lifting Moods and Calming Anxiety


From China to Greece, rulers, healers and regular folk used cannabis to reduce pain and inflammation. There’s even evidence it helped people cope with stress and sadness.

Today, science is rediscovering some of these old-time cures. Evidence shows cannabis can lift moods and calm anxiety. As views change, cannabis is gaining acceptance as an alternative medicine. With the right guidance, it may improve life for many people.

Varieties of Cannabis Plants and Products

Cannabis plants contain varying concentrations of active compounds depending on factors like genetics, growing conditions and harvesting times. Marijuana usually contains significant amounts of THC, while industrial hemp produces higher CBD levels. Different strains and cultivation approaches also impact cannabis chemistry.

But extracts and derivatives allow people to fine-tune effects. Oils and tinctures made using CO2 or solvent extraction emphasize desired compounds. Refining processes can isolate CBD in crystals or THC in thick resins for use in vaporizers. Edibles like gummies give longer relief by metabolizing cannabinoids in the liver before releasing them into the bloodstream.

Derivatives such as shatter provide options for those needing targeted effects. For example, a chronic pain patient might use a THC-rich salve for localized relief during the day, and a high-CBD sublingual spray at night to enable sleep. Having choices optimizes cannabis’s effectiveness.

THC Eases Pain and Lifts Moods

Best known for its euphoric effects, THC also dulls pain signals and controls nausea. This could really help folks coping with illness or going through treatments like chemotherapy. Plus, by energizing the brain’s pleasure centers, THC may temporarily brighten moods darkened by conditions like depression and PTSD.

How Cannabinoids Interact with Mind and Body

THC chemically mimics natural ECS signaling molecules involved in making you feel good and relaxed. This allows THC to briefly yet powerfully boost mood. However, messing with the ECS too often might lead it to produce less of its own mood-regulating chemicals over time.

CBD also interacts with ECS receptors, but in more subtle ways. By turning down stress signals from the amygdala and other “worry centers”, it seems to ease anxious thoughts and tendencies. But be aware – everyone has a unique endocannabinoid system and psychology, so CBD can affect individuals differently.

Maximizing Benefits and Avoiding Harm

Cannabis medicine is complicated; it can help but also do damage if used imprudently. Factors like your body chemistry, the dose and delivery method all impact reactions, as do combinations with other drugs. And teenagers should avoid it since their developing brains are more vulnerable.

Always start low and slow with cannabis medicines, carefully tracking how you feel. Getting input from a cannabis-savvy doctor is highly recommended when considering it as therapy. Educating yourself on your country’s laws is also a must, because penalties for illegal use remain stiff in many areas.

While questions linger, research momentum keeps building behind cannabis. Tapping its full medical potential in a responsible way could lead to better, longer lives for many who struggle with anxiety, chronic pain and other burdensome conditions. With an open yet cautious approach, societies worldwide may someday regard this humble plant as a healing treasure rather than a mere intoxicant.

Role of Medical Professionals

The role medical professionals play in cannabis medicine is crucial. They bring their medical expertise to guide safe and effective usage – helping patients navigate dosage considerations, possible interactions with different medications and potential risks versus benefits analysis.

While not all doctors are using cannabis as a medicine, seeking a consultation with those specializing in this field could be worthwhile. When treating depression, professionals can recommend complementary therapies such as cognitive behavioral disorder. A combined approach may prove highly beneficial.

Interactions with Other Drugs

While cannabis presents fewer health risks than many substances, it can impact how other drugs work in the body. THC tends to amplify drowsiness and motor impairment caused by depressants like alcohol, opioids and muscle relaxers. Mixing cannabis with stimulants such as cocaine or amphetamines can also dangerously amplify heart rate and blood pressure changes.

However, the complexity of the body’s endocannabinoid system makes responses tricky to predict. For instance, evidence suggests patients using blood thinners may need to reduce warfarin doses if also taking CBD, due to interactions that slow its metabolization. Yet combining cannabis and antidepressants might boost efficacy for those with treatment-resistant depression.

With guidance from knowledgeable doctors, cannabis can safely complement other therapies. But anyone combining it with other medications should monitor themselves diligently for enhanced, prolonged or unexpected effects. Adjusting doses may become necessary over time.

Self-Regulation Strategies

Recreational users sometimes develop problematic relationships with cannabis. Dependence can manifest in neurological adaptations and withdrawals when not ingesting it. However, techniques grounded in moderation, self-awareness and lifestyle balance can help avoid uncontrolled use.

Setting intake schedules and dosage limits empowers people to employ cannabis deliberately rather than impulsively. Tracking experiences in wellness journals spotlights evolving patterns and personal problem signs like memory issues or worsened mood after overindulging.

Staying attentive to priorities like work, relationships and health helps maintain perspective regarding cannabis’ place in life. Engaging in creative pursuits, social connections and physical activity builds natural dopamine levels separate from substance use. Practicing meditation can increase self-regulation and conscious decision-making abilities around consumption habits and risk factors as well.

Implementing such lifestyle strategies sustains cannabis as an enhancement instead of a detriment.

Getting Started with Cannabis Medicine

Deciding whether to try using cannabis as medicine requires careful consideration. Speaking to a doctor versed in this area can provide guidance on key factors like:

Evaluating Individual Risks

While cannabis presents a favorable safety profile compared to opioids, it does carry addiction risks around 9% on average. Assessing personal and family histories regarding substance misuse can gauge vulnerability. Those with addictive tendencies or psychiatric issues may require extra precautions like low THC varieties, dosage limits and abstinence from cannabis’ smoked form.

Establishing Therapeutic Goals

Clarifying the core symptoms meant to improve through cannabis therapy keeps expectations realistic. Is the aim to minimize chronic pain, reduce anxiety spikes or improve sleep? Tracking symptoms daily provides baseline data to compare against once starting cannabis treatment.

The Future of Medical Cannabis

Cannabis remains classified as an illegal Schedule I drug at the federal level in the U.S. This not only stifles research but creates confusion and inequality around access to cannabis therapies depending on state policies. Rescheduling the plant could spur innovation by easing clinical trials and availability issues.

Technical challenges surrounding cultivation and cannabinoid delivery also hamper progress. Scientists have yet to fully optimize growing methods for producing targeted cannabinoid yields. And most current ingestion approaches come with drawbacks – smoking brings lung risks while oral administration triggers slow, erratic absorption. Solutions like nanoparticles and transdermal patches seeking to maximize therapeutic effects while limiting risks show early promise.

Despite such hurdles, the future is bright for cannabis medicine. Driven by patient needs and emboldened political will, laws and infrastructure supporting research are expanding steadily. With so much yet undiscovered about the plant’s capacities for healing minds and bodies, eras of transformative progress lie ahead. The golden age of cannabis as a life-changing medicine dawns.

Summing it Up

Cannabis does hold substantial medicinal value that can aid in mood elevation and anxiety relief among other possibilities. However, mindful, well-guided use is essential to harness its potential benefits while mitigating risks. Future research will hopefully paint a clearer picture of the full extent of its medical potential, making way for more refined usage recommendations and therapeutic strategies involving cannabis.


Photo by Richard T on Unsplash