New study shows marijuana can be an anxiety treatment

Study: Marijuana May Provide Relief for Anxiety Disorders

There are many traditional treatment options for anxiety disorders, but a new method of treatment could soon be on the market: cannabis. 

A new study details the benefits that marijuana can have on reducing anxiety disorder symptoms in adults and teenagers. 

Anxiety disorders affect more than 40 million adults in the United States, about 18.1% of the population, each year. Of those affected, only 36.9 percent seek treatment despite anxiety disorders being highly treatable. 

Current medicated treatment options are classified into four categories: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs), Benzodiazepines, and Tricyclic Antidepressants. 

While all of these medications are effective at treating various anxiety disorders, they have a multitude of side effects: insomnia, sexual dysfunction, weight gain, orthostatic hypertension, and issues with building tolerance and dependence. 

While all of these medications are effective at treating various anxiety disorders, they have a multitude of side effects: insomnia, sexual dysfunction, weight gain, orthostatic hypertension, and issues with building tolerance and dependence.

Meanwhile , the study found that adverse effects (AEs) and severe adverse effects (SAEs) with cannabis use were rarely reported. Those experiencing side effects reported: sedation, decreased appetite, diarrhea, upper respiratory infection, and lethargy, all of which could be linked to use of other medications simultaneously. 

For this reason, researchers say: “Available data from clinical trials suggest CBD is well tolerated and has relatively few SAEs; however, interactions with other medications should be closely monitored.” 

The study also draws into question the effectiveness of certain doses:

“A dose-ascending placebo-controlled study in healthy volunteers found that a single 300 mg, but not 100 or 900 mg, dose of CBD was effective at reducing anxiety in a public speaking test,” the study reports.

Still, researchers point to a positive outlook for cannabis treatment based on data collected in the study. Various randomized, controlled trials found a reduction of anxiety symptoms, including a reduction in speech impairment, general discomfort, and reduced anxiety during public speaking in a significant number of trial participants. 

April Howard is a senior Broadcast Journalism major at the University of Maryland. Her full bio is here.

April Howard is a senior Broadcast Journalism major at the University of Maryland. Her full bio is here.

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