Cannabis has been considered a stress reliever for nearly half a millennia and modern science has verified that this treatment works. Not only has research confirmed the efficacy of the medical marijuana, more and more Americans are treating stress-related conditions with the herb.
Marijuana for relaxation
According to a study published in 2009 in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, â€śfindings suggest that cannabis is commonly used as a stress-coping strategyâ€ť. Additionally, New Frontier Data, a cannabis data analysis firm, conducted a study last year and revealed:
Relaxation and stress relief are overwhelmingly the most commonly perceived benefits of cannabis use, according to the UKâ€™s Independent Drug Monitoring Unit. And a Yahoo News and Marist College survey found that of the 35 million adults in America using marijuana, 37 percent say they turned to marijuana for relaxation.
A history lesson
During the Age of Discovery, physicians and clergymen pioneered the modern use of cannabis as a treatment for stress. In 1621, English clergyman Robert Burton endorsed cannabis for the treatment of depression. And In 1860, the Ohio State Medical Committee on Cannabis concluded:
â€śAs a calmative and hypnotic, in all forms of nervous inquietude and cerebral excitement, [cannabis] will be found an invaluable agent, as it produces none of those functional derangements or sequences that render many of the more customary remedies objectionable.â€ť
Washington State University at the forefront
As marijuana legalization spreads across the nation â€“ and around the globe â€“ new research demonstrates that these previous cultures were onto something. And scientists from Washington State University are among the leaders in this research.
In a first-of-a-kind study earlier this year, Washington State University scientists examined how peoplesâ€™ self-reported levels of stress, anxiety and depression were affected by ingesting different quantities and types of cannabis.
Their work, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, reveals that cannabis can significantly reduce short-term levels of depression, anxiety. The study marks one of the first efforts by American scientists to examine how cannabis with varying amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) affect consumersâ€™ feelings of well-being when consumed outside of a research lab.
â€śExisting research on the effects of cannabis on depression, anxiety and stress are very rare and have almost exclusively been done with orally administered THC pills in a laboratory,â€ť according to Carrie Cuttler, clinical assistant professor of psychology at WSU and lead author of the study. â€śWhat is unique about our study is that we looked at actual inhaled cannabis by medical marijuana patients who were using it in the comfort of their own homes as opposed to a laboratory.â€ť
Entourage Effect: THC and CBD work best together
The WSU researchers discovered that one puff of cannabis high in CBD and low in THC was optimal for reducing symptoms of depression. Two puffs of any type of cannabis reduced symptoms of anxiety. Ten or more puffs of cannabis high in CBD and high in THC produced the largest reductions in stress.
â€śA lot of consumers seem to be under the false assumption that more THC is always better,â€ť Cuttler told Science Daily. â€śOur study shows that CBD is also a very important ingredient in cannabis and may augment some of the positive effects of THC.â€ť (The synergistic effect of CBD and THC working together is known as the Entourage Effect).
Cannabis for anxiety reduction
The researchers also found that while both genders reported decreases in all three symptoms after using cannabis, women reported a significantly greater reduction in anxiety following cannabis use.
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