According to the National Institute of Mental Health, roughly 19% of adults have some form of anxiety disorder. Medical marijuana is now available as a treatment option for patients in Pennsylvania. Since it became an approved condition July 20, many are already seeking anxiety relief with this new plant-based choice also known as cannabis.
â€śAnxiety is one of the only approved conditions that most can relate,â€ť says Chris Kohan, co-founder of The Healing Center, the Pittsburgh areaâ€™s premier dispensary group with a location in Washington.
â€śWe have all had anxiety at some point in our lives.â€ť he says. â€śThere is no doubt that cannabis can help treat anxiety, but it may take a little trial and error. The important part is to consult with your medical professional at the dispensary to determine proper strain, delivery method, and dosage to start. Be diligent and record your results in a journal and you will soon find your personal, sweet spot.â€ť
Dr. Bryan Doner, co-founder of Compassionate Certification Centers says, â€śI feel that the addition of anxiety to the qualifying conditions in Pennsylvaniaâ€™s Medical Marijuana Program has the potential to help a tremendous amount of patients.â€ť
The five major types of anxiety disorders are Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety Disorder). PTSD has been an approved condition since the program was implemented.
â€śWe have already seen wonderful clinical results with so many PTSD patients and the anxiety component of their disorder,â€ť Doner says. â€śThis will also help provide a focus on medical cannabis research in the area of anxiety, which is a common symptom of so many disease entities.â€ś
Dr. Michael S. Butler, Pharmacist and General Manager at The Healing Center sees a lot of potential for patients to find relief without the use of pharmaceuticals that have been traditionally prescribed before cannabis became an option for them. â€śI believe that high CBD forms of medical marijuana have the potential to replace the majority of benzodiazepine drugs prescribed for anxiety in the US within the next 10 years. It is that effectiveâ€ť
CBD is short for cannabidiol, an active ingredient found in the cannabis plant that communicates with receptors in the human body. THC is short for tetrahydrocannabinol, the psycho-active ingredient of the plant which also communicates with receptors.
Nikki Furrer, author of A Womanâ€™s Guide to Cannabis says, â€śIt is wonderful to see anxiety added to the Pennsylvania qualifying conditions list. Small doses of cannabis can really improve our quality of life, and reducing anxiety is a great example of that.â€ť
In her book she writes about the importance of talking to your doctor and finding the right dose. â€śFor many people, the commonly prescribed ideal dose is 10 milligrams of THC and 10 milligrams of CBD is also the right dose for mood management. THC often increases anxiety, so keep that THC dose low.â€ť
Medical marijuana may also be an option for some patients to begin while taking other types of anxiety treatments and may work with other prescriptions according to Jennifer Krasnicki, Pharmacist at The Healing Center. â€śTheoretically, medical marijuana can work more quickly than drugs such as SSRIs for initial treatment of anxiety. Patients already on SSRIs/SNRIs may find the additional relief they are looking for with medical marijuana,â€ś she says.
If you are suffering from anxiety and are interested in learning about medical marijuana, please take the first step and talk to your doctor or a medical professional in the PA Medical Marijuana Program.
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