Anxiety and Cannabis

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

Does It Help?

 We would like to think of the brain as a well-oiled machine that never hiccups or needs to be brought in for servicing like the engine of an expensive sports car. Such thinking,  though, is part of a faraway dream world. In the real world, the brain has many active parts doing their own thing and biochemical mishaps occur easily.

Two of the parts relevant to anxiety are the amygdala, emotional brain (EB), and the prefrontal cortex, thinking and reasoning brain (TRB). If everything is running like a manual would have it, the EB and TRB enter into a back and forth dialogue. The EB reacts quicker than thought, and then the TRB gets up to speed and calms the EB down dampening unwarranted anxiety. That’s the ideal.

Ideals falter, and when they do the dialog runs off the track, and it can be an emotional free-for-all. But let’s back up. How is homeostasis and that glorious balance supposed to be regulated? The answer is the endocannabinoid system which is named for our beloved cannabis plant.

The endocannabinoid system runs in two parts: receptors and chemicals not unlike locks and keys. When there are enough keys circulating in the body to unlock the body’s innate ability to self-regulate, health and wellbeing flourish. As we are overrun from too many stressors in life, the body can’t keep up. There are not enough keys to keep the body running like clockwork and communication suffers. The EB goes out of control and anxiety takes over. So can cannabis help? Yes.

While it’s true that high THC levels can cause anxiety, at lower levels it’s a different story. Cannabinoids in cannabis react the same way as the body’s internal keys. However it is ingested, cannabis can work with the body to get regulation back on line. The result- lower anxiety levels.

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