One of the world’s leading business publications says that cannabis compounds could one day replace traditional pharmaceutical anxiety medication.
While reporting on a recent study in Psychopharmacology, Forbes Magazine compared the benefits and risks of cannabis-based anxiety treatment with current anti-anxiety medication, finding that, “marijuana compounds may turn out to be more effective and safer in alleviating anxiety than prescription anxiety meds.”
The study looked at the stress responses of both “chronic” cannabis users and non-users, specifically testing the amount cortisol, a stress hormone, present in the subject’s saliva before, during, and after stressful situations.
The study found that non-cannabis users experienced significant increases of cortisol during stressful situations. “In contrast,” the study said, “cannabis users demonstrated blunted stress reactivity.” Weed aficionados saw virtually no increase in cortisol while in stressful situations and reported only a slight increase of stressful feelings.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the effects of acute stress on salivary cortisol levels in chronic cannabis users compared to non-users,” said Carrie Cuttler, clinical assistant professor of psychology and co-author of the study. “While we are not at a point where we are comfortable saying whether this muted stress response is a good thing or a bad thing, our work is an important first step in investigating potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis at a time when its use is spreading faster than ever before.”
The leading type of anxiety medication, on the other hand, causes thousands of overdoses every year and has substantial dependency complications. The use of benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Klonopin often result in a quickly developing tolerance, meaning the user has to use a greater and greater amount of the medicine to get its effects. Weening off the medication can then cause serious withdrawal symptoms.
CBD in particular has been found useful in lowering anxiety levels by past researchers. CBD has no known dependency issues, withdrawal symptoms, or fatal overdose occurrences.
Photo via Flickr User Dank Depot