cannabis and mental health

January 30th is Bell’s Let’s Talk Day, a great initiative to bring awareness to mental health. In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians will personally experience a mental health issue. Whether you’re suffering from mental health problems or know someone who is, it’s important to know that there is always help available.

 

When seeking help, a discussion about mental health should include a discussion about the prospective benefits of cannabis in treating mental health disorders. Specifically, there have been a handful of studies that suggest the chemical makeup of cannabis can help treat anxiety. Cannabis contains Cannabidiol, or CBD, which has been shown to have some success in treating anxiety.

There have been both animal studies and clinical, experimental, and epidemiological human studies that have found CBD’s efficacy in fighting anxiety. The fact that CBD does not get you “high” and has little to no side effects has positioned it as a safer alternative to other anti-anxiety medication. The benefits of CBD have also been found to be effective on a number of other anxiety-related disorders including panic disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), social phobia, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and mild to moderate depression.

 

Tetrahydrocannibinol, or THC, is the other major chemical compound in cannabis that has been found to have medicinal properties including being an anti-depressant. When using THC to treat depression, the dosage is paramount. There is a certain threshold that cannot be passed when using THC. Once passed, THC actually begins to raise anxiety levels. If you’re trying to treat the anxiety associated with depression with medical cannabis, it’s best to choose strains with high CBD compounds.

 

While legalization is here, research on the medicinal properties of cannabis for mental health is lagging behind as we’re in desperate need of empirical data. With conflicting evidence about the effectiveness of cannabis to treat anxiety and depression, it’s best to speak to a healthcare professional when seeking help for mental health issues.

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