Patient Stories – Treating Anxiety with Cannabis
Anxiety is a complex disorder, to say the least. It incorporates the patient’s personal history and memory and reflects various biochemical changes in the body, presenting itself uniquely in every patient affected. Anxiety can be caused by numerous factors and can range from inconvenient to crippling, often interfering with patients’ lives for many years. The good news? Cannabis has been proven to help.
Over the past month, our team at Releaf has been focusing on this disorder. Our goals were twofold: (1) to better understand what anxiety is, and how it presents itself uniquely in patients, and (2) to study how and why patients are treating their anxiety with cannabis. To get down to the nitty-gritty, we decided to interview real anxiety patients about their experiences.
The following interview was conducted with Larry (34), an anxiety patient and Releaf App user:
Releaf: What’s your history with anxiety? How long have you had it, how does it present itself in you, how does it impact your life, etc.?
Larry: Anxiety has been present in my life for longer than I care to admit. I failed/refused to acknowledge it until I inevitably hit rock bottom. Life was catapulting towards me at lightning speed and no matter how hard I tried, I never really felt like I had a solid grasp on anything. My relationships with family and friends suffered, and there were moments when I sunk into a depressed state, numb to the world. This feeling of instability and despair put me in a perpetual tailspin, causing the magnitude of my anxiety to increase. About six months ago I decided to seek out help, and that is when my life changed forever. After years of suppressing my reality, I was diagnosed with general anxiety and oddly enough, a renewed sense of spirit to make substantial life changes in order to live the best life possible.
Releaf: How were you treating your anxiety before you tried cannabis?
Larry: It’s funny to think about how I treated anxiety in the past, I didn’t realize I was doing it at the time. Without warning, alcohol quickly became the medication of choice when combating my bouts with anxiety. This was obviously a bad choice because alcohol only masks the issue and it can also inflate it and make it worse. As the anxiety levels increased, so did the alcohol intake. In addition to alcohol consumption, my anxiety also had a negative impact on other impulse controls. It was in times of feeling anxious where I would overeat, or snack impulsively.
Releaf: Please describe your experience in treating anxiety with cannabis?
Larry: Medical cannabis is still a new frontier for me, and I am taking things slow. I was never a recreational user, and part of me is still attempting to reconcile the stigma of cannabis that was ingrained in my mind growing up. My treatment plan started with CBD edibles, and I slowly progressed to CBD/THC edibles and vaping flower and oil. Most of the doses are small because I am still learning how the medicine impacts my ability to function normally. Although I am a fairly new MMJ patient, cannabis has already provided me with moments of clarity in the midst of my anxiety. This has helped me identify some of my anxiety triggers, which I will address using cognitive behavioral therapy. Cannabis has also helped me reign in my impulse control and I now feel like I have more control than ever before.
Releaf: What suggestions would you give other patients who are hoping to treat their anxiety with cannabis?
Larry: Overcoming anxiety is not an easy task, and it is an ongoing process that will take a lot of work. If you choose to integrate cannabis into your treatment plan, be sure to educate yourself as much as possible. Each patient is unique and the same goes for their treatment plan. The best advice I can give is to encourage you to establish specific goals and document the journey. Without data, it is very difficult to make informed decisions. Using tools like Releaf App has helped me learn a ton of information about myself in a relatively short amount of time. The journey has not been easy, but it is about to get better! Cannabis is amazing for so many reasons, but it will not eradicate your anxiety on its own.
(In addition to your doctor, Releaf recommends that you use resources like our Non-Profit Partners, Americans for Safe Access, and staff at your local dispensary to help establish an appropriate treatment plan.)
Join Our Anxiety Study!
If you are interested in anonymously contributing to our anxiety research, please download The Releaf App for free in the Google or iTunes Store today. Patients can join our research group by clicking this link or typing in the following group code in the app: “releaf4anxiety”.
Need a refresher on how Group Codes work? We have a write up for you. 🙂