How Smoking Weed Impacts Anxiety

Yes, weed affects mood, mental health and anxiety but by how much and how severe totally depends upon the user and his frame of mind.

In other words, it only gets to you if you let it get to you. The type of weed you’re using also alters this equation. So err on the side of moderation. That is, don’t get bombed on THC more than 3 percent.

It’s well-known the stronger the cannabis you’re smoking (meaning the more THC it contains), the more likely you are to experience adverse side effects. THC has been blamed for causing both anxiety and psychosis.

On the other hand, there’s evidence to suggest CBD (the other active but less harmful chemical in cannabis) can actively help treat or prevent anxiety and psychosis. So, it pays to know if the cannabis product you’re using is high in THC. Avoid it and go for the low in CBD cannabis instead.

"No two cannabis plants are the same, which means that effects will vary -- sometimes this could be so subtle you might not notice; at other times you may feel like you’ve taken a completely different drug to what you were using previously,” said Neil Hickmott, Team Leader at drugs and alcohol charity Addaction.

“Some people say that weed can help people feel less anxious and more relaxed. Others, particularly people who are new to it, tell us it causes anxiety and in some cases panic attacks and paranoia."

For users worried about how weed is impacting their anxiety, the best advice is to talk to a doctor about anxiety. Hickmott also said a user in this situation should think about other proven remedies “like exercise, mindfulness or distraction techniques, rather than experimenting with cannabis. If you do choose to use, we'd advise not using when you’re feeling unsettled or anxious already."

 But if someone wants to continue smoking weed while living with anxiety, it might be a good idea to smoke weed or hash (even better) that's lower in THC. If this doesn’t work, the only recourse is to limit your usage. It’ll be tough but if you’ve got  to do it, it’s got to be done.

"People’s reactions to weed tend to be fairly consistent, so if it's made you anxious once, it might be first-time anxiety, but anything more than that probably means that's just how your brain responds to the drug,” said James Giordano, professor of neurology and biochemistry at Georgetown University Medical Center.

But if weed consistently makes you feel anxious, you might as well give up the habit altogether. It might save your life in the long-run.

anxiety A new study by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston found that anxiety disorders can be overcome by mindfulness meditation. Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Join the Discussion