Cannabis & Anxiety

One of the most common reasons teens say they choose to smoke weed is because they believe it helps them with their anxiety, or they think it helps them feel calm and think clearly. But do we know if that’s actually true? Is weed better or worse than alternatives like medication or meditation?

The idea that weed could help with anxiety is not a new one, but it could be dangerous to your child’s brain development.

Can weed help with anxiety?

  • It depends on the situation and the person. There have only been a few scientific studies, and while there are more in the works, right now the general consensus is that cannabis consumption has been documented to provide some short term effects in reducing low-intensity or situational anxiety. However, at medium to high doses, cannabis can have the opposite effect, producing feelings of anxiety, panic, paranoia, or even psychosis.
  • Using weed might provide some temporary relief from negative feelings such as stress or anxiety, but it doesn’t treat it or solve the underlying cause for why a person is experiencing those feelings. 

How do the chemicals in weed affect anxiety?

  • Studies indicate that low doses of THC, when combined with similar doses of CBD, can relieve feelings of agitation and anxiety – especially among individuals with a diagnosed social anxiety disorder. However, at higher doses, THC appears to cause, increase, or even amplify anxiety. However, CBD appears to have a strong anxiety-reducing effect at any reasonable dose.
  • The impact of weed on anxiety also depends very heavily on how regularly someone consumes THC and CBD. In chronic users (who consume weed at least once every other day), the anxiety-reducing effects were significantly smaller and more difficult to define. For infrequent users, who consume cannabis once a week or less, the impact on their anxiety was statistically larger but still dependent on their individual situations.