Using Medical Marijuana For Anxiety: 5 Tips

Medical marijuana has gained a lot of attention in the news and media lately. It has been claimed to be an effective treatment for everything from migraines to chronic pain, but one of its best uses is actually to manage anxiety. If you are thinking of using medicinal marijuana to help manage your anxiety, here are a few tips to keep in mind and implement.

1. Don't quit your prescription medications just yet.

If you are taking medications to manage your anxiety, do not stop taking them right off the bat just because you are beginning to use medical marijuana. Many anxiety medications lead to side effects if you stop taking them all at once, and those side effects can be pretty serious — like suicidal thoughts and depression. Plus, some people who use medical marijuana for anxiety do best when continuing to take their other meds — perhaps just at a lower dose. Start by using medical marijuana alongside any other meds you are taking. After a month or two, you can evaluate how you are doing and talk to your doctor about potentially weaning you away from or reducing your dose of prescription medications.

2. Start with a low-THC strain.

Everyone reacts to marijuana a bit differently. You may need more or less THC in order to experience anxiety relief. The level of anxiety relief you experience does not necessarily correlate with how "high" you feel while taking the marijuana. To ensure you do not overdo it and take too much, which can actually make anxiety worse, look for a low-THC strain to start. You can vary the dose more easily than with a higher-THC strain. Start with a puff or two, and build from there until you get the relief you desire. Some low-THC strains to try include Harlequin and Sour Tsunami.

3. Smoke or vape.

Edibles do work well for some people, but they are not fast-acting, so they are better for treating conditions like pain than for managing anxiety. Smoking and vaping are the two best ways to use medical marijuana for the purposes of relieving anxiety. You can expect a nearly immediate effect. If you do not like the feeling of harsh smoke in your throat, then vaping is a good alternative since the vapor is cooler, less irritating, and — according to some — healthier for your respiratory tract. There are also vaporizer pens that fit inconspicuously into your wallet or purse, so you can use them discreetly when you're out and about.

4. Give it a chance.

You should experience some quick relief if you smoke or vape marijuana when you're feeling anxious. But for more dramatic and long-term relief of your symptoms, you should give the medical marijuana more of a chance to work. Smoke or vape consistently for a week or two before you start to judge how the substance is working for you. You should notice that you have fewer anxiety attacks and fewer anxious feelings over time, even when you're not high.

5. Try a few different strains.

If you try one strain and do not quite get the effects you like, try a different strain rather than giving up completely. Each strain has not only a different balance of THC and CBD but also different levels of other lesser-known cannabinoids. What works for a friend may not work for you. Talk to the budtender at your local dispensary to get an idea of which strains they carry and which may be best for anxiety.

With the tips above, you can harness the benefits of medical marijuana for your worries.