Anxiety & Medical Marijuana

Anxiety is a condition of nervousness and internal mental conflict experienced once in a while by healthy people and chronically by individuals with a clinical condition.   


“The science is there (for Medical Marijuana therapy). This isn’t anecdotal.”

-- Dr. Gupta, MD, Neurosurgeon, Emmy®-award winning chief medical correspondent for CNN.


Anxiety is characterized by nervous or dissociated behavior originating with a perception, real or imagined, that future events might pose a threat that requires attention and action.  The Anxiety sufferer's fight or flight mechanism is activated, sometimes subtly. In healthy individuals, the feelings of anxiety pass quickly as issues are resolved.  But chronic sufferers are not able to mentally resolve past and ongoing issues and Anxiety becomes a long term condition.

Symptoms include pacing, rocking, fidgeting, poor concentration, obsession about life's problems and included physical effects such as muscular tension, restlessness and fatigue.

Medical Cannabis is commonly prescribed to treat all the listed symptoms for Anxiety by California Medical Doctors. 

THC, CBD and Anxiety

Many people use Medical Marijuana to relieve anxiety.  On the other hand, marijuana high in THC is known to cause anxiety in others!  Although the exact mechanism of action of Cannabinoids has yet to be established, researchers now know, very well, that brain receptors are modify mood are affected.  

Because Cannabis strains, composition and individual responses vary, sometimes dramatically, a Medical Doctor should be consulted prescribe the right dose and type of Medical Marijuana.

Recently, Medical Cannabis Growers are deliberately breeding strains with less of the psychoactive component THC, with therapeutic quantities of Cannabidiol or CBD. High CBD strains seem to afford a more balanced response, and affords anxiety reduction to those that do not respond well to THC alone.  Non-THC Cannabinoids represent a whole new world of medical treatment, with effects and efficacy yet to be understood.

Anxiety Quotes

“But I can hardly sit still. I keep fidgeting, crossing one leg and then the other. I feel like I could throw off sparks, or break a window--maybe rearrange all the furniture.”

Raymond Carver, Author

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

- Corrie ten Boom, Nazi Holocaust Fighter

Facts and Figures

  • Anxiety disorders origins are multi-causational and include genetics, brain chemistry, environment, personality, and life experience.
  • Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the U.S.
  • 40 million adults in the United States or 18 percent of the population is afflicted with moderate to severe forms of Anxiety
  • Cost the U.S. at least $42 billion a year, according to top Anxiety body ADAA
  • Sufferers are six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than individuals without anxiety
  • Marijuana was recognized for thousands of years by many cultures as a folk remedy for anxiety and other mental issues

RESEARCH BREAKTHROUGH - Medical Marijuana & Anxiety

Effects of THC - Evaluation of Emotional Images

--  Layman's summary by MMJDOCTORONLINE, Journal of Psychopharmacology. 2012,

In this study, researchers examined the effects of THC on emotional images.  

There is growing evidence that Medical Cannabis drugs and specifically THC alters the processing of emotional information in ways that could benefit many individuals. Previous results indicated that THC diminishes fear activation in the brain, in response to threat-related faces.  The findings suggest  that THC may modify evaluation of negative, emotionally negative or threatening stimuli.

Healthy volunteers received two doses of THC and placebo in two separate trials.  Subjects performed facial emotion recognition tasks and responses to pictures of emotional scenes.

THC was found significantly impaired recognition of facial fear and anger, but it only marginally impaired recognition of sadness and happiness.

The drug did not consistently affect ratings of emotional scenes. THC's effects on emotional evaluation were not found to be clearly related to its mood-altering effects. These results

support previous work by the group, that Medical Cannabis attenuates (lowers) the perception of danger or fear, which is a primary issue in Anxiety.


Cannabinoid Facilitation of fear Extinction Memory Recall in Humans.

-- Layman's abstract by MMJDOCTORONLINE, Neuropharmacology. 2012

Summary: THC overcame fear in habitually conditioned subjects.

Animal subjects were repeatedly exposed to stimuli that normally caused an involuntary traumatic response, or anxiety. It was supposed that fear response came from memories of past trauma.

Findings suggested  that THC prevented the recovery of fear.  

In other words, anxiety was reduced.

These results provide the first evidence that pharmacological enhancement of extinction learning is feasible in humans using modulators of the cannabinoid system.  It is suggested that this study's results should be a launching point for research, development and clinical testing.

MMJDOCTORONLINE NOTES: This study provides scientific support to Medical Doctors that wish to indicate Medical Cannabis to their patients. Our Cannabis Doctors provide 420 Evaluations and Recommendations online and also MMJ Cards allowing patients to quickly and easily access Medical Marijuana.

Further Reading

Cannabidiol enhances consolidation of explicit fear extinction in humans

-- Journal, Volume, Issue Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2013 Apr;226(4):781-92

Finding:  Cannabidiol enhances consolidation of fear extinction (reduces anxiety) in humans.

Cannabinoid facilitation of fear extinction memory recall in humans

-- Journal, Volume, Issue Neuropharmacology. 2012 Jul 13. [Epub ahead of print]

Finding: THC prevented the recovery of fear (anxiety) in this experiment of extinction learning.

Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public Speaking in Treatment-Naïve

-- Journal, Volume, Issue Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011 May;36(6):1219-26.

Finding: Cannabidiol significantly reduced anxiety.

Marijuana Effectiveness as an HIV Self-Care Strategy

-- Clinical Nurse Research 2009

Finding:  Participants rated cannabis as similarly effective as other pharmaceutical medications for the treatment of their Anxiety symptoms.

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