In the initial stages of marijuana use, people who are prone to attacks of anxiety, or who are just anxious or stressed, find that marijuana use relaxes them and reduces levels of anxiety. This is quite true, so the temptation to use marijuana when one is feeling anxious or stressed is quite strong.
But, is this really an effective treatment?
That is exactly what we’ll try to explore here. With many people it is absolutely true that using marijuana tends to reduce anxiety to a considerable extent during usage. This is effective for some time, though it doesn’t work in the case of all users.
However, even in people who actually benefit from marijuana by experiencing lower levels of anxiety, this effect is not permanent.
With continued use over a reasonably long period, resistance builds up to the effects of the active components of the drug, and it no longer is capable of reducing anxiety as before. This tempts users to take larger doses of the drug, or to seek out stronger mixes. However, as the dose increases, with continued use, so also does tolerance.
At higher doses, there is a severe risk of addiction
Around one-tenth of those who use marijuana, even casually, will eventually become addicted to the drug.
Not only does the anxiety-reducing effect of the drug fall through continued use, but levels of anxiety will actually be heightened when one is not using the drug.
The heightened levels of anxiety when you’re not using the drug, if you’re a chronic user of marijuana, may not even be due to lifestyle factors. Marijuana itself can create heightened levels of anxiety in chronic users who try to abstain from the drug.
More than that, as dosage increases, it can cause a number of disorders…
The user might start having delusions, may become obsessed easily, or even grow psychotic. This, combined with heightened levels of anxiety (that now cannot be controlled by the drug), can result in a number of obsessive-compulsive disorders.
Ultimately, when one has used marijuana chronically for a long time in an attempt to control anxiety, withdrawal can also cause intense levels of anxiety… as also a number of other emotional and psychological symptoms. There may be outbursts of anger, and intense feelings of aggression, the patient might be very irritable and restless, and may also have difficulty with sleep patterns.
Finally, and perhaps the greatest reason of all for not using marijuana to reduce levels of anxiety, is that, if one does this one never learns more sensible and commonsense methods of reducing anxiety through lifestyle changes and through training one’s mind to cope better.