Can cannabis treat anxiety? It's complicated
Many cannabis users and businesses are invested in the idea of cannabis as an anxiety treatment. The position invites skepticism: marijuana companies have a financial interest in promoting a maximalist view of the drug’s benefits, and in patients it can look like a rationalization for excessive use.
As with other health conditions, the available research is inconclusive and limited due to decades-old restrictions on medical marijuana research. To sort through some of the ambiguities surrounding cannabis and anxiety, I spoke to Jordan Tishler, a Boston-area doctor who has a cannabis-focused practice.
One of the first things to keep in mind, he said, was the difference between anxiety and stress. Stress is a response to difficult situations such as a sub-optimal job or difficulty in one’s personal relationships. Many people who think of themselves as self-medicating for anxiety are actually self-medicating for stress. While this may be OK in the same context as an after-work cocktail, it may also enable users to avoid taking necessary steps to improve their lives.Pinterest Photograph: George Wylesol/The Guardian Read more Topics