Studies show that the endocannabinoid system – the body’s natural cannabinoid system – plays a major role in regulating a person’s anxiety. Cannabinoid receptors – the binding sites of cannabinoids – are highly concentrated in certain parts of the brain that are responsible for anxiety, including the amygdala and hypothalamus.
Interestingly, patients experience higher levels of anxiety when cannabinoid receptors are blocked. Likewise, regular marijuana users report that marijuana helps to reduce their anxiety levels.
Research has also linked the endocannabinoid system to the extinction of bad memories, supporting its potential role in treating post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as the growth of new brain cells (neurogenesis), which is believed to improve anxiety levels.
On the other hand, paranoia and anxiety attacks are some of most commonly reported side-effects of marijuana use, especially in new and infrequent users. Indeed, studies have revealed a complex link between cannabinoids and anxiety, suggesting that marijuana’s effect on anxiety depends on both the dosage taken as well as the type of cannabinoids that are present.
Users revealed that consuming indica or hybrid marijuana strains (instead of sativas) and/or marijuana with low-THC levels helps decrease anxiety and paranoia side effects. studies have found CBD to play a major role in regulating anxiety and have even suggested that it may be a more effective treatment than THC for anxiety disorders.