Some people seek out marijuana to help manage their anxiety, but unfortunately, this may not be a good long-term solution for everyone. Anxiety is a common side effect of weed, which may not be a problem for the average user but makes it a non-starter for people with anxiety disorders.
Delta 8 THC, the latest trend in the cannabis world, maybe a helpful alternative. Users report that this popular form of THC helps them manage anxiety without the adverse side effects of marijuana.
We dive into the research on cannabis and anxiety and examine what Delta 8 can do for anyone struggling with anxiety.
What Is Anxiety?
Many people experience anxiety at some point during their lives. Anxiety means fear, worry, and nervousness about a specific event or situation. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 31.1% of adults in the U.S. will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. People who are suffering from anxiety may feel irritability, restlessness, and worry. It may be difficult for them to sleep or concentrate. They may have physical symptoms of anxiety, including:
- Hot flashes
- Increased heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling weak
- Upset stomach
If anxiety is a persistent problem for you, it can be debilitating and prevent you from enjoying a full life. People seek out a range of treatments for anxiety, such as medication, counseling, and cognitive behavioral therapy. They also make lifestyle changes like limiting caffeine and alcohol, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet. Some seek out alternative remedies like CBD and THC.
Cannabis and Anxiety
There is limited research on what role cannabis plays in managing anxiety, but the findings are promising so far. The studies to date examine whether cannabidiol (CBD) and Delta 9 THC (the compound found in traditional marijuana) can lead to a reduction in anxiety. CBD and D9 THC are the most abundant of the 120 active ingredients and compounds in the Cannabis sativa plant.
A 2010 study scanned the brains of participants with social anxiety disorder and found that CBD oil reduced anxiety symptoms and changed blood flow to the parts of the brain linked with feelings of anxiety. A review in 2015 examined previous studies investigating the role of CBD oil in managing several anxiety disorders. The review found that additional human studies are needed to confirm the promising findings of previous animal studies. Additionally, it called for more studies that look at the impact of chronic dosing of CBD oil to determine if the results are sustained over time. Another study in 2018 found that medical cannabis resulted in a 58% reduction in anxiety and stress.
There is some evidence that cannabis can cause anxiety, particularly for people who use higher concentrations of THC. A 2014 review examined how effective cannabis was in treating neurological conditions. Some participants experienced anxiety as a negative side effect, and this was linked with larger doses. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has linked cannabis use and anxiety disorders. Experts still need to determine if cannabis use is responsible for anxiety or if cannabis abuse is linked with anxiety disorders.
How Delta 8 Can Help with Anxiety
Most of the studies concerning cannabis and anxiety examine CBD or Delta 9 THC, not Delta 8. Delta 8, however, is not unlike these two compounds. D8 is often described as a cross between CBD and Delta 9. It’s milder like CBD, but it has psychoactive effects like Delta 9 THC and a similar chemical structure. Delta 8 products are typically made from CBD. It may be able to deliver similar health benefits to these compounds.
The National Cancer Institute advises that Delta 8 has potential “anxiolytic” or anxiety-reducing activities. Countless anecdotal reports back that up. Users say that Delta 8 helps them relieve anxiety and reduce stress.
The minimal negative side effects, including lower user-reported incidences of anxiety, are part of why some people opt for Delta 8 over Delta 9. Users say Delta 8 gives an energizing, mellow high with fewer adverse effects like anxiety. That’s good news for anyone interested in the anxiety-reducing properties of cannabis.
We know that consuming higher concentrations of THC is linked with feelings of anxiety. Delta 8 may be a preferable option when compared to Delta 9 because of its lower psychotropic potency. The traditional marijuana on the market seems only to get more and more potent, and for anyone with an anxiety disorder, regularly using these highly potent strains is risky. Delta 8 may be a better option for anyone worried about the high potency of Delta 9 THC.
Delta 8 should not be used in place of seeking medical treatment for an anxiety disorder. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your treatment plan.