Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two principal cannabinoids found in the cannabis sativa plant. These two compounds interact with the cannabinoid receptors that are present in your brain and body.

Cannabidiol is non-psychoactive, therefore, it will not get you high. It appears more often than the psychoactive THC in natural and dietary supplements. Research shows that CBD and serotonin can help to treat anxiety.

All About Serotonin

Your body performs a multitude of functions with the help of neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that communicate throughout your central nervous system. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is synthesized in your intestines and brain. The primary function of serotonin is to control emotions, bone health, mood, appetite, nausea, and sleep.

Serotonin is produced when the enzyme tryptophan hydroxylase converts the essential amino acid L-tryptophan into L-5OH-tryptophan. Some good sources of tryptophan include red meat,  nuts, and cheese. A diet lacking in tryptophan depresses the serotonin level. Low serotonin levels have been associated with depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.

Interaction of Cannabis with Serotonin

It is believed that in certain conditions, CBD may raise the levels of serotonin, and decrease the levels of serotonin in other conditions. A migraine, a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of pulsating headache, correlates with increased levels of serotonin in the brain. The stimulation of inhibitory receptors would be the optimum way to manage and control migraine. Taking large doses of THC activates the inhibition of serotonin receptors that can worsen your migraine. Medical experts believe that cannabis can really benefit people suffering from mental illnesses.

Symptoms and Causes of Anxiety

About 40 million American citizens suffer from anxiety disorders and about 36.9 percent of individuals suffering from this mental illness receive treatment.  Anxiety is an emotion characterized by physical changes, worried thoughts, and feelings of tension.

Comprehending the difference between an anxiety disorder that requires medical attention and normal feelings of anxiety can help you recognize and treat the condition.

Symptoms of anxiety disorder include concentration difficulties, increased irritability, uncontrollable feelings of worry, restlessness, and sleep difficulties.

Some of the causes of anxiety disorders include:

  • Environmental stressors such as family problems, relationship issues, or difficulties at work.
  • Genetics, as individuals who have family members with an anxiety disorder, tend to experience the condition themselves.
  • Brain chemistry (misalignments of electrical signals and hormones in the brain).
  • Withdrawal from addictive substances.
  • Medical factors such as the stress of a long-term recovery, effects of medicines, symptoms of a different disease, or the stress of an exhaustive surgery.

How Cannabis Can Help Treat Anxiety?

In a study, researchers treated mice with a chemical that imitates CBD. This led to antidepressant effects. However, when the study investigators inhibited the serotonin receptors, the antidepressant effects were imperceptible. This study suggests a connection between the serotonergic system and the cannabinoids.

Further, according to a paper, increasing endocannabinoid levels in the body increase the efficacy of antidepressants. The study also found that blocking CB1 receptors would prevent the antidepressants from performing their function.

This apparently shows how the serotonergic systems and the endocannabinoid work collectively to help you achieve homeostasis.

Marijuana and Anxiety

A scientific study compared the anxiety levels of about 50 habitual cannabis smokers and 50 non-smokers. Researchers found that the anxiety levels in marijuana smokers were much lower than in non-smokers. A paper published in 2012 concluded that CBD plays a pivotal role in treating anxiety.

Is important to note that different marijuana strains will have different effects on people. It is recommended to go for strains that are CBD-rich or boast of a balanced THC and CBD profile.


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