Should you use CBD or marijuana for anxiety?

It manifests itself in a variety of ways, but if you suffer from any form of anxiety, it can be miserable. It is estimated that over 4% of the world's population struggles with it on a regular basis. Some people experience side effects from traditional medications, including tiredness, fatigue, restlessness, sleep problems, and weight problems. Research shows cannabis can help, but should you use CBD or marijuana for anxiety?

RELATED: How Cannabinoids Relieve Anxiety

When used effectively, marijuana can certainly help anxiety sufferers. A study in the Journal of Affective Disorders reported that about 90% of participants experienced a short-term reduction in symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression. However, repeated use did not result in long-term reduction in baseline symptoms and could increase depression over time.

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However, some studies show that marijuana in high doses can worsen anxiety. This is due to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid that causes the psychoactive effects of marijuana. THC makes your heart beat faster and causes racing thoughts, both of which can increase anxiety. Sometimes you'll hear someone with anxiety smoking a joint at a party because they think it will relieve their symptoms. Instead, they feel worse and reject cannabis as a cure.

A 2015 review concluded that “current evidence suggests that CBD has significant potential for the treatment of several anxiety disorders.” This partly explains why there has been a new focus on CBD for anxiety patients in recent years . Higher doses of CBD work effectively in reducing anxiety symptoms, the study found, without the negative side effects associated with THC.

CBD also works for different types of anxiety. A Japanese study examined older Japanese teenagers diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. Using the Fear of Negative Evaluation Questionnaire and the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale, researchers found that CBD significantly reduced anxiety in both measures.

RELATED: The Effects of Smoking Low-THC, High-CBD Cannabis

Current recommendations for anxiety sufferers are to use a mix of high CBD and low THC marijuana strains for best results. Remember: a small amount can make a big difference. If you consume too much, you may regret it.

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