May is Mental Health Awareness month. At Prime Wellness of Pennsylvania, we recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on people of all ages, regardless of their personal situation. Feeling anxious or depressed is a common reaction when experiencing uncertainty, fear or grief. Now, more than ever, it is important to reduce the stigma around mental health and encourage those struggling to seek help.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older. While each patient’s treatment plan is unique, medical marijuana may serve as a potentially helpful treatment to ease the symptoms of anxiety. In this installment of our Qualifying Conditions newsletter, we’ll explore anxiety as a diagnosis and how our prime quality therapeutics may potentially provide relief.
QUALIFYING CONDITION: Anxiety
“Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive worry that is difficult to control accompanied by physical symptoms…”
About this qualifying condition: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is typically a long-term condition that can affect patients throughout both childhood and adult life. The Mayo Clinic defines GAD as “excessive , ongoing worry” that impedes with daily functioning. Symptoms of GAD will likely look different for each patient and may include: persistent worrying, overthinking, perceiving everyday situations as threatening, indecision, fatigue, insomnia, trembling, muscle tension, sweating, nausea, digestive issues, and irritability.
Researchers believe persistent anxiety, which does not have a universal cure or treatment method, may be caused by a combination of factors, including genetics and environment. To diagnose this condition, doctors often use the GAD-7 score, a questionnaire that assesses the severity of worry a patient is experiencing.
Medical Literature: Using MRI technology, researchers have discovered that CBD may potentially produce an anti-anxiety effect by activating the brain’s amygdala. Rodent studies have also suggested that CBD may interact with serotonin receptors in the brain to stabilize moods. These pathways suggest that CBD may operate similarly to traditional pharmaceutical options for anxiety management, like benzodiazepines (e.g. common names include Valium and Xanax).
The primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, THC, activates both CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain. Researchers believe the balance between THC and CBD is key to identifying which cannabis products might potentially provide therapeutic benefits for GAD patients. In a real-life experiment studying the stress-relieving effects of cannabis products with high versus low cannabinoid potency, products with a high ratio of THC to CBD were most relaxing for patients.
Terpenes: Researchers are increasingly curious about the role that terpenes play in treating side effects, like nausea and sleeplessness, that sometimes accompany bouts of anxiety.
Studies have demonstrated that caryophyllene significantly reduced anxious behavior in rodent models. Myrcene may potentially help relieve muscle tension and promote sleep. Both of these terpenes can be found in several prime strains, including our exclusive Grower’s Select phenos Papa Legba #8 and Vampire Killer #18.
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