Social Isolation & COVID-19: Can Medical Marijuana Help Anxiety?

The COVID-19 crisis has had a huge effect on mental health on a global scale. The effects of social isolation on mental health cannot be underestimated. For many, lack of social contact has caused a huge spike in anxiety and depression levels. Life may be slowly returning back to normal, but many people are still coping with these feelings as they slowly readjust.

Anxiety can be a difficult condition to diagnose. It’s not necessarily a visible condition, so many people struggle to realize that they are suffering from it at all. There are many symptoms of anxiety, which vary from person to person. These can include, but are not limited to:

  • Racing thoughts
  • Insomnia
  • Tiredness
  • Headaches and nausea
  • Worry and self-doubt
  • Physical tension

Social anxiety, which is anxiety brought on by social situations, is common after long periods of isolation. Many people will find it difficult to go back into social settings, surrounded by large groups of people again, after spending so much time alone.

social isolation
Image by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash: What are the effects of social isolation on mental health?

Can medical marijuana help anxiety?

The good news is that medical marijuana (MMJ) can certainly help people suffering from anxiety. There are many ways to treat anxiety, and many people use a combination of these in order to get the best results. Examples of common anxiety treatments include:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Reading
  • Meditation
  • Talk therapy
  • Physical exercise

Many people will combine use of MMJ with one or more of these treatments. It may take some trial and error, but with time you will find the combination that works best for you. For now, we will look at the ways in which medical marijuana, and particularly CBD, can help reduce anxiety levels caused by social isolation and COVID-19.

What type of medical marijuana is best for anxiety?

MMJ strains that are higher in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) can often have negative effects on anxious people and cause raised anxiety levels. It is best for those who are anxious to choose strains of MMJ that are low in THC. Nowadays, there are many hybrid strains that fit this bill.

Sufferers of anxiety should opt for strains higher in CBD (cannabidiol). CBD is another key element of medical marijuana, and is the ingredient most associated with relaxation and treatment of anxiety disorders. CBD has been shown to be very effective in multiple therapies, offering comfort to many people suffering from anxiety. It affects the mood-altering parts of the brain to bring about increased feelings of relaxation. There are ongoing studies into the positive effects of CBD in other areas; it has been shown to greatly reduce nerves associated with public speaking, for example.

What CBD method is best for anxiety?

Strains of MMJ that are high in CBD and low in THC are best for anxiety. Remember: THC can raise anxiety levels! Luckily, the ongoing growth of the MMJ industry in the U.S. means that CBD-high strains of MMJ are available in many different forms such as pre-rolls, edibles, lotions, and tinctures. Your local dispensary should have a range of option to suit your needs, and the staff can provide advice as needed.

cbd oil
Image by CBD-Infos-Com on pixabay: Does CBD help anxiety?

How can I access CBD?

Your MMJ card is the best way to safely and easily access strains of MMJ that are high in CBD. These strains typically have the best results when treating anxiety, and can certainly provide relief for those suffering from anxiety due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Your MMJ card allows you to purchase MMJ at dispensaries in your state (for more information on the specific rules and regulations surrounding the purchase of MMJ in your state, check out this info). Each state has a different set of rules regarding the use and purchase of MMJ, so it’s best to check the specific information depending on your location.

Getting your MMJ card is simple and can be done completely online with MMJRecs. Click here for more information on qualifying conditions for your state, and to set up an online consultation today!

Featured image by Joice Kelly on Unsplash

Cannabis As A Treatment For COVID-19: Everything You Need To Know

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, medical researchers were scrambling to find the best way to treat the viral infection. With numbers rising and deaths beginning to accumulate, the race was on to ensure that as few people as possible experienced the worst possible fate after contracting the infection. With that research came various treatment options, some of which were shown to be viable, with others being deemed unsuitable.

One such treatment option that researchers have looked into is medical cannabis. With the therapeutic effects of cannabis well-studied in recent years, many claims behind cannabis treatment for various health conditions have been validated several times over. But can cannabis be used to help treat COVID-19?

Can cannabis help treat COVID-19?

Considering the sheer number of medical conditions medical cannabis has been proven to help treat symptoms of, it’s only natural that people may be wondering if it can help with COVID-19. Some studies have found that cannabis does in fact play a role in the healing of COVID-19. One study published in January 2021 found that its impact on something called a cytokine storm makes it a possible medicinal tool that can be used to help people with the infection.

A cytokine storm occurs when the immune system goes into hyperdrive to help fight off an infection. While that may seem to be a good thing, it’s actually detrimental to health and can cause worsened cases of COVID-19. When a cytokine storm occurs, the immune cells known as cytokines signal the immune system to fight harder. But it can fight so hard that it is unable to stop itself and ends up attacking healthy cells in the body. The immune cells can begin to affect the liver, cause blood clots to form, and cause the lungs to fill up with fluid. Since COVID-19 affects the lungs, a cytokine storm is not a good outcome for those who have the viral infection.

The aforementioned study looked at cannabis and how it could hinder the development of a cytokine storm, and found that it was able to reduce cytokine pathways that led to an increase in immune action, essentially blocking a cytokine storm from actually occurring. (It should be noted that since COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, smoking cannabis is not recommended, as smoke can contribute to further lung damage.)

man wearing mask experiencing pain
Image by Usman Yousaf on Unsplash: CBD and COVID recovery may go hand-in-hand for the long-COVID symptom of chronic pain.

CBD and long COVID

Now that the virus has been around for a while, researchers are realizing that it can leave lasting effects. A condition known as “long COVID” is being used to describe the long-term health effects that can occur after a person has contracted and recovered from the initial infection.

Symptoms associated with long COVID include:

  • Difficulty breathing and shortness of breath
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Worsened symptoms after physical or mental activities
  • Brain fog
  • Coughing
  • Chronic pain in the chest, stomach, joints, muscles, or head
  • Heart palpitations
  • Pins and needles in the extremities
  • Mood changes
  • Dizziness upon standing
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Changes in smell or taste
  • Menstrual cycle disruptions

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these symptoms can last for months following the initial infection.

While not all of these symptoms can be mitigated by CBD, research has shown that some can be helped. Chronic pain, for example, has been shown to be greatly reduced by the intake of CBD because of the way it affects serotonin, the chemical associated with happiness, joy, and feelings of wellbeing. Serotonin also plays a role in pain signaling.

cbd oil in dropper
Image by CRYSTALWEED Cannabis on Unsplash: What is the CBD dosage for COVID? Further research should give us more insight.

CBD has also shown to be effective at helping:

Because of the effects that cannabis has on things like chronic pain, sleep, and mood disorders, CBD could be a viable option in the management of the symptoms of long COVID. It can also be helpful in the recovery of COVID-19 by helping to lessen the severity of some of the symptoms. While more research is needed in this area, the studies produced so far show promising results when it comes to the use of cannabis and cannabinoid products to help treat and manage COVID-19 and the resulting health effects it can have on people.

Featured image by Jeff W on Unsplash