Anxiety and Marijuana Use

Anxiety and Marijuana Use

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States. People use marijuana for a variety of reasons ranging from social pleasure and self-medicatingto treating issues of anxiety or depression. Marijuana has been classified as a mind-altering intoxicant, stimulant, psychedelic and depressant drug, but many people mistakenly believe itdoes not have harmful effects in the short or long-term. Even short-term use of marijuana can have effects on the brain including distorted perceptions, memory impairment, difficulty thinking and impaired coordination.Research on long-term marijuana abuse indicates that some of the changes caused in the brain are similar to those of other more significant drugs.

How Anxiety Affects People

Everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their life. Small children may feel anxious about making friends at a new school whileteens may get butterflies in their stomachs over upcoming standardized tests and college admission processes. Adults may struggle with anxiety over child-rearing, employment, and maintaining their health, while the elderly suffer with anxiety associated with diminished physical and mental capacity.Anxiety is a part of everyone’s life, but when a person moves from an acute case of anxiety (often associated with a specific event) to chronic anxiety that lasts over an extended period of time, a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is often identified. There are several characteristics that are associated with GAD includinganxiety that is exaggerated or excessive and has no associated event.

Anxiety and Marijuana Abuse

Many people use marijuana as a self-medicating practice to calm their anxiety symptoms. There are several parts of the concept of self-medicating that you may want to consider. The fact that you are “prescribing” a drug to yourself can be a dangerous decision. If you need a root canal, you would not drill in your own mouth, butpeople act just as recklessly by deciding to abuse a drug for their anxiety. Being “high” only lasts for a limited period of time. If you are smoking marijuana to receive the calming effects, what can be expected once the effects of the marijuana wear off? Anxiety returns, and often it is intensified. You may reach for marijuana to address this new anxiety and begin a pattern of behavior that can lead to addiction. You are establishing a psychological dependence on marijuana, because you associate its use with the loss of your anxiety. Unfortunately your anxiety did not go away and will remain an underlying issue in your life.

Anxiety and Marijuana Help

If you or a loved one are experiencing significant anxiety and are continuing to use marijuana to reduce the symptoms, you are at risk for becoming addicted. Now is the time for you to get started in finding the right treatment program, understand your insurance benefits, or explore addiction recovery, so call our toll-free helpline today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about marijuanaaddiction treatment. We are here to help.