Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States today. It is estimated that approximately 40 million Americans suffering with anxiety at any one time. It is also believed that these numbers are on the rise.
Unfortunately, the medications which are currently available for anxiety are largely ineffective and come with a range of negative side effects. For this reason, many have begun to treat their condition themselves with cannabis.
Historians have traced medicinal cannabis use back to thousands of years ago. It is believed that in the earliest days of cannabis use, the plant was used to stabilize mood and combat stress and anxiety.
Today, medical researchers are finally begining to understand why the plant has this effect, and why so many anxiety patients today are using the drug instead of pharmaceutical treatments.
Studies have suggested that the modulation of neuronal endogenous cannabinoid signaling systems could represent a novel approach to the treatment of anxiety-related disorders while minimizing the adverse effects of direct acting cannabinoid receptor agonists.
In one study, researchers evaluated the effects of direct cannabinoid receptor agonists and antagonists and endocannabinoid modulating drugs on anxiety-like behavior in mice using the elevated-plus maze.
The study found that the direct CB1 receptor agonists CP 55940 and Win 55212-2 increased time spent on the open arms at low doses only. At the highest doses tested, both compounds altered overall locomotor activity.
In contrast, ∆9 – tetrahydrocannabinol produced a dose-dependent reduction in To. The endocannabinoid uptake/catabolism inhibitor AM404 produced an increase in To at low doses and had no effect at the highest dose tested.
The fatty acid amide hydro lase inhibitor, URB597 produced a monophasic, dose dependent increase in To. The CB1 receptor antagonists SR141716 and AM251 produced dose-related decreases in To. These data indicate that activation of CB1 cannabinoid receptors reduces anxiety-like behaviors in mice and further support an anxiolytic role for endogenous cannabinoid signaling.
These results are very promising indeed for the future of cannabis-based medicines. Much more research is needed, and studies must be of a higher standard in order to produce truly conclusive results. However, for now the future of cannabis treatment for anxiety continues to look promising.
Here is the full scientific article if you wish to download it.