General Question

pleiades's avatar

How is it that marijuana can relieve stress yet increase anxiety?

Asked by pleiades (6455 points ) January 28th, 2013

Is this a “to each their own” sort of thing?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

18 Answers

gambitking's avatar

This drug is very unique, so much so that it’s not really very well classified, even by the DEA.

Pot has a variety of effects and like any drug, those effects are more relative to the user and their body type, sensitivity to it, etc. But in the case of stress relief, MJ is widely and commonly applied for that purpose in a treatment scenario. And it works.

Firstly, if you examine the symptoms you’re talking about… using weed to relieve stress is effective if the proper does is applied. Anxiety, on the other hand, is one of the most common side effects of marijuana overdose . It doesn’t usually happen when used in moderation.

It’s also important to note that there are two types of marijuana: Sativa and Indica.

Sativa is more of an upper, and can cause anxiety for a person expecting the effects of an Indica (which is a mellow downer).

deni's avatar

Yes. For many people it decreases anxiety, and some strains are marketed specifically for that reason. Most people who get paranoid and anxious when they smoke aren’t regular smokers and are anxious about what doing an “illegal” activity will do to them, if you want my opinion on it. Weed has never made me anxious, maybe cause I understand it and enjoy it? But some people, when they do any drug (for example think of something like mushrooms or acid)....if you haven’t done it before, man, you don’t know what to expect. You have no idea. So you get paranoid, you get anxious (oh god when’s it gonna kick in am I already high, am I already tripping, what’s gonna happen when I start to?!? And that escalates into sometimes extreme paranoia, hence resulting in a bad trip/skewed view on the drug in general)....

That’s all I can say to answer your question. Of course it affects every one differently. And every strain is different. So there’s about a zillion combinations of how any weed can affect any person, and it’s silly to generalize, which I think is why people who have a negative view of weed have a negative view to begin with. They don’t use it or understand it.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

Haha. Funny I was just asking my mother this, I’m curious because so often in society we don’t want people to mask their issues with something else that can become addictive.

So say I’m not a driver and am against drugs, say I’m stressed and drinking helps me relax, shouldn’t I be able to go to the doctor and get a prescription to be drunk in public?

KNOWITALL's avatar

I freaked out and called my mommy with my first sativa….lol, scared the crap out of me, I was like this isn’t my mom’s hippie stuff. So funny, she was laughing at me.

theodiskaz's avatar

Well, I have read that mind “set” and “setting” are two of the biggest factors on how a relatively mild drug like pot will affect one. I think everything said here so far is pretty on the money. I have also read that since the creation of THC analogues i.e. spice, it has been discovered that THC is not the only psycho-active ingredient in pot affecting the user’s buzz, and these other substances occur in differing amounts in different strains of the weed. If one is somewhere safe with a friend or two one can trust not to play mind games, have a positive expectation, don’t have any SEVERE emotional problems and uses it in moderation then one probably will not have a terribly anxious experience. Oh, and make sure one has a couple of hours to come down afterwords.

bookish1's avatar

Because it’s illegal and THE COPS ARE GONNA GET YOU MAN!

Unbroken's avatar

Well this was actually the scenario that ended my weed use. Since my health issues came up shortly thereafter I don’t regret it.

In my case it wasn’t an indica v sativa issue, or a legal issue, I was a social smoker but I always made sure if it had been awhile to adjust my intake.

To me it relaxed my muscles physically but increased my anxiety because I wasn’t happy with where my life was and I felt like partaking and spending my time being high was not only unproductive but counterintuitive to change. Like the poor people drowning their sorrows in alcohol. It doesn’t improve their situation it is a token acceptance of it. It makes them more tractable. That was just my overriding instinct on the matter and one that I found harder and harder to ignore.

Or it could have been my purtainical roots revealing themselves after the initial rebellion was quelled.

Lightlyseared's avatar

It’s commonly accepted in pharmacology that lots of drugs can cause the symptoms that they are used to treat…Some examples that spring to mind (but I could probably find more if I had the time)
Chronic overuse of pain killers can cause pain (you would not believe how difficult that can be to diagnose and treat).
Lignocaine can be used to treat life threating cardiac arrhythmias but can also cause them.
Midazolam is commonly used to sedate people before a procedure but in some people causes paradoxical excitation (another fun one as people inexperienced in giving sedation often give more and make things worse).

theodiskaz's avatar

@Lightlyseared The basis of homeopathy?

Lightlyseared's avatar

@theodiskaz well… perhaps… it just a shame they choose to go with the magic water with memory thing as a delivery method…

El_Cadejo's avatar

I’ve only experienced anxiety with marijuana when I first started smoking because its illegal. “oh shit they know im high im gonna get caught and arrested zomgs” If it were legal and socially accepted I don’t think there would be much paranoia/anxiety associated with its use.

spykenij's avatar

I am both a connoisseur and an addict (and if you think there’s no such thing, spend a week with me) and I will tell you from personal experience that while yes it does relieve stress, it also causes increased anxiety. It’s the coming down that’s the worst part for me and each strain is different. Some are worse than others and it’s all got to do with neurotransmitters, receptors and chemicals in the brain.

burntbonez's avatar

People respond quite differently to the same drug because our brain chemistries are all different. We’re individuals. There is no predicting how people will respond to chemicals that mess with brain chemistry. We can’t do it yet.

deni's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl No. You aren’t supposed to be high in public, you aren’t supposed to be drunk in public. People do both everyday, a doctor is never going to write you a note for either though. Just cause something is legal doesn’t mean you should do it to a great extent in the middle of the street.

gambitking's avatar

@bookish1 , you must not live in Colorado or Washington

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@deni it was a tongue in cheek answer.

deni's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl Sorry, hard to tell on the interweb sometimes

jonsblond's avatar

I agree with you @uberbatman. The only time I experience anxiety is when I have an unexpected visitor and I’m afraid they are going to smell it because I just smoked a little. I wouldn’t feel this way if it was legal and accepted like alcohol and cigarettes are.

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