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Feeling apprehensive in social circumstances, such as going on a first date or speaking in public, is a typical reaction; however, when the worry, dread, and self-consciousness become excessive and interfere with daily life, you may have Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD).
What Exactly Is SAD?
SAD is a form of anxiety that causes an intense fear of social situations, producing panic before, during, and sometimes even after social engagements. Unjustified fear of shame and unfavorable judgment can interfere with daily tasks, particularly if they require interaction with others.
SAD is a chronic mental health illness marked by emotional (e.g., developing unjustified self-sabotaging beliefs), behavioral (e.g., fleeing and avoiding social engagements), and physiological symptoms (e.g., muscle tensing, sweating, heart pounding).
These might alter over time and deteriorate under considerable stress; however, adopting coping techniques with psychotherapy and medication can help enhance one’s capacity to communicate with people. Doctors frequently recommend selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) such as Prozac and Zoloft; however, they can have undesirable side effects such as sleeplessness.
As a result, studies are being conducted to investigate the possibility of a link between marijuana and Social Anxiety Disorder.
Are SAD Patients More Likely to Use Marijuana?
A 2009 study explored the correlation between marijuana issues and social anxiety disorder in 107 marijuana users, 26.2 percent of whom met the criteria for SAD in the 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), and discovered that people with SAD were highly susceptible to marijuana-related problems.
Another topic to consider is whether or not marijuana causes social anxiety. Here are some studies that explored the relationship between the two:
- A 2009 research found that regular cannabis users were more likely to develop anxiety problems; nevertheless, while there is a link between the two, causality could not be proven.
- A 2011 research discovered that social avoidance was associated with marijuana difficulties, and individuals who avoided social situations the most suffered from the most severe types.
- A 2012 study found that those with clinically substantial social anxiety were more likely to use marijuana to cope with social settings if avoidance was not an option.
Components of Marijuana
Understanding the components of marijuana will help you determine whether or not it is helpful for social anxiety disorder. To begin, it’s crucial to understand that marijuana contains two types of compounds that may have different impacts on your social anxiety.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive component of marijuana, which means it is responsible for the high feeling. Cannabidiol (CBD) also has psychoactive effects; however, it does not cause a high.
While recreational users want the high THC, those utilizing it for mental health objectives may benefit more from the drug’s component, reducing anxiety.
Can Cannabis Help with Social Anxiety?
Many individuals have long recognized that marijuana has anti-anxiety properties and use it to alleviate SAD symptoms. With its growing legality, the usage of marijuana for social anxiety has seen an increase in the number of people abandoning medications in favor of cannabis. Although research into how cannabis might aid SAD is still in its early stages, there is growing evidence that marijuana can help with anxiety, and cannabidiol (CBD) is the solution.
CBD has an anxiety-calming (or anxiolytic-like) effect through interacting with serotonin, popularly known as the “happy hormone,” a neurotransmitter that regulates one’s mood and promotes emotions of well-being. There has been some research that shows its usefulness in the form of CBD oil. Unfortunately, according to a 2015 study, most of the research was conducted on animals rather than humans.
According to a 2018 survey, medicinal cannabis users reported a 58 percent reduction in daily suffering, with a low-THC, high-CBD cannabis strain having the best effects in lowering stress, panic, and anxiety.
How CBD Can Help With Social Anxiety
Although neurobiology is still being worked out in this area, CBD has been demonstrated to act as an anxiolytic or anxiety-reducing medication.
Individuals with social anxiety who were given CBD had increased blood flow in the cingulate cortex, which is involved in understanding the emotions of others.
In a 2015 evaluation, cannabidiol (CBD) was recommended as an acute therapy for social anxiety disorder (among other anxiety disorders) (over a short period). However, we don’t know the long-term repercussions of marijuana consumption.
The blood flow to the parahippocampal and hippocampus gyrus (PAG) was also reduced in these animals. These are vital for memory formation and recall and the inferior temporal, which aids in facial recognition. In animal experiments, CBD was shown to reduce aversion to stressful situations.
CBD has been hypothesized as a way to block anandamide absorption from the PAG. It has been shown that CBD can reduce anxiety by limiting anandamide absorption. Additionally, CBD’s indirect involvement in CBD’s action is evident in all brain regions involved in tension, such as the amygdala and prefrontal cortex.
What Are the Best Cannabis Strains for SAD?
If you’re investigating the therapeutic association between smoking marijuana and social anxiety to treat SAD symptoms, a Colorado-based keystone dispensary recommends these strains as the best ones for treating:
- Chocolate Chunk – Its calming and relaxing effects enhance emotions of well-being.
- Healthy Medicine – This is highly calming and assists in good sleep – ideal for folks who have trouble sleeping.
- Northern Lights – It has tremendous pain- and stress-relieving properties and is used to reduce worried thinking.
- Hell’s OG – This induces a state of serenity while being energetic enough to carry out daily tasks.
Marijuana, especially CBD and marijuana with low THC levels, has shown potential advantages for temporarily lowering anxiety symptoms. Nonetheless, despite mounting evidence and legality of marijuana’s potential usage for social anxiety, it’s still recommended to see a health expert for treating SAD with it.