Does Cannabis Increase Anxiety or Does it Help You Relax? Science Has an Answer!

Khryss | Published 2017-06-04 08:21
Multiple accounts of people using cannabis have reported that this plant helped them handle stress. Some even said to have used this help them function like a "normal" human being. However, while regular users enjoy the "miracle plant", others reported that this has instead increased their anxiety. Marijuana-induced anxiety, the weed smoker's "Bigfoot",  seemed to be just that- a story without enough scientific basis. But unlike the long search for Big Foot, the former has an increasing significant research to back it up. Well, does weed truly increase anxiety or does it help you relax? Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Chicago have gathered 42 volunteers (aged 18 to 40) to find an answer. All participants had some experience using weed but don't take it daily. They were divided into three groups: the first group was given a capsule with 7.5 milligrams of THC, enough for a low dose. The second group was given 12.5 milligrams of THC, enough to have a mild high. And lastly, the placebo group received no THC. Each of them had undergone two four-hour sessions. In the first session, they took their capsule, relaxed for two hours to allow the body to absorb the THC, did a mock job interview, and were instructed to do a "very reliably stress-inducing" task. In the second session, the participants were asked to talk about their favorite book or movie after the intake and then played solitaire. The first group reported they had less stress after the experiment than the placebo group. The second group, on the other hand, reported the experiment as "challenging" or "threatening," and had more pauses in the mock job interview than the placebo group. “We found that THC at low doses reduced stress, while higher doses had the opposite effect, underscoring the importance of dose when it comes to THC and its effects," says Emma Childs, an associate professor of psychiatry in the UIC College of Medicine. “Our findings provide some support for the common claim that cannabis is used to reduce stress and relieve tension and anxiety. At the same time, our finding that participants in the higher THC group reported small but significant increases in anxiety and negative mood throughout the test supports the idea that THC can also produce the opposite effect,” she said. Guess the answer to the question is both a yes and a no then.
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