From Anxiety to Pain: Is Marijuana the Solution to Dangerous Rx Meds?

Looking for an all-natural way to ease anxiety? There may be a remedy — one that doesn’t involve meditation or yoga. The catch? It’s extremely controversial. Derived from the marijuana plant, CBD oil has shown significant results for easing the effects of anxiety and may be more beneficial than dangerous anxiety medications. That said, there are also some negative effects of CBD oil.

Curious to know more? We go over what CBD oil actually is, plus the pros and cons of the all-natural anxiety remedy, up ahead.

What is CBD oil?

A jar of CBD Oil on a white surface.

CBD oil has a lot of health benefits. | iStock.com

First thing’s first: What exactly is CBD oil? In short, CBD oil is a cannabinoid — which is a naturally occurring chemical in marijuana and hemp plants — that doesn’t cause the same intoxication (aka, high) as other parts of the plant.

That said, CBD may not be able to get you high, but it can provide a number of other beneficial side effects — especially if you suffer from anxiety. Keep reading to find out some of the pros and cons of using CBD oil as a homeopathic anxiety medication.

Pro: It may target the brain’s serotonin receptors

CBD oil in capsules laid down together on a surface.

New formulas are being tested by researchers. | Smileitsmccheeze/iStock/Getty Images

Compared to other pharmaceutical drugs, the medical industry is still in the beginning stages of their CBD research. That said, they have found that the natural chemical can “act at a wide range of brain sites,” says Dr. Margaret Haney, professor of Neurobiology and Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center in an interview with The Cut. “In terms of anxiety, one of its potential mechanisms could be acting at one of the serotonin receptors,” she explains. According to Healthline, that brain receptor is called CB1.

Con: It can make your thought process less sharp

A clear jar filled with CBD Oil on a wooden table.

You might notice yourself losing focus. | Fudio/iStock/Getty Images

The downside of using CBD oil is that it can cause your thought process to become a bit fuzzy. In that same article on The Cut, Dr. Julie Holland — who has studied and written extensively about marijuana as an adjunct — explained that while it can help reduce symptoms of anxiety, it can also “make you less sharp cognitively … a little fuzzy, with memory problems or sedation.”

Pro: Unlike Benzos, you probably won’t experience withdrawal when taking CBD

CBD oil capsules packed into clear plastic scoopers.

Many find CBD oil to be a less intrusive solution to many health problems. | Rgbspace/iStock/Getty Images

If you’ve ever tried going off of Benzos, you may have noticed feelings of withdrawal. That said, if you take CBD as an anxiety medication, you won’t experience those types of feelings.

“Benzos have risk of tolerance with withdrawal and [they’re] dangerous to mix with alcohol. CBD doesn’t seem to have these issues” says Dr. Holland to The Cut.

Con: When switching to CBD, you could experience withdrawal from your other medications

A Marijuana plant seen under a bright yellow light.

Withdrawal symptoms are inevitable. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

While you won’t experience any withdrawals from CBD oil, you can definitely experience withdrawals from other medications. Before you stop these medications, speak with your doctor to find out the risks of going off of them, as well as how to prepare for any kind of withdrawal symptoms.

Pro: Studies show it can reduce stress

Marijuana plants inside white potters.

A stress reliever many might be interested in trying. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In addition to easing anxiety symptoms, the cannabinoid can also reduce stress. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, studies show that CBD has therapeutic effects on animals experiencing both anxiety and stress symptoms.

What’s more? Patients with post-traumatic stress disorders were able to see a decrease in traumatic memories upon taking CBD.

Con: It may have side effects like dizziness and fatigue

A person holding a container of CBD oil.

CBD oil can cause unwanted symptoms of fatigue and mood changes. | Guillermo Legaria/AFP/Getty Images

When it comes to CBD oil, like most medications, there are side effects to taking the drug. According to Healthline, if you choose to take CBD oil as a homeopathic anxiety treatment, you may experience sleeping difficulties, mood changes, dizziness, fatigue, and stomach aches. As a form of caution, discuss your interest in taking the cannabinoid with your doctor first.

Pro: The government is starting to recognize it as a possible solution to social anxiety

Marijuana buds laid out in a heart shape.

The verdict is still out, but many are still willing to try it. | iStock.com

According to PubMed, research has shown that CBD oil can reduce symptoms of patients with social anxiety. While there is still more research that needs to be done, this is a great step towards recognizing CBD oil as a natural remedy for social anxiety.

Con: It’s not legal in every state

A person extracting oil from a marijuana plant.

You might not be able to easily pick it up at a dispensary. | Desiree Martin/AFP/Getty Images

While the government and medical industry has made strides in their research, CBD oil isn’t legal in every state. To find out whether or not your state has legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use, Governing spells it out, here.

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