Anxiety: THC vs. CBD

By David Jenison

Anxiety: THC vs. CBD

The cannabis plant contains more than 100 phytochemicals known as cannabinoids, and each person has an endocannabinoid system with different types of receptors. The human body produces cannabinoids itself, but the best-known phytocannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The latter cannabinoid, which produces the psychoactive high associated with cannabis, has the potential to over-excite neural pathways and trigger anxiety and paranoia. Does THC cause anxiety? Researchers are uncertain, but many believe the trigger primarily occurs in individuals who are genetically predisposed to experience anxiety symptoms. CBD, on the other hand, does not have psychoactive properties, and it reduces anxiety and some THC effects, including the euphoria. CBD can also help certain individuals who suffer from anxiety in general.

Generally speaking, THC levels above 20 percent and CBD levels above four percent are considered high, but horticultural techniques help growers produce plants that are naturally high in one cannabinoid or the other. Compared to cannabis sativa, indica plants tend to have more CBD content and natural sedative effects. If cannabis makes you paranoid, seek out a strain with higher CBD and lower THC content. Likewise, consider a CBD concentrate (in conjunction with professional mental health care) if you suffer from anxiety disorders.

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