Since August 2019, the state of Louisiana has allowed thousands of people legal access to medical marijuana to treat qualifying medical conditions. Doctors in the state recommend medical marijuana for patients with anxiety in New Orleans and other conditions that they consider potentially debilitating to overall health. Anxiety is one of the most frequently cited conditions for which patients seek a cannabis recommendation.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is the general feeling of worry, nervousness, tension, fear, dread, and unease you may feel when placed in certain situations or events. Oftentimes, these situations are a source of stress and other negative emotions, all of which culminate in feelings of anxiety.
In short, anxiety is one of our natural reactions to stress. Anxiety is not inherently a bad thing as it can help us cope with stress or even boost our energy and focus.
However, too much anxiety can lead to anxiety disorders. This happens when your anxiety does not abate or persistently gets worse over time.
There are different types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder.
These conditions can greatly interfere with your everyday activities, such as work, school, and relationships.
Symptoms of anxiety disorders include the following:
- Feeling wound-up, restless, or on edge
- A sense of impending panic, doom, or danger
- Elevated heart rate
- Hyperventilation or shortness of breath
- Sweating and trembling
- Muscle tension
- Feelings of fatigue and weakness
- Difficulty concentrating
- High irritability
- Hot flashes
- Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
- Sleep issues, including trouble sleeping or waking up easily
- Gastrointestinal problems or an upset stomach
Causes of Anxiety
It is important to note that doctors and experts have yet to fully understand the causes of anxiety and anxiety disorders. There are a lot of different things and experiences that may trigger anxiety problems or anxiety attacks.
Anxiety may be caused by an underlying medical issue. In some cases, anxiety is one of the first symptoms of a different health problem. It may also stem from a side effect of some drugs or medications.
Health problems that are often linked to anxiety include:
- Heart disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other respiratory disorders
- Chronic pain
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Other potential causes of anxiety are:
- Emotional or physical trauma
- Extreme stress, particularly stress due to illness
- Stress buildup
- Other mental health disorders, such as depression and PTSD
- Drugs or alcohol use, misuse, and withdrawal
- Hereditary condition that runs in the family
Common Treatments for Anxiety
There are two major types of treatment for anxiety disorders: psychotherapy and medications. Your doctor may prescribe one or the other.
However, a combination of the two types is generally the most effective way to treat anxiety.
Psychotherapy is more commonly referred to as psychological counseling. This treatment involves talking with a therapist and discussing trauma or other causes of anxiety to help reduce symptoms.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is considered the most effective psychotherapy for anxiety disorders. It focuses on allowing you to process emotions that have built up in your body. In doing so, you can slowly heal your mind and restore mind-body balance.
There are various drugs used to treat anxiety. The medications your doctor may prescribe to you would depend on the type of anxiety disorder you are diagnosed with.
- Antidepressants. These are one of the most common medications prescribed for anxiety disorders. These usually take four to six weeks before having any noticeable effects. Common antidepressants used to treat anxiety are Prozac, Zoloft, and Lexapro.
- Buspirone. This is a medication specifically used to treat both short-term anxiety and chronic anxiety disorders.
- Benzodiazepines. These are sedatives used to help calm your mind and relax your muscles. Benzodiazepines may be prescribed for various anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety, social anxiety, and panic disorders.
How Medical Marijuana Helps Relieve Anxiety
After laws legalizing medical marijuana were passed, more people have slowly turned to medical marijuana to treat their anxiety disorders.
Studies have shown that proper use of cannabis triggers feelings of relaxation, euphoria, and elation. A 2018 research paper noted that two puffs of cannabis effectively reduce anxiety, stress, and depression.
The report also showed a 58% reduction in anxiety and stress after the patients used MMJ.
Patients with anxiety also reported better sleep quality, less pain, and improved overall quality of life following treatment with medical cannabis.
How To Use Medical Marijuana for Managing Anxiety
Medical marijuana comes in many forms. As such, patients with anxiety take or use MMJ in several ways.
The most common ones are:
- Vaping or smoking
- Consuming in an edible form, such as brownies or gummies
- Vaporized spray
- Ingesting in liquid form
- Sublingual administration of cannabis oil
Patients with anxiety may receive legal prescriptions for medical marijuana after confirming their medical condition with a qualified doctor.
Without a prescription, you will not be able to legally purchase medical cannabis from dispensaries.
Is Medical Marijuana Legal in New Orleans?
Louisiana has legalized medical marijuana for over several years now.
The New Orleans City Council first passed an ordinance decriminalizing cannabis possession within its borders in 2016. In that same year, the state legalized medical marijuana sales for patients with qualifying conditions. Sales of medical marijuana in Louisiana officially started on August 6, 2019.
How Many People in New Orleans, LA Use MMJ To Treat Anxiety
Thousands of Louisiana patients use MMJ to treat qualifying medical conditions, including anxiety.
If you have an anxiety disorder and are interested in trying medical marijuana to treat your symptoms, make sure to consult a qualified MMJ doctor first.
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