Anxiety, Panic Attacks, and Medical Marijuana
Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Attacks are common illnesses affecting many people. How do you know if you have anxiety disorder? Symptoms include excessive and persistent worrying that interferes with everyday functioning. You may also have insomnia, restlessness, inability to concentrate, fatigue, shortness of breath, racing or pounding heartbeat, and feelings of apprehension or dread. Panic attacks are when you have episodes of intense anxiety or fear with symptoms of chest pain, rapid breathing, racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, nausea, sweating, or chills. Anxiety and panic attacks can start at any time and can be due to your genetics (other people in your family have anxiety disorder), due to your brain chemistry (abnormal levels of certain neurotransmitters) or environmental factors (trauma, stressful event, death in family, loss of a job, etc.)
There are a number of medications available to treat this condition including anti-anxiety medications such as Valium, Xanax, Ativan, and Klonopin. Another group of medications called serotonin agonists have also been used. These include Prozec, Zoloft, Effexor, and Welbutrin as well as some others. Unfortunately these medications have very significant side effects that make them undesirable as long-term solutions, much unlike the badly maligned pot plant .
Medical Marijuana has been espoused as an effective treatment for Anxiety and Panic Disorders. Paradoxically there are some patients who state that marijuana causes anxiety and panic or paranoia. It appears that one’s response to marijuana is as individual as our body chemistries. Many patients choose medical marijuana – the natural treatment – over conventional medications because of the adverse side effects from pills, lack of improvement in symptoms, and the simple fact that marijuana just works much better to control their symptoms.