Life with anxiety can be difficult. And also hard to quantify the daily symptoms because they can vary. First, there are different types of anxiety. Everyone can go through stressful periods where they experience ‘circumstantial’ depression or anxiety. When bad things happen, we’re going to internalize some of that stress and exhibit anxiety symptoms.
With circumstantial anxiety, those symptoms usually go away after the stressor disappears. For example, if you have a family member in the hospital. Some of the symptoms you could experience may be nervous or racing thoughts, hypertension (high blood pressure), headaches, and insomnia. You also may be more irritable than normal. Those are some of the common symptoms of anxiety.
But what happens if the stressor goes away, i.e., your family member is out of the hospital, and life returns to normal. And you are still experiencing racing thoughts, a persistent sense of apprehension or unease? That’s when you want to talk to a doctor about clinical anxiety.
Many states have already included anxiety as an accepted condition for a medical card. And in states where anxiety did not make the official list of clinical diagnoses, you can bet people are petitioning for it.
More than 40 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with clinical anxiety. It is the leading mental health disorder according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America. A new study reports as many as 5 million deaths by self-harm (suicide) worldwide are caused by unmanaged clinical anxiety.
Can Anxiety Be a Qualifying Health Condition for Medical Marijuana?
Is long-term use of cannabis on a daily basis an effective treatment for anxiety? Clinical studies have shown that Sativa strains can provide many benefits. Even low THC doses of Sativa cannabis that have a happy and energetic (but relaxed) psychoactive profile can make the day easier. And more productive for people with anxiety.
There is also a misconception about the diagnosis of anxiety. It takes more than a visit to your doctor to say that you are feeling anxious. Or stressed. Clinical scales or surveys can actually measure the level of frequency of your anxiety. Physicians administer these behavioral inventories to learn if depression is the problem, anxiety, or if both mental health disorders are present.
Each state has a list of qualifying health conditions. If you do not see anxiety listed by your state’s medical marijuana authority, ask a physician. Often, states that do not have anxiety listed as a qualifying condition will have another provision. A physician’s ability to authorize a medical card for any patient they feel will benefit from it therapeutically.
In other words, you could still get a medical card if that provision “at doctor’s discretion” is provided in your state cannabis program. And if you have severe anxiety and other mental health conditions that prevent you from daily living activities, you can also appeal. Some states allow patients to request special authorized access based on the persistent and debilitating symptoms.
Prescription Medications for Anxiety Can Be Addictive and Dangerous
While physicians fully understand anxiety as a mental health disorder, lawmakers may not. Sometimes people misconstrue anxiety and its impact on the daily lives of millions of Americans with the conditions.
Anxiety is not a ‘catch-all’ for patients to get medical cards when they don’t have another diagnosed condition. It can be debilitating. And left untreated, anxiety can preclude or even worsen pre-existing conditions and chronic disease(s).
In the United States, cannabis prohibition has allowed our country to fall behind on research. Countries like Israel and even Thailand are quantum light years ahead on clinical and human studies of medical cannabis therapeutics.
But what we do have ample clinical evidence of is the danger of long-term use of psychotropic medications. Anti-anxiety medications are typically benzodiazepines. This class of drugs induces drowsiness, confusion, and even clumsiness. Over-sedation is common, with hangovers, headaches, increased risks of depression, and insomnia. They also have a high overdose risk, particularly when the patient is taking other benzo class medications. Or alcohol.
Did you know that benzodiazepines are contraindicated (or impacted in a negative way) by the following OTC or prescriptions?
- Heartburn Medications
- Oral Contraceptives
- Antifungal Medications
We hear the kind of overdose tragedies most frequently are celebrity deaths—someone who had depression, anxiety, and insomnia. The cocktail of prescription medications to sleep, wake up, and relieve anxiety can become a deadly combination. People with clinical anxiety are seeking a safer symptom management option; cannabis.
What Is Cannabis Ruderalis?
Cannabis strains fall into two accepted categories; cannabis Sativa and Indica. Horticulturalists say that cannabis Ruderalis is a third type in the cannabis family. But some people (and growers) disagree that it is a subspecies.
Thousands of years ago, in Asian and Central Europe (particularly Russia), this stocky little plant was born. But it wasn’t widely cultivated for medicinal use. The little plant evolved and grew wild like a weed. No one thought it was anything special. The word “ruderalis” is derived from something that is “rubbish.”
Yeah. We feel bad for the little guy too. But like most underdogs, cannabis ruderalis thrived in hostile environments. Since humans weren’t particularly interested in cultivating the plant, it was allowed to do its own thing. It thrives in some of the coldest and most inhospitable climates.
Cannabis ruderalis evolved into something between an Indica and Sativa, but with some superpowers that are only now being discovered. From the black sheep of the cannabis family to a rising star, what scientists are learning now about cannabis ruderalis is pretty fascinating.
Is Cannabis Ruderalis Better for Anxiety?
Did you know that women are twice as likely to develop clinical anxiety as men? The average age of onset of symptoms is 34-45. And before you blame hormonal changes, researchers still aren’t sure why cases of anxiety disorders in North America are increasing rapidly. But many believe it is caused by significant changes to our daily lifestyles, media consumption, and sedentary habits.
Anxiety is becoming a big problem globally, but particularly in North America. While Sativa strains are typically chosen for high CBD levels, stress relief, and energy for daytime use, there is one problem; impairment. How can you take Sativa and still be safe and functional throughout the day?
Cannabis ruderalis may provide benefits somewhere between a “too intoxicating” high CBD Sativa and a CBD oil that doesn’t quite do enough to relieve anxiety. And that’s why many people are exploring cannabis ruderalis strains for symptom management.
What Makes Cannabis Ruderalis Different?
First, it is auto-flowering and hardy. It doesn’t need much help at all to produce buds. It has five leaves, instead of the common nine leaves (Sativa) or seven leaves (Indica). Hybrid cannabis strains typically are seven leaf varieties. And they produce tiny buds. Often called “popcorn buds” that tend to be denser than other types of flower.
Cannabis ruderalis doesn’t need a lot of sun. The plants flower based on age, no matter what, because they originated in cold climates, with short summer seasons. Hybrids developed with cannabis ruderalis usually have the word “automatic” in them. A nod to how easy it is to grow them.
Examples of cannabis ruderalis strains include:
- Northern Light Automatic
- Solomatic CBD
- White Widow Automatic
- Amnesia Haze Automatic
The cannabis ruderalis species has higher CBD levels, usually lower THC, averaging 3% to 13% at the high end. But most strains of ruderalis are below 10% THC content. Cultivators are interested in creating hybrids with it because it brings that rugged, tough genetic component. And it is easy to grow.
Commercially, true cannabis ruderalis isn’t that popular. It may be due to the very small flowers that the plant produces. But compounded into oils or edibles, it is growing in popularity as a consummate medicinal for daytime use. Especially for people who want anxiety relief. Without feeling like they are sedated all the time. Or hungover every morning from prescription psychotropic medications.