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  • Drew Herb Lesser

The Highs and Lows of Treating Social Anxiety with Cannabis: Separating Fact from Fiction

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a debilitating mental health condition characterized by an excessive fear of social situations and a persistent worry about being judged by others. SAD affects millions of people worldwide, and it can have a significant impact on their quality of life, impairing their ability to function in everyday situations. Although traditional treatment options for SAD exist, medical cannabis containing delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is an emerging area of interest in the management of this condition.

Traditional treatments for SAD typically involve cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and pharmacotherapy, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or benzodiazepines. While these treatments have been shown to be effective in some cases, they also have limitations. SSRIs can take weeks to months to take effect, and benzodiazepines have a risk of addiction and withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, not all individuals respond to these treatments, leaving some with limited options for relief.

Medical cannabis containing THC has gained popularity in recent years as an alternative treatment option for SAD. THC is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces the euphoric "high" associated with recreational use. However, in medical cannabis, THC is used for its therapeutic properties. THC works by binding to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and central nervous system, which can modulate anxiety, among other effects

. Several studies have investigated the use of medical cannabis containing THC in the treatment of SAD. A 2017 review of the literature found that THC had a positive effect on reducing anxiety in individuals with SAD. The review also reported that THC improved social interaction and reduced negative self-evaluation, both hallmark symptoms of SAD.

Another study found that medical cannabis containing THC improved symptoms of anxiety, depression, and sleep in individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition that shares many similarities with SAD.

Despite these promising findings, the use of medical cannabis containing THC for SAD is not without controversy. One concern is the potential for addiction and abuse. THC has been shown to have addictive properties, and long-term use can lead to dependence. However, this risk can be minimized through careful monitoring and proper dosing by a healthcare provider. The introduction of CBD oil and balanced oils, offers a potential solution to increasing tolerance of THC.

Another concern is the potential for adverse effects, such as impaired cognitive function and memory problems. THC can cause short-term memory impairment and affect attention and concentration. However, these effects are typically mild and transient, and they can be mitigated by adjusting the dose and administration route of medical cannabis.

The use of medical cannabis containing THC for SAD may offer several advantages over traditional treatments. Medical cannabis can provide rapid relief of symptoms, with effects typically felt within minutes to hours of administration. This quick onset of action can be particularly beneficial for individuals with acute anxiety or panic attacks, where immediate relief is needed. Medical cannabis can also be used as a complementary treatment alongside traditional therapies, providing additional relief for individuals who have not responded to other treatments.

In conclusion, medical cannabis containing THC may offer a promising alternative treatment option for individuals with SAD in that medical cannabis may offer a more personalized treatment approach for individuals with SAD. THC-containing cannabis strains may be tailored to an individual's specific symptoms and preferences, allowing for a more personalized and effective treatment plan. This approach contrasts with traditional treatments, which often involve a "one-size-fits-all" approach.


This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and is provided for educational purposes only. It should not be relied on as health or personal advice. The author is NOT a Doctor. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

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