The United States government has marijuana listed as a Schedule I narcotic. This classification is reserved for substances considered to have no medical benefit and a high potential for abuse. The very same government that manipulated the public into thinking that marijuana is a dangerous killer now acknowledges its medical benefits. It relieves anxiety.
Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, wrote in a blog post about the possible benefits of marijuana in regard to treating anxiety. Anxiety disorders are recognized as medical issues in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. In the past, research that explored the link between marijuana and anxiety reduction came inconclusive.
Recently, researchers at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center revisited the topic using newly available knowledge and resources. Many species of mammals’ bodies create endocannabinoids called type-1 cannabinoid receptors (CB1) which are found on nerve cells.
The endocannabinoid system is vital in brain development, the body’s immunity, and physiological processes in stress response. CB1 receptors also interact with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active, psychoactive chemical in marijuana.
Mice have a CB1 receptor system similar to that of humans in the central amygdala, which controls our anxiety and the body’s stress responses. When we are exposed to stress, our naturally-produced endocannabinoids interact with the CB1 receptors in the central amygdala to calm the excited neurons in our brains, researchers found.
THC, a cannabinoid like our endocannabinoids, was then hypothesized to produce the same effect on our CB1 receptors by settling overactive brain neurons. However, this finding is brand new, and further research is required to solidify it as fact, Collins said.
Vice’s Motherboard reported that the NIH has already given medical credence to marijuana’s treatment of pain and nausea. This recent finding could turn out to be another sound argument against government-driven, anti-marijuana scare tactics.