Cannabis Article

Author: Keeley Joyce


Cannabis is a psychoactive drug that is used for recreational and medicinal purposes. The plant can be used for its psychoactive and therapeutic effects. The drug can come in many forms, dried flowers, oils, and edibles such as baked goods or candies. The main psychoactive component is THC (Detla-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) what is responsible for producing the “high” people associate with cannabis. An additional cannabinoid in cannabis is CBD (cannabidiol). This component of the drug produces no psychoactive effects.  

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a cell signalling system in the brain that plays a role in the regulation of sleep, mood, memory, appetite as well as anxiety, fear, and stress. ECS is used by the body regardless of whether cannabis is introduced or not. When cannabis is used it enters the blood stream, makes its way to the brain, and attaches itself to cannabinoid receptors.   

Cannabis can produce several effects such as:  

  • relaxation   
  • euphoria   
  • changes perceiving colour, taste, sounds   
  • increased appetite   
  • laughter or giggling   
  • creativity  
  • amusement   

How can cannabis help with Psychiatric Disorder?


Although research in medical marijuana and psychiatric disorders is still premature and very complex, research has found that THC may decrease anxiety at lower dosage levels. Additionally, CBD has appeared to decrease feelings of anxiety at all doses. Specifically for social anxiety, research has revealed that treatment with CBD significantly reduced feelings of anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort, speech performance as well as decreased hyper-alertness.   

Sleep Disorders   

Some research has discovered that CBD may help with trouble sleeping in many disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and insomnia. Individuals may benefit by being able to fall asleep faster and staying asleep. Moreover, patients with PTSD report having less nightmares when using CBD. People with insomnia often have high levels of the stress hormone cortisol at night, rather than in the morning when cortisol usually peaks. A study on CBD found that when participants took CBD oil, lower levels of cortisol followed.   

Eating disorders   

Some research has also yielded results showing that CBD may help with eating disorders.  Studies support the idea that if brain networks that regulate appetite are disturbed by stress and anxiety could contribute or promote eating disorder as well as obesity. As CBD may reduce anxiety levels, this can help improve mood and in turn promote healthier eating habits.  


The effect of CBD has been investigated for having anti-depressant effects. Most anti-depressants increase serotonin in the brain, CBD may instead affect how the brain responds to the serotonin that is already in the brain.   

Possible side effects

While most studies show cannabis may help relieve possible psychological disorder symptoms, it is still premature in research. There are still some possible side effects to consider. Studies reveal some individuals who use cannabis report  


  • heightened anxiety  
  • mood change   
  • appetite changes  
  • nausea   
  • dizziness  
  • drowsiness  
  • paranoia/psychosis  


The use of cannabis also has some long-term effects and risks. If cannabis is being used through inhalation via smoking or vaping lung irritation and breathing problems as well as cancer are a potential risk. Using cannabis may also increase risks of dependence and addition. First time use of marijuana has also been linked to depersonalization. 

Depersonalization- derealization disorder occurs when an individual regularly feels as they are observing themselves from outside their body. Depersonalization may feel as things around are not real and feel like they are a dream. Cannabis induced depersonalization symptoms usually only last while the person is intoxicated and will wear off within 120 minutes after the exposure of the drug. Although, in rare cases depersonalization symptoms can last weeks to years even while not using cannabis.  

There are a few risk factors associated with cannabis -included depersonalization-derealization. Majority of the effected individuals have history of anxiety disorder, such as panic disorder or social phobia. As well as males and adolescences may have a higher chance of experiencing the symptoms. The risk for cannabis-induced symptoms may also increase when cannabis is being used during periods of distress or after exposure to trauma. Additionally, risk factors may include sudden withdrawal from regular cannabis use or severe intoxication. Research has also found a link between the use of marijuana and onset of schizophrenia. The THC component of cannabis can cause psychosis and schizophrenia in the at-risk population. Additionally, THC can exacerbate symptoms and cause an unfavorable prognosis is individuals who are already diagnosed.   

Administration & Dosage

There are many different delivery methods for cannabis some include:  


Smoking: people may smoke raw cannabis in many different Forms, rolled cigarettes, pipes, bongs, vapes  


Sublingual Delivery: The sublingual (under the tongue) or mucosal (in the oral cavity)   


Oral Ingestion: taking cannabis by the mouth in pill form or liquid   


Topical application: topical ointments, lotions  


There are different stains of cannabis, the two main ones are sativa and indica. The Sativa strains are known to have “a high” that gives an energizing effect. Whereas Indica stains release a deep relaxation high. There are also hybrid stains which have a certain percentage of each indica and sativa.     

The dosages used for CBD vary in research and there is not one set dosage on how much to take every person may react differently to dosages. Based on current evidence most research finds that for CBD 200-800mg per day has been beneficial for people who suffer from common disorders such as anxiety and depression. Lower dosages of THC (7.5mg) also appears to decrease anxiety, and higher dosages (12.5 mg) produced slight increases in anxiety and negative mood.   



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