There is continuous research into the potential medical uses of marijuana and among the most recent, is a study into why marijuana is an effective stress reducer. While the results are not conclusive on their own, they do contribute to the possibility that marijuana may actually be safer and more effective in alleviating anxiety. The study focused on the potency of marijuana in reducing the stress response in regular users. Stress was measured by tracking cortisol amounts in study participants’ saliva. Cortisol is a reliable indicator of stress; higher or lower amounts correlate with a person’s response to stress. The study compared the stress responses of a group of non-users and a group of daily marijuana users. The results showed that regular user’s internal stress engines had been turned down by their regular exposure to marijuana.
The comment that this result is too preliminary to be called “a good or a bad thing” is well-taken, but it does point to the potential for harnessing a modified version of this effect down the road. These results go hand-in-hand with research findings showing that marijuana has distinct levels of neurotransmitter GABA, which plays a role in responses to anxiety. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that counterbalances the effects of excitatory brain chemicals like glutamate. Early research suggests that compounds in marijuana, particularly cannabidiol (CBD), enhance GABA’s effects with moderate downsides. While preliminary, the latest research suggests that the compounds in marijuana could eventually be harnessed to deliver anxiety relief with decreased dependency, fewer side effects and less overdose potential.
Frank T. Luciano has long-standing experience in drug related cases. He is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and a lifetime member of the legal committee for the National Reformation of Marijuana Laws.