If you ask any teenager in the modern world what their most significant problems are in life, it is extremely likely that they will reply that simple, single word – “Anxiety.”
Anxiety is often known as a catch-all phrase that denotes any kind of anxious thoughts, but Anxiety as a medical condition is extremely serious, causing intense feelings of frustration, Anxiety, and stress at commonplace occurrences, ultimately making it almost impossible to live a normal life.
No one suffers worse from Anxiety than teenagers; those who are trapped in that awkward group of years wherein they are trying to develop and grow into adults, but still don’t have fully developed brains or the ability to comprehend everything based on life experiences.
One question that teens with Anxiety often ask is whether or not they can get their hands on some medical Marijuana, so as to be able to treat their Anxiety. However, is that actually possible? Are teens allowed to have medical Marijuana?
What Is Anxiety & How Does Medical Marijuana Help Treat It?
To best understand the problems that teens face when trying to get medical Marijuana, it is important to understand what Anxiety is.
Anxiety is a mental disorder that is classified as causing persistent negative thought patterns; in essence, it creates that feeling of Anxiety and stress in everyday occurrences, rather than just when in very stressful circumstances.
Anxiety is a useful tool for the human body, as by causing you stress and Anxiety, you know to avoid a particular situation, or to react differently if there is a potential for it to put you in danger. For those that suffer from Anxiety as a medical condition, however, they feel this same level of constant stress and fear all the time – what might be considered a normal and easy activity for some people can actually be unendingly tricky for those with Anxiety.
Several studies have found that Marijuana has the ability to help treat medical Anxiety in much the same way that regular anxiolytic (meaning anti-anxiety) medication works. As one study by the University of Washington for the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute shows, Marijuana was first discovered as a tool to treat Anxiety by observing people’s casual, recreational usage of it. Those that demonstrated Anxiety symptoms and also imbibed Marijuana were reporting fewer and fewer instances of Anxiety episodes.
These days, we understand the potential for Marijuana to help treat Anxiety, both in reducing its symptoms and in reducing the frequency with which intense anxious episodes occur. However, this is only helpful for those that can legally access Marijuana already, like adults.
What are you supposed to do if you are a teen and want access to medical Marijuana to treat Anxiety?
How Do You Get Medical Marijuana For Your Anxiety As a Teen?
The chief problem with getting medical Marijuana in any circumstance is the difference between state and federal rules concerning Marijuana.
Federally speaking, Marijuana is still an illegal substance, despite the fact that it has a number of useful medicinal properties. However, ten states have legalized Marijuana for recreational use and thirty-three states have legalized it for the purpose of medical treatment.
While this is good news for you if you live in a US state that allows medical Marijuana (including Guam and the District of Columbia!), it doesn’t help you with regards to your age.
The critical issue with regard to medicine in the United States is one of consent – as a teenager, you do not technically have the ability to decide consent for yourself. This is further complicated by individual states’ definitions of consent, as well as their individual definitions for the proper age of consent for medicine.
What all this boils down to is that, while you likely will still be able to get access to medical Marijuana to treat Anxiety, it is possible that you are going to need your parents’ permission to do so.
In some states, physicians have the ability to prescribe medical Marijuana to under-age patients without parental permission, but in the majority of the states that allow medical Marijuana, they require explicit permission from your legal guardians – in a few states, it has to be the guardian who actually fills and repeats the prescription, not you.
This means that you not only need to convince your physician of the values of using Marijuana to treat your Anxiety, but you also need to convince your parents.
However, let’s say that you do have the full support of your parents – what do you need to be able to get your doctor to prescribe you medical Marijuana?
Once again, it varies from state to state, but generally speaking, you will only need some form of identification and some form of proof of your medical condition. Although physicians will be able to see your diagnosis of Anxiety on your medical records, it is essential to have physical copies ready, as well as any information on previous prescriptions of medication you have taken to try and combat the illness.
If you do manage to convince both your parents and your physician of the usefulness of Marijuana, you might be incredibly excited; you did it! You can now use Marijuana for consequence-free treatment of your Anxiety?
However, there are a few risks you need to be aware of when using Marijuana as a teen.
Are There Any Risks For Teens Using Medical Marijuana for Anxiety?
One of the most frequent things claimed by proponents of Marijuana use is that it has little to no side effects. Aside from the pleasurable high that it causes, users can enjoy a risk-free experience that leads to a perfect treatment for all manner of different diseases and conditions. Right?
Unfortunately, as with everything, there are going to be a few side effects when using Marijuana, especially if you are using it as a teen.
For starters, exceptionally high concentrations of THC have been linked to increased episodes of Paranoia and, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Anxiety. That’s right; even though you can take Marijuana to help treat Anxiety, it can also cause Anxiety if you take too much of it. This is especially the case if you already suffer from Anxiety.
However, the most significant side effect that Marijuana can cause occurs only in teens – reduced brain development.
A big reason why teenagers are not able to give consent for a great number of different things in their life is that they have not adequately finished developing, both emotionally and mentally. The brain doesn’t actually finish developing until around 21 years old, which means that any Marijuana taken before this point has the potential to cause irreparable harm.
One study by the Journal of Current Pharmaceutical Design by Joanna Jacobus and Susan F. Tapert found that teens who engaged in heavy Marijuana use showed continuous disadvantages in neuro-cognitive performance, as well as a reduction in both micro- and macrostructural brain development. Finally, there was also discovered significant alterations in brain functioning when compared to the brains of those that didn’t imbibe Marijuana.
The risks are really only prevalent if a large quantity of Marijuana is smoked very frequently, so if you are planning on imbibing Marijuana in small amounts to treat Anxiety, you are probably going to be okay.
However, is there any way to get the medicinal benefit of Marijuana to treat Anxiety without having to deal with adverse effects on brain development?
What About CBD for Anxiety?
If you are looking for a way to avoid those potential serious problems caused by large quantities of THC in Marijuana, you should look into taking CBD.
CBD, or Cannabidiol, is the non-psychoactive cousin of THC and doesn’t induce any kind of high whatsoever. All Marijuana strains have at least a little bit of CBD within them, but it is possible to find strains of Marijuana that have been explicitly cultivated to contain a far larger quantity of CBD than it does THC, such as the strain Charlotte’s Web, originally designed to help combat Epilepsy.
The key difference between CBD and THC is that CBD does not over stimulate the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the Endocannabinoid system, which is the health system within the body that helps control a variety of different functions. By gradually manipulating these receptors, CBD is able to encourage the release of helpful neurochemicals like serotonin and, essentially, help calm you down.
If you are worried about the potential for Marijuana to cause negative side effects when taken to combat your Anxiety, or if your doctor advises against it because of the large dose that you would require, you should consider CBD – it is often available at regular retailers, both on high streets and online as a food supplement.
Some doctors might even prescribe it, but it currently is not possible to get pure CBD Oil prescribed by a physician, so you needs must go through a private retailer.
Final Thoughts on Can Teens Get Medical Marijuana for Anxiety?
Anxiety as a condition is one of the most insidious and damaging mental disorders that exists in the modern world, making it almost impossible to live a normal life when faced with struggling with constant stress, Anxiety, and general panic.
Considering the sheer severity of Anxiety’s symptoms, it is no wonder that so many people seek Marijuana to help their condition. Unfortunately, it is just a little bit harder to try and get Marijuana as a teen than an adult, sometimes requiring adult supervision or adult approval before you can do it, depending on the state.
However, even if you have it within your means to get medical Marijuana to treat your Anxiety, make sure that you weigh up the potential risks and associated brain developmental damage you might suffer. Though it only occurs in a few people who imbibe far too much Marijuana on a frequent basis, it is still something to be aware of.
Anxiety symptoms are awful, but so too is the idea of suffering reduced brain development as a teen.