The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) claims that as many as 10% of American adults suffer from phobias! Incredibly, phobias are the #1 most common mental disorder in the United States with a greater percentage of women affected than men. Rather than relying on medication laden with side effects, an increasing number of people are turning to marijuana for help combating phobias.
Continue reading to find out more about the power of marijuana below.
What Are Phobias?
Technically speaking, a phobia is a form of anxiety disorder which also includes panic disorder, PTSD, and generalized anxiety disorder. To date, researchers aren’t 100% sure what causes phobias although genetic and cultural issues probably play a role. There are also situations where a traumatic life event can lead to a phobia. Here is a list of a few well-known phobias:
- Social Phobia: This relates to a fear of social situations and affects almost 7% of the American adult population. Less than 40% of people with this type of phobia are being treated.
- Agoraphobia: This relates to a fear of being placed in a situation where escape is difficult. Although it is a relatively well-known problem, fewer than 1% of American adults suffer from it.
- Specific Phobias: This relates to the fear of a very specific thing. Common examples include arachnophobia (fear of arachnids such as spiders and scorpions) and hemophobia (fear of blood).
Symptoms of Phobias
Regardless of the phobia, it can limit or curtail your daily activities, and ‘complex’ phobias such as social phobia and agoraphobia can lead to anxiety and depression. It is common for someone with a phobia to suffer from a panic attack and the frightening and distressing symptoms can strike without warning. They include:
- Difficulty breathing or a shortness of breath
- Tightness or pain in the chest
- Headaches, dizziness & nausea
- Dry mouth
- Ringing in your ears
- Disorientation or confusion
In rare cases, you may also experience psychological symptoms such as a fear of dying, fear of fainting or fear of losing control.
What is Life With Phobias Like?
No matter what phobia you have, it has the potential to ruin your life if left untreated. If you have a phobia, you are more likely to avoid coming into contact with whatever makes you afraid. For example, someone with arachnophobia may display symptoms of their phobia just by looking at a picture of a spider.
Life is even more difficult for people with ‘complex’ phobias. For instance, a person with agoraphobia could become a recluse because they refuse to leave their home even to go to the shop.
Traditional Treatments for Phobias
Depending on your phobia, treatment is not strictly necessary as long as you can live your life without coming into contact with the object of your fear. However, things get tougher for people with a social phobia or agoraphobia as shutting themselves indoors isn’t a good idea nor is it feasible in many cases.
Treatment options that don’t include medication include embarking on a self-help program. This might consist of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), attending a self-help group and using ‘exposure therapy.’ The latter tactic is self-explanatory; you gradually increase the length of time you’re exposed to your phobia.
In terms of medication, it is common to prescribe:
- Anti-Depressants: This would include Cipralex, Citalopram or Seroxat but side effects include insomnia, upset stomach, and headaches.
- Tranquillizers: Physicians would normally prescribe benzodiazepines, but once you’re ‘on’ them, you have to wean yourself off slowly to avoid side effects.
- Beta-Blockers: This is a common option to treat high blood pressure and anxiety. They work by slowing down your heart rate and reducing your blood pressure. Potential side effects include insomnia, cold fingers, and stomach problems.
Medical Research Involving Marijuana & Combating Phobias
Marijuana has long been touted as a potential option to help handle anxiety disorders. A 2016 study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology by Song et al. at the University of Birmingham, England, showed that CBD is potentially a good option to treat specific phobias and PTSD. A 2015 study by Betthauser, Pilz, and Vollmer suggested that cannabinoids were a useful way to treat army veterans who suffer from PTSD. Certainly, CBD appears to have a calming and relaxing effect on people with anxiety which helps them gradually overcome their phobias.
5 Best Marijuana Strains For Combating Phobias
1 – Somari (The Best Hybrid Marijuana Strain)
This is an indica dominant (70%) marijuana strain and is an extremely rare offering as it is a cross between Buddha’s Sister, NYC Diesel, and Kushadelic strains. It won the Best Hybrid Award at the 2013 High Times Cannabis Cup and is a potent marijuana strain with 20% THC.
The high associated with Somari is long-lasting, and it may even make you feel a little lazy. The initial cerebral rush will give way to a feeling of haziness and soon, your body will drift away into a sedative high where you will probably forget your phobia and enjoy the moment.
2 – Super Skunk Auto (The Rare Marijuana Strain)
This is another exceedingly rare blend and is 80% indica, 10% sativa, and 10% ruderalis. It was created by crossing Afghani Hash Plant with Skunk #1 and an unknown ruderalis plant. It has a high THC content of between 14% and 18% and hits users with the classic Super Skunk effects.
As a result, you’ll feel a hard head high within minutes followed by a sedative feeling all over the body which forces you to relax. As well as helping people combat their phobias, Super Skunk Auto is ideal for stress, depression, and insomnia.
3 – Big Foot (The Sociable Marijuana Strain)
This is a 50/50 hybrid which is a cross between BC Hash Plant and Grim strains. It has a THC of 22% and is occasionally mixed up with Bigfoot OG even though the two marijuana strains provide you with completely different effects.
Big Foot begins with a head high that elevates your mood and reduces any anxiety or stress you feel. It is an excellent option if you have a social phobia and need to go somewhere although it is definitely best used in the evening.
4 – Platinum Girl Scout Cookies (The High THC Marijuana Strain)
This is another 50/50 hybrid and is a cross between OG Kush and Durban Poison. Despite being more or less an even split, Platinum Girl Scout Cookies leans towards sativa like effects and has a high THC level of 25%.
It is an extremely potent hybrid and elicits a strong sense of euphoria amongst users. It is certainly a good option if you wish to be more sociable since it gives you a happy and uplifting feeling. Platinum Girl Scout Cookies is also used to treat depression, migraines, and arthritis.
5 – Forbidden Fruit (The Delicious Marijuana Strain)
This indica dominant (70%) hybrid is a cross between Cherry Pie and Tangie. It has a THC level as high as 26% and is one of the best testing marijuana strains you’re likely to come across. Forbidden Fruit is a smooth and fresh smoke and offers a fruity and sweet taste along with an aroma of pine and berries.
It begins with a cerebral high that lifts your mood and immediately ensures you are better company. Ultimately, however, Forbidden Fruit is best enjoyed at home because it sedates your body while soothing your pains and anxiety and helping you to sleep.
Final Thoughts on Marijuana & Phobias
As a phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, it makes sense that certain strains of marijuana can help. Instead of feeling depressed, lonely and helpless, try one of the marijuana strains we mentioned above to combat your phobia and help you live life on your terms. If you’re concerned about a psychoactive ‘high,’ choose a strain that is high in CBD as it will offset the THC content of the marijuana.