Cannabinoid Treatment for Stress, Anxiety and Depression
Increasing evidence suggests an important role for the endocannabinoid system in the regulation of stress, mood and psychiatric disorders .
Pharmacological or genetic disruption of endocannabinoid signaling in animals produces a neurobehavioural response that mimics the classical stress response including activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, increased anxiety, suppressed feeding behaviour, reduced responsiveness to rewarding stimuli, hypervigilance and arousal, enhanced grooming behaviour and impaired cognitive flexibility  - .
Evidence from pre-clinical and clinical studies suggests that THC exhibits biphasic effects on mood, with low doses of THC having anxiolytic and mood-elevating effects and high doses of THC having anxiogenic and mood-lowering effects . Limited evidence from a small number of clinical studies of THC-containing cannabis/certain prescription cannabinoids suggests that these drugs could improve symptoms of anxiety and depression in patients suffering from anxiety and/or depression secondary to certain chronic diseases (e.g. patients with HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and chronic neuropathic pain)  - .
Limited evidence from some observational studies also suggests that cannabis containing equal proportions of CBD and THC is associated with an attenuation of some perturbations in mood (anxiety/dejection) seen with THC-predominant cannabis in patients using cannabis for medical purposes .
The use of THC-predominant cannabis or prescription cannabinoid medications containing primarily THC (dronabinol) to treat primary anxiety or depression should be viewed with caution, and especially discouraged in patients with a history of psychotic disorders.
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