Updated on January 29, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Characterized by an excessive fear of foreign or unknown situations and places, agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder that causes a heightened sense of fear in patients. When a patient perceives an open space with fear, they may begin to feel trapped or experience unwarranted doom that something terrible will occur.
To avoid suffering from the symptoms of agoraphobia, patients with this disorder may only find themselves willing to travel to select locations, significantly impairing their ability to perform daily tasks and activities.
When feelings of agoraphobia prevent an individual from living a healthy life, it’s crucial to seek help. Many doctors will recommend a form of talk therapy that helps the patient work through their difficulties. In addition to therapy, those struggling with anxiety disorders such as agoraphobia may find it therapeutic to develop a prescription plan that includes one or several medications.
Medical marijuana is one form of treatment known to reduce anxiety and agoraphobic symptoms effectively. However, many patients turn to anti-anxiety medications, as well. Which type of treatment plan is best for you? Below, we’ll examine the perks of medical cannabis when compared to traditional anxiety treatment methods.
Because the side effects of anxiety can significantly impair one’s sense of well-being and ability to perform routine daily tasks, many patients seek a treatment plan that includes medication. In combination with therapy, prescriptions help individuals with higher levels of anxiety find relief. Common anti-anxiety medications include:
As with any medication, these subgroups of drugs may stimulate adverse effects. Antidepressants are one of the most common forms of treatment for those with anxiety.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed medications for anxiety. These pills work by increasing the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes leveled moods. However, common side effects of these prescriptions include:
Antidepressants and other anti-anxiety medications may also be dangerous when ingested alongside other drugs or medications. While many patients can find relief from anxiety through the forms of medication mentioned above, it’s essential to consider the potential side effects that may manifest while using these prescriptions.
Today, medical cannabis is used to treat a myriad of conditions, including autoimmune diseases, chronic pain and even mental health disorders — including agoraphobia. The key to marijuana’s success lies in the plant’s ability to impact the endocannabinoid system positively.
The endocannabinoid system plays a quintessential role in many of the body’s daily functions, including mood regulation. The receptors and compounds within this system send the appropriate signals to the body in reaction to both internal and external stimuli. For patients with agoraphobia or other anxiety-related symptoms, the receptors may be irregular or deficient, causing racing thoughts, panic and worry.
How does marijuana help reduce these symptoms? The compounds within cannabis, known as cannabinoids, stimulate positive reactions in the endocannabinoid system that in turn create manageable thoughts. Rather than having an irrationally heightened sense of fear, thoughts become much more relaxed and settled.
Cannabis is also a natural alternative to anti-anxiety medications, reducing the likelihood of adverse effects. In addition to its lack of negative effects, marijuana works quickly in the body’s system, causing almost immediate relief. For patients with agoraphobia, cannabis may provide them with the means necessary to settle irrationally fearful thoughts.
Please note that medical marijuana should be prescribed in conjunction with a form of mental health therapy. The key to properly treating the stress and excessive worrying associated with agoraphobia is finding the appropriate strain and dosage of medical marijuana while visiting with a therapist regularly.
Agoraphobia can cause significant emotional distress and anguish, but you don’t have to suffer through this condition alone. Talk to trained medical marijuana professionals in your area who can connect you with the resources necessary to alleviate your fear. Under the supervision of a qualified physician, you can receive the dosage and strains of medical marijuana essential to find relief.
Find a marijuana doctor near you to start your treatment plan today!
For more information about how cannabis can be used to treat agoraphobia, check out our resources: