Updated on December 10, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
For patients struggling with the effects of the anxiety disorder agoraphobia, treatment is key to help them live more normal lives. This disorder is characterized by an overwhelming fear of places or situations outside the patient’s control. Many agoraphobics try not to leave their home, but some simply avoid situations where they know they’re more likely to experience a panic attack.
It’s often difficult for healthcare professionals to find the right treatment option for patients with anxiety disorders like agoraphobia. Therapy is highly recommended and often coupled with some sort of medication. The most common meds used are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), anxiolytics or sedatives. However, patients sometimes report adverse side effects to these, and there is also the risk of dependency.
In states where medical marijuana has been legalized, patients with agoraphobia are turning to cannabis as a possible treatment. However, the relationship between cannabis and anxiety disorders is complex, and finding the right strain is of the utmost importance.
Patients with agoraphobia experience a range of symptoms, from nervousness to extreme depression or crippling fear. Because of the serious side effects associated with many anxiety medications, some patients prefer a more natural alternative — medical marijuana.
Because of how cannabis interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system, many patients experience immediate relief from their severe agoraphobic symptoms. This includes:
Medical marijuana can also bring an uplifting effect for patients struggling with depression because of their agoraphobia. Unfortunately, cannabis has been known to create paranoia or increased anxiety. That’s why selecting the correct strain and dosage is important to minimize the risk of this adverse side effect.
Every patient has different needs, which is why making the right strain selection is so vital. With the growth of the cannabis industry in states where medical marijuana is legal, there is an abundance of choices that flood the market.
There are three main types of strains — indica, sativa and hybrid. Usually, indica varieties produce a more sedative effect. This is a good place to start for those with anxiety disorders, as these strains create a sense of relaxation and calm. On the other hand, sativa strains are known for their uplifting qualities. This may be risky for those with anxiety, but they’re often used to treat depression.
Hybrid strains contain aspects of both sativa and indica varieties, often providing the best of both worlds. Patients with agoraphobia should also keep an eye out for CBD-dominant strains, as these provide the benefits of cannabis without the high produced by THC.
It may require some trial and error, but finding the right medical marijuana strain is essential to treat agoraphobia effectively. Here are some strains known for treating anxiety disorders like agoraphobia:
All medical marijuana used for anxiety should be taken under the supervision of a healthcare professional. They can assess your condition and offer dosage recommendations based on your individual circumstances. Find a marijuana doctor near you for more information.
For more information about how cannabis can be used to treat agoraphobia, check out our resources: