Mental Illness Awareness Week

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First recognized by Congress in 1990, Mental Illness Awareness Week — the first full week of October — aims to raise awareness and break the stigma of mental illness through community outreach and education. One in every 5 adults in the United States experiences mental illness. Some of the most common mental illnesses include schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, depression and anxiety.

Cannabis is now commonly used as an alternative to prescription drugs to treat some of these illnesses, especially one of the most common — anxiety. Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax and Klonopin are are often prescribed to treat anxiety and panic attacks. However, these drugs come with side effects that can negatively affect patients, such as fatigue, confusion and developed tolerance. As a result, dependency on these pharmaceuticals can lead to overdoses. A medical study published in Psychopharmacology found “chronic cannabis consumers reported lower levels of anxiety, and their cortisol levels remained the same under high stress as they they were under no stress.”

Cannabis strains have unique terpene profiles that influences the effects and experiences for consumers. Terpenes, such as Linalool, Beta-caryophyllene and Limonene, are able to target the CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system and have been known to treat symptoms related to depression and anxiety. Sativa-dominant strains are known for their uplifting and energizing effects, which are helpful in treating depression. Some hybrid strains are effective for both depression and anxiety, and can range from calming and functional to uplifting and creative. Indica-dominant strains can be helpful for anxiety. 

It’s important to remember that while these are general characteristics of strain types, each patient may react differently. Choosing the right strain for your symptoms and needs is important. With too much sedation from an indica, for example, it may be difficult to leave the house, socialize, or conquer your daily tasks. Sativa-heavy strains may actually induce anxiety, so finding the right balance is key to finding relief.

Medical cannabis can help patients live happier, healthier lives and we welcome you to visit us at Charm City Medicus. First, speak with a participating physician to see if cannabis is suitable for your treatment plan. Then, come on in for a free consultation with our on-site Pharmacist who can help you find the right stains and products for your needs.

Through advocacy and awareness, we can end the stigma of mental illness!

Jennifer Culpepper