Symptom Management: Anxiety

Introduction 

Welcome back to the Thyroidcafe. Miles from home, I went for a run. Trying to clear my head, I felt my heart began to race. I tuned into the sound of my sneakers. The crunching gravel under foot. I slowed my pace. I heaved a breath. But thoughts intruded. The house we just bought. Moving the kids away from mom. My mom.  Circular thoughts. Without end. Lord, please protect me. I knew this was a panic attack, thanks to a friend’s experience. 

Anxiety and thyroid disease

Many thyroid warriors know what anxiety feels like, but let’s define it. Anxiety is “a state of apprehension and psychic tension occurring in some forms of mental disorder.” or “distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune.” The latter definition felt like locking eyes with myself in a mirror. And I am not the only one, 63% of thyroid patients report having anxiety. Though symptoms very, common symptoms of anxiety are: 

  1. Depression 
  2. Tummy troubles 
  3. Tension 
  4. Fears 
  5. Autonomic symptoms 
  6. Muscle tension

Doctors Advice 

The clinical recommendations sound oh so… clinical. Not to demean them, they are merely limited. Most studies conclude that any patient whose anxiety remains after treatment with thyroid hormone should be tested for anxiety disorders. From there, psychotherapy and medication are recommended… fortunately there’s more to this blog.

What Works for me

As stated above, God is a very present help in time of need. I have learned to manage my anxiety, so I no longer have panic attacks. Preventatively, I take Epsom Salt Baths, CBD oil, cut or lower my caffeine on bad days and get the best sleep and food I can.  If I already feel anxious, I try to Vulcan my way out of it by studying my thoughts. Asking: Are they good? noble? true? If not, reject them. This is where writing helps.  I also try Chamomile tea. I find, many small attacks against anxiety has brought down this giant.

Conclusion

Those with hyperthyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease are more likely than most to have anxiety. While those of us with thyroid disease are all too aware of the symptoms, we need a plan to tackle this beast. I am thankful to have good resources to handle my anxiety, so it’s no longer a major problem in my life. 

Medical Marijuana

Introduction 

Welcome back to the Thyroidcafe. You may remember the marijuana of the psychedelic sixties, part of the counterculture movement. Or maybe you’re like me and the “War on Drugs” in the 80’s villainized marijuana as a gateway drug. Now in 2019, we are seeing the marijuana plant in a more dynamic way. No longer demonized, but studied. Through this we have learned about the properties of marijuana and its medical uses. But before we move Thyroidcafe to Amsterdam, let’s examine the medical benefits and risks of this controversial plant. 

Plant Parts: Chemicals in Marijauna and What They Do

There are two well understood chemicals in cannabis, THC and CBC, though there are more. Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the chemical in marijuana that gives you the “high.” THC benefits are anti-inflammatory properties, has dopamine (pain killer), can ease your mind, and increases appetite. Now I don’t need any help finding the chips and I need my mind firmly inside my body, so the following is my preferred option. CBD (cannabidiol) is the no-high alternative to THC. It is also anti-inflammatory, has dopamine (pain killer) and can ease your mind. I will discuss THC and CBC more blow. Because of the restriction on marijuana, the other chemicals found in marijuana are less studied.  

A Plant by Any Other Name

You go to the store and there’s all the tomatoes. Some are for hamburgers, others for salad and there’s always those Roma’s nobody knows what to do with. Pizza? Fancy pizza?

 

Anyways, like tomatoes, marijuana has many varieties. But I will explore the three most notable . Cannabis Indica is known for its relaxation qualities, both mental and physical. It also decreases nausea, pain, and increases appetite. Another variety is Cannabis Sativa. I use this variety during the day as it is not a sedative. It dulls my pain, increases creativity, focuses me and even gives me energy. This is a picture of the product I use, it’s sold in most health food stores.


 Lastly, Cannabis Ruderalis is naturally high in CBD and low in THC, giving it no “high.” It does a great job treating depression. Each species of cannabis can be made to have more or less CBD and THC. Keeping the species in mind enables you to treat your symptoms specifically. 

What does Medical Marijuana treat? 

With the Opioid Crisis rearing its ugly head, pain management is one of the most sought after characteristics of marijuana. Many people with thyroid problems suffer from anxiety and depression. Personally, I have found relief from both using Cannabis Sativa. Medical marijuana also helps with insomnia. On the other hand, some strains of cannabis can give you more energy and clarity of thought. This is why it’s important to know the variety. Lastly, all varieties helps with inflammation. While this isn’t a miracle drug, there are obvious benefits to be explored. For a list of other diseases cannabis is thought to help, see below the conclusion. 

More than Puff, Puff, Pass: Types of Marijauna products

Before you bless the neighbours with a skunk-like smell, let’s discuss your options for taking medical marijuana. Availability depends on where you are, so please explore. Both CBD and THC oils can be bought online. Oils have a high concentration, so a little drop ‘ill do ya. See below for how much I take (140 lbs)

Half a dropper full is enough for me.

 I use the CBD oil to relieve my pain, anxiety and ease my depression. Next are waxes, or butane hash oil, they can be vaporized. It is potent and is popular for those treating chronic pain. Tinctures sound more exciting than they are. To make tinctures, alcohol is infused with cannabis and take a few drops under the tongue. Taking it this way allows it to take effect faster and last longer (45 mins-ish). Balms take the high out of cannabis. Lotions, sprays and topical oils are rubbed into the skin for pain relief. There are also suppositories and lets just say, I will not be going there. 

Risks of Marijuana

There are some risks to using medical marijuana. Firstly, if you choose to smoke it, there are the respiratory risks inherent to smoking anything. Secondly, short term memory loss is marked in some users. Lastly, prejudice from your employer or school. Even CBD shows up on a drug test, so know the policies in place that may limit your use.

Conclusion 

So let’s let the reputation of marijuana in the sixties pass, most people don’t remember the sixties anyways! And let’s set aside the War on Drugs to look reasonably at a product that could help us. Like opioids, marijuana needs to regulation to prevent misuse. But, that does not negate valid medical characteristics. If you are uneasy about hallucinogenic properties, try CBD. If you prefer not to smoke, try balms or oils. While I won’t be watching reruns of Harold & Kumar and chowing on Cheezies anytime soon, I will use marijuana to manage my symptoms. So what do other thyroid patience think about this taboo subject? Do you use medical marijuana? See our Facebook and Instagram or comment here. 

Other diseases cannabis can help: Glaucoma, arthritis, cancer, migraines, anorexia, depression, anxiety, stress, nausea , PTSD, Insomnia, Crohn’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, ADHD, Epilepsy, PMS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease