Cannabis can be a helpful treatment option for anxiety, but it’s important to do your research first.
MICHIGAN—Anxiety is complex, and so are the benefits of cannabis. That’s why we wanted to help you hone in on what matters most when considering cannabis products to treat your stress levels for the first time.
Long before marijuana became legalized for recreational use, people shared stories of it working wonders for anxiety and all the layered issues that come with it—from irritability to restlessness, lack of appetite to tension headaches. Studies show many parts of this plant are therapeutic—and there’s even more we’re still learning about.
As with treating any illness or ailment, it’s a person-centered approach. And one that the experts themselves can directly help you with. But when it comes to getting started, there are a few tried and true facts that everyone should know.
Being educated on the basics is the best and quickest way to get you the relief you need. So without further ado, here are the five things you should know to start your healing journey using cannabis to quiet down anxiety.
So Many Options: It’s a Customizable Cure
As with any treatment, it will be different for you than others and will eventually evolve from today versus six months from now. This is a good thing. Part of the wonder of cannabis as a plant is that it can be grown and harvested to help in a long list of ways as you manage stress levels (which we know also change daily). The first step is to know that this works in your favor. Don’t be daunted by the options; instead, be empowered that the market now offers products that will meet you where you are.
THC v. CBD: Preventing Paranoia
You know that bad rep marijuana products get for head spins and sending people into panic mode? That’s mainly attributed to THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. But the plant is so much more than that. In fact, its counterpart CBD is what studies show has the best traction with stress and anxiety levels. You can find products with a small fraction of THC but higher levels of CBD that will put your brain and body at ease. Leafly says starting with a low dose (such as 2.5mg of THC) and gradually increasing the dose—ideally adding just another milligram or two—is generally recommended until you feel optimal symptom relief.
Terpenes: The Smell of Tranquility
Ever take a whiff of citrus peel just for the mental boost? Enter terpenes—the fragrant oils produced by plants of all kinds that make up its aroma, including cannabis. Often associated with scents like citrus and juniper berry, the terpene called limonene is an antibacterial and antioxidant powerhouse—and researchers are now pouring into studies about them. So far, we know that these prominent smell-producing agents hint at many promising therapeutic benefits for OCD, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Terpenes can be consumed orally as a supplement, vaporized, or smoked in strains like Berry White, Black Cherry Soda, and Strawberry Banana.
Mixing and Mingling: Marijuana with Other Meds
Research still lacks when it comes to understanding how cannabis interacts with other medications, specifically the most common prescriptions for anxiety, such as SSRIs like Zoloft, Prozac, Lexapro, and Celexa. But, few adverse reactions have been reported by actual patients, and this is the same for NDRIs like Wellbutrin.
Because of the lack of research, it’s something to monitor under a healthcare professional – particularly one who understands natural relief for the body’s ailments as much as prescription options from pharmaceutical companies.
What we can tell you is that cannabis is more likely to increase side effects when combined with sedatives like Xanax, Klonopin, and Ambien, and how it interferes with tracking symptoms if you start a pill and natural remedy at the same time. Understanding this will help set you up for success if you’re transitioning from pharmaceutical to natural treatments.
Promising Products: Making the Most of the Menu
In this world of reefer relaxation, you’ll find many ways to utilize cannabis for anxiety: flower, bath bombs, teas, creams, and more. How to choose? There’s a basic understanding of how each cannabis product is used by the body, and this can guide you to find what’s suitable for your stress level and situation:
- Inhaling cannabis through smoking or vaping offers the most immediate relief, but the effects wear off more quickly.
- Ingesting cannabis, like in edibles or capsules, takes longer to kick in, but the effects last longer.
- Alternatives include non-psychoactive creams, bath products, and other topicals to soothe your body. One important note from Mary Jane’s Medicinals: Although THC can be absorbed through the skin to provide soothing relief, these products will not get you high.
As with any relaxation technique, your environment is everything. Be sure to have a calming and soothing setting—whatever that may look like for you—and above all, listen to your body.
Make sure to sign up for The MichiGanja Report, a free twice-a-month newsletter from The ‘Gander about all things cannabis. Click here to subscribe, and we’ll send the next edition straight to your inbox.