Most people understand what it’s like to get stressed about something. Perhaps there’s a deadline coming up at work, or there’s a family event coming up that has you on edge. A little bit of stress is normal. Dealing with stress (or anxiety) regularly, however, can be debilitating, affecting your work life and your personal life. For many, cannabis helps to provide much-needed stress and anxiety relief.
Stress vs Anxiety
There’s a very thin line between stress and anxiety, but they’re actually two different things. In general, stress is a response to an external factor, such as a looming deadline or an upcoming event. Anxiety, on the other hand, stems from an internal trigger. It causes a sense of dread, even when there’s no trigger present. Anxiety can also turn into an anxiety disorder, such as generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or social anxiety.
Effects of Chronic Stress and Anxiety
Both stress and anxiety activate the release of stress hormones, which triggers your “fight or flight” response. While this isn’t necessarily harmful occasionally, the body isn’t equipped to deal with constant stress or worry. Consistently high levels of stress hormones wreak havoc, causing issues such as:
- A weakened immune system
- An increased risk of heart disease and diabetes
- Digestive issues
Constantly dealing with stress or anxiety also affects your work and personal lives. Your productivity suffers, and you don’t often feel like hanging out with friends or doing what you love.
How Cannabis Provides Stress and Anxiety Relief
For those with stress and anxiety, cannabis can provide relief. Certain strains promote relaxation, which can help to calm anxious thoughts and allow stress to melt away. Others can help you to deal with social anxiety, allowing you to give a presentation or spend time with others at a gathering.
How exactly does cannabis help, though? CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids interact with the cannabinoid receptors in your endocannabinoid system. There are two types, CB1 and CB2 receptors. Activating CB1 receptors has been shown to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, providing you with relief from the symptoms.
High levels of stress or anxiety don’t mean that you should use more cannabis, though. While small doses of THC can provide relief, larger doses may have the opposite effect. Finding the right strain and dosing amount is crucial.
Tips for Using Cannabis to Treat Stress or Anxiety
As stated above, cannabis can provide effective stress and anxiety relief, but more isn’t necessarily better. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Try a high CBD/low THC strain. CBD can help to counteract the intoxicating effects of THC, reducing the risk of the cannabinoid worsening your symptoms
- Pay attention to the terpene profile. Some terpenes, such as linalool and caryophyllene, can help to enhance the effects and provide the desired results
Start small. Begin your journey with a small dose and gradually increase until you find the right amount for you
- Keep a journal. Recording information about the strain, terpene profile, method of ingestion, dosage, and effects can help you to get a better understanding of what works best
Dealing with stress or anxiety day in and day out is exhausting. It takes a toll on you both mentally and physically. Cannabis can help to provide you with the relief you need. If you’re unsure of where to start, don’t hesitate to speak with a budtender at your local dispensary during your next visit.