Table of Contents
Mental health issues are a rising concern among all ages – the Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that approximately 40 million adults face anxiety, stress, or depression annually. Tragically, these burdensome mental health issues are not exclusive to older generations; they also weigh heavily on the young minds of our children.
Chronic stress & inflammation is known to break down and impair the immune system. and studies have found that a 75-90% of diseases stem from the body’s stress response system!
According to research by UIC and UChicago, THC can help Cannabis users with stress but only in low doses, 5 mg and below.
It's an intriguing paradox surrounding the effects of THC on stress - low doses may be good, and high doses or any THC dose that causes a moderate high will heighten stress levels.
CBD and THC are the most prevalent and most studied cannabinoid constituents derived from cannabis plants. CBD is more therapeutic and causes psychoactive effects but not psychotropic effects.
THC, however, is more recreational in high doses causing both psychoactive and psychotropic effects but provides some therapeutic benefits at low doses.
A 1:10 ratio of THC to CBD (2.5 mg of THC and 25 mg of CBD) seems to provide the best results based on purported consumer testimonies and several clinical studies.
THC appears to decrease stress levels at lower doses, and CBD has shown to be an excellent potential candidate for reducing anxiety-related stress.
An interesting facet when comparing CBD's ability to combat stress with THC is that CBD doesn't act on the CB1 or CB2 receptors like THC does. Instead, CBD's potential anti-stress properties seem to originate from engaging with and activating the 5HT1A serotonin receptor!
Full Spectrum CBD products containing CBD and THC seem the best for stress. These products promote the Entourage Effect, which offers the best support for your Endocannabinoid System.
The only considerable options would be THC gummies that are infused with 2.5mg-5 mg of THC and 25mg-50mg of CBD, respectively. However, this cannot be construed for medical advice or as a medical fact.
To stay in the "safe zone," experts suggest beginning with a 2.5 mg dose of THC to be considered well-tolerated. However, NIDA (National Institute for Drug Abuse) has stated that 5 mg of THC should be the research standard. As an added precaution, it is advised not to exceed 40mg of THC daily.
Video On Cannabis And Stress
Video Credit: Demystifying Medicine McMaster created by students in the McMaster Demystifying Medicine Program.
The Different Types of Stress & Their Associated Symptoms
We’ve all experienced it before. That feeling of worry, dread, and anxiety often seems to come out of nowhere. It’s stress. Let’s look at the three types of stress – Acute Stress, Episodic Acute Stress, and Chronic Stress- and the symptoms each type can cause.
Acute stress is the most common form of stress, typically caused by one-time events such as job interviews or presentations at work. Acute stress symptoms can include difficulty sleeping, headaches, muscle tension, lack of focus or concentration, and irritability. If you experience these symptoms for an extended period after a stressful event has passed, then you may be experiencing episodic acute stress.
Episodic Acute Stress
Episodic Acute stress occurs when a person experiences frequent acute stress episodes over a long time (weeks or months). An example might be someone constantly worrying about upcoming deadlines or projects at work. The symptoms associated with this type of stress include fatigue, anger, irritability, depression, anxiety, insomnia, disturbed sleep patterns, digestive problems, and headaches.
Things can get tricky when trying to diagnose Episodic Acute Stress because if anxiety-related systems persist beyond the influence of a present external stressor, it may also indicate a present anxiety disorder such as social anxiety disorder or panic disorder.
Finally, Chronic stress is caused by more long-term issues such as financial problems or unhealthy relationships. This type of stress can last for years and have serious long-term health effects if not addressed promptly.
Symptomatically speaking, chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure, frequent colds and viruses, excessive drinking and smoking, depression, anxiety, poor diet, and even weight gain or loss due to hormonal imbalances in the body from prolonged exposure to cortisol (the “stress hormone”).
Do you fall into one of these categories?
If so, please seek the advice of a licensed medical practitioner and an alternative holistic medical professional so that you can weigh the pros and cons and make the best decision for you.
Now, let’s talk about a very unfamiliar yet vital internal management system known as the ECS, short for Endocannabinoid System. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s because the medical society barely acknowledges it even though it was discovered in 1988.
The Endocannabinoid System & Its Role In Managing Stress In Your Body
Cannabinoids, like THC, interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This system is composed of endocannabinoids, naturally occurring compounds in the human body.
Endocannabinoids interact with cannabinoid receptors in your body, and THC, a phytocannabinoid, has a particular affinity for CB1 receptors.
If your body lacks the natural levels of endocannabinoids, you could be diagnosed with something known as Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD). While not a known medical fact, some research suggests that CECD can lead to certain diseases ranging from mild to severe health conditions.
More research is needed to fully understand how cannabinoids interact with the ECS and affect stress levels. If the Endocannabinoid System intrigues me as much as it does me, please read my article What Is The Endocannabinoid System?
Cannabis and Natural Stress Management Strategies
When managing stress levels through cannabis consumption, it’s essential to consider your individual needs and preferences and any potential risks associated with using cannabis products containing high THC amounts.
For example, you may want to consider using products containing a combination of both high CBD and low THC doses if you are looking for potential stress relief without experiencing any adverse side effects associated with higher amounts of THC.
I’ve mentioned this repeatedly, but repetition is sometimes critical to making the information stick.
Additionally, besides adding THC and CBD to your diet, there are many other natural ways to help you manage stress levels.
According to Healthline.com, there are 15 evidence-back ways to reduce stress naturally.
- Be more active
- Adopt a healthy diet
- Reduce time spent on your phone
- Consider research-backed stress-relieving supplements
- Take time for self-care
- Reduce caffeine intake
- Try to spend more time with family & friends
- Learn to say no and set up necessary boundaries
- Push yourself to avoid procrastination
- Sign up for a yoga class
- Be more in the moment by practicing mindfulness
- Cuddle with a loved one
- Increase your time spent with nature
- Deep breathing exercises
- Spend more time with your pet, all they have to give you is love
Potential Side Effects of Using THC for Stress Relief
While Cannabis is often touted for its stress-relieving properties, few studies have investigated the potential adverse effects of marijuana use. The previous statement is corroborated by Emma Childs, an associate professor of Psychiatry at the University Illinois College of Medicine and co-author of the clinical study, “Low-dose THC can relieve stress; more does just the opposite.”
While there are potential benefits to using THC for stress relief, it’s important to note that there are possible short-term side effects associated with using THC in higher doses or too frequently.
For example, the overuse and consumption of THC can lead to paranoia or anxiety in some people, while others may only experience faster heart rates, dizziness, or sedation.
Regarding the long-term use of marijuana, the side effects are different. One study suggested that long-term use increased the risk of cognitive decline in adults aged 25–45. Additionally, another study showed proposed that the frequent use of Cannabis, when consumed for more than five days a week for at least one year, caused higher cortisol levels.
As you can see, fully understanding the risks, potential dangers, and THC side effects is imperative and should be discussed with your doctor before trying any new alternative treatment.
Exploring The Possible Benefits Of Using THC For Anxiety & Stress
Backed by science or not, Cannabis has been used as a holistic approach to stress relief for many years. Research into the potential benefits of using THC specifically for stress is sparse. Still, the number of studies seems to be increasing with the growth of available products.
Overall, the potential benefits of using THC for stress relief are largely unproven. However, some studies show THC has an immediate calming effect on the brain when smoked or vaped. Further, studies show that THC can improve relaxation when orally consumed.
Thus, while THC is not medically proven to be a treatment for anxiety or anxiety-related stress, there is positive data regarding its efficacy and medicinal value.
Clinical Research Studies On THC, Anxiety Disorders, and Stress
In a recent study, Washington State University researchers recently discovered that marijuana has promising results for mitigating symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression in a study published by the Journal of Affective Disorders.
Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series
Dose-related effects of delta-9-THC on emotional responses to acute psychosocial stress
A naturalistic examination of the perceived effects of Cannabis on negative affect – ScienceDirect
Dose-related effects of delta-9-THC on emotional responses to acute psychosocial stress – https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.03.030
Frontiers | Cannabis and the Anxiety of Fragmentation—A Systems Approach for Finding an Anxiolytic Cannabis Chemotype
A naturalistic examination of the perceived effects of Cannabis on negative affect
Current Status and Prospects for Cannabidiol Preparations as New Therapeutic Agents – Fasinu – 2016 – Pharmacotherapy: The Journal of Human Pharmacology and Drug Therapy
Toking, Vaping, and Eating for Health or Fun – American Journal of Preventive Medicine
Medical Cannabis and mental health: A guided systematic review
The Best Cannabis Plant Species for Stress Relief
When looking for an alternative approach to help relieve stress, many people turn to Cannabis as an alternative natural remedy.
But which type of cannabis plant is best for relieving stress?
Let’s take a look at the three primary species of cannabis plants – Sativa, indica, and hybrid plants – and explore which one is most beneficial for helping to manage stress levels.
Sativa plants are known for their energizing effects, making them popular among recreational users who want an uplifting high that often results in increased creativity and focus.
While they won’t necessarily help you relax like indica or hybrid strains, Sativa is more commonly used to boost your mood and help you stay alert when your body needs it. This chemovar may be especially beneficial for those dealing with chronic fatigue or low energy due to stress.
On the other hand, indica plants are well-known for their calming effects, making them the go-to choice for many medical patients looking to alleviate their symptoms without feeling overwhelmed or uncomfortable.
Indica’s provide more of a sedative effect than Sativa’s; however, they can also help reduce anxiety and make it easier to fall asleep if needed.
Indica’s may be ideal if you’re looking for something that will relax your body and allow you to let go of any mental tension caused by stress.
Finally, there are hybrid strains – these plants contain a combination of indica and Sativa genetics (in varying ratios). Hybrid strains offer the benefits of both Indica and Sativa while taking away some of the more intense effects associated with each species.
These chemovars are more commonly used by manufacturers who want to create THC pain relief products because of the beneficial terpene profiles within these plants. All-in-all, Hybrids strike a nice balance between relaxation and productivity.
When it comes to finding relief from stress through cannabis use, all three types of plants have something to offer, depending on what kind of experience you’re looking for.
Sativa plants get you UP
Indica plants get you relaxed
Hybrid plants are somewhere in between the first two
With so many different types available today, there’s sure to be something that suits your needs perfectly! If you’re not into smoking cannabis, a THC gummy might be a better option. Here are your options:
Although more research is needed to confirm the efficacy of THC products for stress, smoking marijuana or eating edibles just might offer the relief you’re seeking, but directly put, there is no guarantee.
If you are considering using THC gummies as an alternative stress management supplement, please remember two things:
We 100% recommend that you speak with a medical professional first.
A 1:10 ratio of THC to CBD seems to work best. LOW THC (2.5 mg-5 mg) combined with HIGH CBD (25 mg-50 mg) per dose.
Have you used THC gummies for stress or anxiety before?
And if so, what have your experiences been like?
Don’t be shy!
Share your testimonies, submit comments, or ask questions below!