Stress and anxiety are feelings of apprehension that most of us experience at some point in our lives; however, when not coped with properly, these feelings can have debilitating effects on our daily lives. Anxiety is a reaction that occurs when stress is anticipated; it is a general state of fear, worry, or unease. Stress and anxiety can bring about symptoms such as: insomnia, headaches, low energy, gastrointestinal and digestive problems, chest pain or trouble breathing, frequent illnesses, muscle tension, irritability.
When selecting cannabis for treatment of anxiety and stress the correct strain as well as cannabinoid type is very important to consider; tolerance is also very important. CBD acts on the serotonin receptors in the brain which boost mood and even regenerate brain cells that may be damaged due to high cortisol levels from chronic stress. CBD has anti-anxiety properties as well as anti-psychotic characteristics which help mitigate unwanted mental effects of stress. Strains that are high in THC can cause temporary paranoia and may exacerbate anxiety in some individuals, particularly inexperienced cannabis users. High THC strains should be avoided when first treating stress and anxiety with cannabis.
However, certain strains containing very low doses of THC, just CBD, or 1:1 CBD THC, have been shown to alleviate stress and anxiety, especially if the anxiety or stress is caused by other physiological symptoms. THC is an excellent analgesic and is used to treat a wide array of ailments, so THC’s ability to alleviate the symptoms of underlying ailments can help reduce stress and anxiety.
Various terpenes in different strains will also affect how one feels. Selecting strains higher in limonene, which energizes and elevates mood, can boost resilience to stress and anxiety. Strains higher in myrcene and linalool will have calming and relaxing effects.
Treatment of stress and anxiety is most effective with CBD, the non-psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. CBD can be administered using various methods depending on preference. Inexperienced users or those concerned about psychoactive effects are advised to start off with strains or products containing only CBD. Over time, low levels of THC can be incorporated. If using THC, try to select strains higher in linalool and/or myrcene. Beta-Caryophyllene has also shown promise as a terpene that helps reduce anxiety, depression, and can help shield against paranoia experienced by some users.