Cannabis and Anxiety
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the US, affecting 18.1% (or 40 million people) of the adult population. There are many different types of anxiety, such as social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder.
We have all most likely felt anxiety at some point in our lives, as it is a normal reaction to stressful events or situations. It is when anxiety starts to be irrational and begins to interfere with our daily lives that it becomes a problem.
Fortunately, anxiety is treatable, and one exciting medicine at the forefront of anxiety treatment is cannabis. Many studies show that cannabis is an effective treatment for anxiety, and there are a few particular reasons for this.
Cannabinoids help reduce anxiety by interacting with the endocannabinoid system within our bodies. CB1 and CB2 receptors are present in the amygdala, an area of the brain responsible for experiences of fear and anxiety. When enacted on by THC and other cannabinoids, cannabis can help reduce activity in the amygdala.
People with anxiety disorders typically have hyperactive amygdalas. By reducing the activity there, a person's overall anxiety should also decrease.
However, to reap the benefits of using cannabis for anxiety, you'll need to use it correctly. In this article, we'll give you some helpful tips for using cannabis to soothe rather than escalate your anxiety.
#1 Start Low
"No set amount of cannabis will be suitable for everyone, and it will affect everyone differently, so it's essential to find and know your dose."
When consuming cannabis, you need to consider the dosage, since too much can cause anxiety. An obstacle to using cannabis as a treatment for anxiety is that cannabis is biphasic, which means that at low doses, it can decrease anxiety. Still, at higher doses, it can do the complete opposite.
No set amount will be suitable for everyone, and cannabis will affect everyone differently, so it's essential to know your dose. Regardless of whether you are smoking or ingesting, start with a little and work your way up from there. This process is called titration.
With smoking or vaping, the process is somewhat straightforward. Just take a puff or two and wait 30 minutes to see how you feel, then continue until you experience anxiety-relieving effects.
For ingesting cannabis, it's a little more complicated due to the prolonged onset of this application method, which can take up to two hours in some cases. Luckily, many edibles have an exact dosage measured, so it's best to stick to a specific brand that provides dose-specific options. Baked Bros™ THC syrups were designed specifically for this reason.
You should always start with one small piece of a THC gummy or a fraction of an edible (2.5 milligrams of THC being the starting point). If, after a full 8 hours, you don't feel anything, then eat just a little more on your next attempt. This process might be lengthy, but once you find your edible dosage, you'll be rewarded with a comfortable and long-lasting high, great for preventing anxiety.
#2 Terpene Selection
"...there are specific terpenes that have anxiety-reducing properties [which are] limonene, myrcene, pinene, linalool, and β-caryophyllene."
Terpenes are the volatile compounds found in cannabis that give each strain its distinct smell and taste. Researchers have found that these terpenes also play a role in the medicinal benefits of cannabis.
In fact, there are specific terpenes that have anxiety-reducing properties. The most common of these terpenes are limonene, myrcene, Pinene, linalool, and β-Caryophyllene. This is one of the benefits of using strain-specific products such as our THC gummies.
Once you know your dose, you can then start focusing on finding strains of cannabis with these anxiety-reducing terpenes. With many states requiring cannabis testing and terpene testing, it's easier now than ever to know what's in the cannabis you consume.
For example, our classic "Granddaddy Purple" strain contains a high amount of myrcene, β-Caryophyllene, and linalool. So this strain would be great for tackling and suppressing anxiety.
#3 Cannabinoid Profile
"[The Entourage Effect] could explain how cannabis can have a diverse amount of effects despite containing many of the same compounds."
Another vital thing to consider is what's known as the 'entourage effect'. This effect explains how different ratios of cannabinoids and terpenes mix together to create unique effects. It provides an explanation of how cannabis can have a diverse range of effects despite containing many of the same compounds.
This means that when looking for something to relieve anxiety, it's best not to use strictly isolated extracts. As long as there is a mixture of primary (THC and CBD) and secondary cannabinoids as well as terpenes, it should provide more relief. Our new line of CBD gummies is a 5:1 ratio of CBD to THC to capitalize on this powerful effect.
Researchers have attempted to find the best cannabinoid profile for reducing anxiety. They haven't yet found "the best" strain but did see that strains with a high amount of both β-Caryophyllene, and limonene performed better than other strains. Our sativa strain Super Sour Diesel, which is high in both β-caryophyllene and limonene, is a great daytime option for this reason.
#4 Set and Setting
"The environment plays a critical role in the reduction or increase of anxiety... You'll want to be in a comfortable and safe location that's familiar to you."
One of the most essential things for reducing anxiety when using cannabis is your mindset, which depends on where you are and what you're doing. One's environment plays a critical role in the reduction of or increase in anxiety.
As we mentioned earlier, regular anxiety can flare up due to specific situations. Make sure you don't expose yourself to anything that could trigger your anxiety. You'll need to have a calm mindset and be free of any pending obligations, especially if you are an inexperienced consumer.
You'll want to be in a comfortable and safe location that's familiar to you. Set aside enough time for how long the duration of cannabis' effects might take, especially when consuming an edible.
It's easy to underestimate how long a THC edible might last for. Sometimes they could last 8-10 hours or even the entire day. This is not even considering the time for onset. If you plan on taking a THC edible for the first time, make sure you have the whole day completely free.
When smoking or vaping cannabis, the process is a little easier to manage since the effects last a few hours maximum. Nonetheless, you don't want to underestimate the half-life of cannabis, so it's still best to have a day free from responsibilities.
#5 A Little Too Much
"Next, take deep breaths and think clearly about what's happening and understand that nothing fatal will happen to you if you over-consume edible cannabis."
If you follow these steps, you should be able to reduce your anxiety levels with cannabis. However, it's essential to know what to do if you get overly medicated, and your anxiety begins escalating.
First and foremost, stay in the present and focus on what's going on at that very moment. Fear of the future characterizes anxiety, so if you stay in the moment, you'll reduce your anxiety.
Next, take deep breaths and think clearly about what's happening and understand that nothing fatal will happen to you if you over-consume edible cannabis. When anxiety turns into panic attacks, it feels like you might be in grave danger. However, the best way to combat this is to recognize that it's a temporary feeling that will pass.
Eventually, your anxiety will dissipate as the effects of cannabis begins to wear off. It may be an unpleasant experience, but it's something that can be prevented by knowing your dose and starting slow!
Bring it All Together
Make sure to follow the steps above, being extremely careful about dosages, as well as set and setting. Baked Bros™ created our full-spectrum, strain-specific line of THC gummies, CBD gummies, and THC syrups to give consumers an ideal place to start. In no time, you'll have a perfect strain dialed in, hopefully relieving you of all your anxieties, leaving you to live a life you can enjoy.