Anxiety and cannabis are two things that most people would not expect to go hand-in-hand. Anyone new or old to cannabis will tell you of a story or two that they heard about a friend who smoked and got too paranoid or became uncomfortable. When doing research for psychology and cannabis, there are not many solid studies. Most collegiate and scholarly articles end with “This study should be considered preliminary, and several key related questions remain to be examined.” (Journal of neuroscience) Though there is clearly not enough research on the topic, there is certainly some information that can be extrapolated, and we as critical thinkers can work with what the current research shows.
There is a section of our brain called the amygdala. It is an almond shaped cluster of neurons that is connected to how we process emotion. According to the research, the amygdala will be stimulated upon smoking cannabis. The stimulation will cause one of two things to happen: either relief of anxieties, or aggravation of them. Though this is a cannabis friendly blog, my goal as the writer is to never let bias blind the truth. Yes, cannabis can definitely stimulate anxiety. So now this begs the question: how does a person use cannabis to relieve anxiety consistently without fear or paranoia?
There are two easy ways to control the relief of anxiety: dosage and strain type. Though it can be easy to get carried away with smoking, it is perhaps best to remember to use a controlled dosage when taking cannabis for anxiety. I highly recommend CBD heavy strains, as there has been a lot of promising research linking CBD with anxiety relief. Indica strains have also been known to relieve anxiety, while some Sativa strains have been known to risk aggravating anxiety. If you are intending to smoke your medicine, less is more is the best way to smoke. Instead of smoking a whole joint, only take a couple of drags. The less you actually smoke, the less risk of aggravating anxiety, and the more you get to process the medicine.
The Dosist vapor pens have been a hit at cannabis clubs and even with Time magazine as of late. When I spoke to the Dosist representative at my local cannabis club, she recommended I get the Calm Dosist pen for anxiety. Dosist gives a consistent dose every hit, vibrating at the end of each drag informing you that the dose is finished. For the more experienced cannabis user who would like to take a little more control of their dosage, the new vapor pens that have become very popular lately are very recommendable.
In conclusion, cannabis can help relieve anxiety, but it needs to be done properly. If you find your cannabis habits are aggravating your anxiety as opposed to helping it, try some of the recommended tactics above. Dosing, CBD, Indica strains, and vapor pens can change your relationship with marijuana and anxiety. Since this is a blog, please respond with your thoughts. Does dosing work for you? Have you tried the new vapor pens? How do you think they affect your anxiety as opposed to regular cannabis use?
To learn more you might find some of the papers below interesting. Reach out to Heally staff or our Marijuana Doctors to learn more!
Crippa, Alexandre, et al. “Cannabis and Anxiety: a Critical Review of the Evidence.” Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, vol. 24, no. 7, 2009, pp. 515–523., doi:10.1002/hup.1048.
James, Paul. “Cannabis and Anxiety: The Two Spectrums.” High Times, High Times Magazine, 28 Aug. 2017, hightimes.com/health/cbd/cannabis-and-anxiety-the-two-spectrums/.
Phan, K. L., et al. “Cannabinoid Modulation of Amygdala Reactivity to Social Signals of Threat in Humans.” Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 28, no. 10, May 2008, pp. 2313–2319., doi:10.1523/jneurosci.5603-07.2008.
Salzman, C. Daniel. “Amygdala.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 6 June 2016, www.britannica.com/science/amygdala.