Anxiety & Cannabis? How not to get paranoid.
Anxiety and cannabis can have a complex relationship. Many factors will contribute to this relationship, and boundaries need to be respected when diagnosed with anxiety who uses cannabis. I HIGHLY SUGGEST talking to a medical professional before consuming any cannabis products, especially if you're on ANY medication. As a cannabis consumer who has been diagnosed with anxiety, I'll be writing most of this blog from a personal perspective.
I stress and cannot say this enough, and PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THIS AS MEDICAL ADVICE. I am not a medical professional. I highly recommend Apollo Clinics to talk about anything regarding medical cannabis use. They're accessible and very thorough. https://apollocannabis.ca/
Cannabis is complicated, and so is anxiety. What works for me may not work for you. Throughout my cannabis journey, My respect for the plant had to shift. I realised my cannabis consumption hindered me and was preventing me from getting proper help. I spent too much time being influenced by others that I hadn't found the right strain or using enough CBD. Sometimes you need artificial medication to fix the broken receptors in your brain & there is NO shame in that. I promise.
Will Sativa strains intensify my anxiety?
It has to do with the THC content. If you're prone to being anxious when consuming cannabis, you may want to look at a strain that has a higher CBD content. THC is known to trigger the amygdala area of the brain, which is responsible for fear and can cause anxiety and paranoia. When it comes to cannabis for anxiety, Less is more. When you're consuming larger doses of cannabis, whether you're smoking or eating edibles. The more THC you consume, the more chance you'll have of triggering your anxiety. Lower doses of THC are proven to help lessen the symptoms of anxiety.
This isn't necessarily true when it comes to everyone. Each person is unique, and a lot of it plays into your endocannabinoid system. The ECS is a vast system of receptors that are found in our brains. Gut, organs & skin. These receptors are widespread and play a vital role in keeping our bodies in good healthy balance. Our body naturally produces cannabinoids, and when these go awry, cannabis can come to the rescue to help restore balance to ECS.
Can cannabis interact with my SSRIs- selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors?
There has not been a substantial amount of information when it comes to combining cannabis and anxiety medication. The information available is based on limited studies & patient reports. Due to a lack of extensive research, we advise you to speak with a medical practitioner before proceeding with cannabis use.
SSRIs such as Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, Zoloft, and Lexapro are among the most common prescriptions for anxiety. There have been very few reports of adverse reactions between SSRIs and cannabis, but there is still a tiny chance it can happen. Read more here.
SideNote*- I am a medical cannabis patient, and I am prescribed medical cannabis. I use medical cannabis in conjunction with my prescribed anxiety medication. I'm on Effexor and take it daily to manage my symptoms. I need the medication to keep my brain functioning, and there's absolutely no shame in that.
How to choose the right strain.
When looking for a strain to help your anxiety remember the higher THC content, the more chance of inducing panic. Finding a strain that's balanced with CBD is the preferred strain for my personal use. Luckily for us, with legal cannabis, more and more options are becoming available to us. Below I'll list some of my favourite strains that I've had great results with.
Despite its scary anxiety-inducing clown name, Pennywise is actually a tremendous balanced strain. This 1:1 strain is a cross between Jack The Ripper and Harlequin. Its earth aroma and taste are truly unique to the strain. The effects are what draw consumers to the strain. Known for its anxiety-reducing, relaxing and creative vibes, this strain is excellent for those looking to unwind and calm down their minds. The head high is not overly cerebral, so it allows you to function while remaining calm. This strain is also excellent for releasing tension in the body that many people who have anxiety carry.
This Sativa dominant hybrid is a strain that's loved amongst new and even the most experienced cannabis connoisseurs. With its parents being blueberry and Haze, its genetics mash together to create a fantastic flavour profile that will blow your mind. Blue dream gives you the full-body high with a gentle cerebral massage to invigorate uplifted and creative vibes. This strain won't put your brain in a fog or cause paranoia. Blue dream leaves its users happy, relaxed, and focused without causing its users to "burnout" when the high comes down. Its flavour profile has been described as blueberry scented with a touch of an old library. Not an unpleasant odour, but it's like reading an old book in a blueberry field.
Gorilla Glue #4 aka GG4
This indica dominant hybrid can clock in at THC percentages of almost 30%. It's a popular favourite for those looking to "glue" themselves to the couch. Its resinous trichome caked buds are almost glue-like, giving them that classic sticky cannabis feel. Flavours of chocolate, diesel, and pine tickle your senses and give off that nice cannabis smell. This is not a strain to use during the daytime unless your plans are chilling on the couch with snacks, binging Netflix.
It gives you a high dose of euphoria without anxiety nagging at you. It's great for relaxing and unwinding by yourself or with friends as it induces feelings of joy and giggles. Medical users like GG4 for its superb pain relief qualities. Make sure to have water on hand because this strain will leave you thirsty as heck.
An infamous pure indica that's notorious for its sedating effects. When consumed, you're instantly wrapped in a feeling of comfort and joy. Kind of like drinking your favourite tea on a cold day! Bubba Kush has an excellent flavour profile with all the best cannabis scents combined. It's a lemon, earthy, with a coffee in the smell of the wood. As a classic indica, the effects give you happy, sleepy, cosy feelings with a blanket of dream-like euphoria consuming you. The appearance of the buds is light green with orange hairs. It typically has medium round sized buds with a pleasant but fluffy density. Make sure to have snacks on hand as this strain is known to induce appetite.
I got "too high", What can I do?
If this happens, do not panic, follow these tips to help ease the high.
Get some fresh air, this will clear your mind some.
Go lay down in bed
Try some CBD. CBD is known to counteract the effects of THC
Distract yourself with a movie, music, or friends!
A glass of cold water or smelling/chewing fresh peppercorns can counteract anxiety induced by THC. ( But let’s be realistic, most people do not keep fresh peppercorns in their house).