Stress is an unavoidable part of life. Work, money, partnerships, and even sports may all cause stress. Although many people seek out traditional drug-based therapies for the treatment of stress and stress-related symptoms, marijuana can be used as a safe alternative to help with both acute and chronic stress.
What Exactly Is Stress?
Simply said, stress is your body’s natural reaction to perceived dangers. Stress can be beneficial in the sense that it can power you to do better in situations where you must react quickly. Stress can be acute and prompt reactions to major pressing issues are possible. However, it may also reach peak levels and linger for extended periods of time. When this happens, stress becomes chronic and has the potential to do you harm.
When a person is subjected to continual challenges for an extended amount of time, it’s known as chronic stress. Chronic stress can be caused by marital difficulties, persistent poverty, and an unappealing working environment. The following are some of the ways that chronic stress may harm you:
- The digestive and immune systems
- Muscle function
- Sleep routine and patterns
All of this long-term stress can result in physical effects like:
- Profuse sweating
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Weight gain
On the emotional level, chronic stress can trigger feelings of:
What the Research Says on Cannabis as a Stress Reliever
On April 24, 2018, The Journal of Affective Disorders published a study conducted by Washington State University. According to the study, cannabis products with relatively high amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) reduced stress symptoms significantly. Products with THC levels of 26.5% and CBD concentrations above 11 were most effective for reducing stress.
According to a third study from the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Chicago, cannabis lowers stress only if used in small amounts. If high doses of marijuana are consumed, it might have the opposite impact and increase rather than decrease stress levels.
Researchers from the University at Buffalo’s Research Institute discovered that cannabis fights depression caused by chronic stress. They found that THC and CBD act as a mood stabilizer, replacing those neurotransmitters missing from a person’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), and then function as a stress reliever. Low doses were determined to be most effective once again.
Little evidence of THC and CBD for mental illness
The researchers’ review included 83 research papers published between 1980 and 2018 that addressed the use of cannabinoids to treat symptoms of mental illnesses.
The study also looked at therapies for sadness, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), psychosomatic symptoms and Tourette syndrome.
Only 40 of the 650 papers were randomized controlled trials, the highest level of medical evidence. The majority of these were modest — with fewer than 40 participants each — and lasted for just 4 to 5 weeks.
Pharmaceutical THC, with or without CBD, reduced anxiety symptoms in persons with other medical problems when compared to a non-active placebo, according to researchers.
According to the Northwell Health Physician Partners’ Behavioral Health Group Practice in Manhasset, New York, however, this evidence was “of low quality” and based on just seven studies with 252 patients.
There was no difference in the symptoms of depression among individuals who took pharmaceutical THC, whether it was combined with CBD or not. Most of the studies on anxiety and depression were for conditions like chronic non-cancer pain and multiple sclerosis, with anxiety or depression as a secondary symptom.
THC, on the other hand, is a cannabinoid that causes “highs.” CBD is a cannabinoid that does not produce intoxication. Both THC and CBD are found in cannabis and some of its derivatives. CBD oils with no or little THC are also available.
According to the authors, several studies have shown that people who use cannabis for anxiety report fewer negative emotions and a reduction in anxiety symptoms. The fact that the pharmaceutical THC relieved the main medical problem’s symptoms may explain this.
The researchers discovered no proof that any cannabinoid therapy helped individuals with PTSD, ADHD, psychosis, or Tourette syndrome. In fact, one research suggests that pharmaceutical THC made the symptoms of mental illness worse.
In addition, pharmaceutical THC (with or without CBD) was linked to an increase in adverse events by Parikh, who was not involved in the research. There was also a nearly threefold rise in individuals dropping out of the studies owing to unfavorable effects, she added.
There’s a high potential for negative side effects when cannabis is taken in the wrong dosage or at the wrong time. Cannabis use, especially when used improperly or without due consideration, has been linked to depression, anxiety, and psychosis.
Psychiatrists recommend caution in using CBD and THC
Many people with chronic pain use cannabis to alleviate their symptoms and avoid the severe drawbacks of long-term opioid usage.
However, according to some study, many individuals use cannabinoids to cure a mental health problem. People who self-medicate with marijuana and suffer from anxiety or depression
However, according to a recent research, there isn’t enough evidence yet to support the use of cannabis in mental health issues. This doesn’t imply that this will remain the case as additional research is completed.
“Cannabinoids may have potential for therapy, therefore they need to be studied,” Drits added. Parikh agreed that further data is required, ideally from high-quality research such as randomized controlled trials.”
The researchers of the most recent study believe that further studies are necessary to research the advantages of pharmaceutical CBD for certain diseases, including psychosis. The present article’s authors warn that people should be cautious about utilizing cannabinoids to cure a mental health problem, especially if it is not treated or inadequately handled.
Some cannabinoids can cause a slew of unpleasant side effects in certain cases. “What we find in our practice is that psychiatric symptoms can be exacerbated — especially the incidence of psychosis,” said Parikh.
Furthermore, cannabinoid research often uses pharmaceutical-grade substances with a known dose and no contaminants. The CBD or THC oils sold at a dispensary — particularly from a gas station or local market — might not be as high quality as they appear.
“Many individuals who utilize cannabinoids in non-clinical environments are using the plant or oils, which are not regulated and have been shown to be mislabeled,” Drits added.
Plant cannabis may not have the correct amount of CBD and THC to produce similar effects.
If individuals choose to use these goods to enhance their mental health, they should avoid self-medicating, which has the potential to cause severe problems.
Why Use Cannabis As A Supplement Or Substitute For Prescription Drugs?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in five people in the United States suffers from a mental health condition. In 2019, an estimated 51.5 million Americans were living with a mental illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, which equates to about 1 in 5 individuals. It might be tough and frustrating for this large group of Americans not to feel as if they are improving while taking prescription medicines. There are several reasons why individuals choose to utilize marijuana as a substitute therapy.
The fact is that prescription drugs are some of the most hazardous items on the planet. They are addicting, and their side effects can last for weeks or months after you stop taking them. These are some of the adverse effects associated with commonly used SSRIs and SNRIs:
- Decreased sex drive
- Dry mouth
- Lethargic or sedating feelings
- Weight loss
There are a lot of drug interactions that can be potentially deadly when mixed with other medicines. This is why, in the eyes of both doctors and patients, medical cannabis (marijuana) is sometimes seen as less hazardous than prescription drugs.
Marijuana is a safer option for treating mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and pain. Unlike these prescription medicines, marijuana does not have the same addictive qualities that induce unpleasant withdrawal symptoms or even addiction. It also has an extremely small risk of deadly drug interactions with other drugs, if any at all.
Many patients who have been treated with cannabis report that it has a greater mood-brightening and anxiety-reducing impact than their prior medicines.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta stated, “It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and it has real medical applications. In fact, marijuana is sometimes the only thing that works. It’s irresponsible not to give the greatest care we can as a healthcare community; that care might include cannabis. For nearly 70 years in the United States, we’ve been horribly and systematically misled, and I apologize for my part in it.”
- Prescription drugs are costly and may have severe negative effects. Marijuana has not been shown to be habit-forming or harmful, according to studies.
- Marijuana does not interact with other medicines, but many prescription drugs do. Marijuana does not cause a heart attack or interfere with other medications, as can antibiotic pills.
- Marijuana is a natural substance that does not contain hazardous synthetic chemicals, unlike prescription medicines.
- When compared to prescription medications, marijuana is more likely to lead to a complete and long-lasting recovery from depression.
What Kind Of Medical Marijuana Is Best For Stress, Depression And Anxiety?
Alternative medicines, such as CBD, can assist with mental health issues like stress, sadness, and anxiety. It’s critical to discover something you love so it may function as an effective substitute for prescription medication. The Strain Assessment Program was created to help us understand which strains are best for which diseases. Patients play a vital function in our Patient Pioneers program. They rate and review cannabis products and strains across delivery methods (flower, concentrates, vapes, etc.) so that MÜV may learn more about them, provide data to the cannabis industry, and assist other patients on their medical marijuana path.
Here are the top seven strains that we’ve discovered through our patient Strainprint Data:
There are numerous tried-and-true stress-relieving cannabis strains available. Because everyone is unique, it may take some trial and error to discover the strain that works best for you. Here are a few alternatives to consider:
- OG Kush: The OG Kush or Pink Kush strain is a sativa or indica cross. The ideal time to consume this marijuana product is before bedtime, according to many consumers. It has been shown to help with stress-induced headaches and migraines. It creates a sense of contentment and improves mood that’s nearly immediate. Because many people claim it makes them sleepy, it should be consumed at home before going to bed.
- White Widow: The White Widow strain is well-known across the world as a result of its popularity. It’s made up of South Indian indica and Brazilian sativa plants, both of which are known for producing copious amounts of resin. Users claim that White Widow improves their energy levels and increases their creativity.
- Sour Diesel: Sour Diesel is a high-THC sativa strain that is well known for boosting productivity and providing energy. People who are feeling chronic stress with associated symptoms such as pain, anxiety, lack of appetite, and sleeplessness enjoy this plant.
- Cannatonic: Cannatonic cannabis strain is well balanced in terms of THC to CBD ratio, although some strains have a greater CBD content. As a result, Cannatonic has a relaxing effect that relieves anxiety and paranoia.
- Green Crack: Green Crack, like the majority of other marijuana strains, increases energy levels and generates feelings of joy. This sativa-dominant strain, on the other hand, doesn’t make you feel tired or drowsy. Green Crack is said to enhance mental clarity in most users.
- Blue Dream: Blue Dream is a sativa-dominant hybrid with stronger THC levels, while the indica-dominant Harlequin is more sedative. As a result, it may cause physical relaxation and raise mood.
- AK-47: Contrary to its fearsome name, the AK-47 is known for encouraging innovation while also allowing relaxation. This sativa-dominant hybrid is also recognized to stimulate hunger, which can be beneficial to people who lose their appetite when they’re under a lot of pressure.
Indica strains and hybrids, for example, Blueberry Diesel, OG Kush, and Super Lemon Haze are all effective treatments for stress. These cannabis strains aid in the production of feelings of happiness and calmness, so they may be used to treat acute or chronic stress. Cannabis must be consumed in low, moderate doses to effectively relieve tension, according to a number of studies.
Consult with your doctor on how to integrate cannabis into other types of stress therapy and/or medicines.
Every person’s body chemistry is unique, resulting in a distinctive cannabis experience. Individual responses to cannabis vary, with some strains being more helpful than others. These are excellent places to start if you’re looking for something new.
If you have mental health problems or are searching for natural ways to improve your emotional well-being, one of the above strains may be beneficial.
However, as with any type of cannabis, it is usually best to start with a small dose. That is, at the least until you’ve figured out the chemical composition of the cannabis.