Stressed out . Stress is a very powerful energy and it’s the great commonality of modern life. If you’re alive, it seems, you’re stressed. We all know, though, that stress is more than just energy. It is negative energy that can create serious physical problems. It can affect heart health and blood pressure and cause aches and pains and gastrointestinal ailments.
Other impacts can include racing thoughts and a lack of appetite. However, the worst effect could be insomnia – because lack of sleep has a terrible impact on every body system.
Stress is the manifestation of fight or flight response. It’s your brain's powerful reaction to perceived dangers. We all know, though, that we can’t live in a constant fight or flight posture. It will literally kill us.
Cannabis Can Help with Stress
Many people use medical marijuana to help with stress and anxiety. In fact, where medical marijuana is legal, anxiety is one of the qualifying conditions to receive a prescription.
Anecdotally, we all know someone who uses marijuana to treat anxiety, with or without a prescription. Clinical research shows that medical marijuana reduces fear, lowers elevated heart rates and blood pressure, and dampens the long-term effects of stress.
There is also self-reported data that traced the effects of vaping and smoking marijuana. For example, 58% of respondents saw a reduction in anxiety and stress following cannabis use.
Other Changes You Can Make
It’s essential to look at the stress in our lives and figure out what we can change to lessen it. Begin with the calendar – what can you give up that will give you more time to relax? There is magic in the word “No.”
Exercise is a great way to de-stress and strengthen your heart and other muscles while you’re at it. Meditation is the low-tech way to change how your brain functions, opening new avenues to peace and clarity. Eating vegetables and other healthy foods will literally build a more resilient body. In short: be as healthy as you can.
Don’t forget about what you love, what you’ve always done purely for the pleasure you feel, and the way it feeds your soul. We might refer to this as a “hobby” -- a word that trivializes the need to get back to what makes you, you. Think of what you most wanted to experience as a kid before the world rushed in with all its intense scheduling and pressures.
Talking to someone can make a huge difference in lessening your stress load. Talk to friends. Find a therapist. Journal or write on your blog. Giving words to intense experiences and distressing memories can help redistribute the psychic burdens.
Your Approach to Medical Marijuana and Stress
If you’re new to medical marijuana, the key is our favorite mantra: "start low - go slow". While medical marijuana is an obvious solution to the problem of stress for many, you need to develop your own, individualized approach.
Too much THC can make you feel more anxious. That’s why it’s crucial to go slowly! Finding the correct balance for your system with THC and CBD will be essential to finding relief.
Cannabinoid Ratios Can Be the Key
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are two components of cannabis that have the same chemical makeup but not the same chemical arrangement. Your brain processes them as different compounds.
The cannabinoids THC and CBD interact with CB1 receptors (found in the nervous and respiratory systems) and CB2 receptors (within the immune and digestive systems). Because everyone’s physiology is unique, it is vital to tinker with different ratios of THC to CBD.
Starting with a microdose of THC, which gives an almost imperceptible buzz, is a good idea. Then, go low, go slow. Many have found a 1:1 THC/CBD ratio works well. Soon, you will be able to dial in the correct ratio to suit you. A budtender at your local dispensary will be able to help with this.
Let’s Get Serious
Medical marijuana holds promise for the treatment of some serious illnesses, such as OCD and PTSD. It is unfortunate that the U.S. the Veterans Administration (V.A.) still considers marijuana a “dangerous” drug, as many veterans with PTSD could benefit from medical marijuana treatment.
There is a lot of hope, though, that this will change soon and that medical marijuana will receive more study, acceptance, and legalization. Then, more people who are suffering could find relief.
Help Is Out There
The way to begin to change the amount of stress in your life is to first recognize how much it may be affecting you. We’ve all had quite a year+, with the COVID-19 pandemic taking over so much of our lives. Quite a year and three-quarters… Some parents have had to deal with childcare disappearing or managing children's schooling at home, all while trying to work at home themselves.
Some of us face grueling commutes at the beginnings and ends of most of our days. Many of us live with chronic health concerns. Parents are aging. Expenses go up, but our pay doesn’t. The good news is that though we can’t always shift those burdens, we can change how we handle them.
Medical marijuana can be one tool you can add to your workbench that can help make all the other work more bearable. It is not a cure, but it can be a way to ease your stress and anxieties and make your life better.