Cannabis for Stress Management
We have previously discussed the use of cannabis for managing symptoms of anxiety. But how does stress differ from anxiety? And can cannabis be used for stress management as well?
What is Stress?
According to the Mental Health Foundation, stress can be defined as the degree to which a person feels overwhelmed or unable to cope as a result of pressures that are unmanageable; symptoms can be both mental and physical and may include; irritability, anger, fatigue, muscle pain, digestive troubles, and difficulty sleeping. On the other hand, anxiety is defined by persistent, excessive worries that don’t go away even in the absence of a stressor.
It’s important to know that everyone experiences stress and that stress is a normal human reaction (such as the fight or flight response). Stress also isn’t always bad, in some non-life-threatening situations stress can motivate us; for example, encouraging us to prepare for an exam. That being said, long-term persistent stress can be harmful to your health. Those same life-saving signals that our bodies need can also interrupt our immune system, gastrointestinal system, reproductive system, as well as disrupt our sleep.
Ways to Manage Stress
There are numerous ways of managing stressors in your life and it’s important to find ways that work for you. Here are some ways to manage stress.
- Listen. It’s important to listen to your body and be aware of the signs that your stress levels are increasing. This is key to addressing the problem before it becomes unmanageable. Some of the signs may include; difficulty sleeping, increased alcohol and other substance use, being easily angered, feeling depressed, and having low energy.
- Set goals and priorities. One of the most common ways we are impacted by stress is by taking on too much and not having enough balance in our lives. Practice setting boundaries and saying no. It’s also important to focus on what you’ve accomplished rather than what you still have to do. This can be particularly important on more challenging days.
- Exercise. Regular exercise can boost the neurotransmitters in your brain that help you to manage stress. Doesn’t have to be intense exercise just try to move your body every day. Struggle with exercise? Try CBD as a motivator. Or use cannabis topicals to help manage muscle or joint pain.
- Self-Care. Engage in regular activities that you find soothing or allow you to relax. Try scheduling these activities into your life to ensure you make time for them. At Miss Envy one of our go-to self-care activities is a hot bath with a THC bath bomb.
- Stay connected. Connection with the people we love not only helps to keep our stress levels down but reminds us that we are not alone and that we can ask for help from loved ones when we need it.
- Reach out for support. If you’re struggling with persistent stress reach out to your health care provider or consider speaking to a mental health professional who can help.
- Reach for your favourite CBD products.
Cannabis for Stress Management
Many cannabis users choose to manage stress, but what does the research say?
A 2020 study on female rats found that those who consumed cannabis for a month had an overall blunted physiological response to stress. This means that after administration of cannabis the rats were less reactive to the stress stimulus. While a 2011 study found that CBD was also able to be used in the management of acute stress.
A 2018 study found that both CBD and THC reduced stress; the combination with the most significant impacts on stress was high THC and high CBD together.
Stress is somewhat challenging to directly study in humans as it is generally unethical to induce a stress response. That being said the experience of acute stress is similar to that experience of those with social anxiety disorder. So, let’s look at what the research says about the use of cannabis for social anxiety.
A 2010 study found that CBD (administered at 400mg) decreased subjective anxiety for those with social anxiety. They also found CBD changed the initial brain reaction to anxiety; brain scans showed changes in blood flow patterns in regions of the brain associated with stress.
In a 2011 study specifically on the anxiety associated with public speaking, researchers discovered that CBD significantly reduced social anxiety associated with public speaking.
Using Cannabis to Manage Stress
Having cannabis, or CBD, as part of your regular health routine can help to manage everyday stressors. Though it’s important to note that since research is still in the preliminary stages the overall long-term impacts have not been clinically recorded. Evidence also suggests cannabis can be used to help manage acute stressors.
So, what’s the best way to consume cannabis for stress management?
Of course, it is always going to be individual and it’s important to find out what is most effective for you. That being said it may make sense to incorporate CBD into your daily routine as well as have an on the go method of consumption for acute stress.
Miss Envy tinctures are discrete and easy to use on the go and come in a variety of combinations including CBD alone, 3:1 CBD/THC and 1:1 CBD/THC. Take a dose every morning or every evening and bring your favourite combination with you for fast relief. Since tinctures are dropped under the tongue and absorbed sublingually they provide faster relief than other consumption methods such as capsules. (Though capsules are perfect for a daily dose).
How much to use?
A 2019 study found 300–600 mg of CBD significantly reduced anxiety symptoms in 57 adult males. Note this is when using CBD alone, adding THC can increase the overall effects on anxiety and stress, therefore a smaller dose would necessary.
When it comes to determining the best dose we always recommend starting with a low dose and working your way up slowly until you experience the desired effects. It’s also important to take the consumption method into account as this impacts the length of time it takes to experience the desired effects.
Learn more about dosing CBD here.
If you are taking prescription medications for anxiety you may want to speak to your primary care provider as there could be possible drug interactions. Learn more about drug interactions here.
The amount of research supporting the use of cannabis for managing stress is slowly increasing as is the number of people turning to cannabis.
Do you use cannabis to help with stress? We want to hear from you! Let us know your regular cannabis routine and how it works for you in the comments.