While there’s a good deal of discussion about stress, the most consistent estimate is that more than 60% of Americans experience daily stress. Stress levels vary, but they inevitably lead to many mental and physical health issues. By now, you probably know that stress is associated with obesity, heart problems, diabetes, and even cancer. And those are just the physical issues.
Everyone finds themselves stressed out from time to time. This is why it’s so important to discuss options for coping with and treating the causes, symptoms, and effects of stress. Lifestyle factors can affect a person’s stress levels, but research has shown that cannabis can help you unwind.
What Are the Symptoms of Stress?
Stress and anxiety are often associated with a range of symptoms and side effects. Left untreated and ignored, the initial warning-sign symptoms can continue to worsen until they could become life-threatening, particularly if they evolve into chronic health issues that involve heart problems, cancer, diabetes, etc.
Cognitive symptoms can include something as simple as constant worrying and racing thoughts, or it could encompass poor judgment, lapses in your memory, and difficulty with concentrating. It could start with a headache or rapid breathing, but as it gets worse, it could include progressive physical symptoms like increased heart rate and stomach pains.
Why Is Cannabis a Solution?
Under the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp (from the hemp flower and leaf) and cannabis (cannabinoid, derived from the cannabis plant) were legalized for sale. So, they can be used as an agricultural product and that opens the possibilities for use of cannabis in therapeutic situations. One of the most consistently cited uses for cannabis is for stress and anxiety.
With approved use and legalization spreading across the US, hemp and cannabis are both used to treat a range of symptoms from anxiety and stress to seizures and high blood pressure. The overall benefits of cannabis will vary for each person, but patients report positive improvements to their anxiety and stress levels with cannabis use.
What Are the Benefits of Cannabis in Times of High Stress?
Stress relief with cannabis is not a new idea. With more than 22 million people using cannabis, many say they use it to manage some form of anxiety or stress. Studies appear to show positive CBD stress-relief effects. Researchers have discovered that cannabis may alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Patients and approved users have long claimed that cannabis offered significant stress and anxiety relieving benefits.. That’s why it’s so important to understand what the studies over the last few years have proven about the benefits of cannabis for those patients with symptoms of anxiety and stress.
What Science Says About Cannabis and Stress
Over the last few years, researchers have been diving deeper into the effects of cannabis on stress and anxiety.. In 2014, the study showed that 50% of patients who took cannabis experienced benefits from their anxiety and stress. The analysis in 2016 found similar results, but the response from women was 66%.
A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that inhaled cannabis reduces stress, anxiety, and even depression. The most recent Vanderbilt University Medical Center study was published in Neuron in 2020. The scientists looked at how the cannabis signaling system could disrupt the flow of information between the regions of the brain.
Why It’s Important to Understand the Stress-Relief Effects from Cannabis
Stress and anxiety probably affect you in varying degrees every day. With healthy coping mechanisms, you’re able to balance all the pressures of life. Some days, you just need additional support, and cannabis may offer the effective therapeutic treatment that you need. The most effective cannabis strains for anxiety and stress include ACDC, Canna Tsu, Granddaddy Purple, Jilly Bean, Purple Urkle, and Remedy.
You can improve your cannabis experience and its efficacy by eating and staying hydrated. It’s important to recognize the signs of stress and anxiety while learning to understand how it affects your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Does it trigger a panic attack? Anxiety? Does it zap your energy? Or does it trigger PTSD symptoms? As you learn to listen to your body and develop effective coping techniques, you can better determine how cannabis may help you manage stress.
To learn more about how cannabis could improve your mental health, check out episode nine of the Cannabis Science Today podcast. In this episode, host Emily Fata interviews Dr. Mark Braunstein to discuss how medical cannabis could alleviate symptoms of depression, trauma, anxiety, and addiction.
Are cannabis and marijuana the same thing?
Cannabis and marijuana are connected, but they are not the same exact thing. Cannabis is the term for the genus within the Cannabaceae family, but there are a number of plant species (~170).
Marijuana contains THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is what gets you high. But it also contains CBD (cannabidiol), which doesn’t give you the high. Cannabis can contain varieties of hemp and marijuana.
What is the projection for growth in the cannabis and marijuana industry?
Projections continue to point toward $91 billion in revenue by the year 2027. That’s still just a guess, so it could still hit a higher revenue target, based on exponential growth in the market. The market continues to grow and become more popular as legalization continues to spread.
Maldonado, Marissa. (2014, February 25). How Stress Affects Mental Health. PsychCentral. https://psychcentral.com/blog/how-stress-affects-mental-health#1
Office of the Commissioner. (2018, June 26). FDA Approves First Drug Comprised of an Active Ingredient Derived from Marijuana to Treat Rare, Severe Forms of Epilepsy. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-drug-comprised-active-ingredient-derived-marijuana-treat-rare-severe-forms
Turna, Jasmine. (2017, June 21). Is cannabis treatment for anxiety, mood, and related disorders ready for prime time? Wiley Online Library. Is cannabis treatment for anxiety, mood, and related disorders ready for prime time? – Turna – 2017 – Depression and Anxiety – Wiley Online Library
Stoner, Susan, PhD. (2017, June). Effects of Marijuana on Mental Health: Anxiety Disorders. University of Washington. https://adai.uw.edu/pubs/pdf/2017mjanxiety.pdf
Webb, Charles, MD. (2014, April). Therapeutic Benefits of Cannabis: A Patient Survey. Hawaii Journal of Medicine & Public Health. Therapeutic Benefits of Cannabis: A Patient Survey (nih.gov)
Cuttler, Carrie. (2016, July 28). Sex Differences in Cannabis Use and Effects: A Cross-Sectional Survey of Cannabis Users. UCI Center for the Study of Cannabis. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/can.2016.0010
Brambilla, P. Journal of Affective Disorders. Elsevier. https://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-affective-disorders