Stress negatively affects the quality of life for millions of Americans. It can begin as something small and seemingly inconsequential and from there snowball into a much larger problem that can lead to depression, insomnia, and anxiety. The good news is that medical cannabis, and specifically the oil extracted from the medical marijuana plant, is wonderful at easing the symptoms of stress and restoring balance and peace of mind. While conventional medicine attempts to treat stress with pharmaceuticals, we know that those don’t deal with the underlying problems or causes of stress and often leave patients feeling worse and experiencing many unpleasant side effects. For these and other patients struggling with stress management, a switch to a natural high grade cannabis oil is the safest and most effective treatment option available.
There are many ways to consume medical cannabis and with the large range of strains available, it can be overwhelming for a patient to decide on the best way to manage their stress symptoms. It certainly doesn’t help matters that many times a patient’s first experience with cannabis has been through smoking it- often with negative results. When cannabis is inhaled through smoke, the effect can be very disorienting and, depending on the chemical compound of the strain being used, the patient can feel stimulated and have many of the symptoms that we commonly associate with anxiety and stress. Racing thoughts, pounding heart, heavy breathing- this is the opposite result of what they wanted! In contrast, when cannabis is taken orally in the form of an expressed oil, it becomes much easier to control the dose and prevent those unwanted feelings of being “high” or excessively stimulated. This is why it is very important that each patient speak with a qualified dosing specialist and come up with their individualized treatment plan.
Cannabis oil is a distilled and concentrated form of the compounds found within the marijuana plant with the plant itself removed during the distillation process. The two main chemical compounds left in the oil are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and cannabidiol (CBD). In simplified terms, THC is the chemical which will begin to alleviate the most acute stressful symptoms immediately while CBD works in the background, relieving inflammation and encouraging the body to create appropriate connections between neurotransmitters in the brain, receptors, and the body’s central nervous system. By taking a regulated dose of a cannabis oil naturally high in CBD, the brain is encouraged to effectively minimize stress in the area of the basolateral amygdala, which is the area where the brain receives a majority of sensory information. CBD also affects the hippocampus, which is believed to be the center of stored human emotions. We believe that a high quality cannabis oil must contain both THC and CBD, working together in synergy to manage the stress and anxiety that many of our members are dealing with.
Another important factor to consider when using medical cannabis is the chemical compounds in each strain and how they will affect a patient. A strain naturally high in the strain sativa, for example, can lead to the unwanted symptoms discussed above when taken irresponsibly and at a high dose. When taken at a low therapeutic dose this same sativa strain can help a patient to feel uplifted and to have energy, focus, and mental clarity. On the other side of the cannabis spectrum, an indica strain can have a soothing and calming effect- perfect for stress management! A quality cannabis oil made from an indica strain when taken at a low or even micro-dose helps patients to mentally unwind and recharge from the stressors in their life and maintain this feeling much longer than with smoking.
With so much confusion about how cannabis affects patients, it’s important to speak to a medical cannabis professional who can help to demystify this plant and its many uses. A compassionate dosing specialist will take a patient’s entire health profile into consideration and develop a treatment plan that includes appropriate dosing protocols based on the patient’s current needs and long-term health goals. The correct ratio of THC to CBD as well as the strain and method of ingestion all play an important role in managing the symptoms of stress. A compassionate cannabis care team needs to take a holistic approach to wellness. They must examine each patient’s lifestyle, diet, sleep habits, and any current medications they may be taking to ensure they receive the most efficient protocol to begin treating stress right away in the healthiest way possible and without the often dangerous side effects of pharmaceutical medications.