- Hammond Lewis
Arkansas Marijuana Card Guide: Cannabis & Anxiety
People have been treating stress and anxiety with cannabis for years, however beginners and experts both can find themselves in a little too deep with THC contents rising in the Nation. While cannabis has traditionally been used to treat anxiety, in some cases people can become more anxious, sometimes after having used cannabis for many years without any negative side effects.
In this article, we’ll cover how anxiety can happen with cannabis, and how Arkansas marijuana patients can treat it or avoid it altogether!
The Basics of Cannabis & Anxiety
Cannabis is a powerful plant, certainly capable of both reducing and increasing anxiety under specific circumstances.
While high concentrations of CBD and low doses of THC have shown clinical promise in calming anxiety, anyone who has dosed too much will know the anxiety that can come with being “too high”.
And the anxiety of being too high is very different from a sudden increase in chronic anxiety or panic attacks.
While not a concrete fact and highly relative to your biology, THC is often reported to decrease anxiety at lower doses, and potentially increase anxiety at higher doses.
The number one culprit for sudden anxiety from cannabis use is too much THC and not enough CBD or terpenes to balance THC’s stronger effects.
In fact, many THC products can frequently cause a sense of overwhelmingness for patients with a low or nonexistent tolerance.
While high THC products are critical for patients using cannabis as a long-term medication, products such as hash, edibles, and even some flower can come with THC percentages that are likely too high for beginners or those who do not have a higher tolerance from a consistent cannabis-based treatment plan.
Preventing Anxiety in Cannabis Use
The best way to address anxiety from cannabis is to prevent it from happening to begin with.
How you approach that will be highly relative to why you’re experiencing anxiety and the type of anxiety you might be having.
We’re going to focus on chronic anxiety and sudden familiar anxiety, for anxiety caused by dosing too much cannabis, check out our guide on what to do when you get too high.
Chronic anxiety is a condition that causes constant and chronic worrying, nervousness, and tension.
Sudden familiar anxiety can be considered the relapse or return of anxiety, related to a substance, environment, or experience.
Avoiding high THC products until you’ve built a tolerance, consistently dosing your cannabis, and creating familiarity in your body with cannabis are easy and important steps in preventing cannabis related anxiety.
That means maybe opt for low-THC, high-CBD flower as opposed to the 18%+ THC flower. Other suggestions include:
Add some CBD drops to your session.
Try a 5mg edible instead of the 10mg.
Take a few less puffs of the joint.
You can really do a lot by only doing a little with cannabis. Slow and low will always be a smoother ride concerning medical marijuana.
Set & Setting
Set and setting are important for cannabis users, especially early in the treatment plan. New and unfamiliar environments or uncomfortable settings can dramatically change your disposition after using cannabis.
Being in a peaceful environment can be as effective as being in a peaceful state of mind.
Everyone is different and will react differently to the many strains of cannabis. For some, an unfamiliar feeling of sedation from an indica strain can cause worry, while for others, a sativa can cause unpleasant or hyper active thoughts.
Dialing in what your body prefers can help reduce anxiety, whether it’s an indica, sativa, or hybrid.
There is a considerable number of people who report experiencing anxiety from more sativa strains than indica strains, and for Arkansas this has even led to some advertisements on certain strains such as Acid OG that have been known to cause anxiety in some patients.
New or Persistent Anxiety with Cannabis Use
You might be surprised to find out that those who have used cannabis for a long time or those that have a high tolerance can still experience anxiety with cannabis use.
Although rare, sometimes new anxieties that seem to be connected to cannabis use can even occur.
In these cases, identifying the type of anxiety that is being experienced can greatly help in treating the familiar or sudden onset of anxiety with cannabis use.
If there are identifiably physical attributes to the newfound worry, it is possible that a variety of factors such as not hydrating enough, having too much/too little caffeine or sugar, or an insufficient diet can play a role with cannabis anxiety.
However, it is far more likely that it is simply just time for a tolerance break.
Tolerance Breaks & Supplementing CBD
Often heavy users can find themselves at a point of high tolerance, where much higher doses of cannabis are required to produce what feels like the same effect from smaller doses at a lower tolerance.
When this occurs, it’s important to remember that CBD plays a critical role in reducing the intensity of THC, which in large doses can cause anxiety in some people.
When you are building your tolerance, you’re likely not taking heavy doses of high THC products like hash or concentrates that contain very little or no CBD. Even high THC flower can often contain some amount of CBD, but it is typically more present in lower THC flower.
When your tolerance increases, you will likely move to higher THC flower, or possibly higher doses of edibles, hash or concentrates. While this is perfectly fine and a stable way to make sure your cannabis products work as well as they should, it creates two new factors in your treatment plan.
1. You increase your THC.
2. You decrease your CBD.
Traditionally in Arkansas, the higher you go in THC content, the lower the CBD percentage will be in cannabis products.
When you increase your dosage, or if you move to different products with higher THC content, you’re not just taking in more THC, you’re likely taking in less CBD.
This can exponentially increase the strength of THC’s effects on your system under the right circumstances because you are not only increasing the amount of THC that goes into your body, but you are also increasing its efficiency.
Treating Anxiety with Cannabis
You can potentially solve this problem in one of two ways.
1. Take a tolerance break. Perhaps a few days or a few weeks, and you will return to a lower tolerance.
2. Supplement your higher THC products with CBD products, such as tinctures or edibles.
Often a tolerance break is the preferred method, as you’ll likely need smaller doses when you return from the break, which is obviously more affordable.
However, for certain people who need to use cannabis frequently this may not be an option.
In certain cases, there are people who might experience anxiety from cannabis use when they have a low tolerance, but don’t experience the same anxiety when they have a high tolerance.
For these people (like myself), it’s important to maintain a high tolerance and familiarity with cannabis because a decrease in tolerance could cause a period where cannabis products are too potent at lower doses, and impossibly potent at high doses.
In these cases, you can either be overwhelmed for long enough that you build a certain familiarity with the feeling or supplement the higher amount of THC with CBD products.
Everyone is different, and not everyone will respond to the same treatment plans in the same way.
Our qualified doctors can help you figure out the right balance for you, and patients receive an unlimited amount of follow ups for as long as your medical marijuana card is valid with us.
How to Calm Anxiety with Cannabis
Supplementing your THC consumption with CBD can help reduce the intensity of THC and can be a great addition to your treatment plan.
For those who start to experience new, unfamiliar, or returning anxiety only when using cannabis, and ceasing or reducing your medication is not an option, CBD products should be one of the first aims in addressing the issue after hydration, diet, and environmental stressors are ruled out.
Knowing is half the battle, and understanding the root of new or unfamiliar anxieties with cannabis can be an important part of the process in addressing underlying mental health issues.
Cannabis is a safe and healthy plant as it exists naturally, and medical marijuana products are designed for chronically and terminally ill patients.
Anxieties concerning cannabis itself can be easily mitigated by the facts, and the facts are clear about cannabis as a safe and reliable treatment option.
Afterall, cannabis is used for PTSD, a qualifying condition for medical marijuana in Arkansas, which can cause severe panic attacks and extreme nervousness.
Many properties of the cannabis plant can be used to calm anxiety and reduce stress, and it’s important to remember that THC alone might not be enough to get the job done.
Fortunately for Arkansans, a wide variety of cannabis products are available at dispensaries, and there are many options for supplementing your THC intake.
Become an Arkansas Marijuana Patient
Qualifying Arkansas patients can schedule an appointment to meet with one of our certified physicians and get approved for medical marijuana treatment.
We’re dedicated to helping patients every step of the way, feel free to give us a call at 844-249-8714, and we can answer your questions about getting medical marijuana in Arkansas.
Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.
Helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
If you have any questions, call us at 844-249-8714, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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