It’s no secret that cannabis is an effective relaxant. In fact, when you ask cannabis consumers what marijuana does for them, “relaxation” is the most common answer.
A survey published by Yahoo News-Marist in 2017, revealed that 37 percent claimed stress relief as the reason for using the herb. And with more American adults consuming cannabis as legalization spreads, so is the number of people who enjoy its stress-relieving qualities.
Stress is a killer – literally. According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death:
- Heart disease
- Lung ailments
- Cirrhosis of the liver
More than 75 percent of all physician office visits are for stress-related issues. Health professionals agree that stress affects your brain, suppresses your thyroid, causes blood sugar imbalances, decreases bone density and muscle tissue, raises blood pressure, reduces your immunity and ability to heal, and increases fat deposits around your abdomen that are associated with heart attacks, strokes and elevated “bad” cholesterol.
It’s no wonder, then, that cannabis as a way to chill at the end of the day is growing in popularity. But the latest science makes it pretty clear that when it comes to cannabis and relaxation, less is more. That’s right: For maximum relaxation, a low dose goes a long way.
Does Marijuana Relax You?
According to a study conducted last year by the University of Chicago’s Department of Psychiatry Behavioral Neuroscience and published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, too much cannabis at one time may have the opposite intended effect. The study concluded that “a low dose of THC produces subjective stress-relieving effects in line with those commonly reported among cannabis users, but that higher doses may non-specifically increase negative mood.”
Cannabis is dose dependent. It goes without saying that the more someone uses, the more intense the effects. In the University of Chicago study, researchers selected 42 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 40, all of whom were familiar with cannabis but not daily users. The study’s protocol divided the subjects into three cohorts: A low-dose (7.5 milligrams of THC) group, a high-dose (12.5 mg) group and a placebo group.
“We found that THC at low doses reduced stress, while higher doses had the opposite effect,” said Emma Childs, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago and an author of the study. “The doses used in the study produce effects that are equivalent to only a few puffs of a cannabis cigarette,” said Childs.
There were no significant differences in participants’ blood pressure, heart rate or cortisol levels — before, during or after the doses or the tasks.
Cannabis And Stress
“Our findings provide some support for the common claim that cannabis is used to reduce stress and relieve tension and anxiety,” Childs said. “At the same time, our finding that participants in the higher THC group reported small but significant increases in anxiety and negative mood throughout the test supports the idea that THC can also produce the opposite effect.”
So, what does this mean for you?
Available science suggests that, indeed, cannabis will help you chill out at the end of a long day. But moderation is essential.
If your objective is to relax, here are some factors to consider:
- Dose: Start low and go slow. The amount needed will vary, depending on gender, weight, time of day, food and beverage intake and a host of other factors. But try starting with 5-10 milligrams and see if you feel chill. You can always use more if needed.
- Environment: Find a comfortable place that makes you feel at ease. For some, this is your sofa in front of the TV. Or maybe a hot bath. Anywhere that centers you and provides comfort.
- Method: More and more cannabis consumers are moving away from smoking the herb and are finding other methods more efficient. For relaxation, low-dose tinctures are becoming popular. Cannabis topicals and bath bombs provide excellent relaxation benefits.
- Type of cannabis: As your Greenlight Approved retail specialist for cannabis products higher in CBD and lower in THC. Also, indica-dominant strains of cannabis will typically be better than sativa strains.