ANXIETY ON THE RISE
Living with anxiety can be incredibly frustrating. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States 18 and older. For these people, finding ways to cope can be overwhelming. Some people will seek out therapy for treatment while over 1 in 6 Americans will opt to find a prescription to treat their anxiety disorder.
While these options are often very effective, consuming cannabis instead can be a natural alternative to a prescription and works well in conjunction with therapy. Here are some ways in which an anxious person can safely and happily consume cannabis, from someone who has gone from daily panic attacks to only one per year.
Indica Strains for Relaxation
Start with an indica strain, or at least an indica dominant hybrid. Indica strains are known for having more of a body high than sativa. Many people find indica to be more relaxing too. This aids in helping calm an anxious mind, as sometimes I’ve found that sativa strains can lead to a panic attack when the head high they produce becomes too intense.
JOINTS FOR PANIC ATTACKS
If you’re prone to panic attacks, then I recommend using joints or a simple pipe to smoke. The great thing about a joint and pipe versus using a bong or eating an edible, is that it’s easier to control your dosing. Taking a few small hits of a joint and then taking a few deep breaths is a great start to calming yourself during a panic attack. Smoking from a bong is almost always guaranteed to get you higher than using a pipe or joint, and that means there’s a stronger chance that you will get too high. Thus, a joint is the way to go to find that sweet calming high and relaxation the anxious mind craves.
Practice micro-dosing. Work to find your MED or minimum effective dose. I find that taking a puff or two off my vaporizer and then waiting about half an hour before taking one or two more is a great way to test out your doses. I recommend a vaporizer for micro-dosing as it’s less smelly and faster than using a pipe or joint. Micro-dosing can be favorable because often you get the calming effects of an indica strain but not the high. It’s a great way to calm myself during an anxious moment without the regular high of smoking. Everyone is different, so practicing will help you figure out just how much you need to calm down but not get high.
THINGS TO AVOID
Finally, I think it’s important to know what things to avoid when using cannabis to cope with an anxiety disorder. Getting too high will often make a person more anxious, so avoid consuming cannabis in ways that are known to get a person very high. I personally avoid edibles when anxious, because by the time you feel the effects, you can’t go back on what you’ve eaten. I also avoid dabbing. As with bongs, a dab will get you higher, faster, which sometimes can be too much for an anxious mind.
So, for the person who wants to use cannabis as a natural treatment for an anxiety disorder, remember the following. Joints and pipes are your friends, bongs and dabs, may not be. Use an indica strain to relax the body and keep the mind from spiraling, and practice micro-dosing as a simple method to relax.