Dosing Cannabis to Increase Relaxation
Part two in our blog series Understanding the Relationship Between Cannabis and Anxiety.
Written By: CannaRanda B
“Educated – Medicated – Dedicated”
Everyone comes to cannabis for a different reason. As a budtender at Urban Farmacy, I see many people seeking assistance in de-stressing and relaxation. Understanding how cannabis works inside your body can help you dial in your experience. How you dose your cannabis, the ratios of cannabinoids and terpene content you select will all impact your experience, and this can be different for each person. I will outline some facts and experiences to help get you started exploring your personal cannabis plan!
Let’s start by looking at an overview of two cannabinoids from the cannabis plant: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC is widely known as an intoxicating compound, and CBD is non-intoxicating and mildly psychotropic. As discussed in my previous blog “Physiology of Anxiety & Cannabinoids,” I cover how the body finds itself in an anxious state, as well as some of the science behind how cannabis, specifically CBD, interacts with the body. If you are a cannabis user, the next step is figuring out how to use cannabinoids in a way that is compatible with your own unique system. I have found that a successful strategy is to evaluate current research and scientific information, then combine that with my personal experience.
In a number of studies, THC was shown in low doses to decrease anxious symptoms in mice, but larger doses showed increased anxiety in some of the test subjects. This is a varying and dynamic experience many people recount in their experiences with cannabis also. CBD, however, has been shown to counteract or reduce the “negative” side effects of THC. When I say negative, I mean intoxication, anxiety, paranoia, lethargy, and the undesirable side effects of cannabis use. By using a high ratio of CBD to THC, you can amplify the relaxation effects that can be available through a cannabis experience. Further, including CBD in your cannabinoid ratio can decrease the intoxicating effects.
Appropriate dosing will depend on your situation as well as your comfort level. Some find success using what is referred to as a “microdose” throughout the day, or as needed. A microdose can range anywhere from 1-10mg and you can usually find this by slowly introducing more until you find your desired effect. Being that CBD is not psychoactive, it is easy to manage this throughout the day, but I always recommend starting your dosing at night, especially if you are opting for a product with a tiny bit of THC.
THC improves the bioavailability of CBD, but also increases the relaxation aspect to cannabis use. That said, at low doses (1mg or less) it is very unlikely to result in an excessively relaxed or sleepy experience. Our bodies gain a tolerance to THC, so as you take it, this becomes less noticeable over time. Current research suggests the possiblity that our bodies do not gain a tolerance to CBD, so chances are, once you find your dose, it will continue to work.
We always encourage everyone to start low and slow with their cannabis doses. This way you can find the sweet spot without overdoing it. I found incredible success after beginning with a larger dose of CBD. Using a 20:1 ratio of CBD: THC, I started with 17 mg CBD with less than 1 mg of THC once at night and increasing to a twice-daily dose. Over a period of time I was able to decrease this daily dose and now manage with a once-daily microdose of 5mg, using additional microdoses as needed.
There are different consumption methods to consider: edibles, sublingual applications (eg. tinctures), smoking, or vaping. Now there are even products like cannabinoid inhalers. Make sure to do your research about how each different consumption method will change the cannabinoids and impact your body. When selecting a product, I encourage you to look for products that are full spectrum, meaning all compounds of the plant vs. an isolated compound. More and more studies are finding the plant works better as a whole in what people commonly refer to as the entourage effect. Beyond that, consider your terpene content for additional effects and increased bioavailability which I will expand on in part three.
Since each person’s endogenous cannabinoid system is unique, remember using cannabis is endeavoring on a personal experiment. My hope is that this information helps you navigate your experiment. As promised, in the third segment of this three-part blog, I will go into recreational cannabis and how to enjoy it without experiencing negative side effects. Thank you for reading; until next time!
*Hemp CBD is becoming easier to find almost anywhere, but always know your source when selecting a CBD product. The compound CBD is the same whether from hemp or cannabis, but know that hemp CBD is not regulated and can contain anything from pesticides to heavy metals and might not have the cannabinoid content it claims to have. I suggest selecting oil from a trusted dispensary or an organic local hemp source.
THE JOURNAL OF PHARMACOLOGY AND EXPERIMENTAL THERAPEUTICS Vol. 318, No.
Esther M. Blessing,1 Maria M. Steenkamp,1 Jorge Manzanares,1,2 and Charles R. Marmar1
“Cannabidiol as a potential treatment for anxiety disorders” Oct 2015
Scott Shannon, MD, ABIHM, Janet Opila-Lehman, ND
“Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report” 2016 Oct 12
Bergamaschi MM1, Queiroz RH, Chagas MH, de Oliveira DC, De Martinis BS, Kapczinski F, Quevedo J, Roesler R, Schröder N, Nardi AE, Martín-Santos R, Hallak JE, Zuardi AW, Crippa JA.
“Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naïve social phobia patients.” EPUB 2011 Feb 9.
2018 Project CBD “The Endocannabinoid System”
Sachin Patel and Cecilia J. Hillard “Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics July 2006”
Jasmeer P. Chhatwal and Kerry J. Ressler “Modulation of Fear and Anxiety by the Endogenous Cannabinoid System”
STEPHEN MAREN “The Amygdala, Synaptic Plasticity, and Fear Memory”
Charles I. Shelton, DO “Diagnosis and management of Anxiety Disorders” The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, March 2004
Authors Kathuria, S Gaetani, S Fegley, D et al. “Modulation of anxiety through blockade of anandamide hydrolysis“ 2003
Ozge Gunduz-Cinar,1 Matthew N. Hill,2 Bruce S. McEwen,3 and Andrew Holmes1 “Amygdala FAAH and Anandamide: mediating protection and recovery from stress” 2013 Oct 25 Copyright © 2006 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Gary L. Wenk Ph.D. “Why Do Munchies Taste so Good When You’re High?“
Photo by Eli DeFaria on Unsplash