Cannabis & CBD for Mental Health: What the Research Says

Mental health is a hot topic in the United States — and with good reason. According to statistics, approximately one in five adults (around 21%) experience symptoms of a mental health condition

Anxiety disorders are among the most commonly diagnosed concerns, but millions of others live with conditions including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. These mental health conditions can significantly affect a person’s well-being, affecting their relationships with others, ability to work, and physical health.

Seeking help if you’re experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition is crucial. While conventional treatments, such as lifestyle alterations and prescription medications, are common, there’s a growing interest in CBD (cannabidiol) and cannabis as alternatives. Here’s what you need to know. 

How CBD May Help Mental Health

By now, you’ve probably heard of at least some of the many potential benefits of CBD. Studies have found that this cannabinoid may help reduce inflammation, ease chronic pain, and treat certain types of epileptic seizures. 

It may also help improve mental health in a variety of ways:

While most studies suggest the need for further research, they do show promising results for CBD as an alternative mental health treatment. Additionally, CBD appears to have fewer side effects than many traditional medications prescribed for mental health conditions. 

Tips for Using Cannabis for Mental Health

While many people associate potential mental health benefits with CBD alone, cannabis as a whole may also help. Some research indicates that although THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the well-known psychoactive compound in cannabis, could trigger or worsen anxiety in high doses, lower doses might actually provide anxiety relief.

Cannabis may also help individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, and other mental health disorders. 

In short, cannabis, like CBD, could offer potential mental health benefits, helping to promote relaxation, alleviate anxiety, relieve pain, and more. If you’re thinking about trying it to improve your mental health, consider the following tips:

Microdose Cannabis

Microdosing cannabis involves taking small doses of THC, typically between one to five milligrams. You take just enough THC to achieve the desired results. In doing so, you can reap the benefits of cannabis with minimal to no risk of experiencing mind-altering effects or uncomfortable anxiety. 

An essential part of microdosing is finding your minimum effective dose. To do this, start small. If you’re new to cannabis, begin with one to two milligrams. More experienced users might start with two to three. The idea is to gradually increase your dose until you find the smallest amount that provides relief. 

Wait before taking a second dose if you don’t feel anything after the first. Be mindful of your consumption method, too. While inhalation (smoking and vaping) and sublingual tinctures typically produce effects within 15 to 30 minutes, edibles can take upwards of one to two hours to kick in. Taking a second dose too soon increases the amount of THC in your system, increasing the risk of unwanted side effects. 

Try a High-CBD Strain

Research shows that CBD can counteract some of the effects of THC. When selecting a strain, pay attention to the cannabinoid content. Consider trying products with at least equal parts of THC and CBD. Or look for options with more CBD than THC. Again, start small to see how a particular strain affects you.  

Take Care With Alcohol

Some cannabis users enjoy taking cannabis and drinking alcohol. However, this combination could also lead to some rather unpleasant experiences if you aren’t careful. For instance, alcohol may increase your body’s absorption of THC, causing a typically beneficial dose to become too much. THC could also delay your absorption of alcohol, which could lead to drinking too much and potential alcohol poisoning. 

There are ways to consume cannabis and alcohol together safely. However, this combination isn’t right for everyone. Take care if you’re going to use both within a short period of one another. Or be sure to give yourself time between substances to avoid unwanted effects. 

Know What To Do if You Consume Too Much

If you do take too much THC and begin to feel uncomfortable, there are things you can do to ease the effects:

  • Drink water.
  • Eat a snack.
  • Take a dose of CBD.
  • Take a bath, shower, or splash cold water on your face.
  • Chew on a black peppercorn.
  • Distract yourself with your favorite hobby, television show, or movie.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Try deep breathing or meditating.

Ultimately, the unpleasant feelings accompanying too much THC will eventually dissipate. Although it can be problematic in the moment, try to remind yourself the effects will pass. Knowing how to bring yourself down can help them pass a little quicker. 

Speak With a Healthcare Provider

If you have mental health concerns, speak with a healthcare provider. Mental health conditions may worsen without treatment (or with the wrong treatments). They could eventually lead to other health issues, too. 

When reviewing treatment options with a mental health care provider, be sure to mention your interest in trying cannabis. Cannabis-friendly providers will help you determine if it’s a good option for you and, if so, write you a recommendation you can use to purchase products from a medical dispensary.  

Shop VidaCann for Your Mental Health Cannabis Needs 

When looking to purchase cannabis, choosing a reputable dispensary is a must. At VidaCann, we aim to help cannabis users live their happiest, healthiest lives possible by providing only the highest-quality cannabis products. And with a variety of product options on our dispensary shelves, you’re sure to find something to suit your needs. Not sure where to start? Our knowledgeable budtenders are more than happy to help. Check us out online to learn more, or visit your nearest Florida dispensary today!

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