How are your stress levels these days? It’s so easy for stress to spiral out of control. The effect on our health can literally be toxic.
Stress can affect our health in all sorts of ways, contributing to significant issues such as:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
According to MayoClinic.org, stress can have a ton of other common effects on your body, mood, and behavior. From headaches to muscle tension and chest pain, fatigue, sleep problems, irritability, anxiety, lack of motivation, and much more.
It’s easy for all of these things to go unchecked until our health completely derails. A lot of the health problems we face could be directly correlated with stress and you might not even realize it.
Aside from the go-to measures for alleviating stress such as exercise, nutrition, laughter, friendships, family, adventure – and really getting yourself organized – there’s something else that works really well when used mindfully: cannabis.
Cannabis can be a great helper, can alter your state, shift your energy, inspire epiphany and show the way for self-correction, just as it can help you wind down after a long day.
This is one of the key reasons why Green Flower has a cannabis yoga class for stress, which you can check out when you’re ready to decompress.
For anybody turning to cannabis for stress relief, here are some basic considerations you might want to keep in mind to get the most benefits.
#1) Dosage Amount
Everybody has their own ideal dosage range for cannabis. Some people appreciate very small amounts, while others enjoy consuming as much as they can!
The important thing to remember here is that cannabis is classified as a biphasic substance. Essentially, this means taking too much could have the opposite effect of what you intended.
For instance, if you’re taking cannabis for pain or nausea, a little can help soothe symptoms, and too much may aggravate symptoms.
Same is true if you’re using it for stress management.
Simply put: overdoing it with cannabis can result in diminishing benefits and greater side effects (anxiety, paranoia, fatigue, social withdrawal).
This is where experimenting with dosage comes in so you can find what works best for you and what doesn’t work.
So, for example, if you find that cannabis makes you anxious – you might try consuming much less next time. If that doesn’t help, your next option would be to find a different variety of cannabis altogether or perhaps a different format (edibles vs vaping, for example).
Experimenting with different dosage levels and delivery formats is also helpful for people who have been consuming cannabis for a long time but aren’t getting the same benefits any longer.
If you really want to respect this plant and get the most benefits, less is usually more.
#2) Set and Setting
If you’ve never heard of the phrase “set and setting,” this is very important for any psychoactive experience. “Set” refers to your mindset going into the experience, and “setting” refers to your immediate environment.
Paying attention to both of these things will allow you to decide the best times or situations to get high for stress relief (and when you should wait until later).
Knowledge of set and setting will also allow you to better curate your cannabis experience in different ways. Equally important, it will help you get crystal clear on your intent for using cannabis in the first place – what you want to get out of the psychoactive experience.
Your intent could be to get clear on specific challenges you’re having with work or personal life. Or it could be to bond and get closer with a friend or loved one – or just to have fun.
Fun Set and Setting Ideas on Cannabis:
- Listening to the Interstellar soundtrack on noise-canceling headphones while hiking on a trail
- Cleaning the house while listening to jazz music or a podcast
- Lying on the floor in a dark room and listening to your heartbeat
- Walking through the park while holding your partner’s hand
- Visiting the local library and reading random pages of books that catch your attention
The more thought and creativity you put into set and setting, the more benefit and stress relief you get out of cannabis.
Mindfulness around set and setting combined with practice will also help you determine how much or how little cannabis you should take, and which cannabis strain varieties to choose (high energy versus relaxing, etc.)
#3) Avoid Cannabis Shame
This is serious.
A lot of responsible, adult cannabis consumers continue to experience cannabis shame every day.
True, cannabis is becoming much more socially acceptable, however many people still have this feeling that their cannabis consumption is wrong, that it’s something for college kids or stoners.
Recognizing this shame for what it is – the outcome of decades’ worth of government propaganda and misinformation – is 90 percent of the battle.
It’s very important that no person feels ashamed for using cannabis in a responsible way. This is an ancient herb that humankind has been using for thousands of years. It’s nothing new.
We don’t feel this sense of shame when we drink a glass of wine or two, or when we drink caffeine to start each day.
Why would cannabis be any different?
The desire to alter your mental state is very human and a right that all of us have. The main thing is to do your homework and approach these altered states from an informed perspective.
And fortunately, cannabis shame is becoming less of an issue as the stigma fades.
#4) Get High or Don’t
More people are learning that they can give cannabis a try and avoid the psychoactive effects.
Non-psychoactive use of cannabis can be achieved in a few different ways.
One way is to make use of CBD-rich products, which don’t get you high and have certainly helped some people with things like stress and anxiety.
Also, more people are learning how to take advantage of the raw cannabinoids (such as THCA and CBDA), which are non-psychoactive.
Yet another method to avoid the high is to simply use very small doses that don’t push you over the psychoactive threshold. These sub-psychoactive doses can go a long way towards stress relief while still acting as a form of preventative health.
At the same time, we want to encourage people to not fear the cannabis high. Granted, it’s not for everybody, however the occasional Saturday afternoon high can really help you blow the dust off life and see things in a new way – also important for stress relief!
Photo courtesy of Leafy.