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THC, Daily Stress, and What We Know So Far

THC, Daily Stress, and What We Know So Far

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Whether it be pressures at work, bills, or family obligations, the various aspects of our lives can be affected by and bring about daily stress. If left unaddressed, this unease can start to disrupt our relationships and even our health. Prolonged stress can cause mood swings, exhaustion, or a constant state of irritability at the minimum, so it's important to identify healthy ways to manage it.

With the rise in its popularity, people wonder if cannabis can be a tool to help ease daily stress. In this blog, we’ll explore THC, its effects, and whether it has any stress-relieving properties based on modern research. Let's get started!

What exactly is THC?

THC, which stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, is a psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants. 

One prominent form of this cannabinoid is Delta-9, which is usually what people are referring to when talking about THC. Other variations include Delta-8 THC, Delta-10 THC, and THC-O.

In the United States, cannabis comes in two legal categories—hemp and marijuana. Hemp is cannabis with a 0.3% concentration of Delta-9 THC by dry weight, and marijuana is cannabis with any concentration higher than this. 

THC is quite popular among cannabis enthusiasts because it can bring out effects such as: 
  • Relief
  • Relaxation
  • Euphoria
  • Creativity 
  • Mellowness
It's important to note, however, that THC and other cannabinoids affect everyone differently.

How does THC work?

In your body, there's a vast network of chemical messengers and receptors called the endocannabinoid system. The ECS regulates a variety of functions to maintain an internal state of balance, or homeostasis. This includes:
  • Emotional processing
  • Learning
  • Memory 
  • Appetite
  • Pain perception 
  • Sleep
  • Temperature control 
  • Inflammatory responses 
  • Immune responses
To accomplish this, naturally occurring compounds in the body known as "endocannabinoids” send signals to receptors located throughout the ECS- primarily, the CB1 and CB2 receptors

What does this have to do with THC? Well, THC is a “phytocannabinoid,” meaning that it comes from cannabis and does not naturally occur in the body.  However, THC and other phytocannabinoids like CBD have chemical structures that are strikingly similar to endocannabinoids; thus, they can interact with this system when consumed or even applied topically. 

Okay, but can THC help with my daily stress?

holding cannabis flower

Because everyone’s endocannabinoid system is unique, how THC affects you may vary from how it affects someone else. So while one person’s experience with THC might have been characterized by reduced tension, this might not be the case for everyone.

However, recent scientific research into this subject has provided valuable insights worth considering.

For instance, a researcher from the University of Washington School of Medicine noted that the endocannabinoid system affects parts of the brain that deal with fear and stress. They conducted a controlled study to investigate how THC’s interaction with the ECS affects such emotions. 

THC was found to help alleviate anxiety in lower dosages, and CBD appeared to decrease stress in any quantity. 

Other interesting findings about THC and stress come from a 2014 consumer survey published in the Hawai'i Journal of Medicine & Public Health. 100 individuals were asked to reflect on their experience using cannabis over the last year. Half of the participants reported reduced stress, among many other benefits. 

How much THC should I take for daily stress?

There is no universal dosage of THC that will help ease daily stress. There are, however, a few guidelines to take into account.
The first is that THC is not for everyone. Many people have had great experiences with THC, but for others, it wasn't right for them. And that's completely okay. 

The next step is trying it out for yourself. The best approach is to start with a small amount in a controlled setting (ideally at night or when you have no obligations). 

By "small amount," we mean a small piece of an edible (not the whole thing), minor pulls of smoke, or a few tiny drips of a tincture.  Then, you'll want to wait for the effects to set in. Depending on your method of consumption, this time will vary. For instance, the effects of edibles will take longer than those of smoking flower. 

Once the effects set in, you can decide whether you want to take more. This process takes time, but when you finally find your "sweet spot," you're all set for future sessions. 

Final Thoughts

While cannabis itself has been used for millennia, scientific research into its properties and effects is still a relatively new frontier. The insights above show promise for the ways THC might help lighten our load, but when trying this plant for the first time, be sure to take things steady and slow.
Until next time, happy exploring, and mind your mind.

FDA Disclaimer: The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. 

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