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6 Ways Cannabis can Counteract Everyday Stress

Feeling stressed out from your daily grind? Do you think the stress is already causing serious problems for your body? You're not alone; according to the American Psychological Association, 77% of people experience the physical symptoms of stress while 73% experience the psychological symptoms. To make things even worse, nearly half of the respondents also claimed that stress negatively impacted not just their work, but also the other aspects of their lives.

Many people think that dealing with stress is just a matter of "taking a break", but if that was the case, stress wouldn't be such a major problem for millions of people. In fact, experts blame over $300 billion worth of losses to stress-related issues such as medical bills and lost productivity. Unfortunately, many people can't just take anti-stress medication without suffering from their side effects. For these people, there's one option that can help: marijuana.

Marijuana or cannabis has always been portrayed as a psychoactive drug, but the medical benefits of this substance have been proven in multiple scientific studies before. However, many people are just now becoming more aware of the plant’s potential as an alternative to conventional stress relief medication. How does marijuana help stress sufferers? The answer lies in the nature of stress and how marijuana affects the body.

Knowing the Enemy - Stress

There are plenty of ways to describe stress, but the most common definition is a series of physical, mental, or psychological tension. Stress can be caused either by external factors such as social interactions, pressure at work, and seeing things that cause discomfort, or internal factors such as hormonal imbalances and other diseases.

While stress is caused by a lot of things, stress itself can cause a host of different problems depending on its severity, duration, and the person's general health. Stress has been linked to problems such as acne and alopecia, and more serious health issues such as weakened immune systems, long-term disability, and even life-threatening problems such as hypertension and heart attacks. Stress has also been known to trigger certain behaviors such as overeating, which can then lead to diabetes and other issues linked to obesity.

To make things worse, the effects of stress can cause an endless downward spiral of poor health. Stress-related diseases themselves can be a source of even further stress that just aggravates the situation. In the long run, a chronically-stressed person can end up with more medical and emotional problems compared to someone of a similar age who can handle stress well.

Last but not least, stress is one of the leading causes of serious antisocial or psychopathic behavior. According to Suicide.org, being under too much stress can cause suicidal tendencies or exacerbate existing suicidal feelings.

With stress having so many causes and effects, you'd think that there is no solution that could fight stress on all fronts. That may be true, but marijuana can serve as a means of effectively managing certain causes or effects of excessive stress.

Marijuana as a Stress Reliever

Marijuana or cannabis is widely known as a recreational drug, but even prior to the plant’s modern reputation, it has already been used as medicine for thousands of years. Marijuana has been used to treat a wide variety of disease such as sores and chronic pain, and it was even recommended as a deworming medicine. Scientific research and recent changes to the legality marijuana use in some states allowed experts to further explore the uses of marijuana as a treatment option for common health problems, including stress.

Marijuana works because of the cannabinoids in the plant. Two of these cannabinoids stand out in particular: THC or tetrahydrocannabinol and CBD or cannabidiol. THC is responsible for the plant’s well-known psychoactive effects, while CBD has been linked to the more relaxing effects of consuming cannabis. While the two cannabinoids might seem to be completely opposite in effect, combining them together actually works well in counteracting factors that may cause AND be caused by stress. Here's a quick rundown of the different stress factors that weed can counteract:

1. Cannabis Makes You Less Anxious

A person tends to experience a lot of stress when they are feeling anxious. According to experts, this is triggered by what is known as the ECS or endocannabinoid system. When the brain figures out that the body is being subjected to a stress-inducing stimulus, the ECS can release endocannabinoids that trigger the body's usual response to stress.

When consuming marijuana, the CBD found in the plant replaces these endocannabinoids, either through reducing the intensity of the reaction or completely stopping it. This is why many people suffering from stress should look for cannabis strains with high CBD concentrations.

2. Cannabis Helps Reduce Hypertension

Hypertension is one of the most well-known side effects of stress. It is caused by the body's natural instinct to increase circulation and make it easier to escape a stressful situation. This is due to the ECS triggering a reaction that increases circulation in the body to give the muscles more oxygen and energy. However, this response can be harmful if experienced on a regular basis.

In a clinical investigation, CBD has been shown to reduce high blood pressure that was caused by stress. It has to be noted that CBD is not yet confirmed to have an effect on high blood pressure caused by other factors (cardiovascular problems). However, there are already efforts on using CBD to create a similar response to high blood pressure caused by sources other than stress.

3. Cannabis Helps Relieve Headaches

Headaches are also a well-known symptom of stress. Increased blood pressure in the blood vessels found in the head cause unnecessary pressure and trigger the pain receptors around them. Tension or inflammation in the muscles in or near the head can also cause pain receptors to fire up, triggering the familiar throbbing pain.

Both THC and CBD work hand-in-hand in relieving headache. THC is known as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, about twice as powerful as hydrocortisone and 20 times more powerful than aspirin. CBD also has an anti-inflammatory effect, but what's more important is its ability to relax muscles and reduce the person's sensitivity to pain.

4. Cannabis Regulates Metabolism

Stress is closely tied to the body's metabolism. Stress can cause a metabolic imbalance, while the bad effects of having an imbalanced metabolism can cause stress. A certain part of the ECS, also known as the CB1 receptor, is responsible for regulating the body's metabolism. When overactivated by stress, the CB1 tells the body to keep storing more fat. However, there are also cases when metabolism slows down and the person loses appetite.

Both CBD and THC have significant effects on the CB1 receptors when consuming marijuana. The CBD goes for the CB1 receptors, an act that reduces the body's metabolism rate and regulates the person's food intake. This helps prevent metabolism-related issues like obesity and diabetes. On the other hand, THC has a reverse effect, which helps speed up a person's metabolism and improves one’s appetite. This means people who tend to overeat when stressed should go for CBD-rich cannabis products, while those who tend to under eat when stressed should choose THC-rich cannabis.

5. Cannabis Makes Things Less Stressful

There are a lot of instances when stress is caused by something aggravating, such as a slew of unwanted or unwelcome events or a recent dispute with another person. While it is a well-known fact that these are common causes of stress, they're often dismissed as something trivial compared to stress caused by medical problems. However, stress triggered by emotional or social factors are still valid triggers with very real consequences if neglected.

Fortunately, the recreational use of marijuana also happens to have a good effect on reducing the stress-inducing effects of external factors. As it turns out, THC causes that well-known "high" that people get when consuming cannabis. This is because THC shares the same properties as anandamide, an endocannabinoid produced by the ECS responsible for triggering euphoria. In short, THC helps curb emotional distress which can lead to actual stress.

6. Cannabis Also Helps with Other Stress-Related Diseases

Several diseases or disorders are associated with stress. These include fibromyalgia, PTSD, schizophrenia, and insomnia. To make things worse, some medications used to combat these problems can have addicting properties, and that addiction creates even more problems.

Marijuana helps deal with these conditions as well, which means you'll probably have a reason to keep consuming cannabis. This may seem like things will point to cannabis addiction, but using cannabis is a lot safer compared to other more popular substances. According to studies, only 9% of cannabis users develop an addiction – three times less likely than those who are consuming tobacco and even way less likely than people who consume caffeine (about 75%). Also, the withdrawal symptoms of cannabis are reported to be way less severe than those associated with other popular substances. 

Research And Studies Show That Cannabis May Be Able To Help With Counteracting Stress.

Tips on Consuming Cannabis

So you're finally convinced that cannabis does help relieve stress, but how do you get the most out of it? Here are a few suggestions to help you consume and enjoy marijuana in a safe way.

Start with oils - While most people know cannabis as something to be smoked in the form of a joint or a bong, those methods are generally reserved for more experienced cannabis users. If it’s your first time to use cannabis or if you are sensitive to smoke, your best option is to buy cannabis oil. You can mix the oil with baking ingredients and make cannabis cookies or bread. You can also add some of the oil to sauces or tea to get the same effect.

Vape it - If you think you're ready to try other means of consuming cannabis, you can start by trying out vaporizers. This method works almost similar to smoking cannabis, but it is much less damaging to the lungs compared to smoking weed. There's nothing stopping you from transitioning straight to joints and bongs, but vaping is still recommended if you want to start out safer.

Pick your cannabis - You have to remember that different cannabis strains have different amounts of THC and CBD in them. A rule of thumb is that high-THC strains will have stronger highs and have a more energizing effect, while CBD-rich strains have a more calming effect. It also helps if you research more about the effects of THC and CBD and choose your cannabis based on your desired effect.

Start small - You may think that consuming more cannabis means better results, but taking an excessive amount of anything your body isn't accustomed to will just cause problems. Starting with a droplet of cannabis oil should be good enough for first-time use. Later on, you will want to adjust the amount of cannabis you're consuming to fit your needs, but starting with smaller amounts is way better than having to deal with an overdose. Cannabis overdose, by the way, can cause paranoia or anxiety, but it is a relatively safe experience and never fatal.

Work with your doctor - When consuming medical cannabis, it helps to have the guidance of a trained professional. Keep a record of how much cannabis you consumed and the results each dosage provided so you have good info to share with your doctor. Your doctor will be able to help you figure out the most suitable strains, dosage amount, and method that will help you get the best results.

Don't be cheap - Don't be tempted to buy low-grade cannabis: they taste bad, their leaves may have other nasty bits stuck in them like branches and bugs, while the oil may have additives that may have an effect on how well the cannabinoids will work. Always buy mid- or high-grade cannabis from legal sellers if you want dependable results.

Share it - You don't have to be stressed to enjoy cannabis. In fact, it's much better if you have someone that has some experienced with weed. That way, you'll have a better idea of how you can consume cannabis properly either thru new recipes or even choosing strains.

Excessive daily stress doesn't have to be something you have to fight on your own. Cannabis offers a safe, natural, and effective way to help you fight the negative effects of stress and its causes. The next time you're feeling stressed, eat a cannabis cookie, vape, or, if you want, enjoy it with your friends; cannabis has got you covered.

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