Ask Miss Grass: Exploring Cannabis for Stress ReliefBy Miss Grass
Dear Miss Grass,
I've always been a fairly stressed-out person, but lately I'm feeling seriously burned out from all angles—my job, my family, my dating life, etc., etc. I'm in therapy so I have the basics covered, but I want to explore cannabis. I smoked a little in college and had a not-great time with it. So I'd like to ease into either flower, or CBD (which I've never had), or both. So I guess my question is—how? And does cannabis *actually* work for relieving stress? Thank you!
x Stressy Bessy
Hear you, sister. Your situation sounds all too familiar. There’s a lot of stress circling right now and you’re not the only person who’s slipped into our DMs looking for an alternative way through it. But look here, your experience with weed in college is not going to be something we try to replicate. The new cannabis world has brought with it all sorts of new products that favor low dose and highly controlled effects, so it’s just a matter of finding the right products for you and then letting the good times roll.
You’re right to point out that you could go the way of non-psychoactive CBD (cannabidiol) or go the way of psychoactive THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). But you could also explore a little of both. And if THC is something you’re open to—which, yippee, you are—then that would absolutely be my recommendation for getting the most out of exploring cannabis for stress relief.
All the excitement about CBD these past couple of years is great, but it’s broken my heart to see that so much of the messaging around it actually turns even more people against THC. And truth be told, THC is the original weed; it’s all we ever knew before CBD was discovered. But more than that, THC is an incredibly therapeutic compound and, for certain symptoms, it is a more effective tool than, say, taking CBD alone. I digress, but the point is: I’m excited you’re open to THC.
Truth be told, THC is the original weed; it’s all we ever knew before CBD was discovered. THC is an incredibly therapeutic compound and, for certain symptoms, it is a more effective tool than, say, taking CBD alone.
Before we get to that, anybody who is experiencing stress (read: everyone) should, at a minimum, be on a regular dose of CBD. There are a few different ways that I recommend taking it, but it’s best to think of it like a daily vitamin, rather than a spot treatment. A regular intake will help to regulate your endocannabinoid system, keeping your body in balance. Quickly, your body produces cannabinoids on its own. But under stress, it struggles to produce these cannabinoids and typically runs on lower stores. That’s where CBD comes in, it can help to replenish your stores and get everything else (mood, appetite, stress, sleep, and so much more) back in check.
I always recommend starting with a low dose of CBD, since we all respond differently to it. Some people find it has a sedating effect while others find it wakes them up. So, as you’re getting started, be prepared to make a few missteps as you figure out your time of day. A dose of 10mg per day is a good jumping off point. That’s considered a low dose, but you can always dose up in 10mg increments, if you feel like this isn’t doing the trick. Because research on CBD is relatively limited, and each person’s experience varies so much from the next, it’s tough to be too prescriptive here. But anecdotally, 30mg daily seems to be a sweet spot for a good number of the people in my life—myself included.
How you take your CBD is also important. I never recommend that you drink it. Yes, there are tons of CBD beverages on the market, but the bioavailability of the CBD in a drink just isn’t what it is in a tincture (in my experience). I recommend a tincture like Mineral’s Balance tincture. I also like the capsules from Lord Jones which come in at 25mg a pop. And if you’re keen on vapor, Edie Parker makes a great CBD vaporizer, which delivers a concentrated dose of CBD that absorbs really quickly.
Now, for smoking flower, there are a few different ways you could come at this one too—as you mentioned, it's always a good option for managing stress. It’s my preferred option, because it is the fastest acting. Truly, nothing beats turning the lights down low and sparking up a joint to set things into perspective. And hey, if you're not in a state where THC is legal yet (or want a good sub while taking a tolerance break), you can always give smoking hemp a go. But I know smoking, especially smoking THC, isn’t always easy to pull off—depending on your setup.
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Smoking THC flower is also contingent on where you live. Since I see you’re in the newly recreationally legal state of Illinois—yes!—you can now venture down to your nearest dispensary and walk out with a nice little pre-roll. Easy. If you live in a medical state, however, you’ll need to procure a medical license to buy from the dispensary. That’s normally not too tricky, but does require you to visit a cannabis doctor, in most instances. And then if you live in a state that’s not even medical, you’re at the mercy of the black market—like your college days. And I don’t need to explain how that works.
But let’s focus on the realities of where you live. We’re trying to help you de-stress here, SB, not to worry you with the complexities of cannabis laws across state lines! All you need to do is pack your ID—assuming you’re 21—and head to your closest dispensary. When you arrive, talk to the budtenders, the people behind the counter; they're there to help you. If you’re lucky, they’ll really know their stuff and will be very accustomed to seeing people like you come through the doors.
My suggestion is that you ask for a recommendation for one or two pre-rolls (for some choice) that are low dose. And preferably, if they have it, try to get one that has a little THC and CBD in it—ideally a balanced, 1:1 ratio. Don’t get too caught up in the strain names or even the indica vs. sativa classifications. Odds are, the budtender will speak to you in those terms, but between you and I, those terms are a bit useless. Instead, try to steer the conversation toward how you want to feel and see what they recommend for that. For instance, if you imagine yourself smoking at the end of a long day, as a way to unwind before sleep, tell them that.
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You didn’t ask, but I'd also recommend exploring a low-dose edible or even a tincture with THC. If you’re at the dispensary, why not explore, right? “Low dose” in the world of tinctures and edibles means no more than 5mg of THC. And even that, depending on how much you’re planning to accomplish after dosing, may be a bit much. If they have 2-2.5mg edibles, opt for those and you can always dose up.
Remember that unlike smoking or vaping, which can take effect in less than a minute, edibles can take an hour or two to settle in. So be very patient before taking more. Tinctures fall somewhere in the middle, at roughly 30 minutes to start working.
In the end, the idea is to be very patient as you thoughtfully dip your toes back into cannabis. And that’s especially important if you’re doing it as a way to nip that stress in the bud. Because (not that it bears repeating): cannabis can make you more stressed if you don’t dose properly!
Go slow and good luck, SB. As ever, in weed we trust.
With love + bud,
P.S. Do you have a burning question to ask Miss Grass? Drop your inquiry at firstname.lastname@example.org and we might just answer it in an upcoming edition of Ask Miss Grass.