Cannabis + Care: Mindful Consumption for Feelings of Anxiety and Depression

Whether or not you already consume cannabis, viewing the plant as a medicinal resource is crucial in understanding it’s many benefits. For centuries the cannabis plant has been utilized as a healing herb all over the world. Both history and studies explain consumption being linked to relief from chronic pain, increasing appetite, enhancing creativity, relieving nausea, improving mood, and helping insomnia to name a few. Simply put, it’s medicine. 

Both medical and recreational cannabis dispensaries and services in legal states have remained open throughout the pandemic due to being deemed essential. Cannabis consumption use has increased greatly since the beginning of quarantine, largely due to increased feelings of anxiety and depression these times have caused. California alone has seen a 160% increase in sales in March 2020 vs March 2019.

Feelings of anxiousness relate back to stressors in our life that we experience past the time they have occurred or before they have occurred at all. (Example: Stressor = bills due, Anxiety = paying upcoming bills with limited income.) We may feel our mind racing, heart beating faster, temperature increasing, or thoughts become overwhelming when experiencing these feelings. Every person experiences these feelings outside of clinical diagnosis as it is a natural human response. Doing mindful and relaxing activities have proven to show relief for anxiety. 

Similar but different, feelings of depression can be related back to anxiety and stress in our lives. We may feel numb, sad for an extended period of time, irritable, isolated, or helpless. When clinically diagnosed, many people are directed to pharmaceutical medicine and professional help that aid in managing depression. However, like anxiety many of us can experience feelings of depression as a result of lifes stressors. Connection to others, mindfulness, sunlight, physical activity, healthy diet, and rest are often recommended to provide relief.

Cannabis helps with both mindfulness and relaxation. There’s also more than one way to find relief through the plant. Different cannabinoids within the plant provide alternate options to best suit an individuals preferences. THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, stimulates the mind and provides the ‘high’ feeling while  CBD, the non psychoactive cannabinoid of the plant provides a ‘calming’ feeling to help with relaxation. Two differing options for relief.

For THC, Sativa strains are great for physical activities, uplifting mood, productivity, and focus. Maybe you’re struggling to push through a work load or get up and go out to run errands, a sativa can help. Indica strains are perfect for sedative relaxing affects, winding down, and rest. Maybe you haven’t been sleeping due to feeling down or have physically been in pain due to emotional manifestations in the body, an indica could help.

One joint every morning may provide relief for someone while someone else may prefer an edible after a long week. There are various ways to consume cannabis via thc or cbd—glassware, papers, blunts, tinctures. There’s something for everyone honestly. Once you decide which method(s) you like, then you can move forward. Enjoying the process of consumption is significant to the experience overall. Different strokes or tokes suit different folks. 

Mindfulness must be at the core when looking for relief for mental exhaustion and disruption. Figuring out what works for you and how you feel is key. The goal is to provide aid in working through these experiences not to numb or suppress them. Consuming cannabis without intention can lead to an experience that may feel good in the moment but isn’t helpful long-term. 

Think of the plant really as medicine. The function of medicine is to provide relief or aid, the way we consume it is organized into a micro-dosing system (ex 1 pill, 2 tsp, etc) , there is specific instruction of when to use, and depending on how we feel adjustments are made accordingly. Cannabis is no different. If you’ve had a longterm relationship with cannabis you should have a solid understanding of how to maximize your experience. But long term usage =/= mindful consumption (I’m not here to judge now lol). If you’re new or curious, start slow and small. Build your way up or don’t. Pay close attention to how your body feels, the thoughts you are thinking, what you are inclined to do. It’s important. 

Research on different cannabis strains will provide the insight needed to make the most effective decisions. Don’t just take my word (although it is pretty damn good). Cannabis is just another way to manage conflict within the mind and body, but naturally. Knowledge of natural healing solutions is limited in western culture and often overlooked in lab-designed medicine. There’s so much to explore and even more to gain.

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