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    The Science Behind Cannabis and Mental Health

    March 14, 2024

    • Cannabis interacts with our endocannabinoid system through compounds like THC and CBD which have the potential to affect mood and alter our perception of pain.
    • Cannabis is widely used as an aid in treating conditions like anxiety, depression, chronic pain, insomnia, and PTSD, with individual responses varying based on dosage and individual factors.
    • Different consumption methods, such as smoking, edibles, tinctures, oils, and drinks vary a lot in their onset time, effects, and duration.
    • Cannabis drinks provide a controlled and socially acceptable way to consume cannabis.
    • Caution and consultation with healthcare professionals are advised before consuming cannabis, especially for those on other medications. We always recommend to start slow and see how you go.
    • One of the biggest concerns for many people about cannabis is the uncertainty about its specific effects on mental health, including its potential benefits and risks.

    So whether you are just starting on your cannabis journey or want to be more mindful of how and when you get high, this article contains a ton of information that could help you get the most out of cannabis.

    How Do Cannabinoids Influence Our Mental and Overall Health?

    Cannabis is a fascinating plant with a long history in medicinal treatment dating back to 2800 BC in central Asia. It has a highly diverse makeup of over 400 compound entities, including more than 60 cannabinoids, of which the two most widely known and studied are THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).

    When consumed, THC and CBD bind with endocannabinoid receptors in our brains and throughout our bodies in different ways.

    Our bodies contain a complex network of receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which helps regulate various physiological processes. It plays a crucial role in maintaining homeostasis—the body’s internal balance—by regulating mood, appetite, pain sensation, memory, and immune response.

    Like cannabinoids in cannabis, endocannabinoids are produced naturally by the body. We have two main types of cannabinoid receptors called CB1 and CB2 throughout the body in different concentrations.

    When endocannabinoids bind to these receptors, they can influence the release of neurotransmitters and modulate cellular signaling, leading to various effects on physiological processes. Human studies show that the ECS affects different parts of the brain that control things like mood, anxiety, the HPA (stress response) system, as well as mood, anxiety, and associated behaviors.

    Research suggests that small doses of THC—5mg for new users and 10-20mg for casual users—have the most potential to help overcome mental and overall health imbalances.

    What Health Conditions Does Cannabis Help With?

    Medical marijuana is extensively used now across the US to treat serious illnesses and diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, seizures, and for cancer patients undergoing treatment.

    While these diseases inevitably have a strong influence on mental health, we are going to focus on why recreational users choose cannabis and what issues it helps them to treat. These are mainly anxiety, depression, chronic pain, insomnia, and PTSD.

    The question of anxiety is a tricky one. Ask any seasoned cannabis user, and they will explain how it gives them a euphoric rush and then a calm alleviation from anxiety. Ask somebody who tried marijuana once when they were young (and never again), and they will likely recall feeling more anxious.

    CBD and THC are complex compounds that can produce different results depending on the quantity and your predisposition to them.

    It’s where you get the “start low, go slow” saying.

    Fortunately, there is now an array of products that allows those new or skeptical to sample THC and CBD in tiny quantities. Remember that CBD can help mellow out the high sensation, so choosing products that contain CBD in a balanced ratio is recommended.

    Cannabis’ role in chronic pain treatment and inflammation is potentially going to start increasing in medical practice because emerging studies suggest it is as effective or “even better” than opioids. It is proving successful because peripheral nerves are abundant with cannabinoid receptors, and scientists have observed cannabis blocking peripheral nerve pain in animal studies.

    For people with problems sleeping and insomnia, cannabis indica has long been associated with natural treatment. At low doses, THC can potentially reduce sleep onset latency, making it easier to fall asleep, leading to increased slow-wave sleep (deep sleep) and total sleep time.

    For years, veterans have proclaimed the benefits of cannabis for treating their PTSD because it is associated with blunting stress reactivity. A study by Wayne State University examined amygdala responses in healthy adults, trauma-exposed adults without PTSD, and trauma-exposed adults with PTSD. Results showed that low THC doses reduced fear and anxiety across all groups, indicating potential benefits for treatment.

    The Different Ways to Consume Cannabis

    Right now, in 2024, we are fortunate to be living through an era where consuming cannabis is easier than ever. It’s less a choice of what you can get your hands on and more what kind of high you want. And depending on the consumption method, cannabis can hit very differently.

    For example, if you smoke marijuana, it is a near-immediate high that gradually wears off over 2-3 hours for most people. If you eat an edible, the high can be much more elongated. Why? They take between 30 minutes and two hours to kick in, with sensations peaking at about the four-hour mark and lasting up to 12 hours.

    The reason for this huge difference is how cannabis is absorbed into the bloodstream. It means that depending on how you want to feel, and for how long, you may prefer one delivery method over others.

    Products like edibles and capsules need to be digested so the effects take longer to start and tend to last longer.

    Smoking cannabis flower is an easy method of managing dosages, but it requires smoking that some people may not like. Vaping is an alternative, but it comes with environmental repercussions for disposal.

    Drinks have somewhat cracked the perfect balance between practicality, speed, and dosage. As a liquid, it is absorbed quickly in the stomach meaning the sensations hit faster. Dosages are consistent by volume making it easy to track how much you are consuming.

    The best part about cannabis and CBD drinks is that they are a socially acceptable, practical, and convenient way to decompress. According to our many satisfied customers, cannabis water is an ideal alternative to alcohol and just as well suited to social situations as a wind-down drink at home in the evening.

    If you are canna-curious and want to see if they are right for you, we suggest starting with our Delta Light Seltzer, which contains 5mg of THC and 1mg of CBD. This is a great entry point to understand whether cannabis can help you overcome or cope better with mental health issues.

    Please consult with your doctor or physician if you are unsure how cannabis drinks may interfere with any medications you are taking.


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