How to use cannabis so you don’t trigger anxiety

In Cannabis, CBD, Edibles, Wellness by Weed MamaLeave a Comment

Cannabis can help you feel nice and relaxed however for those of you prone to anxiety, cannabis-specifically THC- can trigger anxiety so you have to be careful. In this article I’ll talk about how to use cannabis so you don’t trigger anxiety.

I have panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder and I’ve managed to use cannabis successfully over the past 5 years, when I’m mindful and use cannabis with intention. I do trigger panic attacks if I get carried away, not thinking about how much I’m consuming, like mindlessly inhaling from my vaporizer while scrolling through Instagram and then oopsie, I’m way too high and feeling jittery.

Using cannabis with intention has always allowed me to have a pleasant, calming experience. You just have to be mindful about your consumption so you don’t accidently take too much and trigger anxiety.

Watch this video on how to use cannabis with anxiety

Why THC triggers anxiety in some people

Our body has something called the Endocannabinoid system (ECS), the ECS regulates many functions of the body such as sleep, appetite and mood, basically it’s responsible for keeping our bodies in a state of homeostasis.

The ECS has many receptors that can be found throughout the body and brain and cannabinoids from the cannabis plant, binds themselves to these various receptors.

ECS white paper by Emerald Health

Everyone is different in how their own ECS works and how their brain chemistry works, therefore THC will effect everyone differently. Some people can take large amounts of THC and barely feel it, while others can have a bad reaction to even the smallest amount of THC.

The only way to know if THC is safe for you to use with an anxiety disorder is to try it. Let’s go over the best methods and dose to try, to minimize THC triggering anxiety.

Best methods to try when you have anxiety

There’s several methods for using cannabis: inhalation, ingestion and topically. When you have anxiety there’s some methods and products that you should avoid. First I’m going to talk about what products and methods you should avoid:

Avoid smoking– smoking cannabis is essentially lighting the plant on fire and inhaling the smoke. This not only makes it very strong, it also contains many toxins such as tar which isn’t good for anyone. Smoking is one method that’s more likely to trigger anxiety over other methods and it’s one to avoid.

Avoid concentrates- concentrates are very potent and they should be avoided when you have anxiety. Methods like dabbing is highly likely to trigger anxiety, even in people not usually prone to anxiety so if you’re offered a dab, just walk away.

Vape pens on the other hand do come in low dose options, such as Dosist pens which are formulated to be low dose and buzz when you reach 2.5mg, so this pen might be a good option for anxiety however in general it’s best to avoid concentrates.

Avoid certain edibles– edibles are long-lasting and can take several hours to wear off. If you try an edible and it triggers anxiety, you’ll have to wait awhile for the effects to diminish and that’s not something you want to do when you have anxiety.

There’s a few options to try when you have anxiety that will minimize the chances of it triggering a panic attack.

Davinci IQ2 dry herb vaporizer

Recommended method- dry herb vaporizing: This is the best way to use cannabis when you’re prone to anxiety. Dry herb vaporizing allows you to control what cannabinoids and terpenes you release, so you can customize your experience and minimize the chances of it triggering anxiety.

Using a dry herb vaporizer on a low temperature will allow you to feel calm and it wears off by 30 minutes (can be longer for some people) so this gives you a good idea if THC is ok for you to use.

Recommended article: How to buy the best dry herb vaporizer for your lifestyle

Recommended method- fast-acting edibles: fast-acting edibles have an onset and duration similar to inhalation methods as it by-passes the liver and goes straight to the blood stream.

The onset is around 15 minutes and duration is around 60 minutes (on average, this can vary). This means you’re not committed to a long period of time waiting for it to wear off, if it triggers anxiety.

Products to try that are fast-acting:

All beverages, alcohol based tinctures (most tinctures in Canada are oils and are long lasting), dissolvables that can be mixed into beverages or strips that dissolve in the mouth, are fast-acting, also there are some fast-acting candies. Any edible (other than beverages) that are fast-acting will be listed as such in my product reviews section.

When you have anxiety you want a low dose for any cannabis product with THC. A low dose is different for each method.

Dry herb vaporizingUnder 10% THC
Over 5% CBD
Vape pensLess than 30% THC
at least 30% CBD
(both long and fast-acting)
2 – 2.5mg THC
Preferably 5mg + CBD
*I recommend taking CBD with all THC products

When you visit a cannabis store, ask the staff which low dose products they recommend for the method you’ve chosen to try. This will ensure you’re getting a product that won’t be too strong.

*Note -by law in Canada they aren’t allowed to recommend products for specific conditions like anxiety, just ask for low dose options

Recommended article: Cannabis 101: how to figure out your perfect dose and method

THC free products

If you’re just way to nervous trying any amount of THC, there’s products you can try that are THC free and will allow you to still get the benefits of the cannabis plant, without it triggering anxiety.

CBD products will help to ease your anxiety, look for products that are high in CBD 50mg + however start at around 20mg and see how that makes you feel. CBD doesn’t cause intoxication so it won’t trigger anxiety however it can sometimes be stimulating (like caffeine) in doses under 50mg, so keep that in mind.

CBD products you should try should be from hemp as hemp is grown to have less than .3% THC, all other products that are CBD will have a bit of THC in there, so check the bottle for the amounts of THC per ml, if you’re concerned about that.

Topicals are non-psychoactive and won’t get you high, unless it’s a transdermal patch that’s formulated to slow release into your blood stream. Other products like bath bombs, salves and intimacy products will not get you high or trigger anxiety, even with THC as they don’t enter the blood stream.

Sex Pot by Latitude intimacy oil

Related article: Everything you need to know about infused lube (like will it get your vagina high)

The only thing to consider with topicals that contain THC is when you’re applying it to your face, where the skin is thinner. Some THC may get absorbed into the blood stream, however in general topicals are safe to use when you have anxiety.

Be comfortable and start low and go slow

Always start with a low dose and go slow. Meaning wait awhile before trying more THC if the first dose wasn’t the right amount. We want to avoid layering your dose (especially with edibles) as this can make it difficult to know what the right dose is for you.

With edibles I recommend waiting to try more until the next day, so you have a fresh start. With inhalation I recommend waiting at least 15 minutes to try more, if the first dose wasn’t enough.

You also want to be in a calm, relaxed setting before trying THC. I find the evening the best time as that’s when the kids are in bed and I know I won’t be disturbed. Whenever that time is for you, wait until you know you’re at ease before trying THC, this will help you have a better experience.

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