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How To Treat Anxiety With Marijuana

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How To Treat Anxiety With Marijuana

October 31
15:58 2017

Every day millions of people battle with social and daily anxiety. It’s something more and more people are speaking up about, which is a strong and beautiful thing. Depression and anxiety is not to be ashamed of: It’s to be talked about.

Taking antidepressants is something I chose to do a few years ago, because medicine and therapy work. But I didn’t want to rely on pills such as Xanax for anxiety, so I looked elsewhere. The research in how marijuana affects mental health is extremely rare, but has picked up some traction recently as caretakers deal with troops suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. We know of the many benefits cannabis has in regard to physical health, but could it have the same effect on the brain?

After smoking pot in college, I stopped in my early twenties for ten years. It had started to make me anxious and uncomfortable when I’d smoke, so I just stopped. After living in Vail for three years and Dallas for seven, I was in New York City as I turned 31 – when, suddenly, it hit me: Anxiety and fear in general blanketed me. Each day, it got worse. Luckily, every person in New York is anxious, so it was easy to find advice.

Graduate students from Columbia and New York universities ran a service that would deliver pot to your door in two types of flower: sativa and indica. They would explain the difference, so it was like getting a minor pot education, like Marijuana for Dummies. Marijuana was what people had recommended the most, and staying natural was a big appeal. I was scared it would have the same effect it did ten years prior; anyone who’s had a bad experience with pot but wants to try it for medicinal reasons later in life knows that feeling.

Relaxing indica strains seemed best, so with little knowledge on much else, I reintroduced myself to a plant that does much more than get people high. After two years back in Colorado, my marijuana knowledge is massive. The amount of research I’ve done to see how flower can help my anxiety is extensive. So here’s what I’ve learned works for me:

The key thing is to not dive in, but just dip a toe and see how the water feels. I would take one puff, then relax. The next night, maybe two puffs. I did it very gradually; as with starting any medication, I wanted to find the right amount that worked for me. This wasn’t about getting stoned: It was about relaxing my mind and nerves.

Being alone was important to me at first. I feared I’d act weird or freak out being around people after smoking. After becoming more comfortable with cannabis, though, I began smoking with people I was close to and felt ultra-comfortable with. Using cannabis doesn’t have to be a social thing – it can be a “you” thing, too – but it can also help with social anxiety, so it can be both a “you” thing and a social thing.

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