Cannabis and Stress - Cause or Cure?
By Dalton Rosario
Here we are presented with a classic point of contention as old as Time. Do the very terpenes and trichomes which give our favorite strands it’s unique qualities of aroma, flavor and THC/CBD potency act against us in clouding our head with anxiety? - Or do they work with us in clearing our mind of stress. Opposing testimonies and opinions on this matter are split down the aisle in as much as the implications for the outcome of Dr. Christine Ford and Brett Kavanaugh. But a short search on leafly.com confirms the horticulture literature. Terpenes like Limonene, Linalool, Myrcene, Beta-Caryophyllene and Alpha-Pinene are specifically profiled and sought after in strands like Granddaddy Purple, Cannatonic, White Fire OG and ACDC for the very purpose of relieving anxiety, stress and related bouts of insomnia and depression. So if the science is sound then why do objections arise?
To begin with, tolerance is crucial when considering the context for cannabis causing or curing stress related feels. For those who are unaware and unprepared, a large dose of THC can tear someone right out of their element. Some may advise to counteract this reaction by incrementally increasing consumption as a means of getting over those tingling altitude jitters. But the irony is that an increase in frequency of use leads to an increase in estrogen intake which can be associated with self-limiting thoughts and negatively impacting beliefs of fear, worry and doubt about one’s capabilities, self-image and surroundings.
A widely debated cultural movement emerging from this ongoing discourse is that medicinal cannabis can replace benzodiazepines - prescribed anti anxiety sedatives - like Xanax, Klonopin, Valium and Ativan, as the golden standard for a greener alternative. What makes this rising viewpoint appealing in the eyes of an educated consumer base is the constant confrontation of horrific details from opioid abuse across our country featured in mainstream media. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (drugabuse.gov), over 115 Americans lose their lives daily to opioid overdose. Over one-third of those fatalities are directly related to benzodiazepine abuse. And although currently deemed safe for medicinal use as a Schedule IV Drug, its misuse continues to grow astronomically.
As often referenced, cannabis on the other hand is infamously ranked as a Schedule I Drug with the likes of Heroine, LSD and Cocaine. This is determined by the federal government based upon a lack of conventional medical use and “highly addictive attributes which pose a severe risk for public safety.” Even though to date there is no readily accessible research that denotes overwhelming proof for cannabis overdosing with moderate to excessive use, the stigma remains.
But we know better. And we are acting upon it. Illinois State Senator Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, sponsored a bill titled SB 336 to recommend medicinal cannabis as a healthy alternative to opioids late August. This is a historic catalyst and now that the nation is watching, green states throughout the country ought to embrace this principle as a prime example for policy shift. And with our Canadian neighbors up north being the first industrialized country to federally legalize recreational cannabis use this past June, it is plausible within our lifetime to witness a shifting of the tides in favor of cannabis earning its rightful spot as a viable means for anxiety treatment. Whether medical or recreational, progressive legislation and popular opinion agree on one thing. Cannabis is the cure.