THC and CBD are two of hundreds of cannabinoids found in the cannabis sativa plant. THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid, while its counterpart CBD is a non-intoxicant. Together or separate these cannabinoids can affect powerful change on communication channels within the brain.
In a recent study in the British Journal of Anaesthesia, researchers found that cannabis produced significant therapeutic effects, similar to those of opioid analgesics. The research shows that Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) binds to CB2 receptors in the spinal cord to reduce pain signals sent to the brain. It was also shown to reduce muscle spasticity in patients with Multiple Sclerosis and reduce neuropathic pain.
A recent University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) study revealed that THC in low doses is effective at combating stress. The study also demonstrated that THC in high doses has the opposite effect. Professor Emma Childs, the study’s author stated, “we found that THC at low doses reduced stress, while higher doses had the opposite effect, underscoring the importance of dose when it comes to THC and its effects”.
This reinforces the need for medical management when seeking to treat stress. As treatment is highly dose dependent it is advisable to work with a team of medical professionals to determine your individualized needs when it comes to cannabis.
Another important thing to remember is the “start slow and less is more” mentality. Start with small doses of THC and wait until the effects begin and then determine if more THC is required to achieve the desired effect. It is easier to increase THC doses rather than consume a large amount to begin with.
Science aside, many cannabis users report that the plant just helps them feel less stressed. It could be due to the euphoric “high” associated with cannabis or the physiological effects, but it just helps. Recreational cannabis users tend to be quite different from medical users. Recreational users often want to get “high” and consume large quantities, but as we learned above that is not always an effective way to combat stress. Medical cannabis users tend to use the plant to manage unwanted symptoms of stress, while consuming it in a mindful manner.
Regardless of how cannabis is used, it is both scientifically and subjectively proven to reduce the symptoms of stress.