How Cannabis Relieves Stress
We all know that cannabis can help take a load off at the end of the day, and relieve your stressful woes. But what is the science behind this much sought after effect?
Although cannabis is now being used to treat a whole array of different ailments, it is often relief from anxiety and stress that is most commonly given as a reason for its use. It’s probably not too much of a surprise, lighting up can be an excellent way to end a particularly hard day – without leaving a nasty, groggy hangover when you sober up. The question is though, is this simply a by-product of the relaxing euphoria? Or is there something deeper going on?
There is ample research out there outlining the stress relieving potential of cannabis, and its contained cannabinoids. There is also a lot of research out there outlining how, if you go overboard with the THC, it can have the opposite effect. It appears to be about cannabinoid balance.
Research into the matter tends to focus on the neurological aspects of this interaction – how cannabis interacts with the brain. One persistent theme that always seems to appear from this is cannabis’ interaction with the endocannabinoid system.
IT ALL COMES BACK TO THE ENDOCANNABINOD SYSTEM
The endocannabinoid system is a network of receptors found in each and every one of our bodies. It is highly concentrated within the brain, and reaches pretty much everywhere the central nervous system does. The compounds of cannabis, such as THC and CBD, bind to this system, causing a whole multitude of varying effects throughout the body.
One of the many responsibilities held by the endocannabinoid system is influencing levels of stress and anxiety. This is done by the body relasing natural chemicals to bind to it - such as anandamide, which so happens to be very similar to THC.
By acting upon the same receptors and pathways as anandamide within the brain, THC is able to mimic its stress controlling/relieving effects, and offer relief. So next time you light up to let off a bit of steam, know that marijuana is genuinely effecting your levels of stress within the body, not simply making you feel relieved as a by-product.
However, before you go hunting down a strain with the strongest THC content you can find, remember that the interactions between the many cannabinoids found within cannabis are complex, and the ways they further interact within the body are even more so. Strains of cannabis that have a particularly high THC content, without a high CBD content to help regulate them, are well known to actually increase levels of anxiety and stress in some. So play it cool, and don’t go overboard!