Cannabis and Mental Health

September 2, 2021

While there is still a lot of research to be done, cannabis is making headlines as possible new treatments for those with mental health disorders. While we start to destigmatize cannabis and start to research the potential benefits it may be able to provide, we should start seeing how cannabis can benefit us in our everyday lives. There are a variety of different cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis that can provide medicinal benefits whether it be CBD, CBN, THC, etc. Choosing a strain or cannabis product might take some time and experimenting with different products or strains to find what is right for you. 

Cannabis and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition caused by traumatic events or situations. Recurring or intrusive thoughts can begin to develop as a result from the incident and bring on a variety of other feelings such as anxiety, guilt, depression and trouble sleeping. While we start to study how we can help alleviate some of that stress and negative feelings, cannabis has been shown to help with this. There have been numerous studies done to see if cannabis can be an active part in helping treat symptoms of those with PTSD. In a study done in 2015, cannabis was given to participants with PTSD and they administered it either orally, transdermally or by inhaling. At the end of the study there was substantial evidence that suggests that a number of military veterans with PTSD experienced potential benefits from cannabis when it came to sleeping, reducing anxiety and improving coping abilities. In another observational study done from 2009-2011 clinicians analyzed the psychometric data on PTSD symptoms collected during the 80 psychiatric evaluations of patients applying to the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program. The Clinician-Administered Posttraumatic Scale for DSM-IV (CAPS) was administered retrospectively and symptom scores were then collected and compared in a retrospective chart review of the first 80 patients evaluated (Greer et al., 2014). The results of the study showed that there was a 75% reduction in the CAPS symptom scores when the patients were using cannabis than when they were not using cannabis. It is advised that you talk with your doctor about using cannabis as a treatment option for PTSD as there is still much research to be done, but cannabis can be a good potential option for those looking to relieve some of the difficulties associated with PTSD. CBD would be a great starting option for those who are looking to receive the medicinal benefits of cannabis without the psychoactive effects of THC.  

Cannabis and Anxiety 

Anxiety is something that a majority of people experience and can be debilitating for people in many different ways. Cannabis and different cannabinoids have been shown to provide some relief from the negative side effects that anxiety can cause. Finding what is right for you may take some experimenting, but when you’re looking for cannabis strains that might help relieve feelings of anxiety, strains high in limonene have been shown to provide anti-anxiety properties. Limonene is a terpene in cannabis and can also be found in lemon rinds, orange rinds, and juniper. CBD has also been shown to provide anti-anxiety effects as well. In a 2019 study in Fort Collins Colorado, 72 patients were given a 25 mg dose of CBD each day over the course of 3 months. After the first assessment of the participants, 79.2% of patients experienced an improvement in their anxiety and 66.7% of all patients saw an improvement in anxiety and sleep. 

Cannabis strains high in Limonene for Anxiety

  • White Runtz is a strain that can bring on happy and creative thoughts while providing longer-lasting relaxation. It will leave you with a heavy body high but still keep you mentally uplifted. 
    • Aroma: Citrus, Earthy, Fruity
  • MAC or also known as “Miracle Alien Cookies” is a strain known for its uplifting and relaxing effects. It will bring on a burst of euphoria and have you feeling mentally stimulated and ready for any activity. 
    • Aroma: Floral, Diesel, Citrus
  • Wedding Cake provides a nice chill body high that can help relieve stress and help you feel relaxed. While it does provide a heavy body high it is not a strain that will put you to sleep. It will bring on an uplifting euphoric experience that will have you ready to complete any task at hand. 
    • Aroma: Berry, Fruity, Sweet
  • Strawberry Banana will provide an uplifting and cerebral head high slowly followed by a relaxing body buzz that will leave you feeling couch-locked. 
    • Strawberry, Earthy, Sweet

Cannabis and Depression

Depression is a mood disorder that can negatively affect the way you think, act, sleep and feel. There may be more feelings of sadness and trouble finding joy or pleasure in certain areas of your life. There are a variety of side effects that people with depression may experience and no one is going to experience depression in the exact same ways. Some common side effects of depression also include insomnia, memory impairment, or chronic pain. As we start to look at ways to help treat depression it has been shown that cannabis has a variety of benefits that may help elevate your mood and help improve symptoms of depression. In a 2006 study, it was reported that weekly cannabis users experienced a less depressed mood and felt a physical improvement as well.  Daily cannabis users also reported an increase in their mood and more positive effects than those who did not consume cannabis. Cannabis can also help aid those who have insomnia as a result of depression. THC can potentially help you go to sleep and CBD and CBN can also help act as a sedative combined with THC and keep you in that deeper sleep state. There are edibles on the market that you can find with CBD, THC, and CBN that are great for those looking for something to help aid with sleep. If you’re looking to use cannabis to help aid with your sleep, edibles with a 2:1 (20mg CBD: 10mg THC) or a higher CBD to THC ratio can potentially help keep you asleep at night. Edibles with CBN are also great because CBN with the combination of THC can help act as a sedative and may potentially help you fall asleep and keep you asleep. Cannabis can also help with chronic pain associated with depression as well. Certain cannabis strains can help relax and calm the body and help relieve pain. 

Strains for Depression 

  • Jack Herer is known for its uplifting and creative effects. Those looking for an elevated mood and burst of euphoria should look into the Jack Herer strain.
    • Aroma: Herbal, Lemon, Pine
  • Granddaddy Purple provides a heavier body high but will still have you feeling uplifted and relaxed. Granddaddy Purple is a great strain for those looking to have a stress-free evening while receiving a calm and happy high. 
    • Aroma: Berry, Sweet, Pine
  • Blackberry Kush is a good strain if you’re looking for a heavy body high that may help you relax and fall asleep at night. It will bring on a body high that will have you feeling relaxed and melting into your bed.
    • Aroma: Berry, Diesel, Sweet
  • Jungle Cake is known for its long-lasting effects and is a strain that will provide you with an energizing high with an uplifted mood. 
    • Aroma: Diesel, Earthy, Sweet

While there is still much research needed to be done on the effects of cannabis and mental health, cannabis has been shown to benefit those who may have had negative experiences with other kinds of medication.  It is important to consult your doctor and talk to them about your interest in cannabis as a treatment option and find out something that will work well for you. If you’re interested in finding out more about cannabis and mental health, our patient care specialists at any Quality Roots location are always happy to share their knowledge and work with you to provide the best products available for your specific needs. 

quality roots patient care specialist

A Patient Care Specialist at the Quality Roots Battle Creek location, Rachel, is also a dedicated expert contributor. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors and researching all things cannabis.