5 Cannabis Strains That Can Help Combat Anxiety
by Kat Helgeson
Question: I’m a teacher, and I start another year of teaching next week and really need your help! Over the summer I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder by my doctor, and I brought up the idea of using medical cannabis to manage my symptoms. My doctor signed off on my medical cannabis card and agreed that cannabis was a good avenue for me to explore, especially since I get so stressed during the school year.
The thing is, he didn’t have any specific suggestions for products to buy. He actually said he’d never been inside a dispensary before! I’m honestly baffled that my doctor is sending me to the dispensary without a specific list. I want to use some sort of cannabis product to manage anxiety and stress during the school year. Could you help me get started?
Cannabis Coach Haley’s Answer: I’d be glad to offer you some suggestions! My parents are both teachers, so I know some of the unique struggles that teachers go through when the school year starts back up. I’m sorry that you’ve been struggling with anxiety, but good for you for having open and honest conversations with your doctor.
I wish more people would openly ask their doctor about cannabis because cannabis is just another tool in the arsenal for managing issues caused by stress, overwhelm, and burnout. While GAD is a clinical diagnosis that should be monitored by your doctor, there are plenty of cannabis products that could help you manage some of your daily symptoms. I’ve seen many teachers have great success with cannabis!
One quick but important note: While cannabis may be legal in your state, always check with your specific employer to see what rules are in place for having or consuming cannabis on school property. To be on the safe side, it’s probably best to consume cannabis products at home before/after your school day instead of bringing them into the workplace. If you would prefer a product that can be responsibly consumed during your workday, opt for CBD products since they are non-intoxicating.
Over the years, I’ve met with hundreds of teachers who turned to CBD and cannabis for stress relief, relaxation, and focus. When August rolled around at the dispensary, I would definitely notice a trend among the teachers: Many of them stocked up on discreet, easy-to-consume products like vapes, tinctures, and edibles.
As a teacher, a vape pen can be a perfect option for consuming a quick burst of cannabis without the smell associated with smoking flower. I think of cannabis vapes like portable “inhalers”—a quick press of the button, and you can get relief quickly. Most vape pens on the market are fairly high in THC, usually 80% THC or more, but don’t let that intimidate you (check out this article for more information on this).
Most people find that 1-3 hits are all that’s needed to quickly reduce physical tension, deepen breathing, or focus on the task at hand. Another perk: One vape pen will most likely last you a while. If you’re just taking a few hits a day, a $60 cartridge could last you several weeks!
With your anxiety symptoms, you may deal with feelings of stress and panic all throughout the day. Edibles are a great option if you’re looking for a product with long-lasting effects. Many edibles will carry you through the whole workday because they can last 6+ hours depending on what you eat with them. Edibles are also perfect for microdosing. If consuming during your workday, refrain from taking more than 5 milligrams of THC.
Edibles can come in pretty much any form: brownies, pills, chocolate, gummies, etc. I recommend picking one that sounds tasty to you and beginning with a low dose. In my own personal experience, if you want your edible to last all day, it’s best to pair the edible with some sort of healthy fat like coconut oil, avocado, cashews—anything high in omega-3 fatty acids.
When I consulted with teachers in the past, I’d recommend starting the morning off with an omelet (or some food high in fat) and their morning edible. Give it around 1-2 hours to officially kick in, and the effects should carry you through lunch and well past your afternoon break.
A “tincture” might be a new term for you, but it’s essentially “medicine suspended in alcohol or a carrier oil” and a great smoke-free way to consume cannabis. You can make your own cannabis tincture or buy one ready-made at the dispensary.
Tinctures are known for kicking in faster than edibles, and you don’t have to take a tincture with food, so it’s a good option for folks who don’t like to eat breakfast in the morning. Our local dispensary has a really popular tincture that just cannabis extract in coconut oil. Overall, they’re really popular among teachers because they’re an effective and discreet way to consume cannabis quickly.
The proper way to take a tincture is to measure out the dose, place the oil under your tongue, and try to hold it there for about a minute before swallowing. This allows the oil to absorb through the sublingual glands under your tongue, and the cannabis will kick in right from your bloodstream, usually within 15 minutes!
Effects typically don’t last as long as an edible, usually around 4 hours from my experience. Many teachers take a dose of their cannabis tincture in the morning when school is starting, and then will take another dose with lunch to carry them through the rest of the day.
Start small, try a few products, and see what you like. To manage anxiety specifically, opt for products higher in CBD, a natural anxiolytic. It’s best to start with a low dose and try new products on the weekend in the comfort of your home. I hope your school year goes smoothly and that you find some products at the dispensary that you like!
For some more general tips on shopping at a dispensary, check out this article: Shopping at a Dispensary for the First Time? Here Are 3 Tips
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