To recognize Mental Health Awareness Month, we wanted to discuss mental health and cannabis use. At Yew Yew, our mission is to change the narrative and stigma associated with cannabis use. This month’s topic is extra potent as mental health is as stigmatized as cannabis use in our society. We are here to keep a conversation going on a path others began in normalizing the discussion around mental health and cannabis use.
BY THE NUMBERS
Before we dive into this issue, let’s take a look at the mental health numbers. In the U.S. alone, 1 in 5 adults have had a mental illness; that’s roughly 51.5 million people. The fact 20% of adults in America have experienced some type of mental illness highlights how widespread this issue is currently.
WHAT IMPACT DOES CANNABIS HAVE ON MENTAL HEALTH
The results of studies on the effects cannabis has on mental health were mixed. There was no definitive answer that could point to why some people’s mental health improved with cannabis use, while others got worse. Our biggest takeaway? You know your body and your tolerance level best. Be conscientious like you would with any medication.
If using cannabis as medicine for a mental health disorder is new to you, make sure to ease into the process. There is no set amount of cannabis that could be labeled a suggested dose. You will definitely experience some trial and error to find what works best for you.
A few things to keep in mind when medicating with cannabis is to not become dependent on it. Like any medication, use it with respect and appreciate what it can do for your body and mind. If you are feeling dependent on cannabis or using it to numb out your feelings and emotions, that is not a healthy approach to cannabis consumption.
Spoiler alert - that approach won’t help you in dealing with your mental health, anyways. Stay mindful and be self-aware when you spark up. And if you need help, never hesitate to reach out and find a professional.
WHAT ABOUT CANNABIS AND DEPRESSION
Cannabis had mixed effects for people experiencing depression. Some people experience a high that helps them feel invigorated and motivated. Cannabis can provide a much needed sense of stimulation. For others, it made the effects of the depression worse. Even less motivation and constantly feeling tired were commonly reported as negative side effects.
Recommended strains for depression: Cinex, Sour Diesel, Harle-Tsu, Green Crack, Harlequin, True OG, and Black Jack
WHAT ABOUT CANNABIS AND PTSD
There have mainly been positive outcomes in the therapeutic effects of cannabis PTSD. Because the majority of people suffering from PTSD have a deficiency in endocannabinoids, medicating with cannabis can correct that imbalance.
Recommended strains to help with PTSD: White Lotus, Skunk Plus, Snow Leopard, and Pineapple Express
WHAT ABOUT CANNABIS AND ANXIETY
Anxiety is another mental health issue that had mixed results when it came to the use of cannabis as a medicinal option. Some people experienced feelings of relaxation and calm. Some people feel so overstimulated they feel symptoms reminiscent of a panic attack. CBD dominant strains are excellent for people with anxiety and beginning consumers.
Recommended strains to help with anxiety: ACDC, Granddaddy Purple, Jack Herer, Canna-Tsu, Jillybean, Remedy, and Purple Urkle.
WHAT ABOUT CANNABIS AND ADHD
People with ADHD had varying degrees of success using cannabis as medicine. Some strains were helpful in people maintaining concentration and focus. Those same strains could have the opposite effect if too much cannabis is consumed. So, keep in mind to start with small dosages first. Start slow and allow your body and mind to feel and experience these strains.
Recommended strains for helping ADHD: Sour Diesel, ACDC, Cannatonic, Harle-Tsu, Zkittlez, Fire Alien Strawberry
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF MY CANNABIS USE
To help ensure you have a pleasant experience when medicating, follow these few simple rules so no one harshes your mellow.
- Make sure you are someplace you feel comfortable and safe.
- If you are using cannabis with other people, make sure they are people you trust.
- Be in a calm setting and allow yourself to enjoy the effects of the cannabis.
- Keep away from screens - try to avoid the TV, your phone and computer.
What happens if you’re trying to medicate and you start to feel anxious? Take a few deep breaths and ground yourself in the moment. Be present. Work on slowing your mind down. Remind yourself this too shall pass. Then find something to get your mind fixated on. Maybe that’s journaling. Perhaps take a walk around the neighborhood. Do an arts and crafts project. Anything that can take your mind away from focusing on those anxious feelings.
WHAT TO TAKE AWAY FROM ALL OF THIS
Research into this topic is still just beginning to bud. There will need to be more long term studies done for any conclusive evidence to show one way or another the effects of cannabis on mental health. For now, we will have to rely more on personal experiences of people who have used cannabis as a tool for managing their mental health. The way people react to mental health disorders is different. The way people's bodies react to cannabis use is different. Those variables make it difficult to accurately state the effects of cannabis on mental health.
Head over to our Instagram page (@yewyewshop) and check out stories people have shared with us about their mental health journey with cannabis! Multiple women took the time to discuss the pros and cons they’ve experienced with cannabis and their mental health.
You and your mental health are important. If you are currently struggling with any mental health issues, we encourage you to reach out to a professional who can help you deal with your struggles. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help! Remember, we’re working on breaking those stigmas. And most importantly, you’re not alone.
Below is a list of institutions and organizations focused on providing aid for people struggling with mental health issues. Check out these resources if you need further support in your mental health struggles.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line text SIGNS to 741741 for 24/7 free and anonymous counseling
OK2Talk Teen Helpline 1-800-273-TALK
Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255