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Stress Management and Cannabis

Stress management and Cannabis

Who DOESN’T have stress, right? It happens daily, and hopefully, we have positive coping mechanisms to help, but sadly, many people do not. Our bodies are wearing down faster than it can recover. Medical cannabis has a long history of calming, soothing, and relaxing the mind, body, and spirit. As a cannabis nurse and Interpener, I know how proper use can help with stress and heighten relaxation for other coping strategies like yoga and meditation.

Personal story. I have long been known as a strong and strong-willed woman, proudly wearing that badge. It has served me well over the years, through personal trials and challenges from marriage, child-rearing, work, college, divorce, single-parenting, being a caregiver of a parent-then husband, and now the latest journey of widowhood. But strong will only get you so far, and I have now faced obstacles that require more. Stress is a significant component, and that is where cannabis comes in, but let’s talk about stress first.

Stressor comes in 2 forms – internal and external. Internal happens inside the body when we hold on to unrealistic expectations or negative self-talk. Or when we deny our bodies the type of sleep needed because we choose to use alcohol or excessive caffeine. External stressors happen outside our bodies. Examples include job changes, loss, toxic relationships, moves, etc., and even the physical environment such as too much light or noise where we spend time. The results of these stressors, when not dealt with, cause physical, mental, emotional, behavioral, and even spiritual symptoms. Symptoms can range from headaches, fatigue, and muscle pain to an inability to concentrate or remember to anxiety, depression, and risky behaviors.

We can do things to help manage stress, like increasing our awareness of the stress and our reaction. We can recognize what we need to change and reduce the intensity of our stress response. But when we have already exhausted our mind and body, these tasks can become difficult. There are currently over 70 studies directly linking the use of cannabis as a way of helping with stress management. Our body has an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that is key in modulating physical and mental/emotional stress. It is a complex science that most of us care little about understanding, but we need to know we have it, and it can break down when not cared for.

Cannabis produces various effects on central functions related to stress coping, and each person finds a different ratio between the primary cannabinoids THC and CBD that are therapeutic for them. Remember I mentioned that cannabis could help heighten relaxation? When consumed before meditation or yoga, cannabis activates the ECS to enhance our senses and state of self-awareness. This is not some new-age thinking; cannabis has been used for centuries to shift consciousness allowing one to become more open psychologically and emotionally. Specifically, when we begin yoga or medication, we must spend time, in the beginning, letting go of what does not serve us at that moment. Cannabis used beforehand allows us to let go right away. It will enable us to tune out noises around us, focus on the music or silence, and engage in movements driven by the beat of the music or pulsate with our heartbeat. These steps allow us to connect to our insides – our gut, muscles, breathing, and mind.

As a cannabis nurse consultant, I coach clients to explore tools that complement cannabis for pain relief, anxiety, stress, and even grief. Cannabis is a great tool, but it is not the only tool. When we combine this plant with other activities, we are helping our ECS in multiple positive ways. It is the same as treating a bacterial rash – topicals for the inflammation and antibiotics for the system. Think of cannabis as the antibiotic for the system and yoga or medication as the topical. Trust me; your body will thank you. At 2 Leaf Nurses, we learn the science behind medical marijuana and other cannabis products.


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