Even the calmest, most blissed-out yogi has a stressful day once in a while. And for the rest of us, stress can arise for a number of reasons: household chores piling up, a looming job interview, a critical project at work, a sick family member—the causes are near-endless.
Thinking about decompressing holistically is a good way to start reducing the stress in your life. Make time for meditation, exercise regularly, be proactive about planning ahead and organizing. And why not add cannabis to your daily routine?
One of the cannabis plant’s most prominent cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has a very similar structure to an endocannabinoid we produce naturally: anandamide. Anandamide is also known as the bliss molecule because it promotes feelings of pleasure. It also plays a role in regulating other functions like motivation, appetite and memory.
Interestingly, THC also increases dopamine levels, another molecule that’s tied to our pleasure responses. People who experience anxiety are thought to have low levels of dopamine.
Tests have shown there’s a link between marijuana and lower stress levels. In a 2017 study out of Washington State University, patients took a stress test. Some of the test subjects consumed cannabis beforehand, and some didn’t. The marijuana consumers reported less stress during the test. Their blood also showed lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
So, the science seems to back cannabis as a stress buster. But how does this translate to real life? Seven HelloMD team members share their favorite marijuana products, which they find help them de-stress, relax and unwind.
Kevin P., customer service specialist: “I like vaporizers because when I'm looking to deal with stress, I want something that's going to help right away. And I really like the Remedy 3:1 Pax Era Pod by Level— that’s three parts CBD (cannabidiol) to one part THC.
“Sometimes if I get really high, I may actually feel more anxious, fall asleep and then wake up in a couple of hours and still have whatever I was worried about to worry about. But with this ratio, it’s psychoactive, and I feel a little bit of a tickle, but it's more of a reduction of symptoms than getting really high. So, you just don't notice the things that stress you out as much. That's something I really like.
“I especially like to vape Remedy when I'm cooking for other people. I really love to cook, but I get a little stressed when I cook for others. And I'm not one of those people who can have a glass of wine while I'm cooking to relax—that just makes me forget what I'm doing. So, just a puff or two on the vaporizer, and I can feel relaxed but still concentrate.”
Danielle L., health & wellness writer: “My favorite product for stress is Level’s Soothe Delta-8 THC Tablinguals. I tried one based on HelloMD co-founder Pamela’s recommendation, and I’d say it's pretty spot on to how she describes it: like having a glass of wine.
“I remember taking this tablingual before I was meeting up with somebody who I didn't really know, which made me a little anxious and stressed out. I was a lot more social, but I wasn't really conscious of it until afterwards. I was like, ‘Oh wow, that was a really nice, easy conversation that I had with somebody that I didn't really know.’
“I think for social stressors, this tablingual is really good. I’d say I didn't notice the effects right away, but as I was having a conversation with her, I was pretty conscious about how at ease I was. And then I remember after I had that conversation, it just put me in a really good mood, so I actually went out with some friends afterwards. It just kept me in a really good mood the whole time.”
Ryan G., customer service lead: “First off, I really like the taste of the Plus Sour Watermelon Sativa Gummies. And I also find that they give me a boost in energy. So, usually if I’m in a bad mood, I’ll also feel tired. But after taking these, I feel happy, I get the giggles, and I definitely feel a boost in my spirits.
“My wife says she can see a total turnaround in me after I take these gummies. After they start kicking in, she’ll say, ‘Well you're laughing; you’re talkative; I can see they’re working.’ They don't make me feel out of it or spacey. It's more of a cerebral high, and they also don’t make me feel lazy or couch-locked or anything like that.
“I have a pretty fast metabolism, so I start feeling the effects in less than an hour, in around 45 minutes. But because of my fast metabolism, the feeling doesn't last too long. So, what I've learned to do is take a few and just as they’re starting to kick in, wait an hour or two and then take another one to keep that good mood going. And they're small enough to where I’m pretty much microdosing when I consume them.”
**Bart S., customer service specialist:**I like the Do Si Do Dablicator from Jetty at the end of a long day. It definitely helps me relax and puts me to sleep. So, if I end up working late, I need to unwind before I can go to sleep. This is what helps me speed up that unwinding process.
“It also helps me reflect back on my day, so, if I'm too stressed out, I can kind of analyze my day and think about it and then it helps me realize, ‘Oh I can handle this. Everything is cool.’
“The way I consume it is, I put the dabs in my tabletop vaporizer. I like to dab because honestly, I think it's healthier for me. When you’re smoking joints, that’s paper you’re smoking. And you use less with concentrates than with flower. So, if you’re smoking multiple grams of flower a week, that’s a lot of organic material going into your lungs. Dabs can be purer, and you don’t have to use so much, only a tiny bit.”
Veronica B., customer service specialist: “Tea is great, and I find that it just really relaxes me. Cannabis really relaxes me as well, so putting these two things together in this Tranquili-Tea from Kikoko gives me a nice, little, relaxing, de-stressing cup of tea. It’s also good for relaxing the brain and focusing on resting, which can segue into restful sleep. And If I’m well-rested, then I’m definitely less stressed out.
“I find the effects of the tea very mellow, so it's great for people who are pretty new to cannabis or just want to de-stress a little bit but don't want a super cerebral or full-body experience. It won't be overwhelming, but you’ll definitely feel better and relaxed. For me, it’s not intensely psychoactive, but just enough to make me feel better.”
Nik S., customer service specialist: “I would say the Float Pax Era Pod from Level is what I reach for when I’m feeling stressed, mainly because of its high potency. I also think the flavor is really good. It's definitely very relaxing, very calming and gives you, for lack of a better word, that floating feeling.
“I really appreciate Level’s extraction process and the way it blends the terpenes back in. It doesn't have that fake glycerin taste that you get from certain other brands. I’d say Level does a really good all around.
“I like the Float Pax Era Pod’s quick onset when you compare it to an edible or a gel capsule or a tincture. With other methods, I find sometimes they might give you an anxious feeling when you’re waiting to see if it will make you feel better. You may be sitting there thinking, ‘When's this going to kick in? Is this going to work well?’ And that might add to your anxiety even more. Whereas, when you're vaping, it's easier because you'll feel the effects pretty rapidly.
“I think Float’s great because it can provide stimulation but can also produce other uplifting effects, including that relaxing feeling. So, it's one that can be used during the day or night.”
Melissa N., office manager: “I like the Satori Wild Strawberries in Chocolate because they're great for microdosing and not super high in THC. If you're in a bad mood, they just lift you up. You won't be super stoned so you can still function, but it just takes the edge off.
“When I'm in a bad mood, and it's hard to change the channel in my mind, I like to take these, and then I usually say to myself, ‘Oh, I feel a little better now. I don't know why I was stressed about that.’ Or if I'm feeling overwhelmed then it just kind of perks me up a little.
“A lot of people de-stress with alcohol, but I don't personally really like drinking that much. When I was younger, I used to be able to go hard at it, and I would never have a hangover the next day. But now, even if I drink two beers and don't get drunk, I still feel terrible the next day. So, for me, something like this to de-stress is much more preferable.
“I also really like how these taste. You can taste just a little bit of the cannabis, but not too much like other edibles, which is good because that's the biggest thing for me. I really struggle with edibles because I can taste the cannabis. But the strawberries and the chocolate do a nice job of covering it up—and who doesn't like chocolate-covered strawberries?”
Main photo credit: Nathan Cowley