If you are someone who suffers from social anxiety, then you aren't alone. There are millions of people out there who suffer from what is essentially a debilitating condition that keeps you from enjoying the company of others, particularly in large groups.
If you suffer from social anxiety, you don't have to suffer in silence, and realistically, you don't have to keep suffering at all.
There are many options to help treat social anxiety, with cannabis being a potential one. Indeed, cannabis has shown some potential to be effective at treating social anxiety, which is true for a variety of cannabinoids in this miracle plant. Today, we want to take a closer look at exactly how cannabis, both THC and CBD, may be able to help reduce or eliminate symptoms of social anxiety.
Cannabis is not a one-shot cure for social anxiety, and you should always consult a medical professional before starting any kind of new treatment, but that said, there is some potential for it to help you on this front.
Let's take a closer look at exactly what cannabis is, how it works, what the different types of it are, what its benefits are, and how it might help you control your social anxiety. Let's get to it and help you enjoy being outside with other people instead of being afraid of it!
- Cannabis is a naturally occurring plant that contains two major cannabinoids that may both help to reduce symptoms of social anxiety, THC and CBD.
- THC and CBD have the potential to reduce symptoms associated with social anxiety thanks to the way in which they affect a variety of hormones and neurotransmitters in the human brain and body.
- Cannabis is associated with effects on serotonin, dopamine, cortisol, and GABA levels, all of which can have their own specific effects on stress, anxiety, and depression.
What Is Cannabis?
Cannabis, otherwise known as weed, marijuana, or even ganja, is a naturally occurring plant. Cannabis has been used both medically and recreationally for many hundreds of years, as it contains well over 400 different compounds, with THC and CBD being two of them.
HC and CBD are the two most commonly occurring major cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant and are generally considered to be the only two major cannabinoids. There are also over 110 other cannabinoids, although they occur in much lower quantities, and are therefore considered minor cannabinoids.
THC, specifically Delta-9 THC, is a naturally occurring cannabinoid that is responsible for you feeling high, but it also has a variety of potential medical benefits. We then also have CBD, which also has a variety of potential benefits, although it is generally non-psychoactive, so it should not get you high.
Cannabis is generally smoked, although recently, it is also more commonly popular to vaporize, take edibles, take tinctures, and even use topical applications. At this time, the legal status of cannabis in the USA is becoming more relaxed. According to the 2018 Farm Bill, any cannabinoid product that is derived from the hemp plant or CBD, and contains no more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC, should technically be legal.
Some individual states have legalized cannabis, specifically Delta-9 THC, for recreational use. Either way, according to federal law, as long as your edibles do not contain more than 3 milligrams of Delta-9 THC per gram of weight, they should be legal. Let's move on and find out how cannabis works and what it might be beneficial for.
How Does Cannabis Work?
Cannabis works on the human body and mind because it contains what are known as cannabinoids, the main active substances.
The human body contains what is known as the endocannabinoid system, which is a series of receptors and transmitters that appear to be perfectly designed to accept, process, and utilize cannabinoids. There are two types of cannabinoid receptors in the human body, which include the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
CB1 cannabinoid receptors are found mainly in the central nervous system or brain, and these are generally related to feelings of stress and anxiety, as well as inflammation and more.
There are the CB2 receptors that are located in the immune system and other parts of the body. These receptors are often associated with inflammation, pain, and more.
When you consume cannabis, the different cannabinoids interact with your endocannabinoid system and interact with those receptors, therefore producing a wide variety of effects related to sleep, appetite, mood, inflammation, pain, immune response, and more.
Types Of Cannabis
Dividing up the different types of cannabis can be done in a variety of ways. We could take a look at the different cannabinoids that cannabis contains, we could take a look at the different forms that cannabis can, or we can take a look at the different subspecies of cannabis. Let's quickly do all three.
Technically speaking, cannabis or weed is generally seen as being the cannabis plant, which means that the main cannabinoid present is THC. Once again, THC is the psychoactive compound that gets you high. There are many forms of THC, with Delta-9 THC being the most common one.
If you are looking to get high and also reap some potential benefits, Delta-9 THC and other forms of THC are what you should go for. However, another type of cannabis or weed to consider is technically referred to as hemp, not cannabis.
Generally speaking, hemp is what contains very high levels of CBD. CBD is considered non-psychoactive but still has a variety of benefits. In case you are confused, the main takeaway here is that cannabis plants contain more THC and less CBD, and hemp plants contain less THC and more CBD.
Sativa vs Indica
Next, if we are talking about cannabis, you also need to consider that there are two main types or subspecies, which include Sativa and Indica. Generally speaking, these two produce a slightly different high.
Indica strains of cannabis are usually considered to produce more of a body high, which is characterized by your limbs feeling heavy and relaxed, possible pain relief, feeling like you are sinking into a couch, along with great mental relaxation and calmness.
There are then Sativa strains of cannabis, which are known for producing more of a head or cerebral high, characterized by happiness, euphoria, creativity, feeling talkative and giggly, as well as a slight body high.
This is not to say that Indica strains don't also make you feel happier and euphoric or produce a head high, or that Sativa strains don't also produce a bit of a body high.
However, Indica is more associated with a body feeling and Sativa with a cerebral feeling. Interestingly enough, when it comes to social anxiety, Indica strains that produce a heavy sensation of relaxation and calmness might just be best.
Forms of Cannabis to Consume
Cannabis can also come in a variety of forms for you to consume, so let's take a quick look at these.
- Flower: Perhaps the oldest and most common way of consuming cannabis is flower, which is weed in its raw form. If you want to try some flower, but don’t want to have to roll, check out our Botany Farms Sugar Queen CBD Pre-Rolls.
- Edibles: Cannabis edibles are foods that are infused with a variety of cannabinoids, and these are a good option for people who don't want to smoke or vape.
- Concentrates: You can also try cannabis concentrates, which are when various cannabinoids are extracted from the plant matter and turned into an oil, shatter, wax, and more. These are generally vaporized.
- Tinctures: These are kind of like edibles, but are generally designed more for medical and therapeutic benefits rather than recreation. Tinctures are when cannabis extracts or cannabinoids are infused into alcohol solutions. These are usually applied sublingually or under the tongue. A tincture such as our own Live Resin CBD Tincture could be just what you need.
- Topicals: cannabis can also be applied topically, which means putting it on the skin in the form of a salve or cream, which can be effective for treating localized pain and inflammation.
Benefits Of Consuming Cannabis
Let's take a quick look at all of the possible benefits of consuming cannabis.
One of the major supposed benefits of cannabis is that it can help relieve stress. It is believed that cannabis interacts with your adrenal glands and causes them to produce less cortisol. When you are stressed out, your body produces cortisol, and that actually keeps you in a stressed-out state. By reducing the amount of cortisol that the human body produces, cannabis can therefore potentially reduce the levels of stress.
It may also be the case that cannabis can offer great relief from depression. Cannabis has the potential to interact with a variety of neurotransmitters, mainly serotonin and dopamine, both of which are known for being effective mood regulators.
Both of these brain chemicals can help with alleviating or reducing feelings of depression, anxiety, stress, sadness, and more. These are the same chemicals that are produced when you exercise, eat chocolate, or have sex. They make you feel good, they regulate your mood, and they can make you feel much happier.
By interacting with the cannabinoid receptors in your body, cannabis may also act as a strong antiemetic agent. In layman's terms, this means that it has the potential to reduce or stop symptoms related to nausea and vomiting. In this sense, it could also help increase your appetite.
Related to the above point, it is believed that cannabis helps to stimulate the amount of hunger hormones your body produces. By increasing the amount of hunger hormones in your body, cannabis effectively makes you feel hungrier. This is what is believed to be responsible for the so-called munchies, that feeling of extreme and near uncontrollable hunger when you consume cannabis.
Cannabis may also act as a powerful sleep aid, and this is true due to a variety of reasons. First and foremost, because cannabis has the potential to regulate your mood and or leave anxiety, it can help put you in a better mental state, so you can fall asleep easier. However, it is also believed that cannabis itself, specifically THC, acts as a sedative that helps you sleep.
Pain and Inflammation Relief
Cannabis also has the potential to relieve both pain and inflammation. Cannabis, both THC and CBD, are believed to be analgesics, which means that they block pain signals from getting to your brain. On that note, they are also believed to be anti-inflammatory agents that can help control the amounts of proinflammatory markers in the body, therefore reducing inflammation and pain in the process.
By interacting with various receptors in the brain, particularly dopamine receptors, it is believed that cannabis can make you feel more creative.
What Is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety may also be referred to as a social phobia. This is an extreme fear of being humiliated, judged, or ridiculed in social situations. Some people only have mild forms of social anxiety, whereas other people suffer from extreme forms that completely stop them from venturing out into the world.
People who have social anxiety generally feel completely overwhelmed in any kind of social situation, especially when there are many people involved.
This is actually an extremely common mental health issue that affects millions and millions of people in the world. It is one of the most common mental disorders after alcohol abuse and depression. Unfortunately, people with social anxiety, when left untreated, often become reclusive.
There are also those who just try to shake the symptoms off and fight through them, although this often leads to more anxiety. Going to big group events, job interviews, parties, dates, and even just locations that have large crowds of people can be absolutely nerve-wracking.
Not only does this anxiety affect mental states, but it can also lead to physical effects, such as an increased heart rate, sweating, trembling, blushing, nausea, and difficulty speaking or communicating with others. Luckily, something that may be able to help Curb Your social anxiety is cannabis.
Is Cannabis Good for Treating Social Anxiety?
First, you should never start any kind of medical or therapeutic treatment without first consulting your medical professional.
Although cannabis may be a useful tool for reducing symptoms associated with anxiety, it is not a cure and should never be used as a replacement for treatments recommended by your medical professional. That said, there is definite potential for cannabis to help reduce your symptoms related to anxiety or social anxiety.
As discussed further above, cannabis, both THC and CBD, are shown to interact with a variety of neurotransmitters and hormones in the human body and brain. Let's do a quick summary of all of the potential ways in which cannabis may be able to help reduce your levels of social anxiety.
- Cannabis may affect the neurotransmitter known as GABA. Cannabis has the potential ability to increase GABA levels and productivity in the human body. This is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is known for producing a calming effect and may be able to help control fear, stress, and anxiety.
- As mentioned above, cannabis may also be able to reduce cortisol levels. There are actually studies that show that cannabis has this potential. By reducing cortisol levels, you feel less stressed out, and stress is certainly a part of social anxiety. If you feel less stressed out, you're also likely to feel less anxious.
- As we've also covered above, cannabis also has the potential to affect the way in which dopamine and serotonin work in the body. Dopamine is usually associated with feelings of motivation, productivity, and rewards, whereas serotonin is generally associated with feelings of focus, happiness, elation, and calmness. Here’s a study that shows that THC increases dopamine levels, and here’s a study that indicates that specific doses of cannabis can also increase serotonin levels. Seeing as cannabis has the potential to affect both of these neurotransmitters, these benefits come together to possibly reduce symptoms associated with social anxiety or regular anxiety.
Can I Take Cannabis With Other Medications?
First and foremost, never start any kind of new treatment for anxiety or otherwise without first consulting your medical professional. Cannabis, whether THC or CBD, can interact negatively with other medications, such as benzodiazepines, which are prescribed specifically for anxiety. If you take cannabis together with these medications, there is a risk of suffering from some adverse side effects.
MAOI and SSRI Drugs are also often prescribed for anxiety, but they can also interact with cannabis in negative ways. If your medical professional indicates that it is OK for you to try cannabis along with your other medications for social anxiety, it is best to start slowly with a very low dosage, just to see if there are any potential negative effects. Some people may however create herbal smoking blends in an attempt to curb anxiety.
Cannabis Dosage for Social Anxiety
Everyone is different, so a dosage that works for one person might be too little or too much for another. However, the best advice we can give you here is to start very slow, with just 5 milligrams or 10 milligrams of THC at the very most.
One thing to note here is that very high concentrations of Delta-9 THC may actually cause paranoia or anxiety, so low doses are generally considered best. If you have never taken cannabis before, whether for social anxiety or otherwise, a few milligrams at most should be more than enough. If you feel that whatever dose you are taking is not enough, you can always take more.
Also, different strains of cannabis, different cannabinoids, and different delivery methods can all have varying effects, so this is something that you might need to do some trial and error on to see what works best for you. Different terpenes may also affect anxiety levels.
Choosing the Best Cannabis for Your Anxiety
Seeing as very high doses of THC can potentially increase anxiety and paranoia, it's best to choose strains that aren't too potent. Cannabis strains, raw flower, can range in potency anywhere from 10% to upwards of 30%. If you want to avoid the risk of paranoia or anxiety due to high THC levels, we recommend sticking to the lower end of that spectrum.
Furthermore, as mentioned above, Sativa strains of cannabis tend to be more mentally stimulating, whereas Indica strains tend to be more relaxing for the mind and body. Some people report that the mentally stimulating effects of Sativa strains can increase levels of anxiety because they make your brain more active and make you think more.
On the other hand, most people note that Indica strains of cannabis are generally much more effective for treating symptoms related to anxiety because it is much more common in nature.
You should also consider the delivery method here because different delivery methods are generally associated with different levels of potency or strength. For instance, raw cannabis flower tends to be one of the least potent ways of consuming cannabis, with very low-dosage edibles being next on the list.
However, edibles react with the human body differently than when you inhale cannabis smoke or vapor. THC particularly ends up being far more potent when it is processed and metabolized by the liver, so it takes a lot less cannabis content when ingested orally than when smoked to achieve the same effects and high.
If you choose to go with edibles, a few milligrams, 5 milligrams at most, should be more than enough to get you started.
The official recommendation here is to go for a very low-potency cannabis strain that you can smoke or a low-potency edible. If you’d like to try some edibles, our Botany Farms CBD Gummies could be right for you.
It is safe to say that cannabis, both THC and CBD, have some very real potential to reduce or relieve symptoms of social anxiety. However, always start slow and always consult a medical professional first. CBD may even be able to help with performance anxiety!
If you’d like to give CBD a try, check out our Botany Farms CBD Blueberry Kush.
Cannabis For Social Anxiety: Frequently Asked Questions
Let's quickly answer some of your most pressing questions about social anxiety and cannabis.
Is social anxiety a disability?
Social anxiety is considered to be a mental health disorder, although many do not consider it to be a legitimate disability. Whether or not you qualify for disability benefits due to social anxiety depends on the place and person you are talking to.
Can you take CBD daily for social anxiety?
CBD is generally considered to be nonintoxicating, so it should not get you high and is often considered to be something that can help calm you down and regulate your mood.
Is it safe to drive after using cannabis?
No, in no way, shape, or form is it safe to drive or operate heavy machinery after consuming cannabis.
Is cannabis addictive?
Unfortunately, cannabis can be addictive, and regular use of it can lead to something known as cannabis use disorder.
What are the potential side effects of using cannabis to treat social anxiety?
Some of the most common side effects of cannabis include paranoia, confusion, dry mouth, red eyes, impaired coordination, impaired cognitive skills, and impaired fine motor skills.