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How to Get Started Using Cannabis for Stress Relief

Folks are feeling more stressed than ever these days. If you’re one of the eight in 10 Americans who are frequently stressed, having go-to relaxation techniques is absolutely necessary to help you wind-down from those long, vexing days. Some people do yoga, some people meditate, some people exercise. And some people use cannabis!

If you’re looking to up your self-care game or enhance an already-established stress-relief routine, you might want to consider adding in cannabis. It’s not always obvious how to get started or how to achieve the best stress-busting results.

If thinking about using cannabis for stress is leaving your head spinning, here are a few things you should know before you get started. You’ll be a pro at using cannabis for calm in no time.

1. Play around with dosing.

Consuming small amounts of cannabis, less than 5mg, might be just what you need to let the stress of the day roll right off your shoulders without being impaired. Small doses, or microdoses, are best taken in edible form or in tinctures so you can be sure of the concentration you’re getting. It’s easier to over-consume when you’re using a vape or smoking flowers, which can leave you a little too chill for daytime activities.

Alternatively, consuming larger doses of cannabis at the end of a long day might be the key to unwinding and relaxing without being distracted by or worrying about your day. See which method works best for you by starting with a microdose, taking notes, then possibly upping your intake.

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2. Add in some CBD.

THC may be the component that gets all the buzz, but it’s far from the only active chemical found in cannabis. There are over 60 other cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis and all of them have some effect on your endocannabioid system. Sometimes they complement one another, increasing the effects of one another. One of the more well-known phytocannabioinds (cannabinoids from plants) is CBD, or cannabidiol.

Cannabidiol works with the ECS by allowing recpetors to take up more of other cannabinoids, like THC.  Adding additional cannabinoids — like CBD — to THC will heighten the medicinal or therapeutic effects of cannabis without making you feel more stoned. This is commonly referred to as the entourage effect. Simply said, adding CBD won't get you high, but it’ll bolster the anti-stress properties, which is exactly what you want!

“I use cannabis for stress relief in all forms; flower, tinctures, vape, patches, etc. CBD plays a huge role in my feeling of relief.”
— Chelsea, Caliva budtender
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3. Find the right strain.

When you’re aiming to soothe your stress, choosing the right cannabis is important. Go to a reputable source, like Caliva, to make sure you’re getting high-quality, pesticide-free, and California-state-tested cannabis. At Caliva, our knowledgeable and friendly budtenders are also there to help you out. Tell them what you’re looking for (like stress relief), ask questions about the strains they have available.

“I use cannabis daily for stress and anxiety. It helps me stay calm and not get worked up in stressful situations. It also helps me relax right before I go to sleep because if I don’t smoke an indica at night, I tend to stay up past 2 AM.”
— John, Caliva budtender

Shoot for strains high in THC and/or CBD, according to a Washington State University study that tracked how effective nearly 12,000 cannabis sessions were on stress. Or try to stick with indica strains or indica-dominant hybrids — as opposed to sativas. Indicas are known for being more relaxing than sativas, and you certainly don’t need a high-energy mind high when you’re already obsessing over your to-do list.

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4. Don’t forget about terpenes.

All plants contain potent aromatic oils and cannabis is no exception. These oils, called terpenes, are what make some strains good for certain effects. For a more calming high, look for strains that contain linalool or myrcene. Be sure not to overdo it on the myrcene, though. It can have a sedative effect that might leave you relaxed but also stuck to the couch.

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5. Consider your edible and tincture options.

Smoking is the most well-known way to consume, but cannabis is not a one trick pony! Edibles and tinctures are a great option for stress relief. Different strains and even different buds from the same strain can contain different concentrations of THC, and since you never really know how much of the active compounds you’re inhaling each time, judging the amount of THC you’re getting when you smoke is pretty tricky.

With edibles and tinctures, the concentration is predictable, so if the box says 10mg per gummy, you can be confident you’re getting 10mg per gummy. Likewise with tinctures, if the bottle says 10mg/mL, you know you’re getting 10mg with every milliliter you measure out. It takes the guesswork out of accurate dosing.

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Using cannabis to relieve stress is a great way to unwind at the end of a long day. Your Caliva budtender can help find the right strain, the right method, and the right dose for you!