As a teenager dabbling in cannabis, I was convinced that weed made me a better person. More creative, less uptight, more fun, less anxious. I tried to convince my parents of these redeeming qualities too, much to their chagrin.
It was illegal; my brain was still developing; we tabled the conversation until I was out from under their roof and entitled to make my own decisions.
So I started consuming weed again. Less water bottle bongs, more edibles and eventually a vape. The safer ways to consume marijuana.
And it was good… Until it wasn’t. Like a childhood friendship that you desperately want to rekindle despite having grown apart, my relationship with weed no longer had the lustre it once did. It did not entertain me in the same way. In fact, it kind of turned me off.
Rather than help my anxiety, it exacerbated it. It didn’t make me confident and sociable. It made me a recluse and a nervous wreck. Mind you this was with no knowledge of strains on my part; I took what I could get. But whether my high felt body, head or hybrid, it didn’t feel particularly good.
So I stopped, but all the while was still obsessed with weed. I liked the culture; I liked the idea of the substance. I still read forums and pot-specific publications with a keen interest. And that’s how I discovered the benefits of CBD.
CBD is present in marijuana flowers, as is THC. But what I’m referring to is a pure CBD concentrate with the THC greatly diminished or removed. You’ve probably heard about it or seen it offered at your local hippie coffee shop (if you live in America or other countries where it’s legal). CBD oil is often infused into lattes, gummies, chocolates, even flavoured sparking water. The bud is rolled into non-psychoactive “joints” and made into tinctures.
Users praise it for countering the negative effects of cannabis when consumed in conjunction. These mostly include a racing heartbeat and even quicker thoughts, mostly anxious, caused by rapid-fire brain signals that THC often triggers. When consumed alone, CBD has also been said to ease nervous tendencies.
In Australia, CBD is not yet legal. It was only on a recent trip to the States that I was able to compare my own experience to the rave reviews I’d read.
My first foray into CBD was via infused kombucha. It was shockingly green in colour and looked like it would get me high. I was worried, so I only drank a bit while everyone around me sipped alcoholic beverages. Like alcohol, the CBD drink made me feel like I was wrapped in a warm blanket. But unlike alcohol, my mind was sharp. I was relaxed, my body felt good (if not a bit weak and wobbly), and my brain felt even better. Not distracted, not blank, but calm.
After this initial success, I was willing to give CBD another go when the opportunity presented itself again. This time, in the form of a pre-roll. Smoking CBD was a whole different game. I’m not sure if it was potency or placebo, but I did feel a bit more “heady” after consuming it in this way.
My spirits were high, my mood was lighthearted, I was easily amused, but again not absent-minded and not overly reflective. Basically, I felt everything I used to love about weed minus the bad things. Because I was on a holiday, I felt less stressed than usual, but any tension I did have was relieved by the CBD.
So I felt confident doing one final test: CBD + THC. This last trial involved a CBD vape pen (sativa-heavy) and a bit of “real” weed (who knows what). And you know what? It was okay. What the experts wrote and cannabis-enthusiasts tested was accurate… Having straight CBD alongside THC-dominant weed did help counteract its anxiety-inducing properties. I felt it to be true.
Recently, weed has left me second-guessing my words and actions, feeling uncomfortable in my body, feeling full in my mind. On this occasion, with the assistance of the vape pen, I felt none of these things. I was in a new and slightly uncomfortable environment at the time. I had every reason to be filled with the gripping anxiety I encounter on a far-too-regular basis. But I wasn’t, and I thank CBD.
Although my three experiences with CBD were all positive, other variables could have been at play. Less general anxiety thanks to a vacation mindset, a lucky strain of weed that didn’t cause ill effects, a want for this experiment to work. So I guess I’ll just have to try it again to see if the results are consistent… Next time I’m in the States.
Have you tried CBD for anxiety or any other mental health concern? How did it go for you?
Also by Quincy: Vegan Blender-Free Strawberry Milkshake
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