Some users are curious if cannabis’s reputation for calming effects can help anxiety.

Written by Jessica Levy, VC Star for HPC Port Hueneme

There are many reasons people have long been curious about cannabis, finally deciding to go ahead and give it a try. One reason is, Americans are experiencing record levels of anxiety and sleep deprivation. The potential calming effects of cannabis are what is drawing new users to indulge that curiosity and see if cannabis could help.

While research about the precise impacts of cannabis on anxiety and sleep problems is still underway, some preliminary studies suggest that there could indeed be a link.

For instance, one study in the Permanente Journal measured how cannabidiol, one of the many compounds found in cannabis, affected 72 adults with anxiety or poor sleep. After one month, 57 people said their anxiety decreased, and 48 people reported increased sleep scores.

While the exact data is still being examined, and many benefits are anecdotal, some potential users aren’t willing to sit around and wait to see if the science bears out. Instead, they’d rather know for themselves.

With California’s legalization of cannabis, it’s more accessible than ever for them to do so by heading to one of the state’s licensed dispensaries like HPC Port Hueneme. There, they can talk to a budtender that will guide them and offer suggestions on what to try.

For those looking to relax or sleep better, the budtender may guide them toward Indica plants. Indica plants often contain lower levels of the psychoactive compound THC and higher cannabidiol levels. The combination gives the plant a reputation for profoundly relaxing effects with less of the associated high that can often be overstimulating for people seeking a more chilled-out vibe.

Terpenes are other naturally occurring compounds in cannabis plants. These compounds could also play a role in whether or not a person can calm their anxiety or have an easier time sleeping. According to Healthline, plants containing a terpene called linalool are said to help improve relaxation.

Here, too, a licensed dispensary can guide you in the right direction in terms of what to choose.

First-time users looking for anxiety relief or help sleeping don’t have to be smokers. If you’re a customer interested in exploring the effects of cannabis without smoking, the budtender can point you in the direction of topicals or edibles instead.

Of course, no two users will experience the same effects of using cannabis. This is true even if they’re using the same category, the same strain or the same topical or edible product. Your genes can affect how your brain and body react to cannabis, so it’s always crucial for cannabis users to listen to their bodies and adjust appropriately. “Start low, go up slow. Micro-dosing is key to edibles,” suggests Ericka Tutino, HPC Port Hueneme’s general manager.

Additionally, people who are new to cannabis may want to start slowly, since it’s hard to predict precisely how cannabis will affect them. With time, you can figure out what works for you and helps you meet your goals.

Of course, anxiety and sleep issues are often rooted in medical concerns; anyone with ongoing problems should also talk to their doctor about possible remedies. The good news is that given cannabis’s legal status in California, many patients will be more comfortable bringing up the subject of using cannabis with their doctor. Even if you’ll be using it recreationally, it’s always good to talk to either a doctor or a mental health professional about the potential benefits and drawbacks.

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