In today’s high-stress world, it can feel like a miracle when you find something that helps you to relax. And for me, that miracle came in the form of cannabis.
Unfortunately, while cannabis is sometimes incredibly relaxing, it can also actually cause anxiety. So, when I first started using cannabis, I was confused about why it helped me sometimes and other times left me feeling worse than before.
As I learned later, the most common chemical in the cannabis plant, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)1, has a bad reputation for causing anxiety. While it can powerfully reduce anxiety, for a lot of people, it causes stress to increase. Often, whether THC causes or relieves tension depends on factors like what other chemicals are present in the cannabis product along with it or the dose you’re taking. But figuring these factors out can be complicated – and for some – even small amounts of THC can lead to anxiety.
Thankfully, there are options for reducing anxiety with cannabis that do not rely on THC. Other compounds found in the plant – such as the cannabinoid CBD, or cannabis’ aromatic and flavorful terpenes – can also alleviate anxiety. By working with these cannabis compounds, relaxation seekers can create healing blends to tame stress.
Terpenes and CBD Can Help You Relax
Why use blends of terpenes and CBD? Well, CBD2 is a great place to start when you are seeking anxiety relief. Studies show that CBD can help reduce anxiety3 and even prevent anxiety responses from escalating4 when you are in stressful situations. This is what makes it an adaptogen – a substance that helps the body adapt and respond to stress.
Another benefit of CBD is that, unlike THC, CBD won’t leave you feeling high, non-functional, or overly anxious. It is considered a nootropic – a compound that can help enhance your cognitive function.
But CBD’s anxiety-relieving properties can also be enhanced and complemented by terpenes – another class of chemical compounds found in cannabis and every other plant. Many of the terpenes found in marijuana that can be helpful with relaxation and anxiety5. These terpenes can help on their own, but when combined with CBD synergistically, they can work together to create effects that are more powerful than either alone. This is called the entourage effect.
You can then pair these cannabis blends with other adaptogenic herbs and supplements for maximum benefits.
Curious to try blends of CBD, terpenes, and other herbal adaptogens for your relaxation? Here are a few ‘recipes’ to try. These combinations are hand-picked based on research to provide you with relaxation in a particular context and setting. Whether you are looking for relaxation while you work, a way to come back into your body after a hard day, or a tonic for easing yourself to sleep, there is a combination for you.
Related Article: How To Enjoy Cannabis Without Getting High
Relax While You Work: CBD + Limonene + Alpha-Pinene + L-Theanine
Looking to relax into your day, but still stay focused and clear-minded at work? This daytime blend may be the perfect fit. Research shows that when used synergistically, CBD and Limonene (a cannabis terpene also found in citrus) offer even more anxiety relief than either can alone. Alpha-pinene (an anxiety-relieving terpene in cannabis and pine needles) can add to this. Since both terpenes are known to be energetic and focusing – they are a perfect combination for getting things done.
Add the adaptogen L-theanine, known for promoting relaxation without drowsiness, and you have an excellent daytime mix for stress relief.
Relax Your Body: CBD + Trans-Nerolidol + Beta-Caryophyllene + Ginger
At other times of day, you may want relaxation that brings you out of your mind and into your body. At these times, you might find this blend helpful. Trans-nerolidol is a terpene prized for its anti-anxiety effects. In fact, in the only study researching specific cannabis varieties for anxiety, it was the terpene most associated with anxiety relief from cannabis, followed by beta-caryophyllene. This second terpene can be especially helpful with body relaxation because it can relieve pain and inflammation in the body as well, making your body more comfortable.
Add ginger and CBD to this (adaptogens that also aid with anxiety, pain, and inflammation), and you will have a blissful mix for meditation, bodywork, or just chilling with friends.
Relax Yourself to Sleep: CBD + Linalool + Myrcene + Passion Flower
Maybe your relaxation needs come more at the end of your day. If you are looking for a blend to help you drift off to sleep, you might try CBD with two terpenes known for their sedative and relaxing properties, linalool and myrcene. All three of these compounds are helpful for anxiety, as well as falling and staying asleep. Add adaptogenic passionflower to the mix for an added dose of sleepiness. This herb is known to help with insomnia and will add to the sedative blend.