Anxiety and flower
When you think of the word relax, what comes to mind? Is it a vision of peaceful ocean waves crashing on the sand, or of your boss telling you to relax when you give him the evil eye after he gives you an impossible assignment to complete with an impossible deadline? Well, the one I’m talking about here is the first one. Easier said than done, right. As anyone who knows me would tell you, I am terrible at relaxing.
Anxiety, however, is more than the inability to relax and usually includes feelings of apprehension or dread, feeling tense or jumpy, restless or irritable. According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) over 40 million adults in the U.S. (19.1%) have an anxiety disorder. People suffering from anxiety may find themselves anticipating the worst and being watchful for signs of danger. Situations that provoke anxiety may cause physical symptoms like a racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, sweating, tremors, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, upset stomach, frequent urination or diarrhea. And, as most people who work in healthcare know, anxiety and depression often go together, like peanut butter and jelly. Common anxiety medical diagnoses include generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic, and phobia disorders.
So, if you suffer from anxiety what can you do?
Start with a visit with your healthcare provider to discuss your individual healthcare needs and an individualized plan of care. There are prescription medications available to help treat anxiety. Typically, they are in the class of drugs called SSRIs and SNRIs, but can also include more potent medications like benzos (Valium, Ativan, Xanax) which are habit forming. If you think one of these medications might be right for you, again, make an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss your individual needs.
I can tell you from experience, however, there is no magic bullet when it comes to treating any medical condition, but this is especially true when it comes to treating mental health conditions. Often medication can help stabilize a situation while the patient begins other forms of treatment that reinforce changes in feelings and behavior. This usually includes attending psychotherapy, which is a fancy way of saying you might need to talk/meet with someone like a licensed therapist or counselor, on a regular basis, who specializes in teaching you ways to reduce your anxiety with programs like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
But there are things you can implement in your daily life that might help you relax and decrease feelings of anxiety. For instance:
Yoga and Mediation
I’ve been practicing yoga for almost twenty years. A few years ago I stopped doing high impact exercises because of joint pain, and since then, hot yoga has become my primary source of physical activity. Now let me stop right here and say hot yoga is not for everyone. (I get it. I almost threw up my first time, too). But there are all kinds of yoga, from basic breathing and gentle stretching to power yoga, and everything in between.
When I was younger and more fit, I would go to power yoga and force myself to do all the poses and secretly compete with my other classmates to see who could survive the test; all the while thinking I was “practicing” yoga. But that was not the case. Yoga is exactly the opposite of that.
Yoga asks that you challenge your body physically with a pose, while using the breath to focus and quiet the mind during these poses. The pose can be something simple like standing and balancing on one leg, or more challenging like a handstand. As you breathe you “practice” being able to calm the mind, and the spirit, with the hopes that you can use those skills later on in the real world when other challenges arise. Really yoga is using the breath to aid in the ability to calm down, and in this case hopefully reduce anxiety. That is the practice, and in that since yoga teaches you to relax. Hence the term, “Just Breathe.”
So, when you’re still sitting in the airport after your flight has been delayed for six more hours, or when you’re sitting in the line of cars waiting to pick up your screaming kids after school, or just before you give the biggest presentation of your career, or before, during or after any situation in life that might cause you high anxiety….. take a moment, close your eyes, and as you breathe in and out, say to yourself, “this is my inhale, this is my exhale”. That is the yoga. That is the meditation.
Consciously unplug. Ironic coming from someone who’s using social media to reach out to people, but the fact of the matter is our society is constantly inundated and overloaded with information through media of all forms. Many years ago (like ten) I stopped watching the news at night because I noticed it mainly seemed all bad and I really didn’t want to end my day on a bad note.
In the past few years however, like most people, I became glued to the television and, in particular, to news outlets for the latest information about the election, about the pandemic, about the vaccine, about the threat of war at home and abroad, etc, etc. And again, I realized this news almost always has a bad tone and is specifically designed to heighten feelings of fear and anxiety. So, I’m making it one of my goals this year to take scheduled weekly time off from being plugged in and instead do something away from my devices, like read a real book, go for a walk, sit at a café and watch the people instead of my phone. And, in doing so, I hope to turn my focus away from the excitement online in a much needed attempt to unplug and relax.
Physical activity is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. We hve no shortage of beautiful sunny days in Arizona, so go outside and walk or run or play tennis; whatever your favorite form of acitvity is, just do it, as Nike would say. Research now shows the runners high that we used to attribute strictly to endorphine release during exercise also includes activation of the endocannabinoid system from naturally occuring cannabinoids.
But physical acitvity can also include other fun activities like having sex. One of the most relaxing times for me is right after sex. There is this complete release of anxiety and worry in those few moments right after you are done. And by done, I mean after an orgasm. “But I’m not in a relationship” you say.
My answer to that is, you can have sex by yourself and, quite honestly, depending on the state of your relationship it might be better anyway. I’m fortunate that my husband and I have crazy good sex, but I would not be averse to taking care of myself if I really needed a release, and I’m sure my husband feels the same.
Having an orgasm is like a crescendo, in that there is this build-up of intensity, muscle tension, heart rate and breathing, ending with a rush of endorphins at the height of climax and then a retreat, back down to normal, making you feel completely exhausted and euphoric all at the same time. During that time, I roll over and close my eyes and think of absolutely nothing else except how good I feel. At that very moment I am completely relaxed.
Do something you love
Read a book, listen to music. Maybe you don’t even remember the last time you did something you really enjoyed. If that’s the case, you owe it to yourself to figure out what makes you happy and take time to do it. One of my favorite things to do is be outside, doing things like gardening.
I love the fresh air, and the feel of the warm sun on my face. I like the smell of fresh rain and watching the clouds move past in the wind, exposing the bright blue sky. I love to sit on the patio drinking a glass of wine as the sun sets and the sky turns from Carolina blue to yellow, orange and red, and finally to the purplish black of night. Only Mother Nature can provide such an amazing art show…never the same, and always extraordinary. So, find something or perhaps someone you love, and then, take a moment to stop, spend time there, soak in the memories, and relax.
Okay, so what about flower?
Well according to the American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA), “a systematic review of clinical CBD studies suggests that CBD can be effective at reducing generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic disorder, and might mitigate THC-induced anxiety.” What the hell is a systematic review, you ask. It’s a review of a bunch, like a ton, of qualified scientific, peer-reviewed research studies to see if something really works. In this case, they looked to see if the research backed the use of CBD to treat anxiety. And, guess what, the research suggests CBD can be effective in treating several types of anxiety. Of note, contrary to the popular belief that THC causes paranoia (which is a form of anxiety), research suggests that very small amounts of THC may also reduce anxiety, however, large doses usually provoke anxiety as thought.
Wyld Strawberry Gummies
If you’re looking for a CBD dominant edible to relax, this might be the one. These gummies have a 20mg:1mg CBD:THC ratio (remember THC and CBD work better together). This very low amount of THC is barely felt and CBD is well known for decreasing the “high” feeling caused by THC.
Wyld Elderberry CBD gummies
Want to go THC free? Well here you go. Wyld also makes THC free gummies. These gummies are made with CBD derived from hemp and do not contain THC. Each gummy contains 25mg CBD. Feel free to cut them in half and start with a lower dose to see if you get the effect you want.
Wyld CBD Sparking Water
Would you rather sip your way to relaxation? Then here’s your opportunity. Wyld cultivated these flavors over the years, carefully honing their recipes to create edible (now drinkable!) delights that enhance every moment with real fruit flavors and THC free hemp.
- Real fruit-infused sparkling water
- 10 calories / 2g sugar (or less) per can
- USA Sourced Broad Spectrum Hemp Extract
- Enjoyed chilled for the best experience
- CBD infused drinks in 4 different fruit flavors
Rare Hawaiian CBD (1000mg)
Full Spectrum 1000mg CBD
This THC free premium full spectrum CBD oil is extracted from hemp plants grown on the slopes of Haleakala Volcano on the Hawaiian Island of Maui. Rare Cannabinoid’s Hawaiian CBD offers stress resilience, a sense of calm and eases discomfort and inflammation after exercise.
1906 Chill Pill
Finally, an actual chill pill. Chill is 1906’s ultimate mellow-out cocktail, the perfect mix of THC and a high dose of CBD (25mg) to relieve stress, body tension and inflammation. It’s formulated with two calming plant medicines: Magnolia, which has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine; and L-theanine, an amino acid derived from green tea, which stimulates the brain’s soothing alpha waves.
Certain terpenes, like linalool, are known to have anxiolytic effects. Anxiolytic means anti-anxiety. Linalool is found in lavender which is commonly used in everyday products like essential oils and teas to help promote relaxation. Certain strains of cannabis also contain linalool which may contribute to their anxiolytic effects. Keep in mind, however, that high doses of THC can sometimes causeincreased anxiety. I recommend microdosing at first to stay with the philosophy of, “start low and go slow.”
Here are a few flower strains full of linalool:
- Amnesia Haze
- Special Kush
- LA Confidential
- OG Shark
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to treat, cure, or diagnose any disease. This website contains general information about diet, health and nutrition. The information is not advice and is not a substitute for advice from a healthcare professional. You should always get your medical advice from a healthcare professional (HCP) knowledgeable about your individual needs. A competent healthcare professional will provide a comprehensive intake meeting where you review the conditions you want to treat and assess your prescription medications to identify potential contraindications with cannabis.
Cannabis Health Index by Uwe Blesching (2015)
American Cannabis Nurses Association https://www.cannabisnurses.org/
Leafly.com. What are cannabis terpenes and what do they do? https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/terpenes-the-flavors-of-cannabis-aromatherapy