Updated on August 16, 2020.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
If you’re feeling stressed out, isolated, and more than a little anxious these days, you’re not alone. As the number of people who contract COVID-19 grows, the rest of us are sheltering in place worrying about our health and finances, and wondering when we’re going to see our friends and loved ones again. Add to the mix your specific reaction to these stressors and you’ve got every reason to self-medicate to get through the coming weeks.
The good news is that you can manage your reactions to the global pandemic while staying safely indoors. Here’s some suggestions for doing it with medical marijuana, which offers relief to many during difficult times.
Before You Self-Medicate
While medical marijuana is known to manage many health conditions, it does so at very specific doses. In other words, don’t assume more is better. Instead, make a telehealth appointment with your medical marijuana doctor before taking anything new. If your primary care physician is not a qualified marijuana doctor, it could be a challenge getting them to provide a recommendation, especially during this crisis. MarijuanaDoctors.com can help you find a doctor, get a list of medical marijuana dispensaries and answer any questions you have.
Strains to Manage Stress and Anxiety
What do we mean when we talk about “stress” as a human health issue? One way to think about it is that stress occurs when the demands of a situation exceeds a person’s ability to respond. In other words, ill effects of stress are measured by your reactions to situations such as the COVID-19 crisis. Some enjoy being alone, so aren’t particularly brother by isolation. But many others currently feel next-level stress, anxiety, low-grade depression, and inability to sleep.
There are many cannabis strains that, anecdotally, may reduce symptoms, or make them easier to deal with. Some include:
Sour Diesel (Sativa): This Sativa-dominant strain acts fairly quickly, and may induce a cerebral “dreamy” feeling that gives you a break from the tension and pain often associated with chronic stress. Some say it also boosts your appetite, which can be beneficial to those who get stress-related nausea and belly aches.
Royal Jack (Sativa-dominant): Some report this strain clears the head and encourages creativity, which can be great if you have too much time on your hands and want to tackle projects around the house.
OG Kush (Indica): Some users rely on this strain to provide an uplifted sensation, and to promote sleep.
White Widow (hybrid): If you’re feeling down and starting to catastrophize (“I’m going to be fired!” “How will I ever feel normal again?”), this strain might offer solace. Some who use it say it provides a carefree and cheerful buzz.
Royal Cookies (hybrid): Get the best of both worlds — Indica and Sativa. Some report that this hybrid creates an uplifted, happy and relaxed feeling.
Granddaddy Purple (hybrid): Some say this strain produces an effect that is both relaxing and uplifting. Other medical uses for Granddaddy Purple include pain, stress and insomnia.
Amnesia Haze (hybrid): This strain has about 20 percent sativa in it, meaning it doesn’t make you as tired as a 100 percent Indica strain would. But be cautious, since the THC in sativa can make you more anxious. Those who respond well to it say it’s a potent mood-booster.
Here’s what to know about smoking during the current crisis: Don’t do a lot of it if you have a cough, cold, flu, or other respiratory condition. Excessive smoking can make it that much harder to breathe, which is of grave concern for those who have or at risk for respiratory conditions like COVID-19 or pneumonia. If smoking isn’t an option right now, you can always try vaping, where you use a device to inhale cannabis’s medical properties without the potentially harmful effects of inhaling smoke. Others enjoy topicals, tonics, tinctures, and of course, edibles, especially when baked into your favorite treats.
Bottom line: medical cannabis can help you through the emotional, mental and physical effects of the current pandemic. But make sure you check with your marijuana doctor about which strains to try, and in what form, so you emerge from this crisis feeling your best.