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Since college, I've been using cannabis to manage anxiety, stress, depressive symptoms, appetite issues, and debilitating menstrual cramps. In recent years, I've leaned heavily on the plant to help me deal with PTSD symptoms as well.
Smoking weed helps me fall asleep at night and affords me fewer nightmares. When I'm feeling low, consuming a nice hybrid — a strain containing a mixture of both sativa and indica genetics — can actually motivate me to clean, exercise, cook, and run errands. When I'm struggling to focus on an article, microdosing cannabis can help me meet writing deadlines as well. Marijuana even helps me relax during sex, which makes it easier for me to orgasm. And sometimes, I just enjoy getting high.
I won't pretend my relationship with cannabis has always been perfect, though. The wrong strain or dosage can actually make my anxiety worse, and marijuana isn't cheap. Even so, weed has met my mental and emotional health needs better than any other antianxiety medication I've tried, and I've tried several. So when I ran out of my Alpine Vapor live resin cartridge during a recent trip to Missouri, I switched up my cannabis routine. I'd read so many articles praising CBD as "Nature's Xanax" that I figured it was worth a shot, especially since cannabis is completely illegal in Missouri and CBD isn't.
Image Source: Elizabeth Enochs
Originally, I'd planned to use only CBD oil for two weeks, but due to some of those debilitating menstrual cramps we were talking about earlier, I bent the rules a little bit. During week number two of my experiment, I used CBD only during the day and allowed myself some THC at night, for extra pain relief. But for the duration of weeks one and three, I cut out THC completely.
I found the Koi Fitt Starter Kit by Envii and decided to give it a whirl. I figured a CBD vape would be the most convenient and discreet option for me, especially since I tend to microdose cannabis throughout the day.
I was right. Not only does the Koi Fitt yield a delicious blue raspberry dragon fruit vapor, but one puff of the stuff gave me immediate relief from some of my worst anxiety symptoms. The anxiety-induced chest pain, tight muscles, and poor appetite I deal with on a daily basis became virtually nonexistent with CBD, which made it easier than ever for me to sit still and focus on my work. I didn't have any trouble falling asleep at night, either.
CBD wasn't quite as effective for relieving my PTSD and depressive symptoms, though. I dreamed way more during my CBD-only weeks, and my dreams are typically nightmares. And although CBD can provide a slight mood lift, THC consistently allows me to cope with trauma and find joy in a way that CBD simply can't.
Image Source: Elizabeth Enochs
Simply put: CBD and THC improve my life in different ways. In my experience, CBD really does feel like "Nature's Xanax" — minus the brain fog and inevitable drowsiness. But when it comes to pain relief, I prefer a well-balanced cocktail of both CBD and THC — which makes sense, because each compound has its own unique pain-fighting properties. It also makes sense that I might need more than CBD to stave off nightmares, because smoking weed makes you dream less.
Even so, I'm glad I went without THC for two weeks. Before I became acquainted with CBD, going a day without cannabis just didn't feel like a realistic option for me. I have more than a dozen ways to deal with anxiety that have nothing to do with marijuana, and I've been relying on them for years, but they aren't always enough.
My experiment ended nearly two weeks ago, and I'm still using CBD every single day. I still consume THC on a daily basis, too, but now that I have CBD, I don't feel quite as dependent on weed. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy a good wake and bake as much as the next stoner, but using CBD for three weeks made me rethink how I use marijuana. I used to start my day with a dose of cannabis, and now I generally prefer to save weed for evenings and weekends.
CBD relieves my anxiety in ways that THC has never been able to, and it's brought a renewed sense of balance to both my daily cannabis routine and my life in general. I can't believe it's taken me this long to learn about the stabilizing effects of consuming CBD, but now that I know what CBD can do for anxiety, I'm telling everyone.