Quarantine and Anxiety: How Medical Marijuana Can Help

Quarantining yourself at home can play an important role in preventing the spread of infectious diseases, but this social isolation can take a negative toll on mental health. As schools close, workers opt to telecommute, and other social events are canceled, the prospect of being confined to your home because of quarantine can be daunting. Time seems to creep by much more slowly after you’ve been at home for a long period of time. Even if you are home with other family members, the sense of isolation can be overwhelming

The American Psychological Association reports that social isolation carries a number of health risks. Feeling isolated can lead to poor sleep, poor cardiovascular health, lower immunity, depressive symptoms, and impaired executive function. When executive function skills are impaired, you may find it more difficult to focus, manage your emotions, remember information, and follow directions.

Psychological Effects of a Quarantine

Psychological distress is common both during and after periods of quarantine. People commonly experience:

  • Fear
  • Sadness
  • Numbness
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Anger
  • Post-traumatic stress symptoms
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Low mood
  • Stress
  • Emotional disturbance
  • Irritability
  • Emotional exhaustion

Such feelings are normal given the circumstances. However, there are steps you can take to protect your mental health and well-being while coping with a quarantine.

Medical Marijuana for Anxiety

During periods of social isolation and stay-at-home orders, it’s critically important to keep yourself physically and mentally healthy. If your wellness regimen includes cannabis, you can continue to go about your regular medical marijuana routine or even adjust your cannabis dosage according to how much anxiety you are experiencing.

Dosing marijuana for anxiety depends on two things:

  1. How you consume it
  2. The THC and CBD levels of your product

High-CBD products are a highly recommended starting point. Not only has CBD been found to effectively relieve anxiety, it’s also non-intoxicating so you don’t have to be as careful about dosing as you have to be with THC products. With CBD oils and edibles, consider starting with 10mg and increase or decrease your dose until you’ve found the sweet spot for your symptoms. Or puff on a CBD vape or CBD-rich flower until you feel anxiety starting to lift.

If you want to fold a little THC in, here’s what you should know about dosing:

  • If you’re ingesting it, the dose will usually be written in milligrams (mg). For example, you might find edibles that contain 10mg of THC or CBD per serving.
  • A liquid tincture may show the total milligrams per bottle and suggest a serving in milliliters. It may recommend taking one or two droppers full.
  • Inhaling via smoking or vaporization is a little different—flower and oils typically present potency as a percentage by weight. So, a flower may have, for example, 16% THC, while an oil could contain somewhere around 80% THC. New consumers should aim for smaller THC percentages and higher CBD percentages.

In summary, someone using cannabis for anxiety should start with a small dose. If you buy a 10mg THC edible, take half or a quarter of it to start, you can always add more if you’re not feeling anything in an hour or two, but undoing overly intense effects is an entirely different (and difficult) challenge.

Likewise, with flower or vape oils, take just a small puff and wait. You might even consider micro dosing cannabis—that is, taking a very small dose (such as 2.5mg THC)—one that’s too low to induce any euphoric effects, but still provides benefits by stimulating our natural endocannabinoid system.

Are stores and dispensaries open during quarantine?

Most states have designated medical marijuana dispensaries as essential parts of the health care system, and so have remained open. Some states have shut down adult-use sales while allowing medical sales. Others allow only delivery, or curbside pickup.

Find the right cannabis product

Stepping into a cannabis shop full of bud, edibles, oils, lotions, and capsules can be overwhelming, so where do you begin and make sure you are getting the right cannabis product for your needs?

Here are some consumption methods and product types:

  • Inhaled methods (vaporization and smoking) offer the most immediate relief, but the effects don’t last as long as ingestible methods.
  • Ingestible methods (edibles, tinctures, capsules, etc.) take a while to kick in, but offer longer-lasting effects.
  • Inhaled and ingestible cannabis should both be dosed with caution, but edibles especially require care as their effects can be intense and last several hours if too large of a dose is consumed.

Keep in mind prior to choosing a product that you research the effects and benefits of each and always make sure you select a product with the CBD and THC levels that suit you. This can be done by consulting with your local medical marijuana doctor.

Coping during a quarantine

It is important to remember that everyone copes with stress and anxiety differently. Some people may be better able to weather a quarantine for a wide variety of reasons including factors such as resilience and overall personality. Yet, in an increasingly isolated and depressive environment that presents itself in a quarantine, cannabis usage is a viable option to pass the time and to reduce anxiety levels. Whether you inhale it or consume it by means of edibles, marijuana has merit in its ability in dulling symptoms of anxiety, allowing individuals the ability to functionally move from day to day and foster healthy habits.

Ideally, cannabis will ease stress and motivate you to take care of yourself. Sometimes, relaxing with your favorite marijuana product and playing video games or listening to music is exactly what people need in a time of quarantine.

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