“Whew, that was close. I almost had to talk to someone.” Sound familiar? Even if you’re one of the rare introverts who sometimes enjoys large social gatherings, you can probably relate.
But for some, feeling nervous is more than getting sweaty palms when you have to speak in public or meet someone new. Social anxiety disorder, otherwise known as social phobia, is a mental condition that can affect people of all ages in various situations.
Although several options are available in addressing social anxiety disorder, cannabis offers another alternative to lifestyle changes and traditional pharmaceutical drugs.
This is not to say that other techniques like meditation, exercise and healthy eating should be abandoned. But taking cannabis too just may help achieve quick results.
Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder
Here are just a few things that may occur when people experience social anxiety disorder:
- A fixation on how anxious they may appear in a social situation
- A constant flood of negative and self-critical thoughts
- Trembling, shaking and excessive sweating
- The urge to urinate
- High blood pressure and dizziness
How Can Cannabis Help Folks With Social Anxiety Disorder?
Two of the main components in cannabis are the cannabinoids cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). When you take cannabis, these (and other compounds in cannabis) interact with your endocannabinoid system (ECS) with various results.
In the case of social anxiety, certain cannabis strains may decrease anxiety and reduce symptoms such as nausea and pain, and can even help regulate mood.
Marijuana strains high in CBD are especially effective for people with social anxiety disorder as they have anxiolytic, or anti-anxiety, effects. CBD interacts with the ECS’s CB1 receptor, which regulates serotonin, a chemical that plays an important role in improving mood. In fact, research shows that regular cannabis use may help lower cortisol levels and reduce stress reactivity.
Finding the Right Cannabis Strain if You Have Social Anxiety Disorder
Not all cannabis strains are equal. Although some may help lower stress and make you feel calm, others may make things worse by heightening paranoia, increasing heart rate or intensify existing feelings of stress and discomfort.
Because THC is a psychoactive component and can induce paranoia and anxiety, most of the marijuana strains recommended for social anxiety sufferers are high in CBD and low in THC. Cannabis strains that are high in THC can be effective for some, but should be taken with caution, especially by cannabis newbies. Choose carefully and always start with a small amount to see how the different marijuana strains may affect you and your anxiety.
Here are five cannabis strains that can help ease social anxiety disorder:
This sativa cannabis strain has a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD, with flavour and aroma undertones of earthy pine and mint—appealing to some and reminiscent of chemicals for others. If you’re not too sensitive to THC, Medihaze can help relieve mental stress and the accompanying physical effects like nausea, shaking and an elevated heart rate.
Yes, it really does smell and taste like strawberries. Hopefully, you won’t be put off by its resemblance to the sweet, sticky strawberry cough syrup from your childhood, because this is one strain you don’t want to avoid.
Although it may give you an initial cough and tingle in the throat, Strawberry Cough is perfect for imparting a strong sense of calm. THC level can reach 15–20%, but consumers report Strawberry Cough results in a mellow and relaxing high that’s energizing at the same time—perfect if you’re expected to mingle at a party where you know almost no one.
Exhausted from a day of battling through social interactions and uncomfortable situations? Granddaddy Purple will help you unwind and avoid those anxious thoughts that are keeping you awake at night. For most consumers, this marijuana strain imparts full body relaxation and sedative properties for a good night’s sleep.
A hybrid marijuana strain and close relative of Granddaddy Purple, Sour Grape is what it claims to be: sour. But it’s also the perfect companion for a casual night of socializing as it’ll help you calm down and find your voice when engaging with others.
The CBD-to-THC ratio for this strain is 5:2—perfect for a wave of calm without limiting your ability to get through the day. In fact, Harlequin is known for boosting mental energy, so this may just be the marijuana strain to try if you’re off to a potentially stressful social night jam-packed with new acquaintances, crowded spaces and lots of social interaction.
Main photo credit: Burst