HelloMD

Women Turn to Cannabis to Manage Stress & Anxiety

byhellomdFebruary 13, 20184 minutes

Originally published in 2015

A lot is asked of women in our society. The media constantly bombards women about “having it all,” yet women are often looked down upon if they choose career over kids. Women are chided if they leave their job to start a family. Working mothers are made to feel guilty that they don’t spend every waking second with their family, or made to feel that they’re failing if their house isn’t immaculate and the kids aren’t top of their class. Women who don’t want to have children are told they’re selfish—the list goes on. It’s no wonder why anxiety and stress levels in women seem to be on the rise.

And, let’s be honest, many women turn to alcohol to cope. It’s completely socially acceptable for “Mommy to drink her ‘juice’” or for women to joke about a liquid dinner after a hard day at work.

However, many stressed-out women have come to realize—in light of continuing education and the looming marijuana legalization—that cannabis can be a safer alternative to alcohol and anti-anxiety drugs. Using cannabis may actually enhance one’s experience without any of the negative repercussions of alcohol and pharmaceutical use—there’s never been a recorded death by cannabis overdose.

Why do Women Consume Cannabis?

Women who take marijuana do so for many reasons:

For the women who consume cannabis to treat insomnia and chronic pain, marijuana products derived from an indica strain, which has a soothing, relaxing effect, may be helpful.

The women who look to marijuana to ease anxiety and depression should go for a sativa strain, which gives the user more energy and increases functionality. Sativas are also a good alternative for those that want to maintain productivity during the day.

RELATED: CANNABIS CAN RELIEVE STRESS

Cannabis vs. Alcohol

For many women, a glass of wine or cocktail is the perfect way to unwind at the end of the day. However, alcohol can quickly become a habit and/or addiction. Short term, alcohol may lead to hangovers, which can be painful and zap productivity. But over the long term, alcohol consumption can lead to dangerous health issues, such as liver disease, dementia, high blood pressure and even cancer. Many women who have turned to cannabis find that cannabis has a much lower intoxication level compared to that of alcohol.

Cannabis also happens to be safer than alcohol. According to the World Health Organization, 3.3 million deaths in 2012 could be traced back to alcohol. A 2015 report published in Scientific Reports said that alcohol is a whopping 114 times more deadly than cannabis.

These facts, combined with the clarifying and pain-reducing effects of cannabis, make it a much better choice for women who strongly need stress, pain, anxiety or insomnia relief.

Marijuana vs. Pharmaceuticals

Anxiety rates have sky rocketed and accordingly the use of pharmaceuticals to treat anxiety and depression have also grown exponentially. In a 2009 study, it was reported that some 40 million Americans took pharmaceuticals to help alieve symptoms of anxiety. Drugs of choice, such as Xanax, are often highly addictive and include horrendous side effects.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development looked at 23 developed countries in 2013 and found that Canada came in third regarding antidepressant use; Australia and Iceland came in number one and two, respectively.

In contrast to those pharmaceuticals, cannabis has not been attributed with any direct deaths due to ingestion. Unfortunately, many medical care professionals ignore the benefits of medical marijuana, choosing to simply prescribe opioids and other drugs that mask symptoms and have terrible side effects. Prescription drugs have led to an enormous rate of addiction, affecting between 26.4 and 36 million patients around the world, according to a presentation to the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control in 2014.

Stress Relief Without the High

Many women are hesitant to start treating stress and anxiety with cannabis as they don’t want to get high. They can barely do everything that needs to be done in a day, how would they ever function in an altered state?

The great thing about the cannabis industry today is that there are lots of options. The first step is choosing a product that is high in cannabindiol (CBD) and low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the cannabinoid, or compound, responsible for the psychoactive effects most routinely connected with marijuana. CBD exhibits some great health benefits—anti-inflammatory properties, just to name one—but doesn’t make you feel high.

Alternately, some women feel a little THC actually helps relax them and uplift their mood. You can choose cannabis that has very little to a moderate amount of THC depending on the effects you’re after and how your body works.

Because everyone’s body chemistry is different, cannabis affects different people in different ways. All it takes is a little experimentation to find out what works best for you.

Photo credit: Mariana Zanatta

  • Anxiety
  • Chronic Pain
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Women
  • Women's Health