How Weed Reduces Stress

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016


It just so happens to be that for the plethora of reasons people use cannabis, the most common reason of all is for the way marijuana helps them manage stress. In fact, stress reduction and anxiety relief is the most commonly reported reason people say they smoke weed.

As it turns out, science backs up the long-standing claim that marijuana’s good for stress management. People have been praising pot for years and research and new discoveries are now beginning to show why.


It’s all about endocannabinoids and cannabinoids and this amazing synergy that takes place within the body and mind when you consume cannabis. In our bodies we naturally produce compounds called endocannabinoids.  The endocannabinoid system is responsible for a number of different functions…stress management and mood regulation included.

When there’s a problem with our endocannabinoid compounds we end up internally unstable. Think stress, sickness, and instability. Keeping our endocannabinoids balanced is key to stress management and overall wellbeing…which is why weed has proven time and time again to be so awesome for reducing stress and anxiety.

How so?


There are cannabinoids found in marijuana that imitate the endocannabinoid compounds in our body. Of the 60-some cannabinoids found in cannabis, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are the ones responsible for healing body and mind.

When we consume cannabis the cannabinoids it contains bind to certain receptor sites in the body and mind. Cannabinoids attach to receptors CB-1 in the brain and bind to receptors CB-2 in the body. THC reacts with the CB-1 in the brain, and CBD responds to CB-2.

So here you’ve got THC (the same component responsible for the psychoactive effects of pot) reacting positively with the brain. It helps to bring back natural balance, reduce stress and panic, and promote serious feelings of calm and wellbeing. Weed really does help “bring it down a notch” in people experiencing stress and anxiety. That “fight or flight” feeling is definitely real…yet cannabis seems to control it.

We’re all overloaded with stress and exposed to serious amounts of it on a regular basis. This causes a reduction of the production of the body’s natural endocannabinoids responsible for regulating mood. Excess stress equals less endocannabinoids, which in turn leads to more stress. It’s a vicious cycle…until cannabis steps in and naturally replenishes what’s been lost. Stress decreases and life is good.


One of the major players in the endocannabinoid system is known as anandamide. This neurotransmitter is named after the Sanskrit word ananda, which means “bliss” or “happiness”. THC, the active cannabinoid marijuana is famous for, binds beautifully with anandamide and produces a heightened feeling of calm and wellbeing.

You can think of anandamide as the brain’s version of THC and stress as something that alters the normal state of this “feel good chemical”. When the brain doesn’t have the right amount of anandamide (which is common in those with high amounts of stress), getting it from somewhere else can make all the difference in the world as to how someone feels. And this “somewhere” just so happens to be found in cannabis.

When we ingest weed (by smoking, vaping, or eating it), the THC presence in pot helps to regulate anandamide in the brain. It’s been suggested that anandamide acts as a “gatekeeper” to keep stress levels low. It also helps to improve pre-stress levels so tension and anxiety can be kept at bay once a healthy level of emotional wellbeing is attained.


What’s the best method of consuming cannabis to find some calm? That totally depends on you. If you’ve found success through smoking in the past (like countless people have been for decades), a vaporizer is awesome and so much easier on the lungs.

An online headshop is the best place to check out the many different methods for modern marijuana consumption. Smoking, vaping, and tinctures, and edibles are all ways to find your calm with cannabis, but what works for one doesn’t always work for the other.

This brings up another point. Doesn’t weed have the opposite effect on some people and actually make them more anxious and stressed out? Yes and it’s all about how anandamide binds to the cannabinoid receptor.

In about 20 percent of all people there exists an enzyme that actually deactivates anandamide. People that have less of this enzyme naturally produce more anandamide than others and are usually less anxious and handle stress differently…They just so happen to also be the ones who are going to feel more anxious when they smoke weed.

For the other 80 percent however, weed’s pretty amazing at helping them find peace of mind. Countless people have been “self-medicating” with cannabis for years, claiming the calm it offers is unsurpassed. And with new evidence constantly supporting these claims, it looks like people will continue find their calm through the consumption of cannabis.

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