“I don’t like hallucinating anymore,” my partner lamented.
I hugged him and proceeded to take a bath. He curled up on the bed, smiling and staying warm.
“Can’t we just have some CBD and come down?” he mumbled through heavy birch walls.
After my bath I squirted a few droppers of Luminous Botanicals Earth Blend under his tongue, and watched him carefully as he swished it around like mouthwash, letting it rest in his mouth before swallowing it down. I swallowed two dropperfuls, too.
There’s a protrusion of capillaries under the tongue offering quick absorption to anything worth drinking. Professionals consider this a faster route than the esophagus, stomach, liver towards death in the intestines. Sublingual administration delivers product to the bloodstream quickly.
“I really didn’t think all that kief in the chocolate smoothie this morning would be so potent.” It was. Three hours later and we’re still seeing fractals, not at all like the usual weed trip. This had legs and colors, moving colors, moving legs…and longevity.
The high CBD Earth Blend extract began to take effect and like Burroughs (maybe slightly less sedated), I became inspired to write.
Hunter S. Thompson called it The Fear, an ever present sense of impending doom. Not irrational, not nonsensical, but rumbling waves of paranoia. Deep, and guttural enough to make you shit your pants and powerful enough to flood your head with panic. First, it grips your heart so tight and strong you can’t breathe. You think you need air, and water (you probably do) and quickly realize you’re unable to relax. Chest pains begin as terror spreads throughout the body. Gasping, you remind yourself to “chill out” to “never-mind” the anger to “ignore” the fear. Easier said than done.
Know Your Dose
Cannabis-induced anxiety is often contributed to toxicity, also known as an overdose. Don’t believe me? Try it. If you’re prone to being anxious when smoking or consuming edibles, consume less. Get to know your dose. For some, it takes around 75mg of THC, the principal cannabinoid responsible for psychoactivity, subsequently paranoia, to get sufficiently high. For others, their dose can be as low as 2.5mg. A typical hit from a joint can provide well above 10mgs of THC, which is enough to send a lightweight to the moon. It could take hours before landing. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking it slow. In fact, your mind/body/spirit will thank you for it.
Try High CBD Strains
CBD is the “other cannabinoid”, at least for now. Research has focused primarily on CBD and THC, and CBD (Cannabidiol) is responsible for a wide range of therapeutic benefits including muscle relaxation. Some CBD strains have little to almost no psychoactive THC, which means you can receive all the muscle relaxing benefits of CBD without the paranoia inducing head high that can come from THC.
Look for strains like Charlotte’s Web, ACDC, Harlequin or ask your budtender for a recommendation. But beware, if they tell you smoking or ingesting high CBD cannabis can actually reverse or counteract THC induced anxiety/paranoia, this is not typically true. The two cannabinoids are in fact highly synergistic: one providing a profound body buzz and the other a profound head trip while together, it’s a ride through hyperspace. Hold on.
Try Low THC Strains
What’s low in THC often depends on each harvest, so Maui Waui from one grower can be incredibly different than Maui Waui from the next. In all the recreational states, THC percentage must be listed for each batch. Another reason to ask your budtenders good questions like, “What’s the lowest THC batch from this most recent harvest?”
Make Sure Your Cannabis is Clean
Just like clean eating provides numerous health benefits, including less anxiety, so can clean weed. It’s more than likely your paranoia can be contributed to a range of heavy metals or artificial nutrients present in the water or soil fed to the plant during its growth cycle. So look for farmers that are generally mindful of producing pesticide free, clean, natural, organically grown cannabis.
Vaporization with devices like FEZ or PAX allow you take puffs each time, so you can slowly titrate your dose. Starting at a low temperature setting burns off more terpenes and slightly fewer cannabinoids offering a gentler, more controlled high. Wait 20 minutes and raise the temperature, slowly working your way to something more pronounced. This gives your sober mind some time to adjust and adapt to being stoned.
Recently, I read an article covering a hotshot scientist at the University of Illinois discovering anxiety might be good for you. It’s a Darwinian point of view: fight or flight. It’s dark. We’re alone in the woods, leaves rustle, and I flee while you stay and allow Sasquatch eat your brains. Anxiety saves my life.
And while so many of us suffer from this condition, oftentimes chronically and debilitatingly so, it’s important to note even 3CPO had anxiety. When Lucas and Foster set out to write the story in the late 70s (thanks to Nixon, the Nazis, Hiroshima, Nam, and two World Wars), they dreamt up a millennia year old robot with generalized anxiety disorder living a long long long time ago in galaxy far far far away. Even that poor sap had a fear of The Dark.
Today, we have Trump to thank.
Anxiety. Our version of the word originated in the 16th century: from French anxiété or Latin anxietas, from anxius. 500 years ago. Before Facebook.
The very description of symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, the most common anxiety disorder known to humankind, exists in Shrimad Bhagavatam written by Maharshi Vedavyasa in 900 CE. 1116 ago.
In Homer’s Iliad there’s a group of symptoms that can only be described nowadays as PTSD. 2,700 BCE.
In Indian literature, in the text Ramayana, a great sage Valmiki mentioned anxiety. That was 5114 BCE. 7,000 years ago.
For a symptom this ancient, can research studies actually teach us how to cope? If your anxiety is so bad you need pharmaceuticals or therapy, there’s nothing wrong with taking ownership and treating it.
Just know anxiety’s been with us for 7,000 years. It’s probably safe to assume longer. Like that week when the Pterodactyl flew over your great great ancestor’s cave each night just as they were falling asleep and took giant shits on the firepit. Anxious. Old testament and the angel of death anxious. Smoting and smiting anxious. Lightning bolt striking your back porch anxious.
No single drug will fix a survival mechanism. Not yet, not now. But knowing what interferes with survival is key. Better yet, we should understand what triggers fight or flight. All manners of ingredients and drugs mess with perception. Maybe the eyesight is blurred, just a touch, by looking at your phone all day. Maybe the coffee is helping you see…a little too much. Can reasonable human comprehension make sense of variables like these? Not really. Give a shot of espresso to a dog, it’s not pretty…chocolate and the poor fucker dies.
Stress interferes. Modern technology like TV and Snapchat interfere. News articles, these days, are designed to fuck you up. Have some caffeine and read BuzzFeed, you’ll see. Fire, inter-fears. The edge of a cliff, enter-fears. Everyone feels anxiety, some more than others. You need to cope.
Knowing all this won’t cure the thing, not at all, but most likely some good clean high CBD or low THC will help you enjoy cannabis with less side effects. Also, oxygen and a few glasses of water are both very helpful. A gentle reminder “you’re only human” helps. Noticing everyone else is often a paranoid alien helps as well.
Anxiety’s been around longer than you, since the Jedi. Be resourceful. Be a Jedi. Your ancestors were Jedis. They survived.