The interactions of marijuana in the body has always been complex. While it is always possible to generate theories, exact measurements have always been beyond the boundaries of speculation. Because the body is a complex system and it is nearly impossible to judge how it will react to the introduction of a foreign substance. Even one that is quite friendly to the human body, such as THC. Most people take marijuana to relax and destress. And the psychoactive compound that does this is THC, along with CBD.
The Marijuana Relaxation Study
It is interesting that while marijuana usually results in a relaxed state of mind, it can often trigger anxiety and panic attacks. The reasons for this are not quite clear and there are almost an infinite number of variables. It could be due to the strain of marijuana or the genetic makeup of the individual. Or a combination of these two factors, along with numerous others. It is more often than not simply because the user has ingested too much marijuana and his or her body is now struggling to cope. Knowing how much to ingest can be difficult for many people,especially in a social setting and particularly for inexperienced users.
Despite the fact that interactions in the body are hard to gauge, recent scientific claims suggest that they now have an idea how much marijuana is needed to actually relax. A recent study published in the journal “Drug and Alcohol Dependence” outlines how easy it is to ingest more marijuana than may be appropriate. The study investigated just how much marijuana is necessary to make an individual relaxed as opposed to anxious.
The findings from the study were that the amount of cannabis needed to relax is actually quite small. Much smaller than is usually ingested. Like all drugs marijuana is dose dependent, and there is a sweet spot or goldilocks zone which is optimal, but hard to find. The study recruited 42 volunteers and tested them to see the optimal amounts of cannabis needed to promote relaxation. All of the volunteers were between the ages of 18 and 40 and none were daily users, though the majority were familiar with cannabis.
The group was split into 3, a low does group, a placebo groupand a high dose group. The term “dose” relates to the psychoactive compound found in cannabis, THC. The low dose was 7.5 milligrams of THC while the high dose was 12.5 milligrams of THC. For those not familiar with study design, a placebo group is essentially a control group given nothing.
The test was whether or not the participants could undertake a stressful task two hours after taking their dose. One was a mock interview where they were given numerical questions. Volunteers underwent two sessions, and on the second session the test was to talk about their favorite book or movie. Interestingly, the findings were that at low doses THC reduced stress and at high doses had the opposite effect, as it increased anxiety. The stress levels of those on the lower doses dissipated more quickly than those on the high dose.
In many ways, the findings are the exact opposite of that which was conventionally thought. High doses are more inclined to increase anxiety and smaller doses could possibly give added relaxation and stress relief. It is important that the test was not simply observational. Tangible stress markers such as heart rate, blood pressure and hormone levels were all monitored. The amount of THC that needs to be ingested in order to attain appropriate relaxation levels are equivalent to a few puffs of a cannabis cigarette, a tiny amount. While the exact amounts are hard to quantify, the study suggested that a joint would typically contain 2 or 3 times more than the optimal amount. This may be hard to believe for chain cannabis smokers.
The findings are clear however this was not a large test and the findings have not been reproduced. 42 volunteers are a tiny sample set and everybody reacts to marijuana differently. Other variables such as the quality of the marijuana plant and the social environment will all play a role.
Finding the exact amount of cannabis to consume is not a simple equation. But common sense would indicate that in terms of mind altering substances there is really no need to ingest on the high end of the scale. Low doses are usually more than enough.
The findings are positive. It takes less cannabis to enter into a state of relaxation than previously thought. The takeaway is simply to err on the side of caution at all times and to take a low dose. It is easy to go overboard but next to impossible to have too little cannabis, unless you completely run out. Even a small amount of cannabis can have significant stress relieving properties.