Although we don’t have scientific confirmation of how the sativa and indica effects manifest in the plant, users can often feel the difference. What cannabinoids are in the product can also make a difference but we will get into that later. Hint; if you are anxious, you need to increase your CBD intake. Sativa is a variety of cannabis that is traditionally considered activating, uplifting, and energizing. The sativa plant has thinner leaves that tend to be taller and fluffier. Cannabis is a subjective experience. If you ingest a strain of cannabis and you feel that it’s very activating to your system and makes your mind race, then that’s a sativa experience. If you like that feeling and it makes you want to be creative and productive, those can be positive attributes. But if it makes you paranoid and worried then that sativa attribute is too strong for you.
You might want to go toward an indica instead. Indica means that it’s going to be sedative and calming. An indica plant tends to be lower to the ground and denser in the flower structure while the leaf tends to be broader and fatter. For some, even a relaxing Indica can cause paranoia if the THC is high. High THC, or too much, can cause paranoia and anxiety, even after it initially helps anxiety.
The aromas and flavors of cannabis plants can also inform us how they might affect the body. If your cannabis has a citrusy, bright, fruity kind of smell or name, those strains tend to be sativa. If your cannabis aromas tend to be earthy, musky, and wood smells, those strains tend to calm and bring down anxiety.
It’s also important to note that some people who are very sensitive to cannabis can have anxiety or paranoia responses specifically to indica or sativa. Just because a strain is indica does not mean that it won’t induce paranoia. For some people it still will. You should also consider how you’re ingesting cannabis. Our brain is what worries, right? If we want to activate the part of the body that does not control thoughts, then we’ll activate the gut. Ingestible oils activate in the lower body first. Our brain is still sober yet gets a feedback message from the stomach saying, “Hey, we’re relaxed down here. We’re okay. You can calm your thoughts.”
But remember that even oils and edibles can be ingested at excessive quantities. Even a seasoned cannabis user could have a very paranoid experience if he or she consumes a 100-milligram indica edible. Avoiding paranoia when using cannabis is about using healthy administration methods such as oils. And it’s about understanding CBD or cannabidiol intake. CBD helps regulate anxiety and depression, and can soften the effects of THC. When I’m feeling anxious or if THC is making me paranoid, I always increase my CBD oil intake. I also know that CBD takes a few days to build up in my system so if I keep a CBD oil (allowing it to calm my “second brain” in my gut) then i can enjoy sativa or Indica THC products without additional anxiety. I keep a 2oz bottle of Ezra’s CBD Olive Extra Strength on my bedside table and take a half dropper full in the morning and at night before bed. If I smoke cannabis flower, I’ll add a little CBD flower to soften the effects of the THC. Contact me for CBD flower.
Patients who want to get the insomnia-reducing benefits of cannabinoids without the paranoia may also consider using oils topically. We might dilute and put just five milligrams of THC or CBD in a one ounce bottle of oil that you rub on your belly. This slowly delivers the cannabis into your bloodstream, essentially a micro dose of cannabis to avoid that paranoid feeling. It’s important to remember that if one is feeling anxiety with even small doses of cannabis of any variety, that a break may be in order. Taking a 48 to 72 hour break from cannabis can reset the cannabinoid receptors as well, reducing anxiety when you start back up again. Increase your CBD in that time, and when you go back into THC you’ll notice that one, you don’t need as much, and two, anxiety-free THC is much better!