This time 2 years ago, this article about the differences of CBD and THC would not have been possible.

Not because of my writing capabilities, nor my environmental circumstances, but rather because of my crippling anxiety.

In other words, there’s no way this article would’ve seen the light of day during that time.

After years of mental walls closing in, and a mountain of anxiety piling up, I was desperate to find anything at all that would improve my situation. What I didn’t expect was to find the answer in the form of a little green flower.

But finding cannabis as a solution was not smooth by any means. Instead, it came with hardships all of its own, especially when it came to learning the subtle differences between CBD vs THC for addressing my limiting anxiety.

So, here’s my story of how I was able to navigate through a minefield of misinformation; my story of how I experimented and found the right solution using CBD and THC; my story of having a second chance of being me.

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(Photo by Yousef Espanioly on Unsplash)

 

Riding the Xanax and Benzo Carousel

From a young age, it was clear that i struggled in social situations.

I was often labeled as a weirdo, I struggled to create enduring relationships, and the few that fortunately stuck around, i put them through unbearable hardships.

So being an outsider felt normal. It was a feeling, a reaction from others, that I eventually learned to live with and sometimes enjoy as a young teenager.

I’d constantly tell myself, who needs relationships? Why be bombarded with the irrelevant problems of others when I can lock myself in my room and get lost in my own world.

Maybe you can relate, but these moments of isolating joy are few and far between. They were the exception and not the rule – and as they years went by, my isolation and anxiety became an issue my parents and doctors wanted to solve. It was a nail that had to be hammered in their eyes.

So that’s when I was first prescribed Xanax at 15 years old.

And not before long, the best and the worst of times followed. I became more social, started being more comfortable in groups. I remember it feeling almost exhilarating like.

But as the case with bandaid acting pharmaceuticals, I began noticing a slew of side effects. I became easily irritable at times. My mind felt it was behind a constant fog that spontaneously made me dizzy and tired. It felt like something took an axe and chopped off the trunks of imagination.

And as you can imagine, other ‘solutions’ were added into the mix. Benzos in particular. But, the results were all the same.

The pendulum of being anxiety-free and being shackled by the debilitating side-effects of pharmaceuticals carried on for almost 8 years, that is, until I was introduced to CBD and THC.

 

CBD vs THC: Weighing in on THC

I was first introduced to medical cannabis at the ripe age of 22. Before this all I had learned about marijuana was that it made people lazy, unmotivated, red eyed and most likely to end up living in a dumpster. What else are you supposed to believe? This is what every teacher and school counsellor made us out to believe.

My first experience with cannabis was a little murky to say the least. Until the last few years, getting cannabis was a bit of a crap shoot. Strains were not clear and concise on the lineage like they are now. “Sativa” and “Indica” were the only strains available, and even the validity of those strains being marked properly was murky at best. Thankfully, the cannabis industry has evolved, and with it the subsequent products being created.

CBD was still fairly new, and little research had been done on it, and specifically its therapeutic benefits. The heavyweight cannabis compound up until recently has been Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC.

THC is a psychoactive compound found in the cannabis sativa plant. THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in our brain that are associated with memory, pleasure, thinking, coordination and perception of time. This compound is what’s generally associated with the “high” cannabis produces. THC releases dopamine, which creates a euphoric state of being. This for some can be unsettling, while completely indulgent for others. As well as being a pleasure inducing medicine, it’s anti-inflammatory, a painkiller, it reduces nausea, curbs seizures, among a slew of other medical benefits.

A study at the NYU School of Medicine in regards to seizures and cannabis treatment proved to show amazing results. Compared to the placebo, a 41.9% reduction in seizures was recorded! As quoted by Dr. Devinsky, “This new study adds rigorous evidence of cannabidiol’s effectiveness in reducing seizure burden in a severe form of epilepsy and, importantly, is the first study of its kind to offer more information on proper dosing,”

Unfortunately THC doesn’t always have the same effects on anxiety, in fact it’s quite hit or miss.

High amounts of THC at times are known to cause psychosis and anxiety, especially in those already prone to mental issues of the sort. For myself, high amounts of THC would at times help the anxiety, but more often than not it created a paranoia and made me far more anxious than before. This was troubling as it really did have the opposite effect at times, melting my anxiety like chocolate on a hot summer’s day. The gamble of whether I would feel better or worse wasn’t worth it anymore, but luckily not all hope was lost.

Step in Cannabidiol (CBD), the beautifully non-psychoactive compound of cannabis.

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(Photo by Get Budding on Unsplash)

 

CBD vs THC: Weighing in CBD

After many years of trial and error, I was almost at a point of giving up. Even with cannabis being an aid, it still didn’t have the stopping power I required to alleviate this anxiety and finally feel like a normal member of society. One that enjoys afternoon conversations with their friends at a coffee shop. Going to social gathers and meeting new people, or even simply asking a stranger to pass a napkin while at a fast food joint. Just as all seemed doomed, this little magic compound Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, fell in my lap. I can’t begin to express how much my life has changed since.

CBD is the second most abundant compound in cannabis, and is “non-psychoactive”. While there is a little bit of a debate on this topic, it’s mostly in regards to the verbiage. CBD doesn’t get you high, it doesn’t make you hallucinate or start to think completely outside the box. While the actual chemical reaction in our brains can be considered “psychoactive”, it’s far from it. What CBD does, at least one of its many benefits is washing away that cloud of anxiety.

While it may have been considered a placebo at first, it’s truly far from it. Studies done on stressed mice showed that CBD causes neurogenesis on the hippocampal. To simplify this, our hippocampus is an area in the brain that plays a large role in cognition and memory formation. Brain scans of those who deal with depression and anxiety often have a smaller hippocampus than those who do not suffer from those mental ailments.

Not only this, but CBD acts very much like SSRIs, another commonly used medication for anxiety and depression. SSRI stands for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. The way they function is still unknown, but in layman terms they block the reuptake of serotonin into the brain. While CBD and SSRIs may act similarly, one comes with a slew of negative side effects and potential long term harm, while the other has nothing of the sort. If you guessed CBD being the one without the negative side effects, you’ve won a shiny gold medal.

 

CBD vs THC: CBD – The Non Psychoactive Champion

It didn’t take long to realize that I had a real winner in CBD. The side effects are very minimal, a little bit of dry mouth if you don’t drink much water, and potentially a bit of lightheadedness in the beginning. The outcome far outweighs the very minor side effects you may feel. Using CBD was the equivalent of taking a breath of fresh air after being held underwater far too long.

Another positive that can’t be understated is the therapeutic dosage of CBD required to achieve the desired effects. For anxiety, 10-20mg of CBD may be all that’s needed. What’s even more amazing is that the dosage doesn’t need to be upped, as there’s almost no known tolerance increase in CBD usage. In fact, most users find that lowering the dose over time will still have the same benefits as taking a larger dose.

 

My Life Today

These days, my relationships have flourished like I could never have imagined. I no longer dread minimally invasive human interaction, and to be honest crave it. The fear of having to speak to a stranger has completely dissipated, along with that uneasiness of simply having dinner with my friends. Not to mention that my career has taken off and, while it’s hard to give complete thanks to CBD, it’s taking the lionshare.

If you or a loved one is dealing with any of the previously mentioned ailments, then I suggest taking a serious look at cannabidiol. There’s no harm in trying.

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