The Short Answer: It May Depend On The Individual
Marijuana affects people differently—any substance will. Some people take two drags on a cigarette and find the heady rush which follows from the nicotine so unpleasant, they never smoke again. Others really love that feeling, and become chain smokers trying to recapture it. Ironically, they won’t; nicotine ingestion results in tolerance.
Cannabis ingestion can as well, but it’s easier to achieve previous “highs” through some mild restraint. Many marijuana advocates will suggest taking a month off from smoking every year to maximize the effects of the substance. With everything, tolerance is built. If you’re “smoking weed” for anxiety, there will be a few stages you go through.
First, it will “hit you” in a very noticeable way that can be quite giddy and fun. “New” users of marijuana tend to get “the giggles” more often than those who have smoked for a number of years. Over time, though, your body will develop tolerance, and that means it will require more, or more potent, cannabis to achieve the same result.
So initially, if you feel giddy, you’ll be overcome with the sensation. If you feel anxious, likewise that’s going to be prescient when you smoke. But over time, your tolerance will overcome both sensations to the point where neither will affect you as totally as they did. Quitting for a month or so will reduce tolerance, and bring you back to “the old feeling”.
Everything In Proper Moderation
Regardless why you smoke, or ingest edibles, or use topical ointments, moderation is wise—give yourself a break once or twice a year so your body can equalize and tolerance can be reduced. A great time to do that is around the holidays with your family. But everyone is different. And, as everyone is different, how you ingest cannabis can have involved anxiety.
Studies find cannabis eases anxiety—but there are things you can do to expedite this. Part of proper ingestion depends on the “tools” used to achieve the “high”. Edibles tend to be unpredictable, and users ingest too much. While you can’t really overdose on marijuana, you can definitely get more “high” than you intended, and edibles are famous for that.
What’s smarter is using glass pipes colloquially known as “one-hitters”, bowls, hitting bongs, or “toking” joints. With such methods, you can more closely control your intake so you don’t get too “high”. Anxious effects dovetail from too much THC in the wrong situation. Stores like Atomic Blaze offer pipes, papers, and more to help you find your best method of ingestion.
Getting the proper cannabis ingestion implements will make things a lot easier for you. True, you could use tobacco rolling papers or poke holes in a soda can, as they did in the old days, but these methods are less “official” than using pipes or bongs made expressly for the purpose of cannabis ingestion, and can collaterally contribute to subconscious anxiety.
Avoiding Subconscious Initiators
When you’re “hiding”, or using “improvised” ingestion methods, that feels “sneaky”. With cannabis, what you feel tends to be magnified. What cannabis does through THC is essentially “root” you in “the moment”. Everything suddenly seems “new” or “novel”. That’s owing to the chemical interaction in your brain.
So if, in the moment, you’re thinking about “getting caught” or “getting in trouble”, or you’re thinking that you’re doing something “bad”, then your mind is going to get caught on those thoughts like a broken record, and it will expand anxiety. But if you know you’re “okay”, and haven’t done anything “wrong”, you’re less likely to have anxiety issues.
Much of cannabis anxiety has to do with fears of exposure being exacerbated by the way THC affects the brain. If you can eliminate that issue, then you’re likely not going to experience too much paranoia. It’s all about recognizing what the compound does. Essentially, it’s a “present moment” magnification agent that makes everything feel good.
Making The Choice That Fits You
So if you’re typically an anxious person, to get the most from cannabis, you’ll want to be in a “safe” situation where there won’t be any surprises that initiate an anxious response. Once you understand what the “high” feels like, and what it does to you, your level of anxiety will be reduced. For most, the “law” represents the primary anxiety-inducing factor.
Accordingly, if you are seeking to ingest cannabis to assuage anxiety, do so in places where using the substance is legal. Then those anxious thoughts don’t have a chance, and you can lean into the positive, giddy aspects of the compound.
Once you’re used to it, much of the anxiety will melt away, and cannabis can be a fine solution for those who struggle with feelings of anxiousness. Since everyone is different, what may be wise is picking a little up, trying it out in a controlled environment, and determining if it’s right for you.