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Do High Doses of THC Stress You Out?

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When it comes to THC, there may be some benefits to sticking to low doses. A recent study published in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence tested the stress-relieving abilities of THC. Their findings? Low doses can relieve stress while high doses can stress you out. Here are the details:

Do high doses of THC stress you out?

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One of the most common reasons people turn to cannabis is for stress relief. Indeed, there’s nothing quite like an uplifting whiff of weed after a long day.

However, recent research from the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Chicago suggests that when it comes to stress, lower doses may be better.

The research focused on psychoactive cannabis, which contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). To assess the herb’s anti-stress properties, scientists recruited 42 healthy volunteers and spat them out into three groups.

All participants were between 18 and 40 years old. All participants were familiar with cannabis and had used weed before.

One group received a capsule containing 7.5 milligrams of THC. The second group received 12.5 milligrams of THC. The third received a placebo control.

The verdict


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After dosing the goods, the scientists began to stress the participants. How? Through a simulation work interview. During the mock interview, interviewers were instructed to avoid giving body language or verbal cues about the interviewees’ performance.

Participants were also asked to count backwards from a five-digit number, subtracting by 13. Needless to say, both of these scenarios were designed to be nerve-wracking for the participants.

It turns out that those who received the lowest dose of THC had the best results, with lower reported stress compared to placebo and high-dose THC.

Those who received a high dose of THC were also more likely to report negative mood before the mock interview. They also reported small increases in anxiety and nervousness during the interview compared to placebo and the low dose option.

This led researchers to conclude that higher doses of THC stress you out, while lower doses tend to calm anxiety and nervousness.

A few caveats

Cannabis stress

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This study is interesting for several reasons. It shows that the beneficial effects of psychoactive cannabis occur up to a point. Then, once a dosage threshold is crossed, these adverse effects can occur.

However, it is important to keep in mind that anti-stress doses will likely be different for everyone and may even differ significantly between strains.

Those who regularly use cannabis become tolerant to its effects. This means that regular users become accustomed to the herb and some of the negative side effects, such as increased nervousness and anxiety, may not occur at higher doses.

However, if these side effects reappear, it is a telltale sign that you have consumed too high a dose of THC.

The golden rule? If you hope to avoid side effects, stick to lower doses and work.

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