Delta-9 THC is the primary cannabinoid in hemp and cannabis that delivers the intoxicating effects you know and love. Beyond its mind-expansive properties, Delta-9 THC’s mood-boosting abilities can also help you relax. Studies show most people turn to cannabis to relieve anxiety, and related health issues, such as depression and sleep problems. Let’s look at how Delta-9 THC works to reduce stress and tension.
Delta-9 THC Benefits
Delta-9 THC exhibits vast therapeutic potential. But today, the substance is only FDA-approved to treat nausea and weight loss in synthetic forms called Dronabinol and Nabilone. Clinical research in the U.S. remains shackled by federal restrictions, making it challenging for researchers to gain permission to do human trials.
That said, Delta-9 THC has been extensively researched worldwide for nearly 60 years, and scientists have a solid understanding of its mechanism of action. Studies show that THC stimulates the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine in the brain, which causes feelings of euphoria and happiness. As a result, many Delta-9 users report:
- Decreased anxiety
- Feelings of joy or exhilaration
- Heightened imagination
- Improved sensory perception
Delta-9 THC for relaxation and anxiety
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 31% of adults in the United States experience an anxiety disorder. As a result, many utilize Delta-9 flower, vapes oils, and edibles to seek relief from symptoms like:
- Feelings of worry
- A sense of being “on edge.”
- Difficulty sleeping and concentrating
In fact, a University of Washington report showed that almost 40% of medical marijuana patients in California consumed cannabis to ease anxiety and 55% to improve relaxation. Scientists believe Delta-9 THC is a critical component of why the plant works so well for these conditions.
Researchers attribute Delta-9’s efficacy to how the compound operates within the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). In short, your ECS has receptors throughout every internal system that bind to chemical signals called endocannabinoids. The communication between the two works to keep your mind and body balanced.
Anandamide is one endocannabinoid that activates your ECS receptors in the brain and nervous system to boost mood and reduce fear. The problem is that your body may not produce enough anandamide naturally, contributing to increased stress and anxiety. Fortunately, studies show Delta-9 THC has a similar chemical structure to anandamide, helping control negative mind states like fear and anxiety and increasing happiness.
Delta-9 THC for combating stress
Stress can be a debilitating condition that affects all aspects of your life, and there is no known cure. However, in recent years, using cannabis—mainly THC—to treat stress has been a growing area of interest due to its ability to provide relief without inducing physical dependence or addiction seen with other prescription medications.
Studies show a positive correlation between THC and the many symptoms of chronic stress disorders, including pain relief, sleep, seizures, nausea, and more. As with anxiety, scientists believe this cannabinoid potentially plays a significant role in combating tension because it affects the CB1 receptors in the brain region responsible for regulating the stress response.
Delta-9 THC Research
Ironically, some people experience increased paranoia, anxiety, and stress from THC. However, research shows that Delta-9 THC in cannabis, when used correctly, can provide significant symptom relief.
Relaxation is the most common effect
Researchers from the University of New Mexico released a new study that found that inhaled cannabis is more likely to reduce anxiety symptoms. The results painted a much more relaxing picture of cannabis than its reputation for paranoia would predict:
- Distress-related symptoms—anxiety, stress, or irritability—decreased in 95% of sessions.
- Relaxation and a sense of peace were the most commonly reported side effects (66% of cases).
- Negative symptoms only increased in 2% of sessions.
A 2018 survey looked at medical cannabis for depression and anxiety. 58% of respondents reported the compound provided significant relief. Another study focused on oral THC (in 20 mg) and found this consumption method offered similar benefits.
THC dosage might play a role
A recent study at the University of Chicago specifically looked at how Delta-9 THC affected emotional responses to stress and anxiety. The findings suggest that dosage plays a role in how the effects:
- In this study, a low dose of THC produced stress-relieving results.
- On the other hand, higher doses were more likely to increase a negative mood.
Regarding chronic stress issues, however, federal studies reveal that high-dose THC (9%) might be more effective than the low dose for PTSD patients.
- Cannabis users reported a more significant decrease in PTSD symptoms than non-cannabis users and were 2.5 times more likely to no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for the disorder.
In short, the perfect THC dosage and product type depend highly on conditions, tolerance, and even hormones. Many people like to consume THC in edible from, like Delta 9 Toffee Oreo Cookies, because they can divide the treat into halves and quarters, monitoring dosage and recording the results until they find the sweet spot.
The bottom line
Delta-9 THC clinical research offers significant evidence for its potential to relieve stress and anxiety. Survey after survey also indicates Delta-9’s ability to foster a sense of calm, optimism, optimistic, and euphoria. That said, it’s essential to understand that dosage can play a role, so start low and work your way up to a level that puts your mind and body in balance.