When Your Anxiety Is Stronger Than Your Cannabis


Girl having anxiety attack

Recently, I’ve noticed something happening around the cannabis community. It started some time ago; but, the last few years have caused an influx of cannabis and anxiety stories. As we all found ourselves stressed for an assortment of reasons, some of us have looked to cannabis more than usual. However, a lot of consumers are taking a step back altogether.

We’ve all been there: the sirens in a song, the supposed stares in public. Cannabis anxiety is real. It can look and feel different for everyone. The question I pose to all though is why does it still come up so often. You’re told to just get different strains, lower your dosage but the issue is deeper than that. Cannabinoids and terpenes play a large part in the consumption experience and, when it comes to anxiety, it plays a bigger part than most realize. 

Most haven’t heard the two words before 2012; but, it doesn’t mean that they are any less important. As we’ve discussed before, cannabinoids, terpenes, and the other compounds within cannabis personify its effects. Because of terpenes, we know why cannabis makes us tired or hungry now. More often than not, unfortunately, these aspects of the plant aren’t given a lot of attention when buying.

In recent studies, cannabis consumers reported a 58% decrease in symptoms of anxiety and depression. In the same study, other consumers had adverse effects. Even more so, every consumer can cite a time when cannabis made them or a friend paranoid. From my anecdotal evidence, most individuals who support cannabis but don’t consume cite anxiety as the reason. Given how we’ve found people to be terpene-sensitive recently, there has to be a common denominator here.  


The experts are undecided whether those with anxiety-inducing disorders consume cannabis more or if something specifically in cannabis causes it. In consumer and grower experience, it’s most certainly terpenes that some of us don’t respond well to. I’m sure you’ve heard, everyone responds differently to cannabis. Terpenes are not different. Allergic to pepper? Caryophyllene may not be the best for you. Don’t like the smell of lemon? You might not like Limonene either. Finding the perfect terpene for your consumption is the biggest and most disregarded battle in cannabis purchasing. Unfortunately, it’s the most common cause for anxious cannabis moments.

Another factor that comes into play is dosage. According to the National Library of Medicine, cannabis is roughly three times stronger than it was in the 1960s. Sounds crazy right? It’s important to know that studies refer to how long it took for people to get cannabis in the past. Since you can just go to the shop and buy an eighth, cannabis has gotten exponentially stronger with freshness. With it, terpenes and our sensitivity to them, have as well. Now imagine getting an extremely high dose of something your body doesn’t agree with. 

This brings us to the topic of today’s discussion. Why exactly are people taking a step back from cannabis? Furthermore, why is cannabis making us anxious like never before? Personally, I think it’s a culmination of all that. 


In every case when I heard about higher levels of anxiety, it was in long-term consumers. This is not a factual claim to adverse effects to cannabis, nor am I a doctor. The topic of acute cannabis consumption, however, has come up in a few interviews in the past. It was found, in this small case, that unintentional cannabis use did more harm than good over time. While it aids a variety of symptoms, too much of a good thing can always become a bad thing. 

But, there are still unanswered questions. Why hasn’t this come up before? In the hundreds of years of consumption, why didn’t this come up? Well, I have a theory. It goes right back to terpenes. 

As we get older, we can grow allergic to new things. Maybe, some people grow more sensitive to prevalent cannabis terpenes. It’s a theory; but, terpenes, CB1 and CBD2 receptors play a large part in how we interact individually with cannabis. Our endocannabinoid system can evolve over the years. Science says anything is possible with what we don’t understand. In the case of this new trend though, this is all speculation of the cause.

From what we do know, terpenes are the root cause and aid to anxiety and stress. Misunderstanding your comfortability with a certain terpene, however, can lead to diverse effects. As cannabis consumption becomes more acceptable, more understanding of how it helps is ever-changing. With it, our consumption may require some adjusting. 

As I said before, anxiety can look and feel different for everyone. Also, I’m not a doctor or providing medical advice. Anyone who uses cannabis for strict medical reasons shouldn’t deter from their regiment. As more states legalize, this just solidifies the need to educate on terpenes and cannabinoids. If this trend continues, there’s even more reason.

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Joycelin Arnold

Dating back to 2012, Joycelin has wrote for various online Video Game publications covering events and launches regularly. Cannabis has been with her throughout the journey, however. She officially joined cannabis industry in 2016 as a budtender and begin writing for brands and magazines in 2017. Outside of cannabis, she writes science fiction with one published novel, Siren, so far.

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