Grief is something that many people go through at some point in their life, whether it be the loss of a pet, friend, relationship, or loved one. Unfortunately, about 8% to 10% of people deal with complicated grief. Grief creates a chemical imbalance in your brain, which is a natural response to trauma. The process of grief is painful both internally and externally due to the brain rewiring itself during this process. Grief can come in various forms and not everyone is affected the same. Grief has many symptoms including, but not limited to, anger, depression, anxiety and/or heightened anxiety if already present, loss and/or gain of appetite, fear, denial, night terrors, PTSD, and insomnia; this is where cannabis comes into play to help manage the symptoms of grief.
Managing symptoms of grief with cannabis can be beneficial for your mind and body by using different cannabinoids derived from cannabis flowers, as in CBD, CBN, and THC, depending on what you are trying to achieve. Using cannabis might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you are in the initial stages of grief, but there is no better time to get a balance back into your body and life. The longer your body is not in homeostasis, the longer it will take to get you back to where you need to be. Remember, there is no judgement when looking for the perfect combination to help with grief. Make sure you are being upfront and honest with the symptoms that you are experiencing to get the best recommendations possible.
CBD (a compound found in the cannabis plant with medical benefits that will not induce a “high” feeling) is a great option for those who are not wanting to have any psychoactive effects but yearn for balance within themselves. CBD may reduce stress, depression, anxiety, and PTSD throughout the day when daily activities seem impossible. The best way to introduce CBD into your daily routine is use it in the morning, by starting low and slow, to get your body to recognize this cannabinoid. CBD will not only help with curbing symptoms of grief, but it will also help with chronic pain, including arthritis and nerve pain, inflammation, muscle spasms, and chemotherapy-induced nausea.
CBN (a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid found in trace amounts from cannabis) is a great recommendation for people suffering from sleep problems, as this cannabinoid will assist in getting a good night’s sleep. Sadly, for about 91% of people dealing with grief, sleep can seem impossible as it can be accompanied by nightmares or night terrors. Insomnia, night terrors, and PTSD can hinder you from being able to heal if you are unable to sleep since getting sleep is one of the most important aspects during the healing process. Aside from the sleep benefits mentioned, CBN is also good for being an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, appetite stimulant, aid in bone formation and healing, relief for chronic pain, vasorelaxor, burn treatment, and psoriasis.
THC (the best-known active ingredient in cannabis that is responsible for the psychoactive “high” effect) has many options to help aid in the process of grieving. For this cannabinoid, it is important to look for specific terpenes and/or if the cannabis flower you are indulging in is sativa, hybrid, or indica. When choosing this form of grief management, we will need to take a closer look at each specific terpene to determine what is the best recommendation for your symptoms. The terpenes of choice are Linalool, Limonene, and Myrcene.
Linalool, which can be found not only in cannabis flower but also in lavender and birch bark, is the terpene of choice when trying to aid in anxiety relief and lower depression-like behavior associated with grief. Linalool not only helps with anxiety and depression but also can aid the immune system. Linalool helps the immune system by protecting against the destruction stress can cause on the body. Stress causes a shift in the distribution of white blood cells, which can cause problems within the immune system. The top cannabis strains with linalool include Scooby Snacks, Dos-Si-Dos, Amnesia Haze, and Zkittlez.
Limonene, also found in lemon rind, orange rind, and juniper, can help the symptoms of grief by relieving stress, elevating your mood, and functioning like an anti-depressant. Unfortunately, grief can cause many negative thoughts and feelings. This terpene increases serotonin and dopamine levels in key parts of the brain, aiding in some of the symptoms associated with grief. The top cannabis strains with limonene include Wedding Cake, MAC, Strawberry Banana, Dos-Si-Dos, and Banana OG.
Myrcene is one of the most dominant terpenes in cannabis flower and is found also in mango, thyme, and lemongrass. The myrcene terpene aids in relaxation, anti-anxiety, pain relief, and sleep problems, all of which can be associated with grief. This terpene helps you destress and find your center, but also gives your mind a moment to collect itself. The top cannabis strains with myrcene include Purple Tonic (also has CBD), White Widow, GMO Cookies, and Runtz.
As mentioned above, it is important to know whether the cannabis flower you are partaking in is sativa, hybrid, or indica. Sativas are more known for their “head high” feeling and are associated with being active. Typically, sativas are more commonly used during the morning and afternoon hours. Indica’s, on the other hand, are more known for their “body high” feeling and are typically associated with relaxation and sleep aid, in which case, indicas are more commonly used during the evening hours. Some sativa flower may increase anxiety because of its energizing and uplifting nature, however an indica flower may be too powerful because of its relaxing and sedative nature when handling day-to-day activities. A hybrid is the common choice for people to be productive, but also feel relaxed.
Grief comes in all shapes and sizes, and just like cannabis, it affects everyone differently. CBD, CBN, and THC will not “cure” your grief, but it can help manage your symptoms. It is important to understand it may take some time to determine what is best for you. Everyone is different and is suffering different symptoms of grief and you may need different strains to help with various parts of the day. Remember to be upfront and honest about all the symptoms you are experiencing so that your budtender can help recommend the best strains for you. Always remember, you are not alone.