In these crazy times, many people could use a little extra help managing anxiety and stress. Here we look at plant medicines that naturally compliment cannabinoids, and pairings that can be useful for promoting feelings of calm and well being!
Some people recommend blending cannabis and other herbs at a 75% to 25% ratio, and adjusting the mixture as needed after experimenting with taste and effects. It’s always beneficial to choose organic and ethically produced herbs where possible, to avoid consuming any unwanted chemicals.
Lastly, it can be useful to consult with your healthcare provider to avoid potential contraindications or side effects.
Ashwagandha is a well-known adaptogen—basically, a substance that helps your body to regulate and respond to stress. In a recent study, Ashwagandha was compared to a well-known anti-anxiety medication, Ativan, and antidepressant, Tofranil. The herb performed surprisingly well as a mood stabilizer and has been generally used for promoting feelings of calm and well being as well as promoting focus and concentration.
Chamomile is a time-tested remedy to treat anxiety, stress, headaches, indigestion, depression, and difficulty sleeping. When paired with cannabis, this gentle herb can offer an inexpensive solution for restless nights or intense headaches, or be a perfect digestif after a meal.
Damiana is a desert shrub that has been used as a stimulant and aphrodisiac since Aztec and Mayan times. It is said to boost the feelings of relaxation and euphoria associated with cannabis and some have used it instead of cannabis when it is unavailable. Damiana does have a quite strong hickory flavor, so mixing it in limited quantities can help with the flavor profile. Damiana on its own is a very relaxing herb, so when paired with cannabis it creates an herbal blend perfect for reducing tension. There is some evidence that Damiana can affect blood glucose levels, so patients with diabetes or low blood sugar should exercise care. Additionally, some serious side effects have been reported from those taking doses over 200 grams.
Holy Basil is well regarded in Aryuvedic medicine and traditionally used to treat stress and anxiety through regulating a core stress hormone, cortisol. When combined with cannabis, it can be a perfect remedy for stress management and may even offer mild pain relief. Even better, a combo of holy basil and cannabis oil is reputed to be an effective treatment for acne! Two for one.
Lavender is arguably one of the best-known plants for relaxation. Interestingly, cannabis and lavender share a crucial terpene, Linalool. When Linalool is combined with THC and CBD, it acts as a muscle relaxant and anticonvulsant. Aside from the medicinal value, lavender adds a lovely scent and clean, floral flavor profile.
Mugwort has traditionally been known as a women’s herb—historically, it’s been useful for the uterus and menstruation issues, along with stomach ailments, anxiety, and regulating energy levels. Mugwort is not known to be a natural sedative in the way cannabis can be, but it has a sage-like flavor profile and can make a pleasant nighttime blend, as it is associated with vivid dreaming. Mugwort does have some side effects and shouldn’t be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Mullein has an aroma of black tea, campfire smoke and cedar. It can be helpful for lung issues and have a calming effect on a lingering cough. Its flavor profile can make it an ideal base for smoking blends, and it can help increase focus and aid relaxation.
St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort has a long history of use as a mood-lifter. It can be useful in depression and promote feelings of well being in both children and adults. Patients that combine it with cannabis report quick relief from anxiety, and feelings of well being that last for hours.