Many people experience stress or depression this time of year and research suggest cannabis could help you through the holiday blues.
Tis the season…for the blues. With all the holiday parties, unpredictable weather, and intense family time (or lack of intense family time), this month elicits strong emotions all around. It can make you feel incredibly grateful and full of love, but it can also spark feelings of loneliness and the inability to connect with holiday cheer.
A 2015 Healthline survey asked people about their stress levels around the holiday season. Around 44% of the 2,280 respondents said they were “somewhat stressed” this time of year while 18% admitted feeling “very stressed.” The biggest reason people said they were stressed were due to finances (47%), a tricky thing to manage this time of year.
If you’re feeling down, or worry about not 100% loving the holidays, don’t worry. You’re not alone, as the survey indicates. There are practical things you can do to help combat those holiday blues. Some practical advice includes managing expectations, reach out for connections with others, and plan ahead for any potential triggers you might have.
But the biggest thing you can do is practice self-care. Keep exercising, continue eating well, and take time for yourself in select moments. That could also include cannabis. Or if you’re not a marijuana user already, it could be something to consider.
A study published last year (in the Journal of Affective Disorders) by Washington State University researchers concluded that cannabis significantly reduced feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress. For those feeling the stress of the holidays, scientists found that marijuana strains high in THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis, and low in CBD (cannabidiol) was best. If you’re feeling down or depressed, the study recommended using high-CBD/low-THC marijuana strains.
But perhaps you’re not able to buy such specific marijuana strains, and sharing a joint your cousin brought is your only option. A good way to adjust, if you’re feeling depressed, is to have a bottle of CBD tincture on hand to reduce the “high” sensations from the THC.
By the way, you wouldn’t be alone if you did use marijuana to push back the holiday blues. A study published this December reported that cannabis use has steadily risen across the United States between 2005 and 2017. Marijuana use, however, was twice as common among those with depression in 2017.
Among the 728,691 persons aged 12 years or older surveyed, 18.9% of those with depressed had used marijuana in the past month vs. 8.7% among those without depression. Some demographics reported even higher usage rates: Nearly 30% of young adults (18-25) with depression cited past month use.
Just because the holidays traditionally include more frequent level of alcohol consumption doesn’t mean you have to participate, particularly if you’re not in the right mental space. The holiday blues, which really is a small episode of depression, affects everyone in different ways. If cannabis helps you, don’t be afraid to practice the self-care you deserve this holiday season.