Individuals report different things when it comes to THC and anxiety. Some people claim that cannabis has cured their anxiety, while others say that using cannabis almost always produces anxiety.
The relationship is different among individuals, but there is some scientific evidence to suggest that THC and its derivatives can benefit those who experience anxiety.
For those who have trouble handling the high of traditional THC, the delta-8 high might be a good alternative. We’re going to discuss delta-8 in this article, as well as its potential to improve anxiety in some individuals.
Hopefully, the information below will give you a good idea of whether or not delta-8 is a good choice for you.
Let’s take a look.
What Is Delta-8?
The commonly-known form of THC is delta-9. When we talk about the primary psychoactive component of cannabis, it’s typically that version of THC.
It’s the best-known cannabinoid, with CBD coming in at a close second. CBD and THC (delta-9-THC) are the cannabinoids most-present in cannabis. They produce the most notable effects and have the strongest influence on how a particular strain of cannabis will affect a person.
The thing that a lot of people don’t understand, though, is that cannabis is host to over 100 cannabinoids. Different strains hold these cannabinoids in different amounts, but natural cannabis almost always has a lot of cannabinoids present inside of it.
Delta-8-THC is one of those cannabinoids. It’s a compound that’s very similar to THC-9, although its chemical structure is slightly different. Delta-8 occurs naturally in cannabis in very small amounts.
The delta-8 present in most cannabis strains is far too minimal to notice. When cannabis has been sitting for a period of time, though, its delta-9 cannabinoids degrade into delta-8s.
Delta-8-THC can be extracted and used to achieve similar effects as delta-9-THC. There are some notable differences in the experiences that people have when using it, though.
What is The Delta-8 High Like?
Does delta-8 get you high if it’s a “degraded” form of delta-9-THC?
The general consensus is that delta-8 produces a lot of the same effects as delta-9 does. Increased appetite, pain relief, and a slight sense of euphoria or “highness.”
The primary difference, though, is that the high you get from it is significantly less intense than that which comes from standard cannabis. Most notably is the fact that people experience fewer instances of paranoia and anxiety.
It’s thought to be a smooth high that won’t send you into an entirely different state of mind, but will certainly be noticeable and produce effects in moderation. Of course, the impact that it has on you will depend on how much you consume.
Pound for pound, though, the high will be less intense psychologically, while the rest of the effects remain more or less the same. This is an interesting opportunity for individuals who feel like they could benefit from cannabis but aren’t fans of the psychological warfare it can produce.
So, will delta-8 THC get you high? Yes, but not quite as intensely as the normal stuff.
Why The Paranoia and Anxiety?
No matter the kind of cannabis that you’re using, you may be prone to a little bit of paranoia and anxiety.
Why, though, do some people swear by cannabis for easing anxiety and others dread the thought of the anxiety it produces? Further, why do CBD products tend to reduce anxiety without fail while THC products commonly produce it?
One big piece of the puzzle is the fact that delta-9-THC binds to different receptors than CBD and delta-8-THC do.
Delta-9-THC binds to CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. These receptors are spread throughout the body, most notably in areas of the brain such as the amygdala. CB1 receptors are intimately connected with the frontal cortex as well as other brain structures that play roles in cognition.
That’s why THC is such a powerful psychoactive drug. It literally shifts the amount of serotonin going through the parts of your brain that you use to think, feel, and make decisions.
The Amygdala and Anxiety
The amygdala is the brain’s primary agent of anxiety. It’s also a big factor in our fear response. Paranoia is an off-shoot of fear and anxiety, so the amygdala is responsible for that, in part, as well.
Don’t write off the amygdala altogether just yet, though. We need it desperately for survival. If we weren’t afraid or anxious about certain things, we wouldn’t avoid them or work hard to make take care of them.
Take your gut feeling when you’re walking alone in the woods and you hear a stick crack. How about when you’re driving and you see another driver swerve in front of you? These responses are there to help us act quickly and preserve our lives.
When you heard that stick crack 10,000 years ago, there was a good chance that you’d need to defend yourself from neighboring tribes or animals in the woods. The difficulty now, though, is that there aren’t so many real threats that we have to deal with.
Our “threats,” now,” are thoughts. They’re worries and fears about our lives that are difficult to reconcile. In some cases, such as those with people who have anxiety disorders, those thoughts aren’t always rational.
Additionally, they’re not always able to be cured with reasons or rationalizations. The anxious thoughts flow because the amygdala is hyperactive.
Adding THC to The Mix
When we introduce THC into our systems, those thoughts might do one of two things. Your amygdala might rest a little bit and allow you to enjoy the experience of being high, or the newfound serotonin will only spin the amygdala’s gears even harder.
That lingering fear and anxiety that devolves into paranoia is simply your amygdala’s motor idling a little harder than normal. It’s like when you start your car up only to find that the catalytic converter is missing.
You can still drive it, but it sounds awful when it’s running. Even if you start the car to warm it up, the sound it makes will bother you. Once you start driving, the roar of the engine will be too loud not to notice.
You can think of Delta-9-THC as putting your foot on the gas of your damaged car. You add a little gas to the system and it starts to get even louder than it once was.
Why THC Often Works
On the other side of things, there are those who use cannabis and it relieves their anxiety.
It’s tough to say exactly why psychoactive drugs work for any particular person. It could be that the person’s biological makeup suits cannabis. It could also be that their psychology is such that the introduction of cannabis doesn’t produce negative symptoms.
There’s also the fact that most cannabis products contain a fair amount of CBD. CBD is the other end of cannabis. It’s known to relieve pain, promote relaxation, help with a lot of physiological illnesses, and more.
This is because CBD binds to the CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. These are the receptors that gear more toward a person’s body and central nervous system. That’s why CBD products produce more bodily effects while THC goes straight into a mental space.
Where Does The Delta-8 THC High Fit Into This?
The beautiful thing about delta-8-THC is that it’s known to bind to CB2 receptors, yet it is still a close relative of THC.
This could be a big reason why the psychological effects aren’t as strong as those of traditional THC. The few interactions between CB2 receptors and the amygdala produce some psychological effects, whereas the majority of the chemical runs throughout the central nervous system and body.
You’re still getting high, although the bulk of the effect comes from areas outside of the amygdala.
If you’re a person who uses cannabis and experiences intense anxiety for seemingly no reason, imagine that you could have the feeling of being high and turn off your amygdala. Or, at the very least, keep your amygdala running at its normal rate.
This is what a lot of people experience when they consume cannabis. It’s a little unfair that we can’t all enjoy the stuff, but it might be the case that delta-8 can produce in you what others experience on traditional cannabis.
Handling Anxiety When It Arises
It could be the case that the sensation of any cannabis product produces anxiety in you. This is true for a lot of people who have had very negative or traumatizing experiences while using cannabis.
This is a hurdle that can be difficult to get over. Additionally, you might find that the use of delta-8-THC still produces anxiety in you. There are no guarantees that it will work in anyone, even though the evidence suggests that you should have a better time than you would while using delta-9-THC.
Feeling stressed and anxious in these moments can be difficult. It feels as though the thoughts are coming out of nowhere and there’s no way to stop them, especially while you’re high on a THC derivative.
Keep in mind that these effects are coming strictly from the fact that there’s a chemical causing your brain’s anxiety center to accelerate. Your amygdala is just having an adverse reaction and producing a whole host of thoughts to accommodate it.
Addressing The Amygdala
We don’t have to fully understand the relationship between the amygdala and thoughts of anxiety. Oftentimes, it’s really good to look at the things that you’re thinking when you’re particularly afraid or anxious.
Looking into those factors helps us to understand and move past those fears toward a calmer state of mind. When there’s something unusual happening with your amygdalae, such as in individuals with anxiety disorders or people who are high, it gets a little more complicated.
It’s hard to know whether the thoughts you’re having are worth thinking about or if they’re just unusual responses to the overactive amygdala. If you’re having an anxiety attack while you’re using cannabis, ask yourself if you would be having the same thoughts if you weren’t high.
Naturally, you wouldn’t be having the same reaction, but would you ever get to the thought process you’re having if you were sober? Would you have come to a more reasonable conclusion before it reached that point?
When you notice that the thoughts you’re having aren’t productive and have gone far outside of the bounds of your normal anxieties, you can safely say that they’re not too significant.
They feel significant, sure, but they’re just a byproduct of your amygdala’s response to cannabis.
Using Delta-8-THC to Treat Anxiety
You might want to give delta-8 a shot. Take a look here for more info and try the products out for yourself.
When you’re taking the step to use something as a sort of treatment, especially cannabis-related products, make sure that you set yourself up for success. That means creating a comfortable environment and controlling as many variables as you can.
Try to start meditating while you’re at home, have no pressing responsibilities, can’t imagine that there would be any interruption, and are free of people who might disturb you. Don’t invite your annoying neighbor over, for example.
Setting up your environment in this way at first helps you gauge your response. You’ll be able to tell if you get anxious immediately, or if your anxiety goes away.
When there are a lot of variables, it’s tough to tell why you’re feeling the way you are. Something that someone says might set you on the wrong path and put a bad taste in your mouth.
If you can manage to get a good read on how you respond to delta-8, you might be able to incorporate it into your life and see improved anxiety.
Want to Learn More about Delta-8?
The delta-8 high is unique to everyone who tries the product. You’ll have to give it a shot for yourself to find out how it works for you. We’re here to teach you more before you get started.