Relaxation is one of the most common reasons people turn to cannabis. In this post, we’re going to cover research-backed tips to help match your customers with the right cannabis product for relaxation.
Note: Although they’re related, relaxation is not necessarily synonymous with sleep. It’s best to ask if the customer wants to feel sleepy or just relaxed.
THC and CBD
- THC has a biphasic effect on anxiety, which means that low doses can lower anxiety, whereas higher ones can increase it.1 Unless the customer already has experience using high-THC cannabis for relaxation, it’s best to avoid it.
- CBD is non-intoxicating and has potent anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects.2
- Some people are more sensitive to THC, which means even small amounts can cause anxiety, paranoia, and other unwanted effects. In that case, low-THC, high-CBD products are your best bet. They’re also a great option for beginners, people suffering from anxiety, and those who want to avoid getting high.
Terpenes also play an important role in the effects of cannabis. In particular, you want to pay attention to which terpenes are most dominant in a specific strain.
Out of the major cannabis terpenes, the three most suited for relaxation are:
- Caryophyllene, which has both have anxiolytic and antidepressant properties.3
- Limonene, which also has anxiolytic and antidepressant effects.4 5 6
- Myrcene, the most common cannabis terpene. However, this terpene can be tricky because it has potent sedative effects, so it can make people sleepy. It may also contribute to the infamous “couch-lock” effect of some strains.7 That’s why it’s important to know what kind of relaxation the user is looking for.
You can also look for linalool, which has anxiolytic, antidepressant, and sedative properties.8 9 However, this terpene will usually be present in much smaller quantities.
Delivery Method and Dose
How cannabis is used matters too. For example, smoking or vaping is ideal when you’re looking for immediate effects that will last for a few hours.10
On the other hand, edibles can take an hour or two to start working and have the longest-lasting effects of any method.
Meanwhile, sublingual (under-the-tongue) oils and tinctures are somewhere in the middle — their effects are typically faster than edibles but don’t last as long.
There is one extra concern with edibles and oils: strength.
People new to cannabis should start with small doses of THC (1-3 mg) or look for products that contain pure CBD or CBD plus THC. Meanwhile, more experienced users may need stronger products to get the desired relaxation.
Indica vs. Sativa
You’re probably familiar with the idea of dividing cannabis strains into indicas, sativas, and hybrids based on their appearance and general effects.
Although these labels are popular, researchers believe that it’s more helpful to differentiate cannabis strains by looking at their cannabinoid and terpene profiles.11
Still, as a general guideline, people looking for relaxing effects will be best suited by indica strains.
It also helps to know if the customer wants to feel sleepy or relaxed, as some indica strains are associated with relaxation, while others can make people drowsy.
As we can see, finding the right cannabis for relaxation requires a personalized approach based on the preferences of your customers.
Our Producer Connect database can help by providing accurate data on the levels of THC, CBD, and terpenes in a wide variety of cannabis products.
You can easily search and filter the results to find the perfect fit.
1 Bhattacharyya, Sagnik, et al. “Acute induction of anxiety in humans by delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol related to amygdalar cannabinoid-1 (CB1) receptors.” Scientific reports 7.1 (2017): 1-15.
2 Blessing, Esther M., et al. “Cannabidiol as a potential treatment for anxiety disorders.” Neurotherapeutics 12.4 (2015): 825-836.
3 Bahi, Amine, et al. “β-Caryophyllene, a CB2 receptor agonist produces multiple behavioral changes relevant to anxiety and depression in mice.” Physiology & behavior 135 (2014): 119-124.
4 Piccinelli, Ana Claudia, et al. “Antihyperalgesic and antidepressive actions of (R)-(+)-limonene, α-phellandrene, and essential oil from Schinus terebinthifolius fruits in a neuropathic pain model.” Nutritional neuroscience 18.5 (2015): 217-224.
5 Lima, Naiana GPB, et al. “Anxiolytic-like activity and GC–MS analysis of (R)-(+)-limonene fragrance, a natural compound found in foods and plants.” Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 103.3 (2013): 450-454.
6 Park, Hyo Min, et al. “Limonene, a natural cyclic terpene, is an agonistic ligand for adenosine A2A receptors.” Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 404.1 (2011): 345-348.
7 Russo, Ethan B. “Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid‐terpenoid entourage effects.” British journal of pharmacology 163.7 (2011): 1344-1364.
8 Pereira, Irina, et al. “Linalool bioactive properties and potential applicability in drug delivery systems.” Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces 171 (2018): 566-578.
9 de Moura Linck, Viviane, et al. “Inhaled linalool-induced sedation in mice.” Phytomedicine 16.4 (2009): 303-307.
10 Lucas, Catherine J., Peter Galettis, and Jennifer Schneider. “The pharmacokinetics and the pharmacodynamics of cannabinoids.” British journal of clinical pharmacology 84.11 (2018): 2477-2482.
11 Piomelli, Daniele, and Ethan B. Russo. “The Cannabis sativa versus Cannabis indica debate: an interview with Ethan Russo, MD.” Cannabis and cannabinoid research 1.1 (2016): 44-46.