The Ethos Holiday Guide to Cannabis Products
We don’t recommend giving cannabis products as holiday gifts. However, the holiday season does call attention to several conditions for which many people use cannabis products to find relief. Chronic illness and emotional stress can dampen the joy of the holiday season. Those with chronic health issues might struggle to enjoy the celebrations, while those with anxiety might find it difficult to handle the added stress the season can bring. Add the challenges of the global pandemic, and this year is especially stressful for some.
As you prepare for holidays unlike any other year, cannabis may be an excellent option to alleviate symptoms related to chronic pain, GI disorders, anxiety, and insomnia, all common issues that can distract from the joy of the season. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or offering suggestions to a loved one, our guide can help you select the right products to be fully present and engaged during this beloved time of year.
Cannabis products for pain
Roughly 20% of Americans live with chronic pain, a debilitating condition that can restrict daily activities and limit your overall quality of life, including participating meaningfully in holiday celebrations. Oftentimes, medications are not effective enough, have side effects of their own, or carry a risk of dependence, making cannabis a potentially safer and more effective alternative. Many people living with chronic pain cite cannabis as a pain relief alternative or a distraction from their condition without the “fog” of painkillers that can impact navigating daily life.
Choosing the right product is the first step in addressing chronic pain with cannabis. There are many strains and products available; some are better suited than others for chronic pain. Look for the following characteristics:
- Cannabinoids: Consider a cannabis product that contains high levels of Cannabidiol (CBD), a phytocannabinoid which researchers believe could reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Additionally, high levels of Cannabigerol (CBG), around 1% or more, could help boost these qualities of CBD. Consider products with a relatively balanced CBD to Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) ratio, as CBD helps negate the psychoactive effects of THC. This makes the product better for daytime use when you need to be more alert and focused.
- Terpenes: Researchers believe terpenes might contribute to a therapeutic effect — not just aroma and flavor — in cannabis products. Myrcene, beta caryophyllene, and pinene are among the terpenes considered to be analgesic, or have pain-relieving properties. These are common cannabis terpenes – myrcene is one of the most abundant in cannabis – and you should be able to easily find products with ample amounts of these terpenes.
- Product type: Not every type of pain is the same, which means the best product type varies from person to person. For example, if you experience neuropathic pain, you would not benefit from a cannabis topical, which offers localized relief. You would need a product type that’s systemic, which means it enters your bloodstream and makes its way throughout your body. Inhaling flower or ingesting edibles are systemic. On the flip side, if you have chronic pain stemming from a specific joint or area, choose a topical to apply directly to the affected area instead.
Which product should I choose?
If you are considering cannabis for pain management, consider an RSO syringe with a balanced ratio of THC and CBD. Look for elevated CBG content alongside these major cannabinoids, as well as a terpene ratio that boasts anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. RSO requires no heat to consume, and a tiny amount goes a very long way. It can be consumed orally or used in a recipe. If you’re looking for specific products at the dispensary, the Cresco-Harlequin 1:1 RSO Syringe is a good place to start.
Cannabis products for anxiety
More than 40 million Americans live with anxiety disorders. Anxiety can be a significantly disruptive force to your daily life, preventing you from engaging in meaningful interactions with friends and family. The current standard of treatment for anxiety involves talk therapy and, potentially, prescription medications. However, cannabis may also offer help for people living with anxiety.
Anxiety can be a finicky thing, so it’s important to avoid cannabis products that could exacerbate it. If consuming cannabis for anxiety, your goals should be centered on calming your mind and relaxing your body. There are some specific characteristics of certain cannabis strains that can do just that:
- Cannabinoids: Research suggests that THC can be helpful for anxiety in lower levels, while it exacerbates anxiety at higher levels. As a result, people living with anxiety should choose a strain with relatively low THC content. Similarly, CBD has been shown to augment the effects of CBD and alleviate stress, so selecting a strain with high levels of CBD could be beneficial to help quell anxiety.
- Terpenes: Linalool and myrcene are believed to support a subdued cannabis experience. Limonene is also known for its stress alleviating qualities, although it’s often associated with a more buoyant or energetic consumption experience. Look for any blend of these three terpenes in significant amounts when choosing a strain for anxiety.
- Product type: Like pain, anxiety can be highly individualized, so it is best to try several products to find one that’s best for you. You may opt for fast-acting methods of consumption, such as vaporizing flower or concentrates, to help quickly alleviate anxiety symptoms. This consumption method fades quickly, too, so you won’t feel “stuck” in an elongated, intoxicated state that could trigger anxiety, like you might experience with ingested cannabis products like edibles or capsules.
Which product should I choose for anxiety?
Look for products that are lower in THC with elevated levels of CBD to help with anxiety. The product of choice should also have elevated levels of myrcene, limonene, and linalool. Be on the lookout for a product that can be inhaled, such as flower or a vape cartridge, for faster onset. For fast-acting relief, the FarmaceuticalRX Strawberry Mango Live CBD Cartridge is a great choice.
For a longer lasting experience that doesn’t require a vaporizer, you can try a capsule that can be taken before a holiday celebration. Look for a balanced 1 to 1 ratio to balance out THC’s psychoactive properties. They are also discreet and easily consumed, making them a good option when with a group of family or friends. The Cresco Remedi 1:1 Capsules are a great option.
Cannabis products for digestive issues
Digestive issues, such as Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis, can be extremely painful and disruptive. Luckily, research suggests that cannabis can influence the gastrointestinal (GI) tract in ways that might relieve some of the symptoms of common GI disorders. Cannabinoids have been observed to influence a wide range of processes that involve the gut, including appetite, inflammation, pain, and nausea.
Digestive issues are typically characterized by pain and discomfort, making it difficult for you to enjoy the delicious food associated with the holidays. It’s important to select a cannabis product geared toward alleviating these symptoms. Additionally, nausea and vomiting are commonplace in people living with GI disorders, and cannabis may help combat those symptoms as well. Look for the following characteristics when choosing a cannabis product to help manage a GI disorder:
- Cannabinoids: Research suggests synthetic forms of THC, such as in the prescription medication Marinol, are effective at preventing some of the most common symptoms of GI disorders, including nausea, vomiting, and pain. So, when choosing a cannabis product to address GI disorders, look for a product high in THC. If you don’t like the intoxicating feeling caused by THC, consider products high in THC-A. This precursor to THC is not intoxicating but is believed to address the same symptoms.
- Terpenes: Anti-inflammatory and analgesic terpenes like myrcene, beta caryophyllene, and limonene are excellent options for alleviating the symptoms of GI disorders. Linalool, known for its relaxing and sedative effects, is also a good option for alleviating GI disorder symptoms.
- Product types: Your preferred product type depends largely on your symptoms. For example, nausea and vomiting are effectively mitigated by oral tinctures. Pain, on the other hand, is typically best alleviated through inhalation.
Which product should I choose?
Look for higher THC products that are dominant in myrcene or beta caryophyllene, a combination that helps ease pain while alleviating nausea and vomiting. Good options include the Agri-Kind White Widow THC-a Sand concentrate and the FarmaceuticalRX WiFi OG LLR 500mg Cartridge.
Cannabis products for insomnia
Sleep is elusive if pain or anxiety keeps you awake, and without adequate sleep, fully participating in holiday celebrations can be especially challenging. Whether you need to settle an anxious mind or want to alleviate chronic pain symptoms, cannabis may be an effective tool for combating insomnia.
When choosing a cannabis product for insomnia, you want to select one that alleviates both physical and mental discomfort. Consider the following characteristics when you visit the dispensary:
- Cannabinoids: Cannabinol (CBN), the byproduct of degraded THC, is thought to promote sleep. Additionally, products high in THC could also promote relaxation. However, it’s important to note that high THC products could trigger anxiety, so proceed with caution if THC has this effect on you. CBD can promote restfulness in the long-term, but this phytocannabinoid typically increases alertness shortly after it’s consumed. So, if you’re looking for a bedtime product, consider choosing a product low in CBD.
- Terpenes: Relaxing and sedative terpenes are key when it comes to managing insomnia. Myrcene is thought to be particularly effective. Linalool is a good option for inducing relaxation and sleepiness, while beta caryophyllene may alleviate the pain and stress that can keep you up at night. Look for this trio when researching products that excel at promoting restful sleep.
- Product types: A long-lasting product is going to be ideal for people living with insomnia. Consider edibles or capsules, as these products digest over time and are gradually released in your system over the course of a few hours. This can help you stay asleep. If you struggle to fall asleep, consider vaping flower or concentrates, which lasts for a shorter time but takes effect faster.
Which product should I choose?
High THC is the name of the game when consuming cannabis to help you sleep. Look for formulations that are low in CBD and contain a complementary mix of terpenes to help with relaxation. Inhalation will take effect faster, so reach for a vape if you’re struggling to fall asleep. If you can’t stay asleep, try a product consumed orally like the gLeaf Django RSO, which releases into your system over the course of a few hours. This product also contains nearly 3% CBG, which can play a role in helping you sleep.
Make the right choice for the holidays with Ethos
Pain, anxiety, and insomnia should not derail your holiday season. At Ethos, we can help you find the right cannabis product as you prepare to celebrate with family and friends, whether virtually or in-person. Our knowledgeable and experienced associates can guide you to the right product types and formulations to help you feel better and be fully present in the moment not just during the holidays, but all year round. From all of us at Ethos, have a safe and healthy holiday season!