Medical Marijuana for Social Phobia (Strain? Form?)
June 25, 2016 2:59 PM   Subscribe

I just got approved for medical marijuana and was surprised at how "wild westy" the whole field is (this is in Massachusetts, where seemingly you could go in with a stubbed toe and be approved). I'm not interested in trying to grow it on my own and so will go to a dispensary, but just was seeking recommendations on best form to take it and what strains might be expected to work best with social phobia?

FWIW, phobia, for me, is akin to PTSD--strong fight or flight reaction in certain situations where I feel like I just dissolve. So looking for something that's "grounding" (i.e., something to ramp up parasympathetic system). Conventional medications have offered me no help.
posted by Jon44 to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
For me, sativa-based strains have a tendency to make me anxious, whereas indica-based strains do not. YMMV, of course, and I am not at all prone to anxiety, but I have a paradoxical reaction to Xanax and therefore may have atypical reactions to other things.

Edibles are what I have the most experience with, and unfortunately I wouldn't really recommend them for social phobia - the effects last several hours and are too hard to anticipate. There is also very little or no regulation of dosage that I know of, although I don't know about MA's laws (I'm in CA.) My understanding is that the various inhaled forms are a lot easier to control, in large part because any single hit just doesn't last that long.

(Also, somewhat off-topic, I listened to a friend with quite bad PTSD rave about gabapentin last weekend as an arousal lowering drug that takes a big chunk of the edge off her fight-or-flight reactions. It's an off-label but generally accepted use.)
posted by restless_nomad at 3:09 PM on June 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Look for high CBD strains like AC/DC.
posted by hungrytiger at 3:15 PM on June 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

Not sure how great this study is but it's a study of CBD for social phobia:
posted by hungrytiger at 3:19 PM on June 25, 2016

Seconding edibles.

My cousin (in SF) makes his own infused olive oil. A little oil on a nice piece of bread will get you through most of the day. In the end, it's way cheaper than buying pre-packaged edibles, and it's really easy to control the dosage without waste.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:48 PM on June 25, 2016

Also, while my doc-in-a-box was not all that useful, the dispensary employees here have been *splendid* with recommendations. They actively gather feedback and anecdotes so they can pass them along, in lieu of the government letting people do science at the stuff.
posted by restless_nomad at 4:43 PM on June 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'm seconding r_n on edibles being too unpredictable, especially for social anxiety. It's hard to time them, too.

I think that broadly speaking, "indica" and "sativa" aren't that helpful as guidelines since so many strains are hybrids. You may find that a 40/60 combo of either might be better for you than 10/90. In general I prefer a sativa-heavy hybrid, but it's going to vary from person to person so trial-and-error is your friend. Talk to your (ugh) budtenders and tell them what your needs are. If you don't like the advice you're getting from one dispensary try another.

Leafly is pretty good for discovering strains with (or without) certain characteristics. The reviews aren't as helpful if you just want to find a strain to get you "high."

Personally I'm finding Super Jack to be a really great strain for stress that leaves me totally able to maintain. Keep experimenting, though, because stock comes and goes.

Harlequin is another high-CBD strain. Keep in mind that a lot of suggestions will be regional, but check the menus of different dispensaries; there are strains I never see at other places, and strains I never see at my main place.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:50 PM on June 25, 2016 [4 favorites]

I have recently been doing research in this area to treat spasticity related pain and you are right. It is the Wild West.

I have tried smoking (not gonna happen again), drinking, and eating. I have experienced nothing to being knocked out. After much research on Leafly and talking with my Dr. My next attempt will be Harlequin tincture. Finding it in stock is hard but I am hoping by next week it will be in and I can finally give it a go.

People behind the counter are helpful and I believe sincere, but they are also true believers and a little anti big pharma. Sometimes they scare me. I have gone to different shops and talked with a variety of people to look at all the products, which there are many. I am looking for something that works before I splurge on a $200 per year card.

Good luck.
posted by cairnoflore at 5:41 PM on June 25, 2016

I forgot to mention Harle-Tsu, a cross between the Harlequin and Sour Tsunami. It's very high CBD without the psychoactive effects of THC. You can use it alone or mix some in with a different strain to boost the CBD.

Re: delivery systems, I think the verdict is out on the safety of vaping, but after receiving the Arizer EQ as a gift, I'm a convert. It's not cheap, though, for sure. I think portable vaporizers are a PITA for home use, tbh. Lots of cleaning. With the EQ I can set it up, set the timer for a few hours, and it's ready to use any time I want another hit. (Tip: squish a foam earplug in the tube to keep the vapor in.) My friends with a Volcano prefer this one because it has the option of using the whip and not just a balloon. That makes it convenient for solo use.

Vaporizers give you a different feeling, more of a head high than a body high, in my opinion. It feels "lighter" to me.

In my experience a portable vaporizer will conserve some bud ("flower") but the EQ probably doubles what I get. The spent bud (ABV -- yes, as in, Already Been Vaped!) can also be smoked or, better yet, used for edibles. Much less waste with a vaporizer.

If you smoke, use glass, whether it's a $10 pipe or an expensive bong. Or whatever they're calling them now.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:12 PM on June 25, 2016

I'm assuming you have experience with marijuana and etc. For me personally (and I'm not alone in this, just the minority) pretty much all marijuana provokes anxiety, from manageable to severe. The idea of getting high and then negotiating a social situation is (for me) literally a nightmare based on past experiences.
So be careful when you start out, if this isnt something you're already very familiar with.
(For social anxiety I lean towards alcohol, one drink - not more. More successful still has been getting older, which took about thirty years to really kick in. Not very practical, I know, but it has really worked well.)
Best of luck!
posted by From Bklyn at 12:34 AM on June 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't think that marijuana would help with social phobia. I would expect it to make it worse. But, I guess it effects different people in different ways.
posted by trbrts at 9:56 AM on June 27, 2016

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