Study Says Just One Puff May Be Enough

Still trying to find the best strain and dose to treat your anxiety, depression or stress? According to research from Washington State University, your ideal dose could be as little as one puff of a low-THC, high-CBD strain.

Working with user-generated data from Strainprint, a Canadian-designed app that helps cannabis users track their sessions, the study found that a single inhale of low-THC, high-CBD cannabis was best for reducing symptoms of depression. Two puffs of any type of cannabis was reported ideal for alleviating anxiety, while 10 or more puffs of low-THC, high-CBD cannabis generated the highest reduction in stress.

“A lot of consumers seem to be under the false assumption that more THC is always better,” said Carrie Cuttler, clinical assistant professor of psychology at WSU. “Our study shows that CBD is also a very important ingredient in cannabis and may augment some of the positive effects of THC.” Results suggested that “medical cannabis users should seek out cannabis with CBD levels of 10% or higher.”

According to WSU, the study was one of the first attempts by U.S. scientists to understand cannabis use at home. “Existing research on the effects of cannabis on depression, anxiety and stress are very rare and have almost exclusively been done with orally administered THC pills in a laboratory,” said Cuttler. “What is unique about our study is that we looked at actual inhaled cannabis by medical marijuana patients who were using it in the comfort of their own homes as opposed to a laboratory.”

The study drew on data from nearly 12,000 anonymous Strainprint sessions, marked for depression, anxiety and stress. Although users were aware their data may be selected for studies, they had no idea this particular study was underway. Combined with the fact that the data was collected at home, study authors have called this a “naturalistic account of perceived changes in symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress.”

Although the overall findings were positive, researchers did find that a negative correlation between longer-term cannabis use and depression symptoms, concluding that “continued use may exacerbate baseline symptoms of depression over time.” However, this was not the case for anxiety and stress.

Full results of the study are available at the Journal of Affective Disorders. The Strainprint tracking app is available for free on the Apple Store and Google Play.

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