5 Ways to reduce your anxiety surrounding cannabis

Published Jul 15, 2020 01:00 p.m. ET
iStock / diego_cervo

Are you finding that a lot of people around you are partaking in cannabis? Does it make you a bit queasy? Perhaps instead, you’re a consumer who is having a difficult time bringing your cannabis use out into the public eye. Unfortunately, after decades of persecution and discrimination against cannabis use, it only makes sense that current generations might struggle with such an abrupt change in law and society.

This is a problem that is bound to stick around for many years to come, as those of us who’ve had to hide everything that we love about the plant have already picked up anxieties surrounding things like openly speaking about it or public consumption. Whether you’re a non-user that wants to alleviate the anxiety that you have when you’re around people who are using it, or you’re a consumer who really wants to break free from the restraints that this long-existing taboo has placed on you, this list may be just what you need.

1. Talk to your closest stoner friends or family members

When it comes to uncomfortable topics, sometimes the very best place to start is with those who you feel most connected to. Nowadays, most of us have a sibling, parent, grandparent, cousin, or friend who enjoys some cannabis from time to time, and they can help by answering any questions that you may have about it.

Whether you want to know about its effects, or you need some tips to cope with the glaring and judgmental stares from the occasional person whose against it, this option can really help to alleviate anxiety surrounding cannabis use in a familiar atmosphere.

2. Exposure therapy

Everyone is afraid of something, and in many cases, those fears and discomforts are entirely irrational, and yet they are so deeply ingrained in our minds that it can make it difficult to change our instinctual reaction to any given situation. Luckily, exposure therapy can help with that, and this solution isn’t nearly as expensive as it sounds. All you have to do is sign up to an event, attend a 420 festival, or swing by your local stoner’s house to hang out and take in the reality of this lifestyle firsthand.

This is an excellent way to establish your own clear boundaries which can help to build up your confidence in social situations where your trigger may arise. Be it someone lighting up a joint, talking about cannabis consumption, or getting comfortable with doing so yourself where you might be seen. If you take it step by step, little by little, and bring a friend or two along for the journey, it might just be enough to alleviate the anxiety that you might have surrounding cannabis.

3. Confide in a physician

If you need coping mechanisms that can help you to learn how to stop overthinking cannabis use, then your family doctor might have the answers that you seek. For some, something like a medical license is enough to officially and rightfully prove their need for cannabis which helps them to justify their use to others. This isn’t the ideal way to handle anxiety caused by admitting to using cannabis, but for many, it’s just enough to give them the confidence that they need to feel comfortable.


For those who simply feel uncomfortable around people who have chosen to use cannabis, a good long talk with forward-thinking doctors can be incredibly beneficial. They can help to enlighten those who don’t know about the medicinal benefits, and they can explain the difference in safety between alcohol and cannabis, and in no time, with all of the facts from a trusted person, you might just find that your opinion changes following by a fading of the anxiety.

4. Visit a local dispensary

Budtenders are amazing people that have a very irregular insight into the wide world of cannabis consumers. They speak to everyone from the eager new recreational users to those who are well versed in the effects of weed and those who benefit from it for medicinal purposes. They also have firsthand knowledge about personal experiences and success stories that can be enough inspiration to make anyone feel more comfortable with the subject.

Sometimes you don’t even have to engage with a budtender, and all you really need is to interact with cannabis products on a professional level. So, take a trip to your closest dispensary and browse through all of the wears and products for yourself. You just might find that simply seeing cannabis bought and sold in such a professional manner is enough to alleviate the anxiety that you may have surrounding its use.

5. Try it out for yourself

This tip is most effective for those who have never used cannabis, but it is also compatible with those who have. If you’ve never had cannabis and you feel like you may have a bias against it, then one good way to make up your mind is to dive right in and try it out for yourself. In small amounts to start, of course, but this way you can see what is so appealing, and what you might have had wrong the entire time.

For people who use cannabis that find that they experience anxiety when in certain situations with it, trying the things that you fear the most might be the best way to get over the fear of them. So if you’re afraid to smoke a joint on your porch with a neighbor, it might be time to schedule a date, and if you feel uncomfortable partaking in legal public areas, then you might want to test that out too. Nothing makes up a mind quite like first-hand experience, and this is the only real way to get it.

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