shallow focus photography of cannabis plant
My Take

Weed and Mental Illness

Hi guys, today I’m going to talk about something that really helps me: Cannabis. Just to explain, this isn’t a substitute for medical advice and I’m not pushing or encouraging anyone to start smoking weed. Consult you doctor and/or psychiatrist before doing anything and bear in mind that I’m in Canada where weed is legalized. Yay Canada! This is simply my point of view that I’d like to share. Minors should not be smoking, and medication / illnesses can be affected by cannabis use which means it’s not always a good or appropriate choice for people. I also only smoke weed from the SQDC, meaning that there’s no adulteration from added substances. Long story short, weed helps me in my specific situation and my psychiatrist knows but has not cautioned me against it.


TCH, short for tetrahyrocannabinol, is what most people think of when talking about weed. Weed that has a lot of THC creates the high that people think of. It can bring about euphoria, talkativeness, giddiness, a sense of relaxation and ease, and can produce a happy and energizing effect. On the other side of the coin THC can provoke anxiety, paranoia and other unpleasant feelings. This may be a result of having smoked too much, not being used to cannabis or trying a strain that is higher in THC than what you usually smoke. Nevertheless, even smoking a little bit can produce these effects because it also seems to depend on the persons’ natural proclivities. Someone prone to anxiety may be more likely to experience paranoia. Now CBD, short for Cannabidol, is lower in THC. You can have a hybrid in which THC and CBD are balanced or you can have a strain that is almost entirely CBD. So far, CBD appears not to have the same effects as THC. It tends to be more calming, relaxing and can even reduce anxiety and nausea. CBD is even used in treatment of certain illness including mental disorders. With CBD you may not experience the traditional ‘high’ at all, but are likely to feel subtle positive effects. It works wonders for my anxiety.

My Uses

I’ve been exploring cannabis for a while now, and it’s a reassuring backup for when I feel really bad, or in need of calming and relaxation. It helps with the depression of my bipolar as well as my anxiety.


When I feel depressed and / or empty, THC really helps me get out of it. I don’t need to smoke very much, but it’s enough to help me get out of the ‘pit’, if you know what I mean. I can feel like everything is pointless and have zero emotions other than a lingering internal dis-ease, but a bit of weed can give me the motivation and energy to get into something that will turn everything around. I enjoy and appreciate the present far more, and can find happiness in small things.


I also smoke sometimes when I feel very anxious and stressed. My anxiety can be extremely physical meaning that my hands will tremble and my stomach is in knots. I can’t take a full breath and staying in that state is deeply troubling and upsetting. While CBD is very effective in calming, I tend to blend CBD with THC so as to increase energy while also experiencing the soothing qualities. Sometimes THC alone can reduce my anxiety but I can’t speak for other people. All I know is that smoking a bit helps me take a full breath again and move forward without being paralyzed. I stop shaking, I’m no longer queasy and knotted up and I have more motivation to do what I have to do.

Terpenes & Levels of THC

As all flowers, weed also contains terpenes which are resins that can be used as essential oils. I have personally discovered that strains of weed with specific predominant terpenes yield different effects. I’ve become fairly knowledgeable when it comes to weed (at least how it effects me) and I know what to look for.

For me, terpinolene works very well. It gives me energy and a high level of happiness. I tend to speak more, enjoy myself, and focus only on the positive. (I know…why do you think I love cannabis?) The only drawback for me regarding strains high in terpinolene or high in THC in general, is that I can become unfocussed and too preoccupied with fun, have short term memory loss, talk more than work and become a bit confused and slow. This means I’ve smoked too much and have reached a level where I can’t use the ‘high’ in a directed fashion so as to increase my productivity. Strains on the SQDC website that are high in terpinolene are generally high in THC, and the ones that I like most in that category so far are ‘Ultra Sour’, ‘Diesel’ and ‘Delahaze’. In case you’re wondering, no, I’m not being paid to advertise weed! Haha.

When it comes to smoother highs and effects, I select a medium level of THC. This makes my ‘high’ extremely workable. I toke a bit and then I can do my homework with greater concentration and more motivation. Again, it helps my anxiety and any task that would normally be tedious goes more smoothly and I end up enjoying what I’m doing far more. The strains I enjoy the most in this category so far are ‘Blue Dream’ and ‘Tangerine Dream’. (The names are funny, I know.)

As for a super calming weed that is very high in CBD and very low in THC, ‘Terra’ works quite nicely. I don’t typically smoke weed that has this little THC, but it does come in handy. If anti-anxiety is the priority, this is a perfect strain and there are many others. The risk of paranoia, anxiety and bad trips are super low with CBD.

My Blend

At first I experimented with various strains to see what worked best for me, but for the last little while I’ve been creating my own blends to achieve the exact effects I’m looking for. I swear to you, weed is an art and a delicate science that can be balanced and played around with until perfection is achieved. (And it’s a fun process!)

When I tried various strains I took note of the predominant terpenes to match up what I felt and estimate how other strains with similar terpenes would affect me. This really helped my learning curve and helped me make selections out of the tremendously large variety of options. Terpenes will act on different people in different ways, but this is what I found. Terpinolene is energizing for me and will absolutely get me out of the pit of depression. It’s easy to see that when I’m tired it really helps out, and when I want to let go and have fun it’s an excellent choice. It creates a profound happiness in me that makes the world come alive. Myrcene helps calm me down and maintain focus, while also making me happy. It’s truly great for relaxation. Pinene appears to give me a sense of balance and clarity but I’m still experimenting with that one.

While I found terpenes and strains that work wonders, I’ve also tried ones that don’t help me / create an unpleasant experience. An excellent example of this is caryophllene. I tried it in the strains ‘Unplug’ and ‘Limelight’. It’s the main terpene in Unplug and the second most predominant after terpinolene in ‘Limelight’. Even with the terpinolene, I hate these two strains. Caryophllene makes me kind of paranoid and anxious, probably because I’m already sensitive to that. In any case, I avoid it completely now because there’s no point in smoking something that has more cons than pros. It’s also interesting to note that caryophllene is the predominant terpene in many of the strains highest in THC. It’s supposed to help inflammation and thereby reduce pain, but it’s not for me and not what I’m looking for.

Now let’s get down to it. Creating blends has been the most helpful for me to date, because I have a greater sense of control. The reason I prefer this to alternating between different strains is that I can benefit from the effects of more than one, all in one toke! Since I’m frequently in need of both calming and an escape from dullness, troubling thoughts and emptiness, the perfect blend can really even me out in all aspects without feeling the numbness of sedatives. (Not that medication isn’t helpful or necessary.)

Here is my top blend, if you’re curious:

‘Ultra Sour’:

Sativa – 15% to 28% THC (Terpinolene & caryophllene but it doesn’t affect me badly in this strain)


Hybrid – 18% to 25% THC (Myrcene & limonene)


‘Delahaze’: Sativa – 18% to 25% THC (Terpinolene & myrcene)

‘Tangerine Dream’:

Sativa – 11% to 18% THC (Myrcene & pinene) OR ‘Blue Dream’: Sativa – 13% to 23% THC (Pinene & myrcene)

And if I need more calming – ‘Terra’:

Hybrid – 10% to 16% CBD (Myrcene & pinene)

As you can see, I prefer THC dominant strains because most of the time I need the stimulant effect to not think about bad things and to get out of my fatigue / ‘down-ness’. What I do to prevent being utterly useless and unproductive, is balance everything carefully and know how much I should smoke. This brings me to…

My Thoughts & Input

Here are some important things that I’ve been learning with cannabis that I think may be helpful. Again, this is my view and I’m not pushing anyone to do anything.

  • Starting with high levels of THC and/or smoking too much is not a good idea. No one wants a bad trip! It’s always far better to test how you feel and then smoke a bit more later than to overdo it and be stuck with the high.
  • I tend to smoke every day but in careful quantities, however I don’t recommend smoking every day. For one, you won’t feel as good if you smoke too often. I try to use my weed as micro-dosing, and that works for me, but typically it’s better to smoke less frequently. Too much weed can also make you more tired, which isn’t helpful.
  • I don’t use edibles. I tried them, but it either didn’t work for me or it didn’t end that well. I found it sedating and yet it also made my emotions more unpredictable. With any weed it’s important that our headspace is good during the experience, so any weed or edible that takes away control over your emotions is bad. Especially since our emotions can be unstable and unpredictable in the first place! This is one of the reasons why weed is not a good choice for everyone. It can increase instability and when dealing with a psychoactive substance there are risks of doing something harmful. It doesn’t do that for me unless it’s a bad strain, but as I say, everyone is different.
  • Be careful not to overdo it and end up relying on it to feel better. It’s tempting to me to see it as my panacea and want it whenever things turn bad, but that’s highly unhelpful.
  • One amazing thing about weed (when used correctly), is that it can bring a certain clarity and perspective to things that you may not have thought of. In this way I have learned a lot about myself. I can’t explain it very well because it’s such an individual and profound process, but it broadens my mind and even helps me work on myself, have ideas to think or write about when I’m not ‘high’ and…it’s just so hard to explain. For me cannabis is a teacher. It does something to my mind where I learn how to handle negative thoughts and anxiety far better. Because my thoughts can change the high (since weed can make us highly suggestible), I do encounter mood swings. What’s fascinating though is how I can observe the process of my mind dipping into the bad, can recognize what led me there and then I can use the suggestibility to turn things around. It would suck if I could only do that while high, but the incredible thing is that it helps me when I’m not high. By learning how to control myself on the cannabis, I’ve been learning how to apply it when I’m straight.
  • When I speak of using weed, I’m not at all talking about stoners nor getting ‘wacked out’. That’s not my purpose, and I feel sorry for those who only feel that specific effect of weed when there’s so much more it can do. Getting stoned doesn’t help, but using weed as a tool, that, is what has really been helping me! Unlike other substances, legal and illegal, weed seems to have far less artifice. I know that it enhances and produces effects, but more importantly it removes. What do I mean? My experience is that instead of merely adding a fog of happy feelings as many drugs do, it actually removes barriers. It allows me to see things that my brain is too busy, worked up, tired, confused, emotional or agitated to notice. It’s like opening a large dusty curtain to let the sun come through. Things that are too uncomfortable to examine when straight become easier to deal with dispassionately and realistically, which in turn extends to your day to day life as you become used to guiding your mind when not ‘high’.
  • The happy and sociable nature of weed can also teach one that they do have the capacity for interactions, there are simply mental barriers such as fear that get in the way. This effect is not just with social anxiety; weed can remind me that I’m capable of things when normally I feel like I can’t. The big realization is that if I can be a certain way high, I actually can do it while straight. Weed doesn’t change our personalities or capabilities, it just helps us remove what blocks us from fulfilling them.
  • My level of gratitude skyrockets. As you’ve probably read, I believe in finding gratitude and beauty despite the pain, as challenging as it may be. When I smoke a bit, everything seems more beautiful and my outlook on everything is far more balanced and positive. I find gratitude in minute details and that habit has been helping me remain more grateful when I haven’t toked.

I could write about weed for a very long time, but I’ll leave it there for today. It’s almost the weekend, so let’s hang in there! I’m with everyone in spirit!

What's YOUR take?