Can Cannabis Help Manage Mental Health Issues in the Post Covid Era?

Can Cannabis Help Manage Mental Health Issues in the Post Covid Era?

By Lisa Marie

Living through the Coronavirus pandemic made one thing abundantly clear– mental health is a major area of concern for people of all ages and different walks of life. According to 2023 data, nearly 50 percent of people aged 18-24 and nearly 40 percent of people aged 25-49 have reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression. 

Another mental health struggle brought on by the  pandemic is a rise in symptoms among Covid-19 survivors and first responders. Whether people were enduring endless shifts as front line workers, or caring for family members affected by Covid, the chance to develop a mental health condition as a result rose significantly.

As we move through Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s explore some ways in which Cannabis has been shown to have eased the symptoms of some common mental health conditions which have surged since the onset of the pandemic such as depression and anxiety.

Can Cannabis Help With Depression?

Depression isn’t a new mental health condition. And the Coronavirus pandemic was not the only traumatic event that society has had to navigate in recent times. However, according to research, the number of Americans who reported an increase in feelings of depression in 2021 skyrocketed to nearly 33 percent. Prior to the pandemic, that number was below 10 percent. 

With more and more people reporting feelings of depression, many people are seeking treatment in the form of psychotherapy. According to scientific data published by the National Library of Medicine, only 41 percent of people with depression respond well to psychotherapy. Given that stat, it’s easy to see why many are looking for other ways to help alleviate depression symptoms.

Enter cannabidiol, better known as CBD. While CBD comes from the cannabis plant, it can offer benefits without the psychoactive effect of getting users “high.” There are many ways to take CBD that don’t involve smoking or vaping. From topicals to edibles to tinctures, there is a method to suit all preferences. 

Even though the scientific research is limited, many people who have incorporated CBD into their self care routine to help with depression feel it has been effective, particularly since the results can be felt relatively quickly. Also, people who use CBD report experiencing very few side effects, making it a fairly safe option.

Recommended Strains for Depression 

When choosing a cannabis strain to help ease symptoms of depression, it’s a good idea to use one with lower THC and a higher percentage of CBD. Higher CBD strains can provide a more relaxed state while helping you avoid the paranoia or anxiety that can arise when consuming cannabis. Some strains to try for depression are Jack Herer, Harlequin, and Cannatonic.

Can Cannabis Lower Anxiety?

Throughout the first years of the pandemic, people were inundated with unsettling images and information. It should come as no surprise that the number of people experiencing anxiety disorders spiked 25 percent worldwide during the first year of the pandemic.

Even though the daily death toll tickers on every newscast and lockdown are behind us, the uncertainty of the future still remains. And so is the anxiety that comes with it. Food and job insecurity, supply chain shortages, and access to affordable health care didn’t simply vanish when cases of Covid began to subside. 

Now more than ever, people are trying to manage the stress and anxiety brought on by the struggles faced during the pandemic. Fortunately, research published by University of Washington suggests cannabis can be helpful to lower anxiety levels. More importantly, consuming cannabis can work with the endocannabinoid system or ECS inside your body to help regulate feelings of anxiety. The current research on the positive connection between consuming cannabis and the endocannabinoid system seems promising. It’s likely to spark more interest and discussion in the medical community about using cannabis as a valid treatment option for anxiety.

Recommended Strains for Anxiety 

The best way to get relief from anxiety is to choose and use your cannabis wisely. Going hard with a high THC strain will likely produce more anxiety instead of reducing it. When the right combination of CBD and THC are consumed, increased feelings of relaxation and calmness can help reduce worrying thoughts and stress that may contribute to anxiety. Some strains to try for anxiety reduction are Purple Kush, Headband, and Gelato.

The Connection Between Cannabis and Exercise

Many mental health experts agree– exercise is a key component in improving and maintaining mental health. Exercise can have a positive impact on mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. According to current research, exercise can actually provide some of the same benefits as antidepressant medications because of how it can create changes within the brain. Truth is, it’s hard to find a mental health booster that is as safe, affordable, and easy to implement as exercise. 

So if we know exercise can be a beneficial tool in reducing negative mental health issues, what is stopping more people from using it? Lack of motivation and boredom are two common excuses people give when asked why they don't exercise more often. 

According to a recent study done by experts at CU Boulder, a whopping 80 percent of people polled reported using cannabis in tandem with their workouts, stating it helped with motivation and made workouts less boring. They also stated that cannabis assisted with muscle recovery after workouts. 

These claims are helping to change the outdated “lazy stoner” stereotype by providing a new narrative. As research and data continue to be shared, more people will become aware of the ways cannabis can help achieve mental health benefits through consistent exercise.

Recommended Strains To Combine With Exercise 

Looking for a way to increase your motivation or build stamina to get you through a monotonous cardio sesh? High Times magazine recommended a few great strains including Green Crack and Orange Diesel to give your workout a lift without the unwanted side effects of caffeinated pre workout powders or energy drinks.


Even though the daily impact may have lessened for most folks, the toll that the Coronavirus Pandemic took on the mental health of many from its onset in 2020 continues to be felt. While everyone agrees that there is no substitute for professional help when it comes to restoring mental health, consuming cannabis in one or more of its many forms may be the boost you need to enhance the effects of your current routine. So, if you’re thinking of adding cannabis to elevate your current form of mental health care, use caution and discuss it with your trusted health care providers before you begin. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call the NAMI Helpline at 800-950-6264 or text “HelpLine” to 62640

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