Cannabis for Anxiety Symptoms
My hands have never been through more isolation than they have in the past year due to our current situation, and it’s made me more mindful of where I place them, what I do, and how often I wash them. My awareness of them has never been stronger, and not to mention that with the intense amount of hand washing and sanitizing that I am doing, my hands have become dryer than the Sahara desert. This has contributed to my habit of wolf-biting.
I know the age-old practice of moisturizing after handwashing. Still, with the paranoia running so deep, it’s impossible to keep both of these habits up with each other, especially when the importance of handwashing is so crucial at this time.
I’ve had this habit for a long time and, depending on my stress levels, revisits me every so often. Dermatophagia “is a compulsion disorder of gnawing or biting one’s skin, most commonly at the fingers.” Or less formally known as Wolf Biting. I struggle with this compulsion and have lived with it since childhood.
It began with a wart on my finger and became a habit based on stress and anxiety. Most of the time, I don’t even realize I’m doing it until I’ve picked too deeply past the layer of skin and begin to bleed. This compulsion is very similar to that of those who suffer from hair chewing and nail-biting. However, instead of my nails, I opt for my cuticles or the skin around my nails. I’ve tried everything to break the habit, putting petroleum jelly on my fingers, bandaids, everything. And somehow, this compulsive habit finds its way back to me.
Wash your hands
Sanitize your hands
Don’t touch your face
Don’t touch each other
It sounds crazy to say that cannabis has cured me; I by no means claim that cannabis cured this compulsion and cannot say that it does. I just want to share how cannabis has helped me live with this habit.
The power of rolling. I previously wrote about a rolling party and the power of rolling. As someone that loves smoking joints, the act of preparing a joint gives my hands something to do, and it forces me to use all of my focus and attention towards rolling my joint. There’s a therapeutic aspect to this ritual, and it’s also gratifying. Think of it as an herbal fidget spinner.
I recently got a medical diagnosis regarding my anxious behaviour, and CBD dominants help calm my nerves without getting high. So far, vape pens have been the go-to option, as most of the time, my anxiety stems from work and having a convenient vape pen at my side on my desk helps with calming those work jitters and denies my imposter syndrome distractions. As much as I enjoy a nicely rolled joint, a vape pen is a cleaner and more discreet option.
Besides cannabis, something about exercising and physical movement and keeping your mind and body busy can alleviate stress and remove the compulsion to gnaw, pick, and fidget. However, like rolling a joint, working out keeps my hands busy; it just involves my entire body. My exercise sessions are where I would incorporate a THC dominant edible, usually half of the recommended dosage of any candy or sweet to start and then the rest post-shower for my recovery. However, if I can be honest, I don’t enjoy the process of working out or going to the gym or any activity that forces you to break a sweat. It also serves as a reminder of how physically weak I am, but I recognize that it’s necessary for my mind. If it’s something that helps curb my wolf-biting habits, then I will do it.
The second most important aspect of my life that contributes to my poor habits is sleep. I use to bite my fingers even before bed as some restless ritual or something, and it all contributed to even more restless, sleepless nights. The irrational thoughts and aimless wandering of my brain can keep me up for ages. It’s super common for those looking for deep full-stop sleep to refer to cannabis as a medicine. However, choosing the right strain and the right cannabinoid can vary for different people.
For sleep, I start with a THC dominant either in the form of an edible or a joint, an hour or two before bed. However, I’ve had experiences where the THC dominant keeps me up and gives me anxiety and paranoia – some would call it a “bad high.” I don’t personally believe that it’s a reflection of the weed. I think it’s more likely that the plant in this particular instance doesn’t agree with me. When I get caught up in these strange experiences, I will undo it by consuming a CBD dominant or eating some oranges or having some lemon water to counteract the psychoactive effects. This ensures that I have a deep and comfortable sleep all through the night.
Cannabis is part of my daily routine, from the moment I wake up to the end of my day. However, it has not cured me, nor will it ever. It has only made things a little easier, and although I am lucky enough to say that I suffer from mild symptoms of anxiety, I do believe that cannabis can help those who are not as fortunate as I am. Cannabis is here to help with the daily challenges rather than be the answer to all of your problems. My suggestion to those looking for a cannabis treatment is to try, experiment and document. And go into it without any expectations, because this may not work for you. To other wolf-biters out there, take care of your hands. The world is no longer friendly to those who put their appendages anywhere near their face.