The spectrum of cannabis uses is ever-expanding, which contributes to its rising popularity, especially since the federal laws have changed in some states. Besides its recreational use, marijuana is also commonly used for its medicinal properties, such as anxiety. Many people either self-medicate or have obtained a medical marijuana card to be able to treat their symptoms with weed.
In this article, we’ll talk about the best and most commonly used cannabis strains that can help manage the symptoms of anxiety.
The Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
Having anxiety from time to time is a completely normal response to stressful life situations, but when anxiety starts impeding the daily life of an individual, it needs to be addressed. Basically, anxiety is the feeling of uneasiness and worry as a reaction to situations that are perceived as threatening.
Anxiety disorders refer to a group of mental health conditions that usually involve excessive nervousness, fear, and worry with regard to future events. They are: generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic attack disorder, specific phobia, agoraphobia, separation anxiety disorder, and selective mutism.
The severity of an anxiety disorder can range, but the symptoms usually involve excessive worrying and restlessness, accompanied by muscle tension, fatigue, and increased heart rate.
Even though anxiety disorders are very common nowadays, they are highly treatable with the right approach.
Cannabis for Anxiety Relief
The relaxing properties of cannabis make it popular among recreational and medical users alike. Besides being known to help with chronic pain, stress, and insomnia, cannabis is also known as an anxiety relief treatment. Many people choose to self-medicate with cannabis as it helps them to control their symptoms.
The cannabinoids in marijuana interact with the body in such a way that they indirectly influence the part of the brain that gets overstimulated whenever a threat is perceived, and they help to regulate this response. The result is temporarily reduced anxiety and a more balanced mood.
Can You Obtain Medical Marijuana for Reducing Anxiety?
When it comes to obtaining a medical marijuana card, many states in the U.S. now include anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in their list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis. Patients can apply for the card and go for a consultation. Once they receive the medical marijuana card, they will be given a prescription from a licensed marijuana doctor and will be able to buy marijuana from licensed dispensaries or grow a limited amount of marijuana on their own.
Best Marijuana Strains for Treating Anxiety
You may know that one of the most dreaded side effects that marijuana causes is heightened anxiety, but that this doesn’t always happen, and it doesn’t happen to everyone. Truth is, some strains can induce anxiety or make it worse, and this is due to the high THC content in the strain. THC is the cannabinoid that produces the psychoactive effects, while CBD is the non-psychoactive compound.
Weed strains belong in three large groups: Indicas, Sativas, and Hybrids (a combination of both), and they all produce different effects. Generally, the Indica strains have low THC levels and higher CBD levels, while Sativa strains are higher in THC and lower in CBD. This makes Indicas more calming, while Sativas are more energizing.
But, It’s Not All About Strains
However, when it comes to treating anxiety, this generalization is not very helpful because there are other compounds present in cannabis, like the terpenes, that also influence how these cannabinoids interact with the body and each other. Terpenes are organic compounds that give the different strains their unique flavors and aromas, and they can increase the therapeutic properties of a strain.
Therefore, when choosing a weed strain, it’s better to see if the strain is CBD-dominant or THC-dominant and take your own tolerance into account. CBD is known to inhibit the overly stimulating effects of THC, so high-CBD strains may have a more calming effect than high-THC strains. Additionally, some terpenes may also help to balance out the effects of THC.
This is definitely not a rule, though. Each person’s anxiety operates differently, so many people have found relief from strains that have a balanced ratio of CBD and THC or that are altogether THC-dominant. The point is to not write off a strain just because it’s a Sativa until you get better info on its cannabinoid and terpene content. For this, it’s always best to consult your budtender.
Indica and Indica-Dominant Strains
Granddaddy Purple is a commonly recommended strain for relieving anxiety and any physical symptoms that may occur with it, such as muscle tension. A hybrid of two Indica strains – Purple Urkle and Big Bud, Granddaddy Purple has a THC content of 20% that induces relaxation of both the mind and the body simultaneously.
The terpenes myrcene and caryophyllene lend it an alluring blueberry and grape aroma that enhances the experience. This strain is commonly used before bed to calm racing thoughts and promote better sleep.
Northern Lights is one of the best strains for anxiety due to its fast-acting and potent euphoric effects. Northern Lights produces an effect that’s very akin to “couch-lock”, inducing a psychoactive high while providing utter relaxation.
Northern Lights is an Indica-dominant strain with roughly 90% Indica and 10% Sativa, but its THC levels are on the higher end of 22%, while CBD is at 1%. However, there is an abundance of the fragrant terpenes limonene and myrcene that help to balance out the overwhelming effects of THC. This strain has a piney and woody aroma that has a tranquilizing effect.
Girl Scout Cookies
Girl Scout Cookies is a well-known Indica-hybrid made from crossing OG Kush and Durban Poison. This strain produces initial cerebral euphoria followed by deep full-body relaxation, making it suitable for relieving anxiety and improving the mood. Its THC content is usually between 17-22%, so a little will go a long way.
This strain has a sweet, musky aroma with hints of citrus, while the flavor is on the earthy side. When burnt, it produces a scent of toasted cookies – hence the name.
Sativa and Sativa-Dominant Strains
Strawberry Cough is a very good choice for those who are looking for a weed strain with a lower THC content. This is a Sativa hybrid that has THC levels of 15%, making its effects leaning towards the “cerebral high” end. It’s a great strain to use if you need motivation and increased creativity to get you out of the rut.
Its potent berry flavor and fruity strawberry aroma relieve stress and improve the mood. This strain will energize you but it’ll also make you feel calm and collected at the same time.
Harlequin is a Sativa-dominant hybrid strain, with a 75% Sativa and 25% Indica. It’s a CBD-rich strain, where the CBD levels can reach up to 16%, and the THC is around 4-10%. This chemical composition makes Harlequin quite mild – you won’t feel an overwhelming high or a couch-lock. However, you will feel your anxiety subsiding and your head will feel clearer. Overall, you will feel more productive and relaxed, without feeling heavy.
The flavor profile of this strain is very versatile – it can go from fruity and sweet mango to a more toned down and earthy musk.
ACDC is a very interesting 50/50 Indica-Sativa hybrid. It’s a phenotype of the strains Cannatonic and Canna Tsu. ACDC is commonly considered as one of the best anti-anxiety strains, and for a good reason. It has an unusually low THC content of 1-5%, while its CBD content is incredibly high – about 20%. This balanced ratio makes it the ideal medical marijuana strain. Its terpene content is also very rich (myrcene and pinene), and it lends it a piney and citrusy aroma.
ACDC is hardly going to get you high, but it will mellow you out and calm your mind without any intoxication or heaviness. The overall feeling is an uplifting relaxation.
Cannatonic is a hybrid whose CBD to THC ratio is either 1:1 or 2:1, making it a very good anti-anxiety strain. Cannatonic gives you a very mild high that also leaves you feeling productive. It’s great for use during the day when you need to get a lot of stuff done. Its myrcene content increases its therapeutic properties, leaving you feeling relaxed and more mellow.
Cannatonic is also great for reducing muscle spasms and migraines. The earthy aroma and citrusy flavor are refreshing and reassuring.
Final Thoughts on Cannabis Strains for Anxiety
These days, there is an abundance of marijuana strains that can be used for so many different purposes. If you’re looking for a weed strain that you can use to manage your anxiety symptoms, we advise you to do your research on Indicas and Sativas, as well as CBD and THC and their effects. Also, talk to your budtender for more information.
You may need to experiment at first to find what strain works for you best, but once you do, you’ll know which direction you should go next (strain-wise).