In our modern times, managing stress and anxiety is more important than ever. We live in an ever-shifting environment, with new causes for concern (or even outright panic) lurking around every corner.
Thankfully there is help in the form of cannabis. Used for years as a stress reliever widening acceptance and legalization of marijuana means there’s never been an easier time to self-medicate with cannabis for anxiety.
In today’s article we’ll be looking at what we feel are the best strains for anxiety – These cannabis strains are known by many to ease anxiety and stress, and are often prescribed to medical marijuana patients who need help relaxing from the world’s stresses.
Our list of the best marijuana strains for anxiety will hopefully help you find the relief so many need in today’s hectic, modern world. But first, let’s talk about how cannabis can help with the effects of anxiety, and help you manage symptoms such as racing thoughts, panic attacks, depression and more.
How Cannabis Can Treat Anxiety
Anyone who’s ever experienced a panic attack knows how terrifying they can be – Elevated heart rate, shortness of breath, a complete inability to focus on the here and now. The symptoms of anxiety can feel like an incoming heart attack, and for chronic anxiety sufferers, such as those with clinical depression or PTSD, every day can feel like a waking nightmare.
Enter medical marijuana. As we all know, different strains of cannabis will have different effects – From deep, stony couch-locks to buzzing, energetic highs, each different marijuana strain will have unique effects on the mind and body. Often these differences come down to the unique ratios of CBD to THC (and other cannabinoids) present in the particular strain as well as the terpenes (myrcene, lemonene, etc) present.
Though our definitions and understandings of “Indica vs Sativa” are somewhat murky at best, we can say that the majority of cannabis cultivars listed as “sativa strains” are usually known for having a lighter, less body-oriented high, while “indica strains” are typically sought out for their calming, sedating effects.
While both can be effective at managing anxiety our list is filled with indica-dominate marijuana strains for a reason. Though the psychoactive effects of sativas are generally uplifting and mind-oriented, these properties can lead to paranoia, depression, and other anxiety symptoms. Indica strains, on the other hand, are typically more calming and relaxing, working as effective anxiety relief by helping both the body and mind slow down and “smell the roses” a bit more easily.
And again, don’t discount the THC/CBD ratio in any given strain. CBD can help with physical issues such as muscle tension, inflammation, soreness and the like, but studies also show that CBD can help reduce THC’s active period, decreasing the length of time it can help you manage anxiety related symptoms. If unsure of the CBD to THC ratio in your chosen cannabis products make sure to ask – Most dispensaries will have that information readily available for customers.
Our List of the Best Strains for Anxiety
Girl Scout Cookies
Kicking off our list is the hybrid of OG Kush x Durban Poison cannabis strains known as Girl Scout Cookies (or “GSC”). This Indica-heavy mix is well known for it’s ridiculously high percentage of THC – Up to a whopping 28% in some cases, meaning this is definitely a smoke that will put you on your heels. A California grown strain, GSC is often used for relaxation and stress relief, though it’s massive THC content means you’ll likely be doing that relaxation from a deep, stony couch lock. Expect slowed thoughts and a deep, muscle-relaxing body high from this deep green-purple bud.
A cross between several famous, hard-hitting strains in their own right (including Northern Lights, which we’ll focus on later in this list), Jack Herer the strain is named after Jack Herer the man, a long-time marijuana rights activist and author. A Dutch crossbreed first born in the 1990s, this Sativa-forward cultivar is often known as a “morning” smoke, meaning it’s bright citrus aroma (and effects) will leave you happy but clear-headed; perfect for a wake-and-bake anxiety treatment. Expect elevated sensations of euphoria and creativity with this strain, with a “chill” mental state that should last for several hours.
A heavy Indica strain, this cross between the Big Bud and Purple Urkle strains is well known for it’s intense muscle relaxing properties, making it a favorite among those seeking relief from medical conditions such as arthritis or muscle spasms. A heavily berry & grape tinged aroma lends itself to an almost sweet-tasting smoke, though it’s intense throat hit can leave some choking after a serious puff. With an high THC content averaging around 25% it’s easy to see why Granddaddy Purple is a growing favorite among those looking for relief from anxiety and depression.
A sweet-smelling smoke that many claim carries the scent of it’s namesake strawberries, this is a primarily Sativa based strain that will leave you smiling. Featuring attractive light green buds with thin, bright orange hairs, this strain averages between 15% and 20% THC, making it a potent smoke but not quite as strong as others on our list; potentially a good thing if looking for a quick puff that won’t heavily disrupt the rest of your day. Just be careful when taking that hit – The “Cough” part of the name isn’t kidding, and if you aren’t a seasoned smoker this strain may have you hacking for air after a big rip.
The only of the high CBD strains on our list, this Sativa cultivar is tricky to grow (clones only) and not always easy to find. But for those suffering from anxiety disorders this can be one of the best day-to-day smokes that won’t leave you completely stoned. Again, this isn’t one of the high THC strains – Expect Harlequin to reach between 5% – 10% THC and anywhere from 5% – 15% CBD, which is a lot. For daily relief of anxiety and stress, it’s hard not to recommend this high CBD cannabis strain – Some days, you just can’t be completely blazed.
A cross between Durban Poison and the aforementioned Granddaddy Purple, there are those who claim this weed smells strongly of it’s namesake, cherry pie. We’ll leave that up to you to judge, but what we do know is that this 15-20% THC-containing Indica-dominant strain is known for both cerebral and body-based effects, making it an excellent smoke for those undergoing treatment for anxiety-related disorders. Expect Cherry Pie to have an uplifting, clear-headed high while also relaxing the muscles, making sleep easier for those that might be suffering from insomnia.
An Afghani x Thai mix, Northern Lights is an Indica-heavy strain that’s a classic for a reason. Though the exact history of this super strain is somewhat debatable it’s continuing lineage is under no dispute, with many other popular hybrid strains naming Northern Lights as a parent – Special Kush, White Widow, Haze, and even the aforementioned Jack Herer. As pure of an Indica strain as you’ll likely find, Northern Lights (or more likely Northern Lights #5 – There have been many, but #5 is the most commonly found) is a heavy-hitting smoke certain to leave you feeling happier than you were before. Expect an intense, deep body high with an overall feeling of relaxing warmth that lasts for hours. This may be an oldskool classic, but it’s an anxiety-relieving classic for a reason.
We hope our list of the best cannabis strains for anxiety has been helpful to you. Remember – Sativa strains and indica cultivars alike, the cannabis that will work best for helping manage your anxiety disorder is the one you enjoy the most, and factors such as the specific strain’s terpenes and other cannabinoid content will have a direct effect on the resulting experience.
High CBD or high THC; both have their places when it comes to anxiety relief, and ultimately the best relief will come in the form of the strain, cannabinoids and terpenes you enjoy partaking of the most. Happy smoking!