If you’ve ever felt anxious to the point of feeling like your daily life isn’t as fulfilling as it could be, some of the best cannabis strains for anxiety may be able to ease your racing mind. (And also nicely relax the body, while you’re at it.)
First off, you are hardly alone: Eighteen percent of Americans, aged 18 or older, suffer from anxiety in some form. That equals 40 million adults, yet only a third of those adults receive treatment for their anxiety. It’s no small wonder, thanks to the numerous side effects brought on by popular medications and the stigma surrounding mental illnesses, but anxiety disorders are highly treatable through a plethora of options, and cannabis sits squarely among them as a natural, attractive option.
Anxiety Treatment, Cannabis, And You
Substituting cannabis for medication isn’t a new trend. In a study consisting of 2,774 adults who reported using cannabis in the past 90 days, 46 percent reported substituting cannabis for various prescription medications including antidepressants. With nearly half of cannabis users voluntarily reporting they use it to take the place of a medication for various reasons — cost, side effects, the toll on their bodies — it’s easy to understand the appeal of taking a less harsh approach to handling a problem that may not require a cocktail of medications to control. Plus, unlike harsher medications, there may not be any significant link between cannabis use and later incidents or developments of anxiety or depression. Not only can it help control symptoms, it likely won’t worsen them, either.
Important Aspects To Consider
Chances are, if you’re looking for the best cannabis strains for anxiety, you don’t want to depend on strains that are known to cloud your judgement or heighten feelings of paranoia. High THC content is often experienced as relaxing, but can also be blamed for giving cannabis users enhanced anxiety. It’s a bit of a toss-up as to how it might affect you on a personal level.
On the other hand, the compound called CBD or cannabidiol protects the brain from those feelings of paranoia. CBD has actually been shown to reduce feelings of social anxiety in simulated public speaking engagements. If you are an experienced marijuana user, you probably already have a good idea of how you respond to high doses of THC. Otherwise a safe bet to find the best cannabis strains for anxiety is to start experimenting with those with a moderate THC content, balanced by moderate to high in CBD levels.
You’ll also want to keep in mind the psychosomatic effects of indicas versus satvias or hybrids. This list has examples from all across the spectrum to help you find what might help you best.
Pulling double duty as a pain reliever and anxiety combatant, Harlequin is an easy strain to suggest. A 75% sativa-dominant hybrid, it keeps a high ratio of CBD to THC, clocking in at a respectable 5:2 ratio, and users often report feelings of relaxation without lingering sedation. Any strain that allows you to stay alert during social situations without leaving you foggy or half-asleep is an easy choice for treating anxiety, and it’s even got a musky, mango-esque flavor for those concerned with taste. Side effects are fairly mild, usually amounting to headaches and dry mouth or eyes in the most dire of cases.
2. Granddaddy Purple
If you need something stronger, especially when it comes time to get some rest or under threat of looming panic attacks, Grandaddy Purple boasts an indica-dominant hybrid that boasts both mental euphoria and physical relaxation. It’s an extremely popular strain that has existed in the United States since at least 2003. Though it leans more heavily towards THC than cannabidiol, GDP is a strong, lasting strain with an hefty kick and strong aftertaste that lingers much like its calming effects, and most users report feeling compelled to remain in one place while under its effects. With this in mind, it’s not ideal for social situations and more easily relegated to home use.
Hanging hard on the non-psychosomatic side of the spectrum, ACDC triumphs at treating everything from anxiety to epilepsy. Its THC to CBD ratio can be as staggering as 1:20, making it difficult to find a more readily-available strain out of the best cannabis strains for anxiety. Much like Harlequin, ACDC’s taste is described as somewhere between earthy and fruity, occasionally with hints of citrus, but with an unmistakable pungency to it as well. On top of its anxiety-treating power, ACDC can even reduce the stresses and pains that come with chemotherapy and lessen chronic pains, making it an excellent choice for a well-rounded batch of symptoms without leaving you too impaired to function.
4. Girl Scout Cookies
Rounding out the list is an unconventional suggestion. With a high THC content and relatively low CBD, Girl Scout Cookies might seem like an odd choice for dealing with stress, but it might be a secret weapon for combating anxiety in PTSD sufferers. Consider the following: Anandamide is often lacking in those suffering from PTSD, and it’s little more than a naturally-occurring fatty acid neurotransmitter that happens to mimic a lot of the properties found in THC. For those lacking anandamide, bolstering the body’s deficiency with THC-heavy strains that may go so far as to stimulate replenishment of those missing fatty acids. Even when not pulling double-duty for PTSD and anxiety, GSC still offers a very strong, lethargic sensation well-suited for home use and nightcap applications, though it is notoriously potent and may leave you napping on the couch longer than you intended to be out for.
Where to find the best cannabis strains for anxiety?
- Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
At a medical marijuana dispensary near you, the staff should be able to help you find some of the strains mentioned above. If these aren’t available, the people working in cannabis dispensaries are usually well informed and able to advise on potential other options when it comes to the best cannabis strains for anxiety.
- Online Seed Banks
If your state or country allows for legal growing, you can easily shop around to find the exact marijuana strain on your wish-list. There are quite a few online seed banks in many different countries. Not every one of those will ship worldwide, and judging from customers’ experience some are a bit more trustworthy than others. Seedsman is located in the UK, but ships worldwide and has a great reputation. They have Girl Scout Cookies, feminized seeds, 6 currently going for $96.74.
Seedsman doesn’t have any of the other strains in our list, but they do offer HarleSin (feminized). HarleSin was made by crossing ACDC and Harlequin and contains more CBD than THC, which makes it a very interesting strain to explore if you’re a medical user seeking relief from anxiety (or even paranoia).
With any luck, this list of some of the best cannabis strains for anxiety might just turn you on to some unlikely choices that can help you push through even the worst bouts of anxiety and negative headspaces that come with it. If not, there are plenty of runner-up strains that promise high CBD contents to soothe anxiety; Tracking down what works for you may just be a case of trial and error, but in this case, half the experience is in the experimentation.