Anxiety is a crippling mental condition that affects millions of people across the world, and it is more common than you may think. In the US alone, up to 40 million adults suffer from anxiety disorders, according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America.
Anxiety disorders can make it impossible for people to do normal things like leave their homes or engage in social interactions. The good news is that anxiety disorders are highly treatable, and using cannabis is one of the best options.
In this post, we’ll tell you about the best weed strains for anxiety. But before we get to that, here’s everything you need to know about using cannabis for anxiety.
Out of the long list of cannabis strains that are great for managing the symptoms of anxiety, we’ve come up with a list of five that are a must-try. Here's the best cannabis strains for anxiety.
ACDC (also known as CBD Queen) is an award-winning Sativa-dominant hybrid strain with a high level of CBD that is very effective for combating anxiety.
It is a cross between Cannatonic and an unknown Ruderalis strain. ACDC has a THC level of just 6% or less and a CBD level of around 20%.
This strain has a sweet, earthy flavor with herbal and fruity notes.
ACDC is a Sativa-dominant strain so it has an uplifting and euphoric effect. This strain will make you feel peaceful, happy, focused, and more sociable.
It is a good strain to use during the daytime. ACDC is a popular strain in the world of medical marijuana. It is recommended for anxiety disorders, stress, depression, loss of appetite, pain, seizures, cancer, and alcoholism.
Granddaddy Purple (also known as Granddaddy Purps, GDP, or Grand Daddy Purp) is a popular Indica-dominant strain with purple flowers.
It is a cross between Purple Urkle and Big Bud. Granddaddy Purple has a high THC level of around 17% to 24% and a low CBD level of less than 1%.
Although this is not a high CBD strain, it is equally effective at mitigating the symptoms of anxiety disorders.
Granddaddy Purple has a euphoric and deeply relaxing effect. It will make you melt into a state of bliss and forget all about your worries.
This is a good strain to use at night. The high from Granddaddy Purple tends to be very potent so use it sparingly if you don’t have any experience with this strain.
Apart from anxiety disorders, Granddaddy Purple is also recommended for other conditions like insomnia, depression, chronic pain, and stress.
Jack Herer (also known as JH, Premium Jack, Platinum Jack, and The Jack) is a Sativa-dominant hybrid strain that is named after the late author and cannabis activist Jack Herer.
It is a cross between Haze, Northern Lights #5, and Shiva Skunk. Jack Herer has a high THC level of around 18% to 24%, a CBD level of around 1%, and a cannabigerol (CBG) level of around 1%.
Jack Herer produces a balanced head and body high. It makes you feel euphoric, creative, and in a sociable mood.
This strain has an uplifting effect so it is good to use during the day. It will make you feel energized and focused. Since Jack Herer has a high level of THC, it is best to use it sparingly.
The effect tends to kick in almost immediately. This strain is recommended for many conditions including anxiety, depression, loss of appetite, stress, migraines, chronic pain, and insomnia.
Northern Lights (also known as NL) is a pure Indica strain that is very popular across the world. It is a cross between Afghani and Thai.
It has a THC level of around 16% to up to 30% and a CBD level of less than 1%. It also has a CBG level of around 1%.
Northern Lights is quite popular among users of medicinal marijuana. It produces a euphoric and relaxing effect.
This is a good strain to use when you want to ease your mind and forget about all the worries on your mind.
Northern Lights will put you in a state of deep relaxation and happiness. It is a good strain to use at night when you want to kick back and unwind.
Northern Lights is recommended for anxiety, pain, insomnia, lack of appetite, anorexia, and stress. It is advisable to use this strain sparingly because of its high THC level and the potency of its effect.
In high doses, it can produce an almost-hallucinogenic effect.
Purple Urkle (also known as Purple Urple and The Urkle) is an Indica strain with purple buds that originated in California’s Emerald Triangle region. The origins of this strain are uncertain.
However, it is thought to be related to Mendocino Purps and Granddaddy Purple. It has a THC level of around 17% to 26% and a low CBD level of less than 1%.
Purple Urkle produces a deeply relaxing and calming effect. This is a good strain to use at bedtime. No matter how experienced you’re with cannabis, it is impossible to use a high level of Purple Urkle.
We recommend that you use a small amount of Purple Urkle.
The effect tends to take over you after just a few puffs. It will make you feel sedated and ready to slip into the dream world. Purple Urkle is recommended for anxiety, insomnia, lack of appetite, chronic pain, nausea, PTSD, stress, and muscle spasms.
Researchers have found that cannabidiol (CBD) and low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can be used to treat multiple anxiety disorders.
While cannabis does not necessarily cure anxiety, it reduces the symptoms drastically and makes it possible for people dealing with anxiety to get some respite and go about their day as usual.
Cannabis has been found to have a positive effect on relieving symptoms of certain anxiety disorders like social anxiety, panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), agoraphobia, and so much more.
Cannabinoids in the cannabis plant interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the body to bring about their effects.
The ECS is responsible for several biological processes including fear, anxiety, the fight or flight response, and processing the memory of frightful experiences.
In a 2010 study, researchers scanned the brains of participants who had consumed CBD oil. They found changes in the pattern of blood flow to particular regions of the brain that are associated with feelings of anxiety.
Further studies have revealed that CBD oil may be effective against several types of anxiety disorders.
The consensus among medical experts is that although cannabis can be useful for treating anxiety disorders, further studies are needed to shed more light on exactly how it works and how to maximize its effects.
With that said, we don’t recommend that you just use cannabis for anxiety. As indicated above, particular strains are more advisable to use and there are risks involved if you don’t use the right strain and the right dosage.
In addition to using cannabis to treat anxiety disorders, experts recommend other practices like exercising, reducing alcohol and caffeine consumption, eating a healthy diet, working with a psychotherapist and getting help from counselors, and taking medications.
This is essential to reduce the risk of developing cannabis dependence.
There are not a lot of human clinical studies to measure the effectiveness of using cannabis to combat anxiety. However, there are lots of animal studies and anecdotal evidence pointing towards the efficacy of cannabis for reducing anxiety.
The typical image of a stoner sitting back, spaced out without a care in the world is a direct contrast to an anxious person. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence from people who use cannabis to combat anxiety reporting a feeling of calmness when they use the plant.
Cannabis is generally safe to use. However, there are some risks involved.
Some people have reported anxiety and panic attacks from using cannabis. This is the last thing you’d want to experience if you’re using cannabis to deal with anxiety disorders.
Generally, strains with a high level of THC and low CBD levels are more likely to trigger anxiety and panic attacks. Also, taking a very high level of cannabis can trigger these effects.
But there are other factors including genetic factors, your environment, history of neurological disorders, substance abuse, and personality traits.
In a paper published by the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute in 2017, it was postulated that strains with a low THC level of around 7.5mg and a CBD level of around 300mg to 600mg worked best for reducing the symptoms of anxiety attacks.
It is best to experiment with different cannabis strains that have a high CBD level and low THC level. Also, you can experiment with different dosage levels.
There are different ways to use cannabis, including topically, orally (either by taking capsules, sublingually, or taking edibles), vaping cannabis oil, or smoking cannabis flower.
All these consumption methods work equally well for treating anxiety. However, the bioavailability and the time it takes to feel the effect may vary.
Bioavailability refers to the amount of cannabis that is absorbed into your system when you use a cannabis product. A high bioavailability rate means you’re likely to feel the effect more and it will be more effective.
Vaping cannabis oil or cannabis concentrate has the highest bioavailability rate of around 50% to 80%. Using a cannabis tincture has the next highest bioavailability rate of around 40% to 50%.
Smoking cannabis has a bioavailability rate of around 30%, cannabis edibles have a bioavailability rate of 4% to 20%, and topical cannabis products have a bioavailability rate of around 5% to 10%.
When you smoke or vape cannabis, you’ll feel the effect super quickly – within a few seconds or minutes. The second quickest way to use cannabis is to use a tincture sublingually.
Using topical products is the next best option, and last on the list is consuming edibles. The advantage of edibles is that you’ll feel the effect longer than every other consumption method.
Although cannabis is relatively safe to use for reducing the symptoms of anxiety, these are some tips to keep in mind.
So many cannabis strains can be used to treat anxiety including:
Many other strains are equally good for combating anxiety.
A lot of different types of weed strains can have a calming effect. Indica strains are known for producing a deeply relaxing and sometimes sedating effect.
With that said, some Sativa strains also have a calming effect although they may also make you feel energized and sociable.
Strains with a high level of CBD induce a calm feeling. Some THC-dominant strains also have a similar effect.
Some cannabis strains, particularly those with a high level of THC, can cause anxiety when used in high doses.
With that said, each person may have a slightly different reaction to particular cannabis strains.
It is generally advisable to use a small amount of any weed strain to test the effect especially when you’re using it for the first time.
Apart from the strains we’ve highlighted above, there are many other strains that can help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders. It is important to experiment with different strains and find one that works best for you.
The effect of some strains may vary from person-to-person. If you’re on any anti-anxiety medication, it is important to consult a medical expert before you use cannabis.