Anxiety and marijuana have a complicated relationship, but different types of cannabis may play a role. Many people who use marijuana say that it helps relieve anxiety. On the other hand, there are just as many who report feeling more anxious after using marijuana. Although the exact details remain a mystery, a possible explanation may lie in the specific chemical make-up of cannabis.
As most marijuana users are aware, not all cannabis is the same. There are a wide range of strains available, and many are believed to have unique effects on their user. What makes strains unique from one another is their active ingredients, also known as cannabinoids. Although clinical research is lacking, knowing the differences between strains and how they affect anxiety can be helpful.
Overcoming anxiety from cannabis could be as simple as reducing the amount of THC that you ingest. In fact, some studies suggest that THC at low doses can have an anti-anxiety effect. For those specifically looking to treat anxiety disorders with cannabis, the best bet may be to find strains with high CBD content. A breakdown of a strain’s THC and CBD content is often provided where the sale of cannabis is regulated. The first step to picking a good strain to combat your anxiety is recognizing your tolerance and sensitivity, and step two involves experimenting with new strains to determine which best suit your symptoms.
Anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety doesn’t go away and gets worse over time, effecting a person’s daily activities, job performance and relationships. Most common forms of anxiety disorders are generalized anxiety disorders, panic disorders and social anxiety disorders.
Cannabis Strains for Generalized Anxiety
Chocolate Chunk is a 100% Indica strain that has an earthy, chocolate aftertaste. Its use is ideal for nights or lazy days. Its high is intense and long lasting so you don’t have to use a lot of it. This strain is great for social or general anxiety as well as panic attacks. It will leave you with reduced feelings of stress and muscle tensions so you can relax and finally feel at ease.
A high-THC sativa typically wouldn’t be our first recommendation for anxiety; they tend to have racy cerebral effects that tug at anxiety rather than help it. But Jack Herer is different in that its euphoria tapers in gently with calming effects that could possibly be explained by Jack’s relaxing parent, Northern Lights.
Many people prefer indicas over sativas because they relax the mind rather than supercharge it. For this reason we recommend Granddaddy Purple, which eases you into a peaceful mindset while urging your body to release all that stress and tension.
Cannabis Strains for Social Anxiety
Social anxiety is tricky: you want a strain that keeps you alert and social, but nothing so stimulating that your mind races as you exude awkwardness. Strawberry Cough may be a sativa, but it manages to walk the fine line between energizing and calming, making it easy to converse without feeling overly paranoid.
For more severe cases of social anxiety, a high-CBD strain might be better suited for you. ACDC’s cannabinoid profile can vary, but it typically contains about 20 times more CBD than THC so its psychoactive effects are minimal. This makes it easy to stay relaxed, clear-headed, and focused in what would normally be an uncomfortable social situation.
Harlequin is a 75/25 Sativa-dominant strain of weed, with especially high levels of CBD and low THC, which makes it an excellent choice for medical patients. It tends to produce a warm buzz and has a sedation effect that can keep you relaxed and anxiety-free, without the feeling of being high so you can use it throughout the day and be comfortable in social situations. You will still feel clear headed, energized and functional and will have a mild body stone.
Improve anti-anxiety effects of your buds – growing tactics
These tactics may improve the anti-anxiety effects of medical marijuana that you grow:
- Choose to grow a high-CBD strain. CBD is a cannabinoid that is found in many strains of cannabis and hemp. CBD has many possible medical benefits, yet doesn’t leave people feeling “impaired” or “stoned.” It also seems to reduce some of the effects of THC.
- Harvest buds later (after some THC has turned into CBN) as early harvested buds are more likely to cause anxiety and headaches
- Dry and cure buds properly
- Allow buds to cure for at least 4 weeks before smoking. Curing buds for longer seems to increase anti-anxiety effects for many people
- Test a small amount of any new buds before medicating fully
- Vaporize your buds instead of smoking them, as it’s easier to control your dose and the effects are less likely to come on too strong or too fast.
You should avoid these:
- High-THC strains without significant levels of CBD (though some high-THC strains are surprisingly effective at reducing anxiety for some, too much THC can be overwheming for others).
- Strong concentrates, especially things like “wax”, “dabs”, “shatter” and “BHO” (butane hash oil) which are usually extremely high in THC and low in everything else.
- Buds that show any signs of mold (smelly buds, brown or black mushy sections, white fuzzy fur, etc)
- Buds which were harvested early
- Buds which have not been properly dried (especially if buds seem moist)
- Buds which were not cured for long enough (if buds are bright green or smell like fresh cut grass, it means they were not cured properly)
- Strains that have given you an anxiety reaction in the past
- Strong or untested edibles
- Putting yourself in an unfamiliar situation while medicating with marijuana