Anxiety is one of the most common conditions that people treat with cannabis, but how cannabis affects anxiety has always been a complicated picture. Research suggests that cannabis is effective at relieving anxiety, but paradoxically, cannabis can also worsen anxiety. This may be partly due to the fact that cannabis’ main and secondary active ingredients — THC and CBD — help with anxiety at low doses, but worsen it with higher doses.
To add to the confusion, different varieties of cannabis are diverse in both their chemical composition and their effects, so some may increase anxiety while others reduce it.
Unfortunately, most of the current research has studied cannabis without mentioning the chemical composition of the strains used, or have simply looked at the effects of an isolated cannabinoid like THC or CBD.
However, as a general rule of thumb, scientists (and stoners) have agreed that high THC, low CBD strains are the worst about inducing paranoia symptoms, and the following are the strains to avoid if you have anxiety.
The Symptoms Of An Anxiety Attack
There are both internal and external signs of an anxiety attack. As mentioned earlier, the external ones might be fidgety behavior, sweaty palms, and bitten nails, as well as crying and heavy breathing. Unfortunately, there’s a lot going on inside your body as well, symptoms people can’t see with the naked eye.
- Racing/unwanted thoughts
- Elevated heart rate
- Chest pain
- Body numbness
- Chills or hot flashes
The Worst Cannabis Strains For Anxiety
Cannabis strains affect users differently each and every time. What works for your anxiety may not work for your friend’s or sister’s. Finding the right strain for anxiety is a highly specific and personalized experience, so we encourage you to buy at least two strains at once to test them out before an attack happens. Allow yourself time to get comfortable and familiar with your strain(s).
Girl Scout Cookies is a strain that has been popularized recently by the well-known rapper Wiz Khalifa, and it is a favorite amongst patients and recreational users alike. Unlike most of the strains on this list, this is an indica-dominant hybrid, but the high that comes with smoking it is rather spacey. What earned it a spot on here, however, is the sativa-like head high that comes from its parent, Durban Poison. This head rush, in conjunction with its physically relaxing effects, creates the perfect storm for someone who suffers from panicked thoughts and would prefer feeling in control. It also has the self-reflecting properties of your traditional high-THC strain, and contemplating the meaning of life is not quite as fun for someone who is interested in escaping anxious thoughts.
Green Crack has earned its controversial name for a reason. Entirely made up of cannabis, the energizing effects of the strain are unparalleled by others, and keep people coming back for more. It provides users with a high that allows them to go about daily activities with a euphoric feeling and enhanced productivity. Likewise, it is a true sativa, and its THC content falls in at 19 percent with only 0.14 percent CBD. This chemical makeup provides it with the ability to enhance focus, but at the price of potentially heightened anxiety.
Since the child of Durban Poison falls just above on this list, it is only appropriate that we call out the infiltrator of the problem. The Cannnabist lists Durban Poison as “one of the rare unadulterated sativas on the market.” Its citrusy aroma and impressive reputation make it a highly sought after strain for people who value strains that are pure, and not products of complicated cross-breeding like many are today. However, Durban Poison leaves you with a ridiculously electric high, much like that of Adderall, and is absolutely a strain you should avoid if you suffer from anxiety.
Jack Herer act as a mind stimulant, so it may not work well when your brain is flooded with anxious thoughts. However, if you’re having a good day that’s teetering on the edge and you need to boost concentration, it’s handy.
Cannabis can certainly help reduce the symptoms and side effects of an anxiety attack. The trick, however, is to find the strain that works best for you—and only you!
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