The relationship between cannabis and anxiety is a complicated one. For some, a small puff of cannabis provides unrivaled relief of worry, panic, stress, and other anxiety-related symptoms. Unfortunately others experience heightened paranoia and exacerbated anxiety with marijuana. This common reaction can be attributed to a strain’s THC content, but what many people don’t realize is there are many strains now that have little to no THC. These low-THC, high-CBD strains are changing the game for anxiety sufferers, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t strains rich in THC that can’t also help.
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. This guide is meant to help you through the discovery process as it points out the nuances to look for the next time you visit your local dispensary.
Best Cannabis Strains for Generalized Anxiety
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.
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.
For the THC-sensitive, we recommend the high-CBD hybrid Cannatonic. This strain typically has a CBD profile that sizes up to its THC content in a 1:1 ratio, which helps blunt the anxious edge that a lot of anxiety-sufferers experience with cannabis. Cannatonic tends to also boast high levels of the terpene myrcene, which contributes to this strain’s deeply relaxing attributes.
"I'm not very good when it comes to marijuana with high THC contents as the effects give me anxiety. Cannatonic is high in CBD and low(er) in THC and is a great combination! It helps relieve stress and anxiety... without causing any!"
Best Cannabis Strains for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Girl Scout Cookies has numerous Cannabis Cup awards to back up its reputation for containing staggering amounts of THC. White this may seem like a panic attack waiting to happen, studies have shown that people with PTSD often have a deficiency of a naturally occurring THC-like compound called anandamide, which plays a role in memory. When we consider the fact that THC can replenish these compounds for therapeutic benefit, it's easy to see why so many PTSD patients sing GSC's praises.
"Great for PTSD-related symptoms. Vaped last night and slept really well (no night terrors) after a relaxed night with my partner. Felt equal and balanced the next day, with a much lower level of anxiety."
Not everyone wants to get stoned every time their PTSD symptoms flare up. Luckily, there are high-CBD strains like Canna-Tsu to help you keep a clear head while you medicate. Canna-Tsu still has some THC, but it's counterbalanced by CBD for a relaxing, functional effect.
Best 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.
"I usually shy away from going out in the public while smoking any bud. With this, it actually felt nice to be out while being medicated. I was able to hold constructive conversations."
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.
Best Cannabis Strains for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
The link between OCD and cannabis is not well understood, but based on user ratings and reviews it would seem that there are a few strains out there that help settle nervous fixations. A tranquilizing indica like Northern Lights helps slow the mind and body down, bringing them into a relaxed state where the organization of your Tupperware drawer doesn't matter quite so much.
"Northern Lights won me to Team Indica. I suffer from OCD, social/generalized anxiety, arthritis and muscle spasms in my back. Most hybrids and sativas have made me paranoid as all hell. This might be my favorite strain so far. The overall effect was calm, relaxed, without racing thoughts, and a definite decrease in pain."
White Fire OG, or WiFi OG, might have high levels of THC, but many OCD patients find solace in this potent hybrid strain. This could possibly be attributed to the presence of myrcene and/or limonene, terpenes that promote relaxation and stress-relief.
Best Cannabis Strains for Insomnia
Blackberry Kush is a heavy indica strain that inherits crushingly sedating effects from its Afghani parent and a sweet berry flavor from Blueberry. This may not be a strain you can indulge in throughout the day, but you'll be more than grateful to have it at your bedside when insomnia rears its ugly head.
Another powerfully relaxing indica strain, Purple Urkle, annihilates the anxiety and stress that keeps you tossing and turning throughout the night.