8 Best Marijuana Strains for Anxiety

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Table of contents

  1. How Cannabis Affects Anxiety
  2. Best Ways to Use Cannabis for Anxiety
  3. Best Strains for Anxiety
  4. Frequently Asked Questions

Living with anxiety disorders can be challenging and disheartening, turning even the most mundane tasks or situations into overwhelming experiences. Many people with anxiety use cannabis to cope with their symptoms, with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) proving to relieve anxiety in several research studies.

For those curious about how medical marijuana may help you manage your generalized anxiety disorder, learn about our top strains (cultivars) and how cannabis might be a fit for you.

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How Cannabis Affects Anxiety

While medical marijuana generally lacks peer-reviewed research studies, much of the existing research supports cannabis as an effective, long-term solution for those living with anxiety.

Cannabis interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which maintains homeostasis in several processes, including memory, appetite, metabolism, immune response, and stress responses. Because the ECS plays a significant role in managing stress and anxiety, cannabis fits like a hand in a glove to provide relief.

Recent studies show that cannabis interacts with the body similarly to existing, FDA-approved anxiety medications. Many anti-anxiety medicines deal with GABA activity, one of several neurotransmitters responsible for balancing stress levels. Research shows that cannabis – and CBD in particular – can change the activity of GABA in the body. This means that cannabis can manage stress levels via the exact mechanisms as prescription anti-anxiety treatments.

Cannabis can have a calming effect because it impacts cortisol levels in the body, another hormone that directly correlates with higher or lower stress levels. A study found that patients with anxiety experienced noticeable drops in cortisol when given marijuana, indicating that they entered a more relaxed, stress-free state.

Medical marijuana also can address insomnia, which is a common symptom of those with generalized anxiety disorder. Many strains – particularly those with high levels of CBD – anecdotally improve sleep, and studies have found that sleep quality improves with decreased levels of experienced anxiety.

CBD has particularly shown promise as a powerful tool to reduce anxiety in the long term. Researchers found that when CBD was provided to individuals diagnosed with a social anxiety disorder (SAD) over several sessions, they reported a significant decrease in subjective anxiety.

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Best Ways to Use Cannabis for Anxiety

Anxiety is a personal experience, so the cannabis consumption method best suited for treating the condition depends on the person, their physiology, and their unique use case.

Smoking or vaping cannabis are two consumption methods that take effect quickly. The cannabinoids enter the bloodstream via the lungs and circulate throughout the body in about 30 minutes. Effects can last up to three hours, making it a useful short-term method of managing stress or handy when you need quick relief to stave off a panic attack.

Edibles offer a longer-lasting cannabis treatment for anxiety. However, the onset time takes up to 90 minutes for effects to occur. When purchased from dispensaries, edibles can offer precise, reliable dosing that allows you to consistently control the amount you consume and avoid using too much, which could make you more anxious.

Not all cannabis strains will help anxiety; some cultivars in particular, or too high doses with high THC, can cause more stress and worsen symptoms. Be sure to discuss your options with a medical marijuana doctor and start with low, slow doses to figure out what works best for you.

Best Strains for Anxiety

ACDC

ACDC is a high-CBD strain that allows for measurable pain relief without the psychoactive effects of THC. Its high levels of CBD also offer anti-inflammatory benefits, making it helpful in controlling the chemical signaling involved with stress responses. Dominant terpenes in ACDC include myrcene and beta-caryophyllene, both known for anxiety-relieving properties.

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Critical Cure

Critical Cure, also called CBD Critical Cure, is a relaxing strain anecdotally said to soothe tense muscles and slow racing thoughts, making it a perfect choice for anxious individuals. Geraniol, ocimene, myrcene and humulene are the dominant terpenes in Critical Cure.

Granddaddy Purple

This hybrid strain is known for its profoundly relaxing abilities, making it useful for those dealing with the stress tied to insomnia and tense muscles. Linalool, a calming terpene, and camphene, a natural stress reliever, make the strain perfect for addressing evening-time stress or panic attacks.

Ringo’s Gift

Ringo’s Gift is a high-CBD combination of two other strains on this list: ACDC and Harle-Tsu. Users report improvement in overall anxiety and stress levels after consuming. Its consistently high 13:1 CBD to THC ratio makes it an effective long-term option for those seeking to reduce stress and improve their quality of life.

Harle-Tsu

Harle-Tsu is an award-winning strain that averages around 13% CBD but often tests much higher, with less than 1% THC. This ratio makes it a preferred choice for those looking to lower anxiety and boost their mood and focus. Harle-Tsu’s dominant terpenes include ocimene, myrcene, pinene, and terpinolene (alpha-terpinene).

Northern Lights

Northern Lights is an older and popular cannabis strain known for its relaxing, sedative properties. The cultivar contains more THC than CBD and a profile with higher levels of myrcene, beta-caryophyllene, and pinene. These terpenes work together to relax patients and soothe stress sensations while cultivating happiness.

Purple Urkle

Purple Urkle is a reportedly excellent choice for those seeking to combat anxiety-related insomnia. The strain soothes racing thoughts, while its high myrcene and pinene content help guide users to a more restful sleep.

Chocolate Chunk

Chocolate Chunk is a more physically-focused strain, reportedly known for producing deep, full-body relaxation. A little goes a long way with this potent strain, which features high concentrations of carene and valencene, both of which have anti-inflammatory effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

What strain helps with anxiety the most?

Our list above covers a few options. However, no one size fits all, and you may want to experiment with different strains and doses to find what works best for you.

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What strains do not cause anxiety?

Strains with high levels of THC and little-to-no CBD can cause more stress and worsen anxiety symptoms. Be sure to discuss your options with a medical marijuana doctor and explore options with lower THC levels and more CBD content.

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