Article written by
Shanti RyleContent Writer
Content reviewed by
Dr. Lewis JasseyMedical Director - Pediatric Medicine
Table of contents
Irritable moods range from mild annoyance to intermittent explosive disorder (IED), where fierce anger bursts out without apparent cause. No matter the severity of irritability, it’s never an enjoyable feeling.
Many people turn to cannabis to soothe the stress, anxiety, and depression associated with anger issues and have found great success. Strains (cultivars) containing myrcene, limonene, pinene, beta-caryophyllene, cannabidiol (CBD), and low to moderate amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) may be beneficial for boosting mood and reducing irritability.
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How Cannabis Affects Irritability
Individuals with IEDs deal with intense surges of anger over even the slightest problem. Road rage is one example wherein drivers are overcome with extreme outrage when they’re cut off in traffic or vehicles move too slowly. Intermittent explosive disorder is often associated with other mood conditions, such as:
Anger can ruin anyone’s day and, in the extreme cases of intermittent explosive disorder, ruin the quality of life of someone. Thankfully, cannabis has been shown to wrangle anger issues and the above-related symptoms more effectively than other mood control medications.
Medical cannabis use has been shown to lower anxiety, reduce depression, encourage calm and help people focus. While too-high doses can sometimes cause paranoia and fear, medical marijuana helps to separate IED’s overreaction from the cause of the anger and allow you to assess and address a situation calmly.
Best Ways to Use Cannabis for Irritability
The best way to use medical marijuana to treat irritability depends entirely on the user and personal needs. Different forms of cannabis offer different bioavailability, with some forms kicking in or lasting longer than others.
Smoking or vaporizing cannabis delivers the cannabinoids and terpenes of the strain straight to the lungs, which quickly circulates it to the rest of the body. These options usually take effect within a few minutes and peak within 15-30 minutes, helping patients calm down more quickly when urgent relief is needed.
Those seeking longer-lasting calm may want to opt for edibles or tinctures. Edible cannabis purchased from dispensaries usually comes in serving sizes measured in milligrams (mg), allowing patients to control how much THC they consume. The cannabis in edibles enters the body via the digestive tract, which converts it to the much stronger 11-hydroxy-THC. Cannabinoids absorbed from edibles can last up to nine hours or even longer in your system, allowing for long stretches of calm without consuming more weed.
Tinctures provide similar benefits as edibles, but their onset time is quicker at between 15 and 45 minutes, and they can be potent but not necessarily as potent as edibles. The droppers also allow for measured dosing.
Best Strains for Irritability
There is no best strain (cultivar) for irritability or any associated condition. What works for one may help another, or it may not. It comes down to personal preferences, although some general guidelines can be helpful to consider. As irritability is associated with mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD, it may be ideal to pick cannabis varieties with more moderate THC levels and plenty of relaxing, mood-boosting terpenes like linalool, myrcene, pinene, limonene, and beta-caryophyllene.
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Blue Haze is a mild cannabis strain with up to 20% THC, with pleasant berry and earthy flavors. Anecdotally, Blue Haze produces feelings of happiness and calm and contains plenty of pinene, producing euphoric sensations. Myrcene and beta-caryophyllene are other terpenes commonly found in Blue Haze.
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Strawberry Ice is an award-winning cultivar that smells of fresh strawberries. It contains higher levels of myrcene, helpful for relaxation and pain relief, and pulegone, reportedly able to reduce anxiety. Consumers claim Strawberry Ice is a good choice for happy motivation.
Cannalope Haze is closely related to cannabis landrace Haze strains and is known for a more energizing euphoria. The strain’s melon nose is thanks to high levels of the pain-relieving myrcene, with both alpha and beta-pinene in the mix contributing to its anxiety relief.
Cannalope Haze contains moderate THC levels and is rich in cannabigerol (CBG) at between 2%-3%, which may be one of the reasons why it has been reported as having more stimulating effects.
Dream Berry is a fruity cannabis strain reportedly known for its ability to relax users. Thanks to its limonene content, it smells of blueberry and citrus and anecdotally helps smokers manage their stress and depression.
White Queen is related to the White Widow strain, a more medically-focused cannabis variety known for relieving stress. It’s more potent than the average cultivar, so it may be best used as an end-of-day anger management tool. Myrcene and pinene are the dominant terpenes in White Queen.
Lemon Pie reportedly produces an energetic, focused high, likely thanks to its high levels of limonene and pinene. Lemon Pie motivates users to accomplish tasks and enjoy time with loved ones with lemon and citrus aromas.
Champagne Kush is a balanced mix of energizing and relaxing effects culminating in a reported sense of calm well-being. It’s also less potent than average cannabis strains, making it a milder tool for those less tolerant of THC. Linalool, beta-caryophyllene, and myrcene are terpenes often found in Champagne Kush.
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