Now that marijuana is legal for medical and/or recreational use in more than half of all states and other places around the world, more and more people are discovering the health benefits offered by this truly wonderful, natural plant. There are hundreds of strains, so choosing the best weed for anxiety can seem a bit overwhelming. The following tips will help you make the right choice.
THC vs. CBD
When choosing a strain of weed for Anxiety, you should understand the differences in THC and CBD and how they affect you. Both compounds are cannabinoids, which means they bind with cannabinoid receptors in an area of the brain that helps regulate mood, pain reception, and even Appetite. However, while THC has psychoactive effects in the Brain, CBD does not. Some strains of marijuana are higher in THC; others have a greater concentration of CBD. For those suffering with anxiety, strains with higher concentrations of CBD are more suited for medicinal use.
- THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, and it binds especially well with cannabinoid receptors. If you think of these receptors as a round hole, THC fits perfectly inside, which allows it to fully activate those receptors and stimulate the body in a variety of ways, which is why TCH is known for its psychoactive properties. THC creates the “high” sensation, which may include things like relaxation, altered or heightened senses, increased appetite, sleepiness, and in some strains, even euphoria. Unfortunately, it can also cause paranoia, which can exacerbate anxiety.
- CBD stands for cannabidiol, which doesn’t bind as well with cannabinoid receptors. In fact, it’s much like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Because of this, it doesn’t produce the same effects as THC, but that doesn’t mean it’s useless. In fact, CBD provides many of the same physical and mental benefits as THC, but without the sometimes intoxicating “high”. CBD has been shown to counteract some of the psychoactive effects of THC, as well, per numerous clinical studies and trials.
Indica vs. Sativa
While there are hundreds of strains available today, these all come from two species of the marijuana plant: Cannabis indica or Cannabis sativa. The terms “indica” and “sativa” are often used to describe the psychoactive properties of each species, and while both can be mind-altering, indica and sativa alter the mind in completely different ways. When it comes to choosing weed for anxiety, both indica and sativa can be beneficial, but it’s important to consider the effects of each before you make your selection.
- Cannabis Sativa – Cannabis sativa is quite possibly the most well-known marijuana species. The plant is tall and lean, and the leaves are typically light in color. These plants grow naturally in South and Central America, as well as parts of Southeast Asia. The aroma is light and fruity, and it may even taste like floral perfume when smoked, vaporized, or added to edibles. Sativa is considered the stimulating species; in fact, many say it has the same effect as the Caffeine in a cup of coffee. People often reach for sativa during the day as it provides a calming, yet stimulating effect.
For most people, a sativa plant with a high concentration of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, isn’t the best type of weed for anxiety. It can cause racing thoughts in anxious people, which may only exacerbate the issue. Some strains of Cannabis sativa, including Jack Herer and Northern Lights, are a bit different. They don’t contain as much THC as their counterparts, and they produce a euphoric, relaxed state that can alleviate anxiety symptoms within minutes – just don’t smoke too much!
- Cannabis Indica – Cannabis indica is slowly gaining more popularity as marijuana becomes more accepted around the world. Indica strains are typically short, bushy plants with dark leaves. They grow in a variety of climates because they’re heartier plants, and the aroma is what many would call “skunky”, but in a pleasant way. Indica can be smoked, vaporized, or added to edibles just like sativa, and it is known primarily for its calming effect due to its high concentration of THC. While sativa is comparable to drinking a cup of coffee, indica is comparable to taking a sleeping pill or an anti-anxiety medication.
Indica also contains a great deal of CBD, which is good news for those who have significant anxiety. Certain strains with the right balance of CBD to THC allow sufferers to experience the relaxing, calming properties without fear of paranoia or extreme intoxication. CBD also has numerous medical benefits, all of which have been demonstrated in clinical trials. It can reduce nausea, treat glaucoma, prevent certain types of cancers and slow the growth of others, and even provide relief from chronic pain.
Thanks to technologies both old and new, it is now possible to cross-breed indica and sativa strains to enjoy the best of both worlds. There are numerous hybrids out there; some of them offer unsurpassed pain relief, while others are amazing for people who deal with a lack of appetite regularly. One of these hybrid strains, known as Cannatonic, is the go-to strain of weed for anxiety. Its CBD to THC ratio is a perfectly balanced 1:1, which means you can enjoy the benefits of both compounds without fear of negative effects like paranoia and racing thoughts.
What’s more, it contains a very high concentration of yet another compound, called myrcene, which is a terpene that is found in almost all strains of marijuana in very small amounts. Studies have found that myrcene is a major contributor to relaxation and a general sense of calm, which makes it the number one choice among those who deal with social and generalized anxiety alike.
Choosing the Right Weed for Anxiety
Now that you’re aware of the differences between indica and sativa, and you understand the effects of CBD and THC, you can put this information together and find the perfect weed for anxiety that suits your personal needs and preferences. There are a few key points to remember.
- Indica strains are almost always more effective than sativa strains at remedying the symptoms of anxiety, but they can cause a feeling of grogginess or sleepiness. Reserve indica strains for when you have time to fully relax or get to sleep, such as in the evenings.
- High-THC, low-CBD strains of weed for anxiety are not recommended. Look for strains that contain equal amounts of CBD and THC, or strains that contain more CBD than THC.
- For daytime anxiety relief, look for sativa strains that contain more CBD than THC. These will not create the same sleepy feeling as indica strains, but they will help relieve the symptoms of anxiety.
- Hybrid strains offer a well-balanced sense of calm, and they are by far the most popular choices among anxiety sufferers.
Some Strains to Try
Aside from Cannatonic, which is by far the most popular weed for anxiety, there are several other strains that may benefit you and alleviate your symptoms.
- AC DC – This is a high-CBD strain that doesn’t contain much THC, so it can produce a relaxed feeling without leaving you feeling foggy.
- Strawberry Cough – This is a sativa strain that is incredibly popular for anxiety relief, especially among those who prefer to remain focused and creative.
- Blue Dream – Blue Dream is a hybrid strain of weed for anxiety that creates what many people refer to as a “social” high. Essentially, it’s the perfect choice for those who deal with social anxiety.
- Cherry Pie – Cherry Pie is an indica-dominant hybrid that clears and focuses the mind, which can help alleviate irrational fears and paranoia.
- Granddaddy Purple – Finally, this indica-dominant hybrid produces strong psychoactive effects, but doesn’t promote paranoia thanks to its near-perfect THC and CBD balance.
There’s nothing quite like weed for anxiety, and clinical trials have shown that the right strains can relieve the symptoms of anxiety even better than common drugs like Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium. The best part is that your body doesn’t become physically addicted to marijuana, so you don’t have to fear chemical dependency, which may only add to your anxiety.
You can also read about 9 amazing health benefits of marijuana here.