What are the best strains of weed for treating anxiety? Answering this question means knowing how cannabis works as a treatment for anxiety and other mood disorders.
How Does Cannabis Treat Anxiety?
Cannabis can be an effective remedy for anxiety. Studies continue to attest to the therapeutic effects of cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive cannabinoid.
Misinformation and misunderstanding persist about marijuana and anxiety.
For the average recreational user, getting high can produce some anxious feelings. Usually, these are no big deal. Some, however, experience acute anxiety and paranoia.
As a result, cannabis gets a bad reputation as a treatment for anxiety. Many people think that it makes the disorder worse.
However, it’s not cannabis itself, but THC that’s to blame. THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid that makes users high.
But it stimulates the part of the brain responsible for “fight or flight” fear responses. CBD, however, doesn’t have this effect.
It serves as a counterweight to the effects of THC. And that’s why studies which focus on CBD have found that it’s an effective treatment for anxiety, PTSD, and other mood disorders.
The Best Strains for Treating Anxiety
Therefore, the best cannabis strains for treating anxiety are strains that have a low THC and high CBD content. Otherwise, strains that achieve a harmonious balance of THC and CBD can also work well to reduce anxiety.
Granddaddy Purple (GDP) is a legendary indica strain, known for it’s dark green and purple color and rich, berry-like taste.
Heavy indicas like GDP are popular, effective choices for treating anxiety. Indicas, in contrast to sativas, usually contribute to a more relaxed mental state.
GDP has a high cannabidiol content. Stat sheets typically put it at 7-8 percent CBD, which is relatively high. However, the ‘Purp has a high THC content, as well.
So if you’re susceptible to anxious feelings when you consume THC, make sure to experiment slowly to achieve your optimal experience.
If high-CBD indicas work well for treating your anxiety, but you’re looking for something with lower THC, look no further.
Purple Urkle offers many of the tastes and sensations of GDP, but with the THC dialed back. CBD remains about the same, but THC in this strain can be up to 10 percent lower.
While many folks find that indicas provide a more chilled out experience than uplifting sativas, that doesn’t mean that sativas can’t be some of the best strains for treating anxiety.
For those who suffer from social anxiety, Strawberry Cough is a pure sativa that can help.
Even though it’s a sativa, Strawberry cough achieves an incredible balance of THC and CBD.
That outer balance can bring you an inner sense of calm and balance in your mental life, helping to ease anxiety through uplift and positive thinking.
Jack is another sativa strain that might over-stimulate those who are hyper-sensitive to anxiety.
But this strains genetics make it one of the best sativas for treating anxiety.
One of Jack’s parents is Northern Lights, which is famous for its ability to reduce muscle tension.
Anxiety is a tricky, elusive problem. But often a calm body can help calm the mind. And that’s where Jack Herer shines.
Canna-Tsu is a hybrid strain that’s been popularized by those in the medical cannabis community looking to keep a clear head.
This strain is great for anxiety because of its high CBD content.
It’s ultra-rich CBD profile is something it inherited from its parents: two likewise CBD-heavy strains called Cannatonic and Sour Tsunami.
But Canna-Tsu is also a very low-THC strain. This makes its overall psychoactive effect mellow, allowing users to maintain mental clarity.
Girl Scout Cookies
Girl Scout Cookies is another hybrid strain that’s known the world over for its extremely high THC content.
Now, that trait may make the idea of using this strain to treat anxiety a bit counter-intuitive.
But the high THC content of this strain paradoxically makes it an ideal medicine for treating more serious forms of anxiety and stress like PTSD.
People with PTSD suffer from a natural deficiency of a hormone called anandamide. THC is not only similar to anandamide; it can stimulate its production, making this strain a godsend for PTSD patients.
Now we’re getting into strains that have been specifically bred to yield ultra-high CBD concentrations.
Of these mega-CBD strains, Charlotte’s Web is likely the most famous. In fact, it was designed as a CBD-only strain, which makes it unique as medical strain.
Genetically, Charlotte’s Web is derived from hemp. This means it has virtually no THC, and so users experience slim to no psychoactive effects.
For folks who are extremely sensitive to the anxiousness produced by THC, Charlotte’s Web is the best strain for treating anxiety out there.
With Critical Mass, you’re getting one of the highest THC strains available today: 22 percent. It’s basically the complete opposite of Charlotte’s web.
But the high THC content of Critical Mass goes hand in hand with its boast-worthy CBD stats.
The high concentration of both of these cannabinoids resonates off of each other. The result is what cannabis experts have called the “entourage effect.”
The entourage effect is a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Therapeutically, the effect optimizes the medicinal properties of cannabis. Anxiety patients benefit from the cohesive effects of this strain.
Harlequin gets its name from its bright, variegated colors, giving it the appearance of a Harlequin’s coat.
And like the popularity of its commedia del l’arte namesake, Harlequin is one of the most popular CBD strains today.
In lab tests, the strain presents a THC to CBD ratio of 5 to 2. That’s an ideal balance for treating anxiety.
The THC/CBD balance provides a mood lift and keeps you mentally alert, while the CBD acts on your neural pathways to sooth stress and fear.
If your anxiety has got the best of you, sometimes there’s no getting away from it except through rest.
In that case, you want a strain that won’t recharge your stress levels or tug at your anxiety.
Afghan Kush is a pure indica that hails from the arid regions of the Hindu Kush mountains between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The intense indica effects of this strain induce heavy relaxation and sedation, which can help with anxiety related to insomnia.
The name of this strain pays homage to the great cannabis research Raphael Mechoulam. He and his team were the first to successfully isolate and synthesize the CBD cannabinoid.
Fittingly, this sativa strain provides a heavy dose of CBD, with an 18:1 ratio with THC.
That one percent THC content will stay out of the way of CBD’s therapeutic effects.
Medical patients choose this strain not just for anxiety relief, but also to treat insomnia and even digestive problems.
The strain that is most similar to the CBD-only Charlotte’s Web is Remedy. It’s a strong indica strain that has been bred to produce almost no THC.
In fact, Remedy is the most CBD-potent indica strain available. It has little to no psychoactive side-effects, which is ideal for medical cannabis users.
The ratio of THC to CBD in Remedy usually falls in the ballpark of about 1:15.
Remedy has been used in studies documenting its effectiveness halting seizures, reducing pain and inflammation, and of course, treating anxiety and stress.
ACDC is another hybrid strain with chart-topping CBD content. As it stands, geneticist and breeders have found that hybrid strains seem to provide the highest CBD content. But they aren’t sure why.
Still, ACDC is one of the best strains for treating anxiety because of it’s 19 percent CBD content.
And like Charlotte’s Web and Remedy, ACDC has virtually no THC content. This means patients treating anxiety with this strain won’t have to deal with undesirable psychoactive side effects.
In the medical cannabis community, ACDC is usually the strain doctors recommend for treating the symptoms of chemotherapy.
Beyond this application, however, ACDC has gained a reputation as a strain which provides a relaxed body feel and a sense of mental well-being.
Blue Dream is America’s most popular strain. And no wonder, it happens to be one of the best hybrids for treating anxiety.
Blue Dream is high in THC, but like other THC-rich strains that work well against anxiety, Blue Dream achieves harmony via the entourage effect.
The energetic sativa side is uplifting without provoking a fear or stress response, thanks to the CBD counterweight of the indica elements, which bring on total body relaxation and a calmness.
While this strain can compete with some of the highest CBD strains out there today, for some reason, it doesn’t get much press.
Named after the dearly departed medical cannabis activist and CBD pioneer Lawrence Ringo, this hybrid strain peaks at 24:1 CBD to THC ratio.
Ringo’s Gift is well-suited to dealing with stress and anxiety that attacks the body. If you want to attack your anxiety while still tackling your to-do list, Ringo’s gift is one of the best and rarer strains to try.
The strain’s heavy CBD content relaxes muscles and eases tension, but without inducing the couch-lock typical of higher-THC indicas.
Anxiety-relief is a specialty of this hybrid CBD-rich strand. The name would imply that users should expect to find themselves in a catatonic state after smoking Cannatonic.
Thankfully, the reality is much different. Cannatonic is more uplifting than a sedative, which makes it a flexible strain for medical and recreational use.
The strain is typically reserved for treating muscle spasms and aches, as well as migraines.
But the strain is also one of the best for treating anxiety, in addition to a number of other psychological symptoms.
As its name suggests, One-to-One is a strain that has achieved a perfect parity of CBD and THC.
The perfect therapeutic combination means that this strain produces one of the most neutral available.
The buzz is mellow, with decreased psychoactive effects, and a full-body calm.
The relaxation is balanced and steady, but won’t zap you of your energy. One-to-One is a great strain for treating low-level stress and the anxiety of the working week.
Wrap It Up
Anxiety is a complex symptom that everyone experiences and deals with in their ways.
When it comes to treating anxiety with cannabis, it’s important to check in with yourself and your reactions.
While high-CBD strains have proven to be more effective at treating anxiety and stress, there’s no telling how you specifically will respond to a particular strain.
These 17 strains are the best for treating anxiety, but they work best as part of a comprehensive mental wellness plan.