Along with all the other gifts of the cannabis plant, new research is showing that cannabis might be effective against anxiety disorders, the most common form of mental health issue in the United States. A study published early in 2020 points towards what many of us already know: that cannabis can ease the symptoms of this potentially debilitating disorder by reducing the anxiety-causing connections between different regions of the brain.
This is great news, giving us a solid scientific underpinning to what millions of cannabis fans have been saying for years: cannabis is safe, effective, and all-natural medicine. But it also raises questions. Navigating the bewildering world of cannabis varieties can get confusing pretty quickly. What are the best strains for anxiety? Rest easy, we’ll share some of our top picks below.
Cannabis for Anxiety: How Does It Work?
Many of us already depend on THC’s euphoric high to help turn down the dial on anxiety. But as a recent study demonstrates, it may actually be CBD—the second most common cannabinoid—that’s better for helping us manage anxiety and related symptoms like depression and stress.
Why? For some people, high doses of THC sometimes trigger anxiety instead of relieving it. If you’ve ever had too much cannabis and felt racing thoughts or an elevated heart rate, you know exactly what we’re talking about! But moderate doses of THC are more likely to be anxiolytic—an anxiety reducer—because those euphoric sensations tend to boost our mood and outlook.
As for CBD, with research is needed, but what we know so far is promising. In one study designed to mimic the anxiety of public speaking, moderate doses of CBD helped to reduce anxiety. And another study focused on sleep and anxiety found that CBD had a positive, lasting effect on the test subjects’ anxiety.
So, that still leaves us with a question: Which strains are best for anxiety? As promised, here are just a few of our favorites!
Best Strains for Anxiety: Amnesia Haze
As the name suggests, this strain tends to inspire deep forgetfulness! It’s known for a powerful, euphoric onset and a happy, uplifted but relaxed ride. No surprise why this strain is a perennial favorite for fighting anxiety, stress and depression.
Best Strains for Anxiety: CBD Critical Mass
This indica-dominant strain is great for relaxing and easing physical discomfort. Mildly euphoric without delivering a knockout blow, it’s also delicious, offering earthy, woodsy and sweet flavors. Its fans describe the effects as relaxing, tingly and uplifting.
Best Strains for Anxiety: Harlequin
One of the most famous high-CBD strains, Harlequin actually contains a respectable THC content, usually sporting a roughly 5:2 CBD to THC ratio. You’ll feel a typical sativa-dominant uplift, balanced with a mild euphoric effect. That’s one reason it’s beloved for daytime use, while providing gentle and lasting relief from anxiety.
Best Strains for Anxiety: Cannatonic
With a roughly 2:1 CBD/THC ratio, this hybrid strain isn’t actually as sleepy-headed as the name might suggest. Some call it “even-keeled,” offering many medical benefits like relief from anxiety without the nervousness and paranoia that sometimes follow an excess of THC.