Scientific studies show that smoking cannabis can reduce short-term levels of anxiety and depression.
However, there’s more to using marijuana to treat anxiety than simply going to your local dispensary, buying a joint, and getting high.
To truly use weed to treat anxiety, you’ll need to factor in a few things like the strain, how you’re ingesting it, and what the root causes of your anxiety are in the first place.
Ready to learn how? Here are our top five tips for choosing the best weed for anxiety.
1. Understand the Difference Between Sativa and Indica
If you’re a seasoned stoner, then you probably already understand the difference between sativa and indica. If you’re new to the game, then you can learn more about cannabis here.
When it comes to indica or sativa for anxiety, there are probably a few things you don’t know.
While most people seem to think that indica strains are more CBD-heavy and sativas are more THC-heavy, industry leader Leafly published a study that shows that simply isn’t true.
What is true, however, is that according to the Washington State study mentioned above, two puffs of any type of cannabis is sufficient enough to reduce anxiety.
The study also found that smoking a CBD-heavy strain (which could be indica or sativa), can augment the positive effects that THC has on your mood.
This means that, when choosing the best weed strain for anxiety, you’ll need to ask your dispensary for a CBD-heavy strain without referring to indica or sativa.
What really matters is that you’re smoking something that doesn’t make your thoughts race.
2. Learn How Your Body Reacts to Different Strains
Once you’ve figured out how to ask for indica for anxiety (or sativa, if that’s your jam), then you’ll need to experiment with a few strains to find out what works best for you.
Some people think they have anxiety when they smoke because they’re smoking a THC-dominant sativa that makes them hyper and anxious.
However, you might just be sensitive to THC in general. Perhaps a sativa works great for your creative mind and helps to improve your mood, but you just need to look for a strain that’s not as THC-heavy as whatever you were smoking before.
Strawberry Cough, for example, is a sativa that keeps you social and awake. However, it doesn’t really cause your mind to race.
It’s a nice balance between energizing and calming, which is great for people who have social anxiety and not generalized anxiety due to PTSD or other related problems.
Pay attention to how your mind and body react. Not every strain is going to work the same for you as it does for someone else.
3. Think About the Root Cause of Your Anxiety
As mentioned, in order to find the best strain for anxiety, you’ll need to figure out where your anxiety is coming from and what causes it.
Do you feel anxious before you smoke or only after? Do you find yourself anxious when you’re alone or only in social situations? What makes you feel the most anxious, your mind or other external factors?
Answering these questions will help you figure out which strain is best for you.
Strawberry Cough is great for mild social anxiety while a strain like ACDC is better for severe social anxiety. It’s got about 20 times more CBD than THC which allows you to really realx while staying clear-headed and focused in social situations.
If your anxiety stems from issues surrounding PTSD, then look for a strain like Girl Scout Cookies (or GSC). People with PTSD tend to have a deficiency of a compound called anandamide, which is part of your memory.
This THC-heavy strain helps replenish that compound and balances out your brain if you suffer from THC. When your brain is balanced, you don’t feel as anxious.
4. Ask a Qualified Medical Marijuana Practicioner
If you live in a state where weed is legal, then you’re going to have to visit a medical marijuana doctor to get your license anywhere.
While you’re there, be honest about what you’re looking to get out of weed. Let the doctor know that you suffer from anxiety and that you’re looking for the best strain for you.
If they’re not much help to you, try searching for a qualified naturopath or herbalist in your area. These kinds of experts understand how different herbs, including cannabis, affect your mind and body.
They’ll be able to see past all of the commercialized indica vs. sativa BS to truly help you find a strain with medical components that help soothe your anxiety.
If you’re into doing your own naturopathic research, start looking at the cannabinoid and terpene profiles of different strains of weed.
Take a look at the cannabinoid wheel, which will help you find the cannabinoid profile you need to get your endocannabinoid system into balance.
5. Ask Others About Their Favorite Strains
If all else fails, then take to the internet to find out what other people are saying about their experiences with weed for anxiety.
Some of the most popular strains include:
- Granddaddy Purple (for a total body, super relaxing high)
- Jack Herer (high in THC but offers calming body effects)
- Cannatonic (great if you’re sensitive to THC)
- Canna-Tsu (super high in CBD which means you feel less “stoned”)
These are just a few recommendations to get you started! Ask friends, people on cannabis forums, and the employees at your local dispensary which strain is best for anxiety and try them out little by little.
Explore the Best Weed for Anxiety
Sometimes the best weed for anxiety isn’t a strain that you might have thought would work for you.
The best part of having a medical marijuana license, or simply living in the 21st century weed-dominated world, is that you can try lots of different strains until you find one that works for you.
If you’ve found a strain that works for you, take a look at some of our cannabis recipes. You’ll learn how to brew weed tea in order to truly help you calm down after a particularly anxious day.