With more states and countries jumping on the medicinal cannabis bandwagon, and many others fully legalizing it for adult use also, there’s an increase in demand for knowledge on which strains can help combat some of the more popular ailments experienced in our everyday lives. Anxiety, stress and depression included.
Since I started writing for Weedist, I’ve had many people ask me, “What strains will help with my anxiety and relieve my stress?” So I decided to come up with a list, and after much careful consideration, here’s what I’ve come up with.
Please note that I have personally smoked or eaten all of these strains and they do not affect me in a negative way (i.e. induce anxiety, paranoia or nervousness), but that does not mean that this will be true for all. So as a disclaimer, please know your limits and find a professional (medical doctor, or even better, a medical cannabis doctor) for any further questions.
Based on many years of personal research on this topic, the answer lies in the cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are the chemicals of the cannabis plant that give medicinal and sometimes psychoactive effects. However, some have zero effect on how “high” you can get after smoking or eating. CBD is one of those cannabinoids, opposite the psychoactive chemical, THC. And the reason why they work so well is that our bodies already have a natural endocannabinoid system in which these chemicals can act upon (the CB-1 receptors).
Science has shown that the use of CBD products, such as cannabis or hemp, have an effect on this system, and in turn can reduce stress, anxiety and depression if the dosing is right per user. I say that because it also can have an antagonistic effect and cause anxiety or other unwanted feelings if the dosing of CBD or THC is too high. This is where getting to know your medicine and what is in it becomes very important.
THC and CBD are two of the most concentrated forms of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, and are on opposite sides of the spectrum. For instance, strains usually high in CBD are low in THC, and vice versa. That is good news for those looking for a strain to help alleviate anxiety and stress, and now many genetics companies and growers are trying to breed more high CBD strains to help those in need.
Charlotte’s Web and Harlequin are prime examples of these high CBD strains.
Charlotte’s Web is a sativa dominant strain that tests on average at a whopping 20% CBD with little THC, at less than 0.5%. This strain also has a beautiful story and is named after a girl named Charlotte who has Dravet syndrome and uses medicinal cannabis to treat it.
Harlequin, another personal favorite of mine and also a sativa dominant hybrid, comes in with an average of 11-13% CBD and a higher THC ratio of about 3-7%. Both strains are very good candidates for those who desire the medicinal value of CBD without the psychoactive properties of THC.
Then there are a few strains I can recommend to people who have a slightly higher tolerance for THC levels, including Maui Wowie, Girl Scout Cookies aka GSC, and Chocolate Chunk. I give these three as examples because it’s also been discovered that indica strains hold a high THC:CBD ratio, whereas sativa strains are known to be more potent in their THC levels, ranging up to 25% and higher, with a very minimal CBD level of a mere 0.5%-2%. These three strains are known to have 15% and higher THC concentration and lower CBD levels, so use should be tempered to individual tolerance.
Maui Wowie is a sativa strain known to help relieve stress with a mellow body buzz, but increased creative mental energy. Girl Scout Cookies is a hybrid strain becoming popular among veterans and people who face PTSD and social anxiety. And Chocolate Chunk, a pure indica, is known for its very potent sedative effects, but rarely, if ever, comes with a paranoia or nervous inclination.
So there you have it. Those are the top five strains that I can personally say help me with my anxiety and stress levels. I hope this encourages you to find which medicine best suits you.
Check out other posts from Weedist’s My Favorite Strains series!
I've been wanting to try the GSC for a while, especially now that I realize it could help so much with my stress and anxiety. Thank you so much for writing this article!
@jkfaulkner85 You're so incredibly welcome. I am so glad to hear. I find a lot of relief with the various GSC strains, but remember, there are many new ones coming out, so find a good dispensary and ask some questions and try and find the right strain for you. However, I know there are many veterans that claim GSC to be their saving grace from anxiety from my readings. I wish you the best of luck and great health.