Cannabis has a unique relationship with anxiety. While many patients love using marijuana to unwind, others report side effects like paranoia. How could this herb have such a markedly different impact on consumers?
Well, that’s a pretty complicated question to answer in one post. Indeed, dozens of factors contribute to marijuana’s physiological effects. For instance, everyone has a unique metabolism and tolerance level. Additionally, every cannabis strain has a different cannabinoid profile (hence the need for a high-quality tCheck potency scanner!).
While it may take some trial and error to find your ideal cannabis dosage, there are a few cultivars that stand out. To help you on your quest for “canna-calm,” we’ll reveal some of the hottest—or should we say “coolest?”— strains around. But before we get into specific names, let’s review a few common traits found in the world’s calmest cultivars.
Tips For Choosing The Best Cannabis Strain For Anxiety
Is There Really A Difference Between Indica vs. Sativa?
Traditional “weed wisdom” states that anxiety patients should stay away from sativa-heavy strains. Since sativas are often associated with head-rush effects, they could exacerbate anxiety symptoms like racing thoughts, heart palpitations, or paranoia. So, if you’re prone to anxiety, it’s a safe bet to avoid sativa dominant cultivars—at least until you have some experience smoking cannabis.
That being said, there are some cases where sativa strains could be useful for anxiety sufferers. For instance, many high-CBD sativa strains don’t carry a significant risk of psychosis. Indeed, a strain’s THC-to-CBD ratio often tells users more about a strain’s effects than its indica-to-sativa percentage.
Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t bind directly with the brain’s CB1 receptors. Instead, CBD seems to ramp up the production of the mood-altering endocannabinoid anandamide. Interestingly, CBD also appears to block THC signaling in the brain, which further reduces THC’s psychoactive potential.
So, although the sativa-to-indica distinction carries some merit, it won’t tell you everything about how a strain will feel. For a more accurate read on your cultivar’s effects, we recommend using one of tCheck’s potency trackers. Whether you’re testing tinctures, edibles, or flowers, our critically-acclaimed testers will give you a thorough read on your strain’s cannabinoid percentages.
Which Terpenes Are Best For Anxiety Patients?
Accurate cannabinoid percentages will tell you a great deal about a strain’s effects, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore terpenes! Indeed, many mainstream scientists now believe these aromatic compounds may have mood-altering effects.
While many terpenes show great therapeutic potential, beta-caryophyllene deserves a special mention. Fascinating new research suggests beta-caryophyllene acts more like a cannabinoid than a terpene. In fact, some scientists claim beta-caryophyllene binds directly with the brain’s CB1 and CB2 receptors, which may account for its potent anti-anxiety effects.
In addition to beta-caryophyllene, anxiety patients should look for strains with high traces of linalool and myrcene. Both of these terpenes are often associated with relaxing effects. Most often, when you see these terpenes in a strain, it’s safe to assume it leans on the “stoned” side of the spectrum.
Six Calming Cannabis Strains For Anxiety Patients
As promised in the intro, here’s our list of the best cannabis strains for anxiety. Each of the hybrids listed below has a long track record of success banishing stress.
Made with a blend of Northern Lights and OG Kush, Bubba Kush is an indica-heavy hybrid that’s ideal for nighttime use. While Bubba Kush typically doesn’t induce “couchlock sedation,” most users report a substantial “body heavy” high. Not only is this great for relieving mental chatter, it could help patients with aches and pains.
Like most Kush strains, Bubba Kush has a predominately “hashy” flavor with plenty of spicy terpenes like beta-caryophyllene. Arguably, the heavy traces of beta-caryophyllene contribute to Bubba Kush’s relaxing effects.
While Bubba Kush doesn’t have a high CBD percentage, few people report adverse reactions. Indeed, people who take high doses of Bubba Kush often claim this strain helps them overcome insomnia.
Few strains have had as massive an influence on the modern cannabis industry as Cannatonic. Created at Barcelona-based Resin Seeds, Cannatonic was one of the world’s first high-CBD hybrids. Indeed, you could say the current “CBD craze” owes a huge debt to this citrus-forward strain.
While there’s a bit of variation between cultivars, most Cannatonic buds have 10 percent CBD and 6 percent THC content. Obviously, these low levels of THC significantly reduce Cannatonic’s psychoactive potential. Indeed, most people who enjoy this pungent strain report a general sense of relaxation and mild euphoria. As a bonus, Cannatonic is a 50/50 hybrid, which means it’s a-OK for daytime use.
Jack Herer is one of the few sativa-rich strains that’s popular with anxiety patients. Even though this strain has links to the Haze lineage, these sativa effects are well-controlled thanks to the presence of Northern Lights #5. Indeed, people who try this citrusy strain often report a nice balance between cerebral stimulation and full-body relaxation.
Ever since Sensi Seeds developed Jack Herer in the 1980s, it has become a staple in the medical marijuana community. Any patients interested in medicating during the daytime shouldn’t have an issue microdosing with Jack Herer.
Despite its alarming name, AK-47 is an incredibly chill sativa hybrid. Indeed, most people who take AK-47 for the first time are surprised it’s not an indica. While you might experience an initial cerebral high, the “couchlock” effects will soon overwhelm you. Please only take this earthy strain late in the day.
If you frequently struggle with restless nights, then you’ll probably appreciate AK-47’s “tranquilizing” effects.
Customers who are solely interested in high CBD counts should add Remedy to their shopping list. Made with a blend of Afghan Skunk and Cannatonic, this medical-grade hybrid usually has over 12 percent CBD and just 1 percent THC.
With such a low THC percentage, Remedy is “highly” unlikely to get you high. Instead, users report a pleasant sense of relaxation shortly after smoking this earthy strain. Since Remedy is only mildly psychoactive, it’s a tremendous strain for workdays.
Contrary to popular belief, Blue Dream is not a sedating strain. Indeed, this 50/50 hybrid is a remarkably well-balanced strain with a typical ratio of 60/40 sativa-to-indica. With THC typically in the high teens, this hybrid offers users a potent head-rush high that’s followed by a relaxing body buzz. Moderate traces of CBD also help reduce Blue Dream’s risk of adverse side effects.
As a plus, Blue Dream has a delightfully fruity flavor profile. Anyone who loves sugar-sweet strains will fall for Blue Dream’s “berrylicious” aromatics.
Take The Stress Out Of Cannabis Scanning With tCheck’s Potency Testers!
If you’re using cannabis for anxiety, it’s essential to know the potency of your chosen strain. Only an accurate cannabinoid test will let you know how much of a given flower, edible, or tincture is right for your needs. You could also use this useful data to track your tolerance level and dosage requirements.
Thankfully, you don’t have to send your cannabis to fancy labs for an expensive screening. With one of tCheck’s potency testers, you could get a clear read on your cannabis goods without leaving home. Be sure to check out all of tCheck’s hi-tech equipment and accessories for your cannabis scanning needs.
*Originally published March 4, 2021. Updated October 11, 2021.