The best cannabis strains for alleviating anxiety include Cannatonic, ACDC, Canna-tsu, Trident, Jack Herer, and Haoma. While cannabis in general can be very effective in treating anxiety, results may vary widely based on the strain and dosage.
I remember the first time I realized I had anxiety.
It was during finals in college. To make matters worse, my grandma had fallen sick.
The stress built up until it became a full-blown anxiety attack complete with nervousness, restlessness, and the feeling of impending doom.
It was a terrifying experience.
After that, I had a few other similar incidents. I got myself checked and started taking medication.
There was one thing that helped me out a lot: using cannabis-based products. They helped me calm down and bring my focus back.
Today I receive medical and psychological care for my condition, but I also use cannabis products because they help control my symptoms.
Not everyone knows that cannabis products can help lessen anxiety symptoms. In this article, we’ll talk about how cannabis and products made from it can help treat those with anxiety symptoms.
What Type Of Cannabis Helps Treat Anxiety Symptoms?
Cannabis is a substance derived from the flowering plants of the genus cannabaceae. It commonly goes by the name Cannabis sativa.
Originally from Asia, cannabis can be identified by the mature plant having leaves with several fingers, flowers, and a height of up to 13 feet.
These plants can be used for both recreational purposes and healing. They contain cannabinoids, which are the substances that give them medicinal properties.
The cannabis plants we talk about in this article are suited for medical purposes. They contain combinations of the phytocannabinoids tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC contains the substances responsible for the psychoactive effects on the body, causing the user to feel a certain “high,” whereas CBD is devoid of any psychoactive effects and can be used for various therapeutic purposes.
What Effects Does Cannabis Have On The Brain And Body?
Cannabis has both positive and negative effects on the body. Your reaction largely depends on:
- How much you consume.
- The kind of substance you consume.
- How often you consume it.
The following are some of the effects cannabis has on the brain and body.
Feeling Of Elation
The cannabinoid THC moves into the bloodstream when smoked or eaten and travels quickly throughout the body to the brain. Almost immediately, the user starts to feel the effects.
This produces a feeling of elation. Many users will have a sense of exhilaration and relaxation.
There may also be other sensations like laughing, change in the perception of time, and increased appetite, which can vary drastically between people.
Feeling Of Relaxation
Cannabis can also cause a feeling of relaxation. It does this by affecting the cannabinoid receptors in the body. Often, low doses of THC are linked with more feelings of relaxation, but once the dose increases, it can cause negative effects such as negative mood.
Alterations In Senses
The chemical structure of THC is similar to a chemical in the brain called anandamide. Anandamide acts as a neurotransmitter that sends chemical messages across nerve cells. They have an impact on parts of the brain that control pleasure, memory, thought, attention, movement, coordination, and sensory and temporal perception.
Because THC is similar to anandamide, it adheres to the cannabinoid receptors on neurons in certain brain locations and activates them, resulting in effects such as alteration of senses.
As a result, there may be sensations such as heightened sensory awareness. For example, colors may appear brighter. It may improve concentration and also cause a feeling of enhanced hearing ability. An excess intake, however, may cause effects like dizziness and nausea.
How Do Cannabis Products Help Treat Anxiety?
Anxiety can occur due to multiple factors. They may be:
Cannabis has been known to reduce anxiety in some users, and studies show these effects.
Preclinical evidence has shown that cannabis can help generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder when administered acutely.
A study conducted between 2016 to 2019 in real-time users of cannabis showed that there was a decrease in the symptoms of anxiety, agitation, irritability, and general stress in 95.51% of cannabis use sessions.
These same users also had some side effects such as feeling anxious, irritable, paranoid, or restless.
However, most effects were positive, such as feelings of comfort, a relaxed sensation, and optimism.
This study showed that a higher amount of THC in the cannabis that was consumed correlated to greater relief of symptoms of anxiety, with every percentage point increase in THC levels the symptom relief improved by 0.02 points.
Similarly, cannabidiol, another substrate of cannabis, has shown great potential in helping treat anxiety.
CBD can interact with various receptors that regulate fear and anxiety-related behaviors, such as the cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1R), the serotonin 5-HT1A receptor, and the transient receptor potential (TRP) vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) receptor. Its effects on these receptors and the endocannabinoid system have been found to produce anxiety-reducing effects.
In addition, CBD oil was found to improve anxiety symptoms in patients with social anxiety disorder in a 2010 study. Participants’ brains were scanned, and it was discovered that CBD oil caused alterations in blood flow to areas of the brain connected to anxiety.
CBD is much more well-tolerated compared to THC and can work as an effective anxiolytic, or anxiety-reducing, alternative. Combining them in different formulations may help mitigate anxiety and other psychological symptoms even more.
These cannabis formulas containing both CBD and THC in various combinations can be very helpful in treating not only anxiety but also several other health conditions.
Like most things, cannabis’ effects are not without a downside. It has been known to cause several side effects, especially if it is taken in high doses or mixed with other psychoactive substances, some prescription drugs, or alcohol.
It may even worsen the side effects of other substances it is taken with. Some of the side effects of cannabis are:
- Slowed reaction time
- Worsening of anxiety
- Increased heart rate
- Decreased blood pressure
However, for many users, the benefits outweigh potential negatives, particularly those who are seeking an effective way to reduce their anxiety symptoms.
The 6 Best Cannabis Strains For Treating Anxiety
It’s important to know which cannabis strains can help you deal with anxiety.
It has a low THC level and high CBD content. Cannatonic is made by crossing the MK Ultra and G13 Haze. This can provide a relaxing sensation.
This strain provides a pleasant, short-lasting high that can be both energizing and very soothing. Cannatonic is used by medical marijuana patients to relieve pain, muscle spasms, anxiety, and migraines. This strain has a sweet citrus flavor and a slightly earthy odor.
These are extremely effective to decrease anxiety levels. ACDC has a high level of CBD. It is a marijuana strain derived from a Cannatonic phenotype.
ACDC has very minimal intoxicating properties. This strain is used by medical marijuana patients to treat a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety, epilepsy, and the side effects of chemotherapy.
Canna-Tsu is hybrid cannabis that comes from two CBD-rich marijuana strains — Cannatonic, and sour tsunami. This combination of cannabis helps to increase focus and lessen anxiety.
It has a high-CBD, low-THC cannabinoid feature, which causes the users to maintain clarity without a lot of psychoactive side effects. It can also help in treating pain, inflammation, and seizures.
Trident is a hybrid strain, containing a high level of CBD. It has a low THC level, about 6%. This strain works as an effective stress reliever. It can also decrease symptoms of pain while maintaining focus and clarity.
Its low levels of THC cause relatively few psychoactive side effects. It is effective in treating epilepsy, muscle spasms, chronic pain, muscle tension, stress, depression, and inflammation.
It is also recommended for mitigating the negative side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Excess use of it, however, can cause some side effects such as worsening paranoia.
5. Jack Herer
Jack Herer is a sativa-dominant marijuana strain. It has a THC content of around 18-24%. This strain is made by combining Shiva Skunk (indica), Northern Lights #5 (indica), and Haze (sativa) and contains 55% sativa and 45% indica flower.
This strain can uplift spirits and provide energy. It is also effective in treating depression, chronic stress, PTSD, and increasing appetite. However, it may also cause side effects such as dry mouth and dry eyes.
Haoma is a cross between The Purps and Afghani and has 70% indica strain. It has high levels of THC and CBD. Haoma has calming and stress-relieving effects. It is also effective in inflammation and muscle spasms. It is highly effective in treating anxiety.
The 5 Best Cannabis-based Products for Treating Anxiety
Here are some cannabis-based products that can help treat anxiety.
The Synergy-19 tincture contains non-decarboxylated cannabichromenic acid (CBCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA). One of the foundational compounds of the cannabinoid family is cannabigerolic acid, or CBGa.
This compound is the base of all cannabinoids and is converted into a combination of the three major compounds, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa), CBCA, and CBDA.
CBDA is further decarboxylated to form CBD. This action is instantaneous, occurring as soon as the flower is smoked or vaped. This conversion can also occur slowly with the drying of the plant in the sun or at room temperature.
Because this product contains a high level of CBDA, it is potent with CBD. Hence, it can promote relaxation, reduce restlessness, and even provide protection from infections.
Unwind tincture is coconut oil infused with Cannabis indica. It is 100% organic, and it’s a flower-only oil derived from heavy purple indica. This THC-rich product has multiple therapeutic uses. However, this tincture is most effective in treating anxiety.
It can also help with pain relief and mood stabilization, insomnia, chronic pain, inflammation, and relaxation. And it is useful for people with painful and chronic diseases who require different drug combinations for pain management.
These gummies are the edible form of the tincture. You can carry them anywhere and pop one when convenient. Made for convenience, it has all the features of a tincture, meaning it can help with anxiety, mood stabilization, insomnia, and chronic pain.
Unwind gummies are made using fruit sugar rather than white sugar, making it more healthy to consume. They’re especially good for users who do not like taking tinctures. These gummies consist of 20mg of indica THC and are a delicious and chewy solution for promoting relaxation and pain relief.
These products are meant for vaping and can help you feel relaxed. Restore has a myriad of uses, which it provides without causing any side effects of THC. These vape cartridges are derived solely from ACDC. It is a 100% organic, flower-only oil.
Restore contains mainly CBD. It can be used individually for symptomatic treatment and can be ideal for those who are sensitive to THC. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties and is extremely helpful in lessening the side effects of chemotherapy during cancer treatment.
This tincture is an infusion made with organic coconut oil. It has equal amounts of THC indica and CBD flowers, and it works as an effective anti-anxiety and pain-relieving medication. The tincture is good for the whole body’s wellness and can even prevent infections and mitigate symptoms of chronic pain.
Synergy PM was designed to stimulate the body. The THC and CBD in this product can work together to create the entourage effect, where the two cannabinoids work synergistically to bring out more positive effects of the cannabis plant than they could individually.
Cannabis, along with its cannabinoids, can be ideal in the treatment of anxiety and help to mitigate its symptoms. However, the effects largely depend on doses and the types of cannabis products used. So always talk to your doctor first and use them with caution.
About The Author
Mingma Sony is a board-certified clinical doctor and currently works as a medical officer in the emergency department at Mahendra Narayan Nidhi Hospital and helps many patients daily.