May 24, 2023 01:00 pm ETEstimated Read Time: 5 Minutes
Using cannabis to help combatanxiety is a tricky business. Studies have given us significant evidence that cannabis can be used to help cope with anxiety and because anxiety is so common, that’s an extremely welcome piece of information. In fact, 72% of daily cannabis users reported consumption to relax or relieve tension and 58% of medical patients report using cannabis specifically for anxiety.
Anxiety is a natural human function and just about everyone has experienced it to a mild degree, while some find their lives severely disrupted by it. But it’s a two-edged sword because, in addition to fighting the effects of anxiety, cannabis has also been known to exacerbate it. And if you’re a person who’s struggling to manage anxiety, that’s the last thing in the world you want to hear.
For many, it might be enough to turn them off to the idea of even trying cannabis—a shame because they might be shutting the door on something that could really help them. The answer to the conundrum is to consume cannabis mindfully. Adding a scientific lens to examine a product’s CBD, THC, and terpene content can help you make a more informed decision.
Rather than just picking up any old cannabis product and hoping for the best, you want to select something that’s known to be good for anxiety. According to a recent study, people self-reported that high THC and high CBD together relieved the most stress. There are also many terpenes that support and complement cannabis’ anti-anxiety effects. While finding a 1:1 can be very difficult, here are a few of the best of the bunch.
Cannabis Strains That Can Help Anxiety
HighTHC potency is what usually leads to a spike in anxiety. But that doesn’t mean you can’t smoke something potent and still feel mellow. Granddaddy Purple is your ticket to chill-town. With 20% THC, it’ll definitely have you feeling high, but the strain’s sedative properties will relax your muscles and calm your racing thoughts. Granddaddy Purple is one of the most popular and commonly recommended strains for those struggling with anxiety.
If you’re newer to cannabis use, or you want to keep your THC content a little more conservative, Sour OG’s roughly 15% might be the right fit for you. This award-winning strain is a great way to relax without causing sleepiness, so you can grab some Sour OG early in the day and count on remaining productive.
AC-DC is aCBD-dominant strain, making it an excellent choice for those looking to try to combat their anxiety with cannabis but concerned about the paranoia-inducing effects of THC. Without getting too high, this strain allows its users to focus on the other benefits it has to offer—a clear mind and body relaxation that will help you let go of stress at the end of a long day. This strain is also uniquely high in camphene, a terpene that may also relieve nerve pain and reduce triglycerides which could also be helpful for many.
It’s important to know the THC content of whatever strain you choose, as well as whether it’s an Indica dominant or a Sativa dominant strain. But another important detail is theterpenes in the strain.
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In addition to impacting the flavor and the aroma of your cannabis, the terpenes can play a role in the effect cannabis has on your body. Amnesia Haze features a high dose oflimonene, a terpene also found in lemon peels and citrus fruits.
Notably, it also has other anxiety-relieving terpenes like geraniol, pinene, beta-caryophyllene, and nerolidol. Amnesia Haze’s high THC content will give you a nice head high, but the limonene will function as a mood lifter to help with your anxiety.
Take further advantage of terpenes with Chocolate Chunk, which featuresmyrcene andcaryophyllene. Caryophyllene is known to help reduce anxiety, while myrcene functions as a muscle relaxant and helps to promote sleep.
What that means is that you shouldn’t use Chocolate Chunk unless you’re ready to either go to bed or else lie around dozing for a while—not at the start of your day, and certainly not before operating heavy machinery! But if your anxiety troubles you at night, in particular, you might find that this blend is just the solution you need.
If you have any other favorite strains that help combat anxiety, we would love to hear about them in the comments!
Terpenes to look for reducing anxiety
Below is a list of terpenes that has either preclinical or clinical research to back their anxiety-relieving effects:
These may reduce anxiety but also be a bit sedating if taken in a high dose (great for nighttime, though!). Look for these in flower or oil products if such information is available.
Note: The content on this page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be professional medical advice. Do not attempt to self-diagnose or prescribe treatment based on the information provided. Always consult a physician before making any decision on the treatment of a medical condition.
This article was originally published on 12/31/20. Updated on 5/24/23.
Kat Helgeson comes from a ten year career in social media marketing and content creation. She takes pride in her ability to communicate the culture and values of an organization via the written word. Kat is also the author of numerous books for young adults. Her titles have received the Junior Library Guild Award, the Bank Street College of Education Best Books of the Year Distinction, and been featured on the Illinois Reads selection list. Her work has been translated into Dutch and German.
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