Cannabis strains for anxiety: here are five of the best

We’ll give you some suggestions for cannabis strains, you anxious soul, but first a little science

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Which cannabis strains are most effective for treating anxiety?

We know, we know: you clicked on this article looking for the answer to that question. But bear with us for just a moment. Oh, we’ll give you some suggestions for cannabis strains, you anxious soul. First, though, a little science. Very little. We promise.

Why does cannabis affect us in all the various (and usually wonderful) ways that it does? It’s because the human body produces  endocannabinoids, naturally occurring cannabis-like molecules. According to UCLA Health, when scientists discovered these molecules in the 1990s, they began to understand that cannabis exerted its effects, in part, by mimicking endocannabinoids: “It appears the main function of the endocannabinoid system is to maintain bodily homeostasis—biological harmony in response to changes in the environment.”

In other words, when you feel stressed out or anxious, your endocannabinoid system helps settle your nerves. In a 2017 paper University of Washington research consultant Susan A. Stoner noted that “Both for anxiety and fear memory processing, the endocannabinoid system is thought to ensure an appropriate reaction to stressful events and to serve as a regulatory buffer system for emotional responses.”

And, to make a long story short, cannabis can help with that. The key is figuring out exactly which cannabis strains are best for quelling anxiety. Read on, my anxious friend…

Northern Lights

Northern Lights is one of the best cannabis strains for anxiety
Northern Lights. Photo by the Grow House Online Dispensary

WHAT THEY SAY: According to the Grow House Online Dispensary, “Northern Lights is one of the most famous and sought-after Indica strains of all time. Considered a descendant of Afghani and Thai landrace strains, the exact origin of Northern Lights remains a bit of a mystery.”

WHAT WE SAY: Our database of strains informs us that Northern Lights buds are “famous for their psychoactive effects. This is, however, a true indica, and hits with a heavy and sedative body high that’s great for drifting off to sleep”.

PROS

  • Renowned for its pain-relieving properties
  • Reportedly an effective mood stabilizer
  • Promotes relaxation

CONS

  • Can possibly promote a little too much relaxation to make for a good daytime strain
  • Did we mention that Northern Lights can be sedating?
  • Seriously, sedation seems to be its sole negative aspect, and that’s really only a con if it’s not the effect you’re after

Strawberry Cough

Strawberry Cough is one of the best cannabis strains for anxiety
Strawberry Cough. Photo by Online Dispensary Canada

WHAT THEY SAY: Online Dispensary Canada’s listing for Strawberry Cough says that it delivers a “great head high without too much burnout, and great for when you need to be around people and want to socialize.”

WHAT WE SAY: According to CannCentral’s very own database of strains, this sweetly berry-flavoured sativa-heavy hybrid is a perfect daytime strain because of its ability to lift anxiety and stress.

PROS

  • Will keep you alert and energetic with no drowsiness
  • Pleasant strawberry taste
  • Ideal for those who experience social anxiety

CONS

  • As the name suggests, can make even the most experienced user cough
  • Known to make some users overly talkative
  • Despite the “no-drowsiness” attribute mentioned above, some users do report experiencing “couch lock” after smoking Strawberry Cough

CB Dream

CB Dream is one of the best cannabis strains for anxiety
CB Dream. Photo by Kootenay Botanicals

WHAT THEY SAY: Kootenay Botanicals tells us: “Aromatics of sweet pine, citrus and hints of sweet mint are subtle but more pronounced upon inhale. Although this is an Indica strain, effects are uplifting, euphoric, relaxing and great for daytime use.”

WHAT WE SAY: Of one of CB Dream’s parent strains, Blue Dream, our database says it’s “a strain that dreams are made of”, legendary for its “perfect balance of physical relaxation and exhilarating braininess”, all of which makes it one of the top cannabis strains for anxiety.

PROS

  • The 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD means that CB Dream delivers its anxiety-busting effects without getting you too stoned
  • Also useful in treating nausea, depression, and PTSD
  • Promotes mindfulness during periods of focus

CONS

  • Effects can be hard to detect at smaller doses
  • Some users report that the high doesn’t last long
  • Can be less effective when smoked than it is in edibles

Green Crack

Green Crack is one of the best cannabis strains for anxiety
Green Crack. Photo by Online Dispensary Canada

WHAT THEY SAY: Online Dispensary Canada describes Green Crack as “an excellent sativa that can provide an invigorating, focused high, making it great as a daytime smoke”. 

WHAT WE SAY: “Get inspired and reduce stress, regardless of what the strain name suggests.” That name, incidentally, came from none other than Snoop Dogg. Green Crack was originally called Cush—which was probably pretty confusing, given how many other strains have “Kush” in their names.

PROS

  • Provides sharp mental focus
  • Uplifting and energetic high
  • Stimulates creativity

CONS

  • All that extra energy might not be a plus if you’re looking for a relaxing high
  • While most report the opposite effect, a minority of users say Green Crack makes them feel paranoid
  • Some smokers tell of a “roller coaster” high while on Green Crack

Critical Mass

Critical Mass cannabis strain
Critical Mass. Photo by the Grow House Online Dispensary

WHAT THEY SAY: The Grow House Online Dispensary says: “With a sweet and earthy smell and an herbal taste, Critical Mass is popular among new users and long-term users alike. Smoking small amounts leads to feelings of creativity and euphoria, followed by laziness, couch-lock, and sleepiness. This strain would be ideal to smoke during a lazy afternoon where you want to relax, but still need to be functional.”

WHAT WE SAY: Our database tells us that Critical Mass “combines Skunk #1 and Afghani to make buds so dense that plant branches can barely hold up under the weight. And it only takes six to eight weeks to flower. It’s susceptible to mould, however, so beware.”

PROS

  • Relaxing
  • Inspires creativity
  • Delivers feelings of euphoria

CONS

  • Could make you drowsy
  • Smoke too much and you won’t want to get off the couch
  • Can leave you with dry mouth and eyes

So there you have it: a few of the best cannabis strains for anxiety. Of course, as with all things green and leafy, user experience is subjective. Some even report that using cannabis—especially large doses of high-THC strains—can actually increase their anxiety. For those it can help, though, cannabis can be very effective quelling anxiety—because of those aforementioned endocannabinoids. Isn’t science great?

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