Cannabis and anxiety have a confusing relationship. While it’s becoming more popular to use cannabis as a remedy for anxiety, it works differently for different people. The same cannabis strain might provide instant relaxation and relief for one person while causing heightened anxiety for someone else.
Fortunately, there is such a large variety of medical cannabis choices that most people who need a remedy for anxiety can find something that works for them. In this article, we will take a look at the best cannabis for anxiety and how to choose something that will work for you.
How Does Cannabis Work for Anxiety?
THC and CBD are two of the most abundant and well-studied cannabinoids, and they both act on parts of the brain that influence anxiety. While THC can help to reduce anxiety in some people – especially in low to moderate doses – it can actually promote anxious feelings in others. Studies show that CBD has more general anxiety-reducing effects and can even help increase serotonin levels, supporting an overall positive mood.
One of the main reasons cannabis produces a calming effect is because it acts on the neurotransmitter GABA, which can ease anxiety. Most prescription anxiety medications also work by targeting GABA in the brain. But these types of drugs come with a host of unwanted side-effects, causing people to seek alternatives like cannabis.
Researchers think that cannabis also works to promote relaxation by helping to lower the stress hormone cortisol, which triggers the fight-or-flight stress response. We are only beginning to understand the mechanisms with which cannabis provides relief from anxiety, but we do know that achieving positive effects can depend on finding the right strain and dosage.
What is the Best Cannabis for Anxiety?
If you are new to cannabis and want to try it for anxiety, start by experimenting with strains that are higher in CBD and lower in THC. A few high-CBD strains to look for include Harlequin, Harle Tsu, ACDC, Ringo’s Gift, or Sweet and Sour Diesel.
For those who are comfortable with using a little more THC to combat their anxiety, Indica strains are a great choice because of the deep-relaxation inducing effects they can provide. Some Indica-dominate strains famous for easing anxiety include Granddaddy Purple, Northern Lights, and Blackberry Kush.
Another popular option is CBD-only products. They don’t contain any THC, and are a good option if feeling “high” dosn’t appeal to you. Both animal and human studies have shown that CBD can significantly reduce anxiety as opposed to placebo, and could be especially useful for those who experience social anxiety.
Why “Less is More” When Using Cannabis for Anxiety
Cannabis is biphasic, which means it can have opposite effects at low and high doses. Smaller amounts of THC are known to promote a pleasant and euphoric experience, while high doses can sometimes cause over-stimulation and racing thoughts. If you find that THC increases your anxiety rather than eases it, you might try lowing your dose.
Again, everyone is different, and it takes a little experimentation to learn how different levels of THC will make you feel. CBD can work to combat some of the anxiety-inducing effects of THC, which is another reason that products with a generous amount of CBD, and low to moderate amounts of THC, are often recommended for people who are prone to anxiety.
If you suffer from a mental health condition like anxiety, remember you are not alone. There is help available to you. Always talk to your healthcare provider about your symptoms and treatment options, including medical cannabis. Whatever treatments you decide to try, the process will involve some trial and error to find out what works for you as an individual.
The bottom line is that cannabis affects everyone differently and finding the stains and products that relieve your anxiety will take a little experimentation. Keep a journal to track what works and what doesn’t, and always talk to your dispensary staff about your concerns and ask for recommendations.
If you are ready to learn more about becoming a medical cannabis user, make an appointment today. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is here to help.