Categories
BLOG

sativa or indica for anxiety

Feeling Anxious? Here’s 9 Weed Strains You May Want to Try

Anxiety is one of the most widespread and pervasive mental health issues in the world, and it is consistently one of the top reasons people medicate with cannabis.

Like most medical claims related to cannabis, there is much we don’t know, but scientists are actively investigating how cannabis affects anxiety. Though researchers have yet to produce decisive conclusions, some studies have identified a few important trends that can help point cannabis consumers to strains they may want to try to alleviate their feelings of anxiousness.

From these studies, we know that pure THC decreases anxiety in low doses, but can increase it at higher quantities, while pure CBD appears to decrease anxiety at any dose. We also know that cannabinoids like CBD and THC aren’t the whole story. Compounds like terpenes also appear to play a significant role increasing a strains ability to be therapeutic.

Below, our guide considers a strain’s entire profile : its chemical fingerprint of cannabinoids and terpenes. Most of the following nine strains have high-CBD-to-low-THC ratios, with a couple of important exceptions. All score high marks for myrcene, b-caryophyllene and limonene terpenes which are associated with calming, soothing effects, though, it should be noted, all the evidence is anecdotal. That being said, here are some strains to consider if you’re trying to reduce stress and anxiety.

Critical Mass: CBD-Dominant with Myrcene and Caryophyllene

Critical Mass draws its relaxing and uplifting effects from the strong indica-like traits . Modern variants have been bred to accentuate its CBD expression, and cannabinoid ratios range from 5-8% THC to 8-12% CBD. Critical Mass doesn’t have the limonene found in other excellent strains for treating anxiety, but its quotient of myrcene and caryophyllene pick up the slack. Reviewers say this strain excels at producing relaxed, happy and euphoric effects. If anxiety symptoms are affecting your body with tension and tightness, this is a strain to check out.

Royal Highness: Balanced THC:CBD Ratio

Royal Highness is a strain that typically expresses a 1:1 THC-to-CBD ratio, with THC just a touch ahead. It’s an anxiety-relieving strain that puts away the idea that only heavy, sedating strains work to treat mental stress. With its sativa-focused effects and llight, energizing high, Royal Highness is a great strain for staying active and social. Royal Highness’ CBD and its rich complement of anxiety-reducing terpenes help to ease a worried mind.

Kosher Kush: Exception to the THC Rule

From its stat-sheet alone, Kosher Kush might not seem like it belongs anywhere near a list of anti-anxiety strains. Averaging 20% THC with minimal amounts of CBD, it’s a strain that flouts our low-THC, high-CBD rule. But Kosher Kush breaks the mold, and one recent study suggests why: Because of their genetics, many Kush strains share a pattern of high-THC and significant quantities of the terpene trans-nerolidol. Trans-nerolidol shows up in lots of strong aromatic compounds frequently used to treat anxiety and stress, such as jasmine and lemongrass.

Kosher Kush shares those traits and adds a rich array of myrcene, b-caryophyllene, and limonene. These qualities make it a perfect strain for people who still want a strong THC buzz, but one that won’t tip over into anxiousness.

AC/DC: Exceptionally High CBD:THC Ratio

If you’re a cannabis consumer who’s sensitive to THC or you’re looking for an anti-anxiety strain with virtually no intoxicating effects, check out AC/DC . AC/DC is a branch of the Cannatonic family, and it’s a strain that’s extremely popular among medical cannabis patients for its ability to treat everything from pain to epilepsy and anxiety. A powerful inflammation reducer, ACDC can help soothe anxiety’s symptoms while its terpenes and oils combine synergistically to calm mental agitation.

Cannatonic: Anti-Anxiety Standby

While we’re on the subject, let’s take a closer look at Cannatonic . Typically expressing a 1:1 or 1:2 THC-to-CBD ratio, Cannatonic is a very mellowing strain with a mild, functional high. Anxiousness can lead to headaches, and Cannatonic excels at relieving migraines. It also contains a balanced complement of anxiety-reducing terpenes, with myrcene at the forefront. Because of Cannatonic’s balanced and relatively brief high, it performs best as a daily or “throughout-the-day” strain for tackling work-related anxiety and stress.

Pennywise: Dissipate Anxiety-Related Panic

Setting aside the potentially anxiety-inducing reference to the killer clown, this strain’s name is really an homage to the two strains Pennywise is crossed with, Jack the Ripper and Harlequin . And it’s the latter strain that imbues Pennywise with its signature ability to provide mental clarity and a sense of relaxation. Like other balanced CBD:THC strains on this list, Pennywise produces mild and uplifting psychoactive effects that reviewers say invigorate their sense of mental wellness.

Lemon Garlic OG: The Total Package

Lemon Garlic OG boasts a chemotype that’s well suited to reduce stress and anxiety and replace them with a revitalized sense of calm. This strain checks every box on our cannabinoid and terpene checklist: a rich, balanced blend of limonene (as the name suggests), b-caryophyllene and myrcene, along with an even-tempered ratio of CBD and THC. And if the act of smoking cannabis itself brings you relief from your anxiety, Lemon Garlic OG delivers. Dense, bright green buds and a lush trichome coat make Lemon Garlic OG a joy to behold and handle. Bonus: the heady blend of citrusy, garlic and earthy pine notes offer some excellent aromatherapy.

Elektra: CBD-Heavy Strain for Socialites

Elektra continues the line of descent from Cannatonic to ACDC with a phenotype that minimizes THC expression and maximizes CBD. Weighing in at an average 15.5% CBD (more CBD than the average CBD-dominant phenotype) Elektra folds in notable quantities of b-caryophyllene and myrcene with a dash of limonene to up its anxiety-ameliorating credentials. What distinguishes Elektra form similar strains, however, is its strong flavor notes of red wine and dark chocolate. Great at reducing different types of anxiety, Elektra pairs just as well with a quiet night at home as it does with a night out with your friends.

Blue OG: Euphoria and Relaxation

Blueberry and Kush phenotypes may not have the CBD quantities commonly associated with anti-anxiety strains, but their overall cannabinoid and terpene profiles more than make up for it. Blue OG is a hybrid that descends from Blueberry , Blue Moonshine and OG Kush, giving it a healthy portion of limonene and b-caryophyllene. THC levels for this strain hover right in the median range—nothing overpowering or anxiety-inducing. For consumers who find anxiety relief from THC and seek euphoric, relaxed highs for both mind and body, Blue OG is an ideal strain.

Looking to find potent cannabis strains with info from the breeders themselves? Search from more than 750 strain profiles on Weedmaps Strains .

Anxiety affects many people, but some studies suggest cannabis can provide effective relief. Here are a few cannabis strains to help manage anxiety.

Sativa vs. Indica: What to Expect Across Cannabis Types and Strains

Things to consider

The two main types of cannabis, sativa and indica, are used for a number of medicinal and recreational purposes.

Sativas are known for their “head high,” an invigorating, energizing effect that can help reduce anxiety or stress and increase creativity and focus.

Indicas are typically associated with full-body effects, such as increasing deep relaxation and reducing insomnia.

Although research examining these effects is limited, it appears these plants have more in common than previously thought.

In other words, the category, or type, of cannabis may not be the greatest indicator of the effects you’ll experience.

Here’s how to find the right plant for your needs, strains to consider, potential side effects, and more.

What should you look for to understand strain effects?

The often-applied rule of thumb is that sativas are more invigorating and energizing, while indicas are more relaxing and calming — but it isn’t really that simple.

Individual plants produce varying effects, even among the same type of cannabis. It all depends on the plant’s chemical composition and the growing technique used.

Instead of looking at the type alone — sativa or indica — look at the description the grower and dispensary provide.

Oftentimes, the plant types are broken down into specific strains, or breeds.

Strains are distinguished by their individual cannabinoid and terpene content. These compounds are what determine the strain’s overall effects.

Cannabinoids

Cannabis plants contain dozens of chemical compounds called cannabinoids.

These naturally occurring components are responsible for producing many of the effects — both negative and positive — of cannabis use.

Researchers still don’t understand what all of the cannabinoids do, but they have identified two main ones — tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) — as well as several less common compounds.

  • THC. THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis plants. It’s responsible for the “high” or state of euphoria associated with cannabis use. Levels of THC have been increasing as growers try to create hybrids with a greater concentration of the compound.
  • CBD. CBD is non-psychoactive. It doesn’t cause a “high.” However, it may produce many physical benefits, such as reducing pain and nausea, preventing seizures, and easing migraine.
  • CBN. Cannabinol (CBN) is used to ease symptoms and side effects of neurological conditions, including epilepsy, seizures, and uncontrollable muscle stiffness.
  • THCA. Tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA) is similar to THC, but it doesn’t cause any psychoactive effects. Its potential benefits include reducing inflammation from arthritis and autoimmune diseases. It may also help reduce symptoms of neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease and ALS.
  • CBG. Cannabigerol (CBG) is thought to help reduce anxiety and symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression.

Terpenes

A great deal of attention is paid to the amount of THC and CBD in a given strain, but newer research suggests that terpenes may be just as impactful.

Terpenes are another naturally occurring compound in the cannabis plant.

The terpenes present directly affect the plant’s smell. They may also influence the effects produced by specific strains.

According to Leafly, common terpenes include:

  • Bisabolol. With notes of chamomile and tea tree oil, the terpene bisabolol is thought to reduce inflammation and irritation. It may also have microbial and pain-reducing effects.
  • Caryophyllene. The peppery, spicy molecule may reduce anxiety, ease symptoms of depression, and improve ulcers.
  • Linalool. Linalool is said to help improve relaxation and boost mood with its floral notes.
  • Myrcene. The most common terpene, this earthy, herbal molecule may help reduce anxiety and insomnia so you can sleep better.
  • Ocimene. This terpene produces notes of basil, mango, and parsley. Its primary effects may include easing congestion and warding off viruses and bacteria.
  • Pinene. As the name suggests, this terpene produces an intense pine aroma. It may help boost memory, reduce pain, and ease some of the not-so-pleasant symptoms of THC, such as nausea and coordination problems.
  • Terpinolene. Cannabis with this compound may smell like apples, cumin, and conifers. It may have sedative, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.
  • Limonene. Bright, zippy citrus notes come from this terpene. It’s said to improve mood and reduce stress.
  • Humulene. This terpene is deeply earthy and woody, like hops or cloves. Cannabis strains with this molecule may reduce inflammation.
  • Eucalyptol. With notes of eucalyptus and tea tree oil, this molecule is refreshing and invigorating. It may also reduce inflammation and fight bacteria.

Sativa in-depth

  • Origin:Cannabis sativa is found primarily in hot, dry climates with long sunny days. These include Africa, Central America, Southeast Asia, and western portions of Asia.
  • Plant description: Sativa plants are tall and thin with finger-like leaves. They can grow taller than 12 feet, and they take longer to mature than some other types of cannabis.
  • Typical CBD to THC ratio: Sativa often has lower doses of CBD and higher doses of THC.
  • Commonly associated effects of use: Sativa often produces a “mind high,” or an energizing, anxiety-reducing effect. If you use sativa-dominant strains, you may feel productive and creative, not relaxed and lethargic.
  • Daytime or nighttime use: Because of its stimulating impact, you can use sativa in the daytime.
  • Popular strains: Three popular sativa strains are Acapulco Gold, Panama Red, and Durban Poison.

Indica in-depth

  • Origin:Cannabis indica is native to Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Turkey. The plants have adapted to the often harsh, dry, and turbulent climate of the Hindu Kush mountains.
  • Plant description: Indica plants are short and stocky with bushy greenery and chunky leaves that grow wide and broad. They grow faster than sativa, and each plant produces more buds.
  • Typical CBD to THC ratio: Indica strains often have higher levels of CBD and less THC.
  • Commonly associated effects of use: Indica is sought after for its intensely relaxing effects. It may also reduce nausea and pain and increase appetite.
  • Daytime or nighttime use: Because of its deep relaxation effects, indica is better consumed at night.
  • Popular strains: Three popular indica strains are Hindu Kush, Afghan Kush, and Granddaddy Purple.

Hybrid in-depth

Each year, cannabis growers produce new and unique strains from different combinations of parent plants. These cannabis hybrids are often grown to target specific effects.

  • Origin: Hybrids are typically grown on farms or greenhouses from a combination of sativa and indica strains.
  • Plant description: The appearance of hybrid strains depends on the combination of the parent plants.
  • Typical CBD to THC ratio: Many hybrid cannabis plants are grown in order to increase the THC percentage, but each type has a unique ratio of the two cannabinoids.
  • Commonly associated effects of use: Farmers and producers select hybrids for their unique impacts. They can range from reducing anxiety and stress to easing symptoms of chemotherapy or radiation.
  • Daytime or nighttime use: This depends on the predominant effects of the hybrid.
  • Popular strains: Hybrids are typically classified as indica-dominant (or indica-dom), sativa-dominant (sativa-dom), or balanced. Popular hybrids include Pineapple Express, Trainwreck, and Blue Dream.

Ruderalis in-depth

A third type of cannabis, Cannabis ruderalis, also exists. However, it isn’t widely used because it usually doesn’t produce any potent effects.

  • Origin: Ruderalis plants adapt to extreme environments, such as Eastern Europe, Himalayan regions of India, Siberia, and Russia. These plants grow quickly, which is ideal for the cold, low-sunlight environments of these places.
  • Plant description: These small, bushy plants rarely grow taller than 12 inches, but they grow rapidly. One can go from seed to harvest in little more than a month.
  • Typical CBD to THC ratio: This strain typically has little THC and higher amounts of CBD, but it may not be enough to produce any effects.
  • Commonly associated effects of use: Because of its low potency, ruderalis isn’t routinely used for medicinal or recreational purposes.
  • Daytime or nighttime use: This cannabis plant produces very few effects, so it can be used at any time.
  • Popular strains: On its own, ruderalis isn’t a popular cannabis option. However, cannabis farmers may breed ruderalis with other cannabis types, including sativa and indica. The plant’s rapid growth cycle is a positive attribute for producers, so they may want to combine more potent strains with ruderalis strains to create a more desirable product.

Potential side effects and risks

Although cannabis use is often associated with potential benefits, it can also produce unwanted side effects.

  • dry mouth
  • dry eyes
  • dizziness
  • anxiety
  • paranoia
  • lethargy
  • increased heart rate
  • decreased blood pressure

Most of these effects are associated with THC, not CBD or other cannabinoids. However, any cannabis product can produce side effects.

The method of use may increase your risk for side effects, too.

For example, smoking or vaping cannabis can irritate your lungs and airways. This may lead to coughing and respiratory problems.

Oral cannabis preparations, such as gummies or cookies, are less likely to affect your overall respiratory health.

However, the effects are felt more slowly and typically aren’t as strong.

Sativa and indica are the two main types of cannabis plants. The often-applied rule of thumb is that sativas are more invigorating and energizing, while indicas are more relaxing and calming — but this is an immense oversimplification. Here's how to find the right plant for your needs, strains to consider, and more.