Anxiety is one of the most common and treatable mental illnesses plaguing today’s society. The Anxiety and Depression Society of America put forward that 40 million adults age 18 and over in the United States suffer from anxiety. Yet, only 36.9% of Americans get treatment. Anxiety is also seen with depression… about half of people who have depression also have anxiety.
Prescription medications to treat anxiety comes with a host of negative side effects, which is a major reason many choose not to use mediation. Depending on the medication, side effects can include dizziness, drowsiness, headache, nausea, and shakiness. Not exactly what you want to be feeling when you have a full day of work ahead of you.
There is an alternative.
Dr. Ethan Russo, the neurologist who coined the term “the entourage effect” wrote about the antianxiety potential of cannabis in the book Cannabinoids as Therapeutics. In the book, Dr. Russo noted that cannabis has been used as far back as 1500 BC to help alleviate and treat depression. However, it should be noted that not all cannabis strains are created equal.
Cannabis has two major cannabinoids – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC produces the euphoric “high” effect that cannabis is noted for, but cannabidiol is not psychoactive, so it produces a relaxant effect without the high associated with THC. In large enough doses, THC can exacerbate anxiety. Yet, Dr. Russo acknowledged that CBD and THC work best in conjunction with one another, hence his term entourage effect.
So, if you suffer from anxiety, what’s the best strain for you? How do you ingest the cannabis you’ve chosen to treat your anxiety?
Smoking or vaping cannabis produces nearly immediate effects and also allows for the patient to achieve some control overdosing. One need only vaporizes or smoke until they feel relief, and then again once symptoms resume. If you’re worried about the smell, you can try a dry herb vaporizers to inhale. Vaporizers produce less smell. Edibles are an option, but they can take anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes to kick in because they must work their way through the digestive system.
What strain is best for anxiety? Well, it can depend on the kind of anxiety that you suffer from the most. Do you have a generalized anxiety disorder? Perhaps you suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is another type of anxiety that is common. Some others might suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder.
The good thing is that there’s a strain out there for the kind of anxiety you suffer from that might work best for you.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
This type of anxiety is one of the most common kinds of anxiety, affecting roughly 6.8 million adults. If you suffer from any kind of anxiety, you’ll want to choose an indica and avoid a sativa.
CBD Critical Cure is an indica-dominant, high CBD strain With a 2:1 ratio of CBD to THC, Critical Cure features about 11% CBD and 5% THC. The strain has a definitive sedative effect, perfect for unwinding after a stressful day.
Another option is Harlequin, with its high CBD to THC ratio, boasting a CBD percentage as high as 15%, yet THC rarely exceeding 6%. Harlequin energizes and provides focus with mood-boosting and anxiolytic properties.
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
Another of the most common kinds of anxiety, SAD affects 15 million adults in the U.S. alone. Up to 36% of people affected by Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) report having symptoms for up to 10 years before seeking help. You don’t want to be couch-locked, but you want to lower those inhibitions a little.
Strawberry Cough may be a sativa, but it manages to tread the wire between energizing and calming. It’ll open you up without kicking in that paranoia.
ACDC is one of those high-CBD strains that has 20 times more CBD than THC. This gives a relaxed feeling without the euphoric high that helps you stay clear-headed and focused,
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Another common anxiety disorder, PTSD affects roughly 7.7 million adults. Here’s where you might want a high-THC strain and not a high-CBD strain. People with PTSD often have a deficiency in a THC-like compound called anandamide. THC can help to replenish these compounds when used therapeutically.
Girl Scout Cookie has enough THC to have won numerous Cannabis Cup Awards. This strain promotes happiness, relaxation, and euphoria. It’s helpful to get those with PTSD to sleep and relieves the symptom of night terrors in some patients.
Cannatonic is another strain that is helpful in the treatment of PTSD. While you might want a high-THC strain at night, during the day, you might want this high-CBD strain. The percentage of CBD can reach as high as 20%, and it has a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC, meaning that the CBD balances the effects of the THC.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
While not as common as other forms of anxiety, OCD affects 2.2 million people. It’s also equally common among men as women.
Northern Lights is a tranquilizing indica that helps to slow both the mind and the body down, making it perfect for those suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Charlotte’s Web, made famous as an anti-seizure strain, also helps with OCD. This strain contains less than a half a percent of THC, so it is CBD dominant, making it perfect for those who need the relaxing effect, but still need to focus on the workday.
Insomnia can manifest in a couple of ways: trouble falling asleep and trouble to stay asleep. 30-35% of people suffer from brief episodes of insomnia, while 15-20% suffer from short-term insomnia, lasting less than three months. Like anxiety, most instances of insomnia are best treated by an indica.
Granddaddy Purple has the fact that it is high-CBD and being rich in the sleep-inducing terpene myrcene. It’s great for people who suffer from chronic pain that keeps them up at night.
Ogre is a pure indica, and it helps you get to sleep like you’d expect from this strain. Ogre promotes relaxation, happiness, and sleepiness over euphoria and uplift, making it an excellent pre-bedtime ritual strain to help usher you off to dreamland.
These are just a few strains that work to treat the various anxiety disorders affecting millions of people. Your best bet is to go talk to someone in the know at your local dispensary. Tell them your symptoms and the effects you’d like to achieve and they can point the way to a good strain for you. It might take some experimentation, but you should be able to find what works best for your brand of anxiety.
Michael Jacobs is a marketing and creative content specialist at GotVape.com with a primary focus on customer satisfaction. Technology and fitness combined with healthy lifestyle obsession are his main talking points.