Medical marijuana can help reduce anxiety both for those who suffer from anxiety disorders as well as individuals who experience stress in their everyday lives. At high levels, however, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can, for some people, increase anxiety due to its psychoactive qualities. That said, non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to successfully reduce anxiety.
A new study out of Vanderbilt University found that cannabinoid receptors are present in the part of the brain associated with emotion in mice. These receptors, present in the area of the brain that dictates the fight or flight response, are closely linked to anxiety. It’s believed that these receptors are also present in the amygdala of humans, which could explain why medical marijuana is effective at helping people with anxiety.
A 2011 study published in Neuropyschopharmacology showed that, when it comes to using marijuana for anxiety, CBD was extremely beneficial for patients with social anxiety disorder. The study was conducted with 24 participants diagnosed with social anxiety disorder as well as a control group of 12 people who didn’t have the disorder. Half of the participants with social anxiety disorder were given CBD, while the other half were given a placebo. All of the study participants then had to complete a public speaking test.
Physiological measures were taken before, during and after the test. The physiological measures, as well as personal surveys taken after the public speaking test, showed a significant decrease in anxiety levels in patients who were administered CBD.
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It turns out anandamide, which is a naturally occurring substance in the body that helps decrease anxiety, stays intact with the introduction of CBD. This is because CBD strains decrease the production of the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which naturally degrades anandamide.
Choosing a strain of medicinal marijuana that helps control your anxiety can involve some testing to find what works best for you. It’s important to choose a strain with adequate levels of CBD in order to control anxiety. CBD levels should be higher than or balanced with THC, which allows for the psychoactive side effects of the THC to be counteracted by the CBD. Here are some of the best high-CBD marijuana strains on the market that can help with anxiety.
Harlequin is a 75% sativa-dominant hybrid that’s known for its higher CBD to THC levels. With a 5:2 ratio of CBD to THC, it typically has about 8–16% CBD with 4–7% THC. Harlequin is known to produce a clear head; patients report feeling more alert following consumption. The marijuana strain is effective at reducing anxiety because high levels of CBD provide relaxation without sedation. Harlequin is a good choice for people with anxiety due to its low THC content.
Harle-Tsu is known for its extremely high levels of CBD, which is often found at rates 20 times higher than that of THC. As such, the strain has strong anxiety-relieving properties. Harle-Tsu is known for producing relaxed and focused feelings, and it’s also effective at decreasing stress levels. People often report that they feel uplifted and happy after smoking this marijuana strain.
ACDC is one of the highest CBD strains around. ACDC has a 20:1 CBD to THC ratio, with CBD levels as high as 19%. This sativa-dominant cannabis strain is extremely effective at reducing anxiety, with little to no pyschoactivity due to its high ratio of CBD to THC. Patients report feeling relaxed and happy when they consume the ACDC strain. According to some reports, one possible drawback is the potential for dry mouth.
CBD Shark is an 80% indica-dominant strain that has an equal ratio of CBD to THC. This strain is very helpful at reducing anxiety without any overly intoxicating effects. A well-balanced marijuana strain, CBD Shark is known to produce clear-minded, happy and relaxing effects. This strain could be a good choice for evening use or if people have anxiety as well as pain, because it has enough THC to produce pain-relieving and sleep-inducing effects with borderline psychoactivity.
Canna-Tsu is a hybrid marijuana strain that’s a mix of Cannatonic and Sour Tsunami. Canna-Tsu is known for its higher levels of CBD. That said, it has a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC, which may result in some psychoactivity. Known to produce calming effects and mental clarity, Canna-Tsu is effective at reducing anxiety. And it provides anti-inflammatory benefits, too.
Haoma is a 70% indica strain that has calming and stress-relieving effects. It’s typically found at around a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC—meaning some may experience a psychoactive effect. Haoma helps to reduce anxiety because of its higher levels of CBD. Since there are a few different varieties of Haoma, each type varies slightly in the amount of CBD it contains. Because Haoma is an indica, it’s a great choice for people with anxiety who also need a marijuana strain that will help them fall asleep.
Cannatonic is known for its low THC content—often below 6%—and high CBD content, which can run as high as 17%, though it can sometimes be higher. The high-CBD strain is known for its relaxing and uplifting qualities with little to no psychoactive effects, depending on how much is consumed. Cannatonic holds acclaim as one of the top medical marijuana strains for reducing anxiety as well inflammation.
Trident is a high-CBD strain that helps people stay mentally focused. It usually has CBD levels hovering around 12% and THC levels under 6%. Known for its relaxing and focusing effects, Trident is very effective at helping people control their anxiety and stress. Folks may experience mild psychoactivity when consuming Trident, but people typically report feeling a more cerebral effect with this marijuana strain.
Sour Tsunami is a cannabis strain that’s specifically bred for its high CBD content and as a result is highly sought after for its medicinal properties. This sativa-dominant hybrid has about 10–11% CBD and a THC content typically under 10%. This strain can help relieve anxiety, and it may also help ease painful conditions, because of its moderate levels of THC. Sour Tsunami is also known to combat inflammation. People often report feeling clear-headed after ingesting this popular medicinal strain.
Valentine X is a 50/50 hybrid strain with a 25:1 ratio of CBD to THC. A variant of ACDC, this marijuana strain is known to induce feelings of deep relaxation—a plus for those suffering from anxiety. Named after St. Valentine—the patron saint of lovers and folks with epilepsy, Valentine X can also help ease seizures, fatigue and inflammation.
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