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.
12 High-CBD Cannabis Strains to Ease Anxiety
Cannabis is a go-to remedy for some folks living with anxiety. But not all cannabis is created equal. Some strains can actually bring on or worsen anxiety.
The key is to choose a strain with a high CBD-to-THC ratio.
Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the main active compounds in cannabis. They’re both similar in structure, but there’s one very big difference.
THC is a psychoactive compound, and CBD is not. It’s THC that causes the “high” associated with cannabis, including the anxiety and paranoia that some people experience.
While not a treatment for anxiety, using high-CBD strains might help ease certain symptoms, especially when combined with other tools, like therapy.
We combed through Leafly’s strain explorer to find 12 CBD-dominant strains worth trying if you’re looking for something on the mellower side.
Keep in mind that strains aren’t an exact science. The effects aren’t always consistent, even among products of the same strain.
Remedy is a 14 percent CBD strain that produces little to no psychoactive effects.
It’s got a lemon-pine scent. Most users recommend it for its ability to mellow you out without the intense head and body effects of high-THC strains.
This is another 14 percent CBD strain preferred by people looking to relieve stress, anxiety, and pain without feeling stoned.
It contains no relevant amount of THC. The two most common words used to describe its effects are “relaxed” and “happy,” according to reviews on Leafly.
Lifter is a newer player in the cannabis game. It averages around 16 percent CBD with next to no THC.
Its aroma is described as “funky cheese with a hint of fuel” (weird flex, but OK). It’s uber-relaxing effects won’t put a damper on your focus or function.
This is one of the best-known high-CBD strains. It contains around 13 percent CBD with little to no THC.
It’s used in several health and wellness products to help ease anxiety, pain, and depression without any psychoactive effects.
If you like the smell of wine and cheese, Cherry Wine’s your strain.
It averages around 17 percent CBD with less than 1 percent THC. According to user reviews, it relaxes your brain and muscles without mind-altering effects.
This CBD strain has an average CBD-to-THC ratio of 13:1, but strains as high as 20:1 can be found.
Ringo’s Gift is a cross of two high-CBD strains: ACDC and Harle-Tsu, which is actually next on our list.
Users report a big improvement in anxiety and stress levels after using this strain. Improved sleep is another effect users rave about.
This award-winning strain averages around 13 percent CBD but often tests much higher.
It was named best CBD flower at the 2014 Emerald Cup. Lab tests found it to contain 21.05 percent CBD and 0.86 percent THC.
This ratio makes it a favorite for people looking to lower anxiety and boost their mood and focus.
This was one of the first high-CBD strains ever bred and remains a fan favorite.
It has an average CBD:THC ratio of 13:1 or even lower THC. Users report feeling relaxed and happy without that “heavy body” feeling.
Elektra averages around 16 percent CBD with less than 1 percent THC. Some user reviews say it’s tested as high as around 20 percent CBD.
Its pungent smoke and aroma get mixed reviews, but people love it for its relaxing effect that doesn’t totally wipe you out.
This high-CBD strain has some sour notes as far as aroma, but it gets props from people who use it to relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Sour Space Candy has an average of 17 percent CBD and only a trace amount of THC.
Suzy Q isn’t as high in CBD as some other strains. It comes in at about 11 percent CBD with little to no THC.
It’s considered a good choice for helping to relax an anxious mind and tense muscles without getting you high or knocking you out.
This strain contains more THC than the others we’ve listed, making it a good option if you’re still looking for a light buzz. It can contain anywhere from 4 to 7 percent THC and 8 to 10 percent CBD.
According to user reviews, people who don’t generally do well with THC find that this strain relaxes and calms without causing a green out.
Even if you’re going with a high-CBD strain, most still contain some THC, even if just a trace amount. Still, since it’s hard to predict exactly how any amount of THC will affect someone, a little caution is always a good idea.
Here are some tips that can help make your experience a little safer when trying a new strain:
- Go low and slow by choosing a strain with the lowest THC you can find. Give it ample time to work before considering having more.
- Consider nonsmoking methods, like CBD oils, to protect your lungs. Cannabis smoke contains a lot of the same toxins and carcinogens as tobacco smoke.
- If you do smoke, avoid deep inhalation or holding your breath to limit exposure to smoke’s harmful byproducts.
- Don’t drive for at least 6 hours after use, or longer if you’re still feeling any effects.
- Avoid cannabis entirely if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Also keep in mind that individual states have their own legislation regarding legal levels of CBD and THC. Check your state’s legislation for specific information. Be mindful of other state laws when traveling with cannabis.
Research continues into cannabis, specifically CBD, as a potential way to manage anxiety. While it isn’t a tried-and-true remedy, some people do find it helpful for easing some of their symptoms.
If you want to give high-CBD strains a try, just be sure to keep up with any anxiety treatments prescribed by your healthcare provider.
Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.
Cannabis and anxiety have a complicated relationship. For some, cannabis works wonders for their symptoms, but for others, it ramps them up. If you're looking to use cannabis for anxiety, high-CBD strains are probably your safest bet.