Stress is difficult to diagnose and treat. It falls within several definitions from mild discomfort to paralyzing effects. In most cases, it is erratic, coming and going or increasing and decreasing intensity.
Stress will affect some in social circumstances. It occurs before and during public speaking or employment interviews. It raises blood pressure, causes jitters, and triggers sweating and nausea. It can escalate to Social Anxiety Disorder, a chronic condition requiring medication and/or learning coping skills under psychotherapy.
Traumatic stress follows an emotionally and/or physically traumatic incident from car accidents to personal abuse to combat experiences. Symptoms may not manifest themselves for days, weeks, or months, and they may combine difficult to discern physical, emotional, and cognitive functions.
Acute stress may relate to significant personal events. It is generally episodic and linked with an employee performance assessment, road rage, or a spousal argument. It is generally not incapacitating or life-changing.
Chronic stress reduces your quality of life. It may contribute to continuing emotional and physical problems. At its most severe, it may incapacitate the ability to work, parent, or function.
Cannabis is not the solution for stress in all its forms and origins.
Cannabis with THC levels above moderate. It can edge users to panic attacks and paranoia. And, since everyone responds differently, stress-prone individuals should be careful in their selection of strains.
Cannabis with THC levels above moderate, however, can induce experiences that facilitate escape from stressful situations and memories. Again, selecting the appropriate strain is important.
Here are five go-to cannabis strains for stress relief:
1. Cannatonic cannabis ranks on most lists. Its 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC offers a calming balance. That’s a tested THC: 7% - 15% and CBD: 12% for chemistry appreciated by medical practitioners because the CBD content is high enough to offset the THC.
For most consumers, Cannatonic provides no perceptible psychic high although it will likely take your mind off things. It’s known to reduce seizures and muscular cramps in many. There’s enough THC to boost your mood and enough CBD to relax you physically and emotionally. A more difficult to find Cannatonic #7 doesn’t present much difference.
2. Blue Dream cannabis is a sativa-dominant hybrid providing gentle cerebral effects and full-body comfort. This one’s not for starters because its high THC content (17% to 24%) could push them towards panic and paranoia. It’s a commonly used strain among the experienced, a classic experience with a total melting away.
Blue Dream works quickly to lift your mood, motivate, and focus your work. But that evolves into the numbed, mellow, and pain-free rest. It’s the sort of strain long associated with the stoner caricature. Taken seriously, Blue Dream cannabis treats chronic stress, depression, and pain with the added benefit of a sweet blueberry taste and aroma.
3. Girl Scout Cookies cannabis may remind you of the Girl Scout Thin Mints. But this is not for the kids. With THC reaching 28%, it has been a favorite tasty treat for decades. Indica-dominant, it provides another legendary experience.
The Girl Scout Cookies strain produces a euphoric, happy, silly high. Then, it slams your body into the couch for the night. Both experiences chase the stress away for hours. You may notice its many Cannabis Cup awards, but you’ll forget about them in fits of giggling. The easy-to-remember name moves it off the shelves at medical and recreational dispensaries.
4. Charlotte’s Web strain history has led to the only FDA approved cannabis-derived medication for recalcitrant epilepsy and Dravet’s Syndrome. It’s ability to reduce involuntary spasms and cramps puts Charlotte’s Web high on any list of go-to strains for stress relief. It has had a singularly strong influence on the push to legalize medical marijuana.
You don’t take Charlotte’s Web looking for a psychic high. After all, the THC is well under 1% while the CBD has scored 17% plus. It’s a great strain to start with for chronic pain, spasticity, chronic stress, PMS, and PSTD. Much coveted by parents with sick children, it is available as compassionate care in states that yet to legalize medicinal or recreational cannabis.
5. Jack Herer remains a heroic figure for his work in advocating the new national interest in cannabis values. The Jack Herer strain is a pure Sativa package. At 23% THC, it offers a fabled punch: bubbly, creative, energetic, euphoric, and slap happy. The combination serves you well during the day and at work.
Jack Herer soothes while it “intoxicates.” It tastes and smells of forest soil, pine trees, and loam. But its long lasting and focused effects benefit patients with ADHD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PMS, PTSD, and stress-related pain and migraines. Less sedating than other strains, it does trigger deployment and distribution of melatonin which does produce sleepiness.
Even more options
This short list does not include other go-to strains. There are AK-47, Sour Diesel, Tsunami, and a handful of others with low THC and high CBD. The go-to strains minimize the production of new cells to relieve the hippocampus of pressure. Allowing the brain to restore its resiliency, the strains modulate the release of the excitatory brain chemicals that damage brain cells. They reduce the oxidation that destroys cells and the inflammation that damage systems and cause pain.
A final caution reminds you that the dosage is important. First-time users must opt for mild strains before titrating the dosage to a pattern of use. This will vary from one person to another. But the wrong dose of the wrong strain risks response that counters the desired stress relief.