Coronavirus has increased mental and emotional problems as it rages through populations worldwide. It has everyone’s attention from those on the frontlines of this war to those isolated in quarantine. Anxiety is so common that it is not being measured.
Researchers define “anxiety” as “an emotional state characterized by maladaptive and excessive emotional responsiveness to potentially dangerous circumstances” (Recent Patents on CNS Drug Discovery, 2012). The term labels mild general social anxiety to severe PTSD.
Cannabis has been used for eons to calm and soothe such conditions with complex and varying responses. Cannabis is a proven anxiolytic, an anti-anxiety agent with the potential to reduce spasms, headaches, cramps, and the tensions related to them.
Cannabis contains numerous cannabinoids that map over to the human Endocannabinoid System running throughout the brain and body. Some cannabinoids, most prominently THC and CBD, affect CB1 and CB2, receptors on the neurological chain that transmits messages to and from the brain with incredible speed.
The factors that induce stress disrupt this flow, and cannabinoids have been shown to restore the necessary balance. They do so by adjusting receptors to their appropriate order, stimulating those receptors, or offsetting antagonists aiming to damage the system’s equanimity.
The interaction does not occur predictably. The potency of the cannabinoids concerning the user’s age, gender, underlying physical and emotional health, environmental situation, and regimen of other drugs and/or inebriants varies immensely. The use of cannabis produces impacts that range from mild mood improvement to serious paranoia, phobia, dysphoria, and agitation. So, you must be well informed before opting for cannabis as a “cure” for anxiety during the cannabis pandemic.
Top 10 cannabis strains for anxiety
In general, cannabis shoppers should explore the potential in strains with high CBD and low THC content.
Zen X is the outlier here. Its 80% Sativa produces up to 22% THC with negligible CBD. This sedates the brain and body for maximum relief. But it’s not the way to go if you expect to work. The Zen X high is long-lasting and a soothing solution for the stress of anxiety and other medical-related medical conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and Chron’s Disease.
Steven Hawking OG is favored for its gently relaxing effects. It is Indica-dominant but delivers a 5% THC: 5% CBD experience. If you are looking for a full-body and brain mellow, this is the strain for you. It reportedly eases pain and makes anxiety disappear.
Harlequin is a hybrid with 10% CBD and up to 15% THC. That reflects its Sativa dominance at 75%:25%. Harlequin has a popular taste and relaxing influence, but a clear focus and creative energy lets you continue your day. You might also try Harlequin OG with its 33% CBD. It can fight serious pain and eliminate anxiety with a mild euphoria and clear-headed focus.
Canna-Tsu is the newest strain on this list, and as increased use and science investigate its properties, it may move to the top. A 50/50 hybrid, it has a whopping 18% CBD with only 0.52% to 1% THC. That puts it almost into hemp territory. Canna-Tsu produces an immediate calming effect, and research indicates it may have the promise of preventing the growth of certain cancer cells.
Cannatonic is a legendary 50/50 hybrid with a low to moderate THC level (7% to 15%). The THC is undercut by a hefty 12% of CBD. Your head will remain clear while your body experiences a full relaxation enough to treat spasms. Adults have sought the medical benefits of Cannatonic, and breeders continue to pursue its medicinal potential.
Sour Tsunami is a famous 50:50 hybrid with a 10% THC offset by 11% CBD. Like Charlotte’s Web, Sour Tsunami has been used to treat epilepsy, even in children. Its head effects are so low that it is used predominantly for medicinal reasons. An analgesic and anti-inflammatory, Sour Tsunami may reduce chronic pain and migraines as well as involuntary spasms all of which can be symptoms of stress. There is also Sour Tsunami #3 with a potent 12-14% average CBD level over 1-4% THC level. The Sour Tsunami #3 strain lifts you slightly at the start but settles into a focused relaxation.
Harlequin packs at least 10% CBD into its plant. Still, it has a potentially high THC content of 15%. The THC provides the energy and focus to continue your work, and the CBD modulates the rush with soothing calm and pain relief from inflammation, migraines and the stresses of every day.
ACDC surprises users expecting a headbanging experience. It is a 70/30 sativa-dominant hybrid with a high 20:1 CBD: THC ratio. However, you will want to check the labeling as it has been testing erratically. You should experience a strong euphoria, a happy feeling that reduces social anxiety and makes you more fun to be around. Reports also indicate it helps those affected by arthritic pain, neuropathy, and nausea related to chemotherapy.
Ringo’s Gift, a Sativa dominant hybrid, tests at 20% CBD thanks to its lineage from Harle-Tsu and ACDC. It is perfect for daytime use because it leaves users calm, focused, and energized letting you work and go about your daily duties. It creates a slowly moving body buzz without reaching couch lock sedation.
Charlotte’s Web must lead any list. It remains a noble strain with an extraordinary record treating involuntary spasms. It led the advocacy campaigns that launched the expansion of legalized medical and recreational cannabis. And, it spurred the development of pharmaceutical research creating prescription medications for recalcitrant epilepsy and Dravet’s syndrome. While this is not the same mechanism as anxiety, its properties have proven helpful for those suffering from anxiety with minimal negative side-effects.
Avoid cannabis strains with anxious results!
Many cannabis strains, especially those with high THC content, can aggravate your anxiety, some to the point of serious paranoia. They may trigger disorientation, spatial confusion, and hallucinations in some users.
With that in mind, you will want to avoid Durban Poison, Green Crack, Jack Herer, TrainWreck, Willie Nelson, and even the deceptively titled Girl Scout Cookies. These popular experiences provide the head high that many veteran users enjoy. However, they also have the potential for increased anxiety when you don’t need it while self-quarantined or kept-in-place during the COVID-19 pandemic.