The Best Weed Strains for Anxiety

best weed strains for anxiety

The rise in anxiety disorder diagnoses in the UK over the past few years has been alarming. According to the Mental Health Foundation, one in six people experience some form of heavy anxiety at some point in their life.

It's not hard to see why. The constant pressure to perform (at home, school, university, or work), the uncertain economic situation that so many have found themselves in (through no major fault of their own), and the constant barrage of social media and news can all be contributing factors to increased levels of anxiety.

And although there are a bunch of conventional approaches available for dealing with anxiety, they aren't fully effective for everyone. This has caused people dealing with anxiety issues to look for complementary treatment options, and medical cannabis is fast becoming one of the most popular alternatives.

Let's find out what the best weed strains for anxiety are, shall we?

Key takeaways

  • CBD and THC Differences: CBD is non-psychoactive and can help reduce anxiety without getting you high, whereas THC is psychoactive and can both alleviate and sometimes increase anxiety symptoms.

  • Legality in the UK: CBD oil with 0.2% THC or less is legal and available over the counter, while higher THC content is restricted to prescription-only medical cannabis.

  • Strain Variation: There is no universal best strain for anxiety; individual responses vary greatly, so consultation with a specialist is essential.

  • Consumption Methods: The most common cannabis consumption methods are smoking, vaporising, taking oils or tinctures sublingually, and consuming edibles, each with different onset times and durations.

  • Professional Guidance: Consulting with a private cannabis clinic is crucial to determine the most effective strain, dosage, and method of consumption for your specific anxiety needs.

best weed strains for anxiety

What is anxiety, and how can cannabis help?

Anxiety is a vital emotional response to protect us in times of danger. Without it, who knows where we might've ended up.

But when the frequency, intensity, and duration of anxiety exceed what is reasonably considered 'normal,' it can significantly affect an anxiety sufferer's daily functioning and quality of life.

What are the more common types of anxiety?

Anxiety disorders present in various forms, the most common being:

  • Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • Panic Disorder

  • Specific Phobias

  • Agoraphobia

  • Separation Anxiety Disorder

How is anxiety usually treated?

When someone first receives an anxiety disorder diagnosis, they typically receive a combination of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) alongside anxiolytic medication. CBT can help change the way people respond to situations that trigger their anxiety, while medication reduces symptoms' intensity and frequency.

However, the pharmaceuticals prescribed to anxiety patients (benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and beta blockers) come with a host of side effects that can be unpleasant at best and dangerous at worst. They range from mild discomforts like drowsiness, confusion, and fatigue to more severe side effects such as addiction, suicidal thoughts, and withdrawal symptoms.

Can weed provide relief for anxiety sufferers?

Yes, cannabis strains for anxiety have been shown time and again to provide significant benefits to those struggling with this mental health issue.

Cannabis contains chemicals called cannabinoids (think THC and CBD). We also produce our own cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids. Our bodies have an entire system—the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) dedicated to maintaining homeostasis. It's actually the largest neurotransmitter system in the body.

What's homeostasis?

Well, it's the fancy word for balance.

When our ECS isn't functioning correctly, it can lead to various health issues, including anxiety disorders. Cannabis has been found to interact with the ECS and help restore proper balance within the body, leading to reduced anxiety symptoms.

The cannabinoids bind to our endocannabinoid system receptors, and in doing so, they can affect our mood, appetite, sleep patterns, and pain perception - among a host of other physiological processes. That's why many people report feeling more relaxed, happy, and calm after consuming cannabis.

Research suggests that when we supplement our ECS with phytocannabinoids (like those found in cannabis), it can improve imbalances or deficiencies in our endocannabinoid system and provide relief for a huge range of health concerns, including excessive anxiety.

So, what are the best weed strains for anxiety?

best weed strains for anxiety

What are the types of cannabis: Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid?

While this form of classification is slowly being phased out in both recreational and medical marijuana settings, it's still worth noting.

As more research is conducted, it's becoming apparent that the effects felt from cannabis consumption are more dependent on the specific cannabinoid and terpene profile of a particular strain, but there is still some truth to the broad categorizations of Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid.

Indica weed strains

Indica strains originate in the mountainous regions of Central Asia, where the environment is harsh. As a result, these strains have adapted to survive in extreme conditions and are typically shorter and bushier than their Sativa cousins.

Indica marijuana strains are known for their deeply relaxing properties, making them ideal for relieving anxiety symptoms. They are most often prescribed to anxiety sufferers as an evening or nighttime medication.

Sativa weed strains

Sativa strains hail from equatorial regions with longer growing seasons, resulting in taller plants with narrower leaves and fluffier buds. These strains are known for their stimulating and uplifting effects, making them a popular choice for daytime use among anxiety sufferers. Sativa weed strains can help enhance concentration, creativity, and energy levels, which can be particularly beneficial for those experiencing anxiety-related fatigue or depressive symptoms.

Due to their invigorating properties, Sativa strains are often recommended for individuals looking to alleviate anxiety without the sedative effects commonly associated with Indica strains. This can be especially useful for people who need to manage their symptoms while staying productive and alert throughout the day.

Hybrid weed strains

Hybrid cannabis strains contain a mix of genetics from both sativa and Indica strains, creating a balance of effects.

Sativa-dominant hybrids may provide the uplifting and energizing effects of Sativa while also providing some relaxation and pain relief from Indica. Indica dominant options can provide the calming effects of Indica while offering some mental stimulation from the Sativa genes.

In this brave new world of both recreational and medicinal marijuana legality, cannabis breeding has become a huge business. As a result, the truly ridiculous number of Hybrid cultivars out there means there really is an option for everyone.

best strains for anxiety

Are cannabinoids really that important?

As we mentioned above, the Indica/Sativa classification of cannabis is slowly dying as more research indicates that the effects of marijuana are largely dependent on its cannabinoid and terpene profile.

The two major cannabinoids, and the ones that have received the most research, are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). However, there is also increasing research on other cannabinoids, such as CBG and CBN.

CBD for anxiety control

CBD is legal in the UK. It can be sold over the counter as long as it contains 0.2% THC or less. This means you can access CBD oil for anxiety and depression in high street stores, health food shops, and online.

CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it won't get you high. Multiple studies have shown that CBD can provide a host of potential benefits for anxiety sufferers, including reducing anxiety levels and improving sleep quality.

THC for anxiety management

THC is the psychoactive component of weed. It's what gives you that "high" feeling. THC has been shown to have potential benefits for anxiety sufferers, such as reducing racing thoughts and promoting relaxation.

That said, THC can also increase feelings of anxiety and panic. Weed strains containing higher than 0.2% THC are only legal through a medical cannabis prescription in the UK.

Research is ongoing to determine the optimal ratio of CBD to THC for anxiety treatment. Some studies suggest that a combination of both can provide more significant relief than either cannabinoid alone, but there are a bunch of other factors to consider, such as individual body chemistry and tolerance levels.

What are the best weed strains for anxiety?

As we just mentioned above, there is no real 'one size fits all' when it comes to choosing the best marijuana strain for anxiety. Everyone reacts to individual cannabis cultivars in different ways. Some people find strains high in THC benefit their anxiety symptoms, while others prefer low-THC or CBD-dominant options.

Click this link to see all the best weed strains for anxiety.

A few stand-out medical cannabis strains available to UK medical cannabis patients looking for anxiety relief are:

If you are interested in finding out which weed strain may be best for your anxiety issues, reach out to a private cannabis clinic. The specialists working at these clinics not only have the legal ability to provide prescriptions for medical weed for anxiety, they also have the experience and expertise to help you choose the right strain for your unique needs.

best weed strains for anxiety

How should you consume cannabis for anxiety?

Without a shadow of a doubt, the most common way for people to ingest cannabinoids is through smoking. This is because smoking allows for quick and easy dosing, as well as convenient self-titration (i.e., taking 'hits' until you feel relief).

That said, the health risks associated with smoking are significant, and smoking medical cannabis in the UK is actually illegal.

  • Vaporising medical weed in the UK is the legal alternative to smoking. By heating your cannabis flower or oil at lower temperatures, vaporisers release the cannabinoids and terpenes as a vapour that you inhale. The effects are felt almost immediately, and last for about 2 to 3 hours.

  • There are also other forms of medical cannabis available that can be consumed without smoking or vaping, such as oils, tinctures, capsules, and edibles. These options may be more discreet and easier to dose for some individuals. The effects of orally consumed cannabis will take anywhere between 30 to 90 minutes to be felt, and can last up to 6 hours.

  • Alternatively, people prescribed a cannabis oil option can take it sublingually. This involves placing a few drops under the tongue using a dropper, allowing quick absorption into the bloodstream while also bypassing the digestive tract. The effects will be felt within 15 to 20 minutes, and will last up to 4 hours.

When you reach out to a UK medical cannabis clinic for a prescription for medical cannabis to help deal with your anxiety issues, your prescribing specialist will help you determine the right dosage and method of consumption.

Final thoughts

The world of modern weed strains is nothing short of massive, and it can be understandably overwhelming when trying to find the best option for your anxiety.

Remember, there is no one "correct" strain or method of consumption that works for everyone. The key is to experiment and find what works best for your unique needs and body chemistry. Only a registered specialist can legally provide a prescription for medical cannabis in the UK, so make sure to consult with one before trying any new strain or method of consumption.

In the meantime, check out all the best weed strains for anxiety and the best medical cannabis strains - and feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.