Medical cannabis is more widespread than ever before in the United States, with 25 states and Washington, DC, currently allowing the use of the drug when prescribed by a doctor for certain conditions. In addition, four states and DC have also legalized marijuana for recreational use. Anxiety disorder is one of the conditions that has been successfully treated through the use of medical cannabis. However, certain strains of cannabis are more effective for alleviating anxiety than others. Read on to learn more about the use of medical marijuana for anxiety treatment.
The Impact of Anxiety According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders (an umbrella term that includes related disorders like panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder) are the most common type of mental illness. They affect more than 40 million Americans, or 18 percent of the population. A third of those with anxiety are untreated, often because of the challenging side effects associated with many of the existing drugs used to treat anxiety. For these patients, medical marijuana could be a promising option for the uncomfortable symptoms associated with anxiety. (Source medical marijuana facts and statistics)
Anxiety also comes at a significant cost to the healthcare system, costing the U.S. more than $42 billion a year. More than half of this amount is attributed to repeat doctor visits for those who are unable to manage their anxiety with traditional treatment modalities. Medical marijuana for anxiety has the potential to not only diminish these systemic costs, but improve quality of life for millions of Americans.
Why Marijuana Is Effective for Anxiety
Because marijuana has historically been associated with paranoia, the idea that the drug can actually lower anxiety may be surprising. Cannabis actually contains two separate chemicals that act on the brain: THC, which can increase feelings of anxiety, and cannabinoids (CBD), which have been proven in studies to lower levels of anxiety and stress. The trick for medical cannabis oil pen users with anxiety is to choose strains that have been specifically bred to be high in CBDs and low in THC. Here are six of the best strains to try.
1. Grandaddy Purple – In general, indica strains are more relaxing than sativa strains, so they tend to be the best choice for those with anxiety. Grandaddy Purple offers users a feeling of intense euphoria along with profound physical relaxation. First introduced by grower Ken Estes in 2005, this hybrid of Purple Urkle and Big Bud is also effective for pain, muscle spasms, stress, insomnia, and appetite loss.
2. Amnesia Haze – If your anxiety tends to manifest with loops of negative thought patterns, Amnesia Haze is known to help interrupt those troubling cycles. Since it’s an 80-20 sativa-dominant hybrid, it won’t cause the same physical heaviness experienced with a full indica strain. Anxiety sufferers can benefit from the euphoria associated with sativa strains.
3. Chocolate Chunk – Another full indica strain, Chocolate Chunk is so named for its delectable chocolate aftertaste. Users find it effective for social anxiety as well as conditions that cause muscle tension and physical stress. Because this strain gives users a powerful, long-lasting high, just a small amount is effective.
4. Girl Scout Cookies – This hybrid is known for its euphoric, relaxing, and creative effects, which make it a clear choice for those with anxiety. But because of its high-THC content, it is particularly effective for those with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, a form of anxiety that is triggered by a traumatic even. People with PTSD tend to have a lack of a natural THC-like compound called anandamide, which affects memory.
5. Harlequin – If you benefit from medical marijuana use for anxiety but still need to be able to function normally throughout the day, consider Harlequin. This strain is known to help users feel relaxed and free of anxiety while also alert, clear-headed, and able to interact normally with others. This 75/25 sativa-dominant strain has high CBD levels and low THC.
6. Northern Lights – If your anxiety tends to manifest as obsessive-compulsive disorder, consider a full indica strain like Northern Lights. This strain slows your body and mind, helping to free you from repetitive thoughts and compulsions. Users tend to feel relaxed, euphoric, happy, and uplifted.