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Most people have felt uneasy or nervous in social situations before. For individuals with social anxiety, even hanging out with friends or participating in activities they are looking forward to can be a daunting task.
Not everyone has access to, or wants to use, prescription medication or therapy to help remedy the issue. Certain cannabis strains may help social anxiety — though it’s important that any consumer looking to try weed for social anxiety knows what to look for and what to avoid.
If you’re looking for a little help from Mary Jane to ease into social situations, you’ve come to the right spot!
- Social anxiety can manifest in different ways and to varying degrees, though it can be debilitating and may require further intervention for some.
- Some sativa, hybrid, and indica strains can help ease anxiety. Looking at the cannabinoid content and dose is also a good idea when considering strains for anxiety.
What is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety is a fairly broad term. It exists as a diagnosable chronic mental health condition called Social Anxiety Disorder. People with Social Anxiety Disorder have unexplained, heightened anxiety in social situations.
People who experience social anxiety often exhibit symptoms like fear of judgment or fear of being embarrassed in a public or social settling. Social anxiety can cause racing thoughts around the perception of others and can often make it challenging or impossible to be participate in social activities.
Should I Use Sativa or Indica for Social Anxiety?
Sativas tend to have more uplifting, active, and cerebral effects. When it comes to anxiety, this sometimes can help for a more clear headed, focused experience, though some sativas can also cause raciness and headiness, which may actually increase anxiety.
Indica strains are usually associated with more relaxing, body-high qualities. This sort of “chill” is ideal in these circumstances, though it can also lead to issues. Some cannabis users experience an indica high with too much relaxation, sometimes referred to as “couch lock”, or simply feeling like you don’t have anything to say or contribute to a conversation.
This isn’t the case with all sativas or all indicas, but it’s something to take into consideration. There are good and not-so-good strains on both sides when it comes to anxiety.
How Does Cannabis Help with Social Anxiety?
If you’re already on medication to manage anxiety, consider speaking with your doctor before trying cannabis. This article does not constitute medical advice, though there are some findings that can help to guide people looking to manage their social anxiety with cannabis.
When exploring cannabis strains for social anxiety, consider the cannabinoid content first. High THC levels have been shown to increase anxiety, while CBD has been shown to combat it. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, as the more anxiety-inducing effects of THC are more prevalent in those who don’t frequently, or don’t ever, use cannabis. Admittedly, research is still catching up to determine what factors in cannabis definitively cause or lessen anxiety.
It should be said that many of the best strains for anxiety typically contain high amounts of, or at least some, CBD. Research has also suggested that strains combining CBD and THC can be helpful, in that CBD helps to mellow out some of those more anxiety-inducing effects of THC.
Many consumers prefer using edibles for depression and anxiety, as consistent and accurate dosing can be easier to measure and the effects of edibles last longer than those of flower and vaporizers (though they may take longer to take effect).
When it comes to the best edibles for social anxiety disorder and anxiety as a whole, there are a wide variety of options, including high-CBD edibles, those both CBD and THC, and low-dose edibles for new consumers.
Best Strains for Social Anxiety
Now that we’ve covered some of the essentials of cannabis and social anxiety, let’s dive into some of our go-to strains to help ease into socialization and avoid those dreaded symptoms.
Harlequin is a great high-CBD option, generally containing a 2:1 ratio of CBD to THC. There’s still enough THC for the CBD to bind to, allowing for those destressing and mellowing effects, but the heavy CBD — along with a stellar terpene profile — curb those more unpleasant feelings that high-THC strains may come with.
Northern Lights is a popular indica strain known for its relaxing and sedating properties. This strain tends to have some CBD but is higher in THC, though the terpenes tend to work together to provide more soothing feelings..
This indica-dominant hybrid offers a steady, smooth experience that often ushers users into a chill, relaxed mood. It’s a balanced option with a balanced amount of CBD and THC, though even the THC amounts tend to lean on the lower side. The cannabinoid content perfectly compliments the more indica-specific effects and can easily help to curb anxiety.
Granddaddy Purple is a potent indica that acts fast to relax the mind and body. It’s still somewhat uplifting and users generally report a happy feeling after using it, along with reducing stress and anxiety levels. This strain can sometimes have fairly high levels of THC, so be sure to pace yourself — especially if you’re new to cannabis.
ACDC is another high-CBD offering that typically comes with limited psychoactive effects of THC. It is great option for new consumers hesitant to flirt with the high that comes with cannabis. The dominant terpenes in this strain can also act to mellow the brain and body.
White Fire OG
In small doses, White Fire OG is a great option for helping with social anxiety. This strain is fairly balanced, providing a boost of energy while working to ease stress and worries, though it often has a fairly high THC content, so users should avoid overindulging.
If you’re looking to try cannabis for social anxiety, it may be helpful to try out one or two strains in a low-stress situation, among few friends or roommates, to see how you respond. Starting low and going slow is essential.
Many consumers have already found that cannabis can be beneficial in curbing social anxiety.
Hudson, R., Renard, J., Norris, C., Rushlow, W. J., & Laviolette, S. R. (2019). Cannabidiol Counteracts the Psychotropic Side-Effects of Δ-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol in the Ventral Hippocampus through Bidirectional Control of ERK1–2 Phosphorylation. The Journal of Neuroscience, 39(44), 8762–8777. https://doi.org/10.1523/jneurosci.0708-19.2019
Sharpe, L., Sinclair, J., Kramer, A., de Manincor, M., & Sarris, J. (2020). Cannabis, a cause for anxiety? A critical appraisal of the anxiogenic and anxiolytic properties. Journal of Translational Medicine, 18(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12967-020-02518-2