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One of the top medical reasons for people use cannabis is to reduce anxiety. The mellowing properties of cannabis have been known since ancient times, but not everyone responds to it the same way. THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, may help ease anxiety and stress in a lot of people -- but for some, it actually makes anxiety worse.
If you're one of those people -- or if you just don't want to deal with the high as you go about your daily business -- looking for cannabis strains with high CBD levels could be your ticket for managing anxiety without unwanted side effects. In this article, we'll look at the best high-CBD strains for anxiety, and provide tips for choosing the best CBD products for your needs.
- While CBD isn't medically approved for treating anxiety disorders, it can help people manage everyday stress and anxiety.
- High-CBD cannabis strains, with or without THC, can be the most effective at reducing anxiety.
- Everyone's response to cannabis is a little different, so you'll probably need to work out your own CBD regimen with different products to deal with anxiety.
How Can CBD Help Ease Anxiety?
"Anxiety" is a touchy word in the medical business. People use it to describe everyday worry and stress, but it also has a medical meaning, referring to various anxiety disorders. The symptoms of anxiety disorders are similar to everyday stress, but the difference is in their persistence and severity. As the Mayo Clinic puts it, you might have an anxiety disorder if "feelings of anxiety and panic interfere with daily activities, are difficult to control, are out of proportion to the actual danger and can last a long time."
Cannabis and its components like CBD aren't officially approved for treating anxiety disorders, and if you think you do have an anxiety disorder, you should get medical help. Nonetheless, there's evidence that CBD can be a part of anxiety management by helping lower your stress levels.
How does it work? Scientists are still figuring that out, but it centers around the way that CBD interacts with your endocannabinoid system. The system includes neurotransmitters and receptors that regulate many aspects of your functioning, including your mood. One such neurotransmitter is anandamide, named after the Sanskrit word for "bliss" because it's associated with euphoric feelings like the "runner's high." There's evidence that CBD increases anandamide levels by binding to endocannabinoid receptors, helping improve mood and reduce anxiety.
Other evidence found that CBD can also help with anxiety by affecting signaling to the amygdala, the part of the brain that deals with such primitive emotions as the panic response. With that in mind, when looking for the best cannabis strains for anxiety relief, look for strains with a high ratio of CBD to THC. The exact ratio that's best for you, however, depends on your personal physiology and lifestyle, so the following list includes many different strains of cannabis with different levels of CBD content.
The Best High-CBD Strains for Anxiety
High-CBD Bubba Kush
Bubba Kush is an indica strain known for its tranquilizing effects and earthy flavor. While the original strain has little CBD, some high-CBD versions have been developed. For instance, Evn's Indica Gummies have a 50/50 ratio of CBD and THC, so it can give you a balance between mellowness and clear-headedness. It's especially good right before bed, to help you get more restful sleep.
If you're looking for high levels of CBD supported by just a little THC, Sour Tsunami is one of the most popular strains. Another hybrid strain, blending Sour Diesel with NYC Diesel, Sour Tsunami is typically about 14% CBD and 1-2% THC. Users say it helps them relax without feeling heaviness or sleepiness, making it a good choice for daytime use.
Lifter is a good strain to help anxiety if you have an active lifestyle. Not only does it have next to no THC and high CBD content (around 16%), it's made purely from the Cannabis sativa, which even in THC-heavy forms is reputed to be more energizing than the other cannabis species, indica. Its buoyant name also comes from its bright blueberry-citrus flavor with hints of pepper, sure to provide a pick-me-up on a busy day.
Cherry Wine also has a little THC, but an even higher CBD-to-THC ratio than Sour Tsunami, at about 17 to one. Cherry Wine combines indica and sativa cannabis strains, and is noted for its aroma of green apples and flavors of cherry and cheese. Depending on your personal response to it, you can use it any time of the day or night.
Charlotte's Web is a strain with a storied past. It's named after Charlotte Figi, a young girl with severe epilepsy whose parents lobbied to make cannabis products -- and CBD in particular -- available to her and others like her. More than a decade ago, the Stanley brothers of Colorado developed a strain specially bred for its high CBD and minimal THC, making it suitable even for 6-year-old Charlotte.
Though it was not originally developed for people with anxiety, as one of the highest CBD strains on the market at the time, it quickly became a go-to for all sorts of purposes and helped pioneer the CBD oil business.
How to Use CBD to Help With Anxiety
If you're looking at CBD-dominant strains to help manage your anxiety levels, you're probably looking at raw CBD flower made to be smoked or vaped, or you can infuse with food or drink. Those two methods of intake have different results: inhalation acts quickly but also wears off in a few hours, while taking CBD by ingestion leads to a slower onset but more of a steady, low-grade calm.
You might take a CBD edible in the morning to give you a good baseline mood throughout the day, but keep a vape pen handy if something unexpectedly stressful comes up at work. A third option to keep in mind is using CBD oil sublingually, i.e. letting it dissolve under your tongue instead of swallowing it. Because it goes through the mucous membrane into your bloodstream instead of through the digestive tract, sublingual CBD oil has greater bioavailability than edibles, meaning that more of the active ingredients get into your system.
Whichever CBD product you choose, it's important to start slow and pay close attention to your response to them. This is especially true if you choose a strain containing some amount of THC, which as noted may worsen anxiety in some people rather than help it. Give yourself a few hours after taking the product to gauge its full effects. If you don't feel the stress relief you desire, you can gradually increase the amount of CBD you're taking -- but again, monitor your reactions. There's some evidence that CBD may build up in your system with daily use, so after a few weeks you might find your anxiety symptoms diminishing even if you felt no immediate impact.
For even more stress relief, try CBD sleep products specially formulated for nighttime use. A good night's sleep can do wonders for your mood, regardless of what you're using during the day. Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all formula to using CBD and THC for anxiety -- experiment to find out what works best for you!
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