The use of medical cannabis is now recognised in several countries. Medical cannabis was once used only as a pain reliever, but now it is seen as a natural relief for stress, anxiety and depression.
Patients are also now more aware of the options for choosing medical cannabis to treat anxiety and stress, rather than traditional medicine. Since the chemically produced medicine can cause serious side effects, many patients are now choosing to use medical cannabis instead, as certain strains have the potential to effectively reduce stress and anxiety.
But what makes cannabis work so well against stress and anxiety, and which strains give the best results?
Why use medical cannabis?
Cannabis contains many natural chemical compounds that can be beneficial in the treatment of various physical and mental disorders.
Of these chemical compounds, THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol) are the best known.
THC is the primary substance that gives cannabis its psychoactive effects. It can relieve anxiety due to its euphoric and mood-enhancing properties, as well as being effective in, for example, the relief of pain, spasticity, glaucoma, insomnia, loss of appetite and nausea.
CBD, on the other hand, is the relaxing compound in cannabis that provides relief without having a psychoactive effect.
Taking CBD strains has a relaxing effect, providing relief from anxiety, depression, pain, seizures, nausea, inflammation and migraines, to name but a few.
Which varieties are best for relaxation?
Despite the fact that THC has the, for some, undesirable psychoactive effect, it is best to consume strains containing both THC and CBD.
CBD has the ability to overshadow the psychoactive side effects of THC, giving you both types of relief that work much more effectively than just one.
In general, Indica strains are the best for relaxation.
They have a great calming effect, giving control over one’s nerves, stress and anxiety. However, there are good and bad effects of this type of cannabis, which are important to know before trying them.
Advantages of Cannabis Indica
Indica is more relaxing than Sativa
As Sativa strains have an energetic and euphoric effect that can cause restlessness and headaches, not everyone is able to use them.
Indica strains, on the other hand, provide a great relaxing effect, and will never contribute to feelings of anxiety or restlessness.
Indica has a more satisfying effect
Indica’s relaxing effect comes from terpenes and other cannabinoids not present in Sativa strains.
The effect can be anything from a mild to an overwhelming experience.
The intense relaxing effect allows the user to treat a range of physical and mental ailments such as stress, pain and loss of appetite.
Some users will also use Indica strains to function better in social settings, as they can improve self-confidence, making it easier to talk and socialise with other people.
Disadvantages of Cannabis Indica
Indica can be too sedating
Not everyone is a big fan of the great sedative effect of Indica strains. The strongest varieties can produce an intoxicating effect that can be very overwhelming and frightening for someone who is not used to it or who does not want that effect.
The overwhelming effect is due to the fact that the strain contains more CBN and CBD than THC. Among other things, this can make it difficult for consumers to focus and be productive, as they mostly want to lie down and sleep.
If you don’t want this heavy effect, you might want to look for a Sativa strain with a slightly lighter effect instead
Where Indica strains have a heavy, numbing effect, Sativa strains have a more uplifting, energetic and sensory-stimulating effect that can help the user focus. This is due to the high THC content, which gives a psychoactive effect that is preferred by many for its euphoric and pleasure-inducing sensation.
Medical benefits of Sativa
However, it’s not just for their significant recreational effect that Sativa strains are popular. They also have a wide range of medicinal benefits. Several scientific studies have shown that THC has not only a psychoactive effect, but also a lot of medicinal properties.
Sativa can help depression, PTSD and social anxiety
A study published in the journal Clinical Psychology Review has shown that cannabis use can alleviate social anxiety. The study further refuted that cannabis can help in the treatment of psychosis and bipolar disorder. However, some patients will instead experience worsening social anxiety, which is important to be aware of.
Sativa can relieve chronic pain
Several of the constituents – known as cannabinoids – in the cannabis plant have been shown to be effective in relieving chronic pain. A study conducted by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine has shown that this is precisely why the vast majority of people use the cannabis plant as medicine for their ailments.
Sativa can help with alcohol and drug withdrawal
Medical cannabis can help alcohol and drug addicts in treatment fight their addictions.
Sativa may help against cancer
The side effects of chemotherapy can be extensive. They can include nausea, loss of appetite and vomiting. Some studies show that consuming cannabis can provide effective relief from these side effects. In addition, the cannabinoids in cannabis can slow the spread of cancer cells, and in some cases have even killed cancer cells. Although there is research evidence that cannabis can kill cancer cells, there is still a broad consensus that it cannot stand alone as a treatment or prevention. Taking Sativa to relieve side effects from chemotherapy or to treat cancer should therefore always be recommended by your doctor.
Sativa can slow seizures
As the only FDA-approved medicine based on Cannabis Sativa, Epidolex has proven effective in relieving epileptic seizures. Epidolex consists of pure, isolated (purified) CBD, and patients suffering from the rare epileptic disorders Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome have experienced milder symptoms after taking the medication.
Sativa can help patients suffering from sclerosis
Oral consumption of Sativa has been shown in some studies to help with the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. The studies showed that a reduction in spasticity was seen in MS, but also that results can vary widely from patient to patient.
Disadvantages of Sativa
As with Indica, however, Sativa also comes with some potentially negative side effects that are important to know about before taking.
Some studies indicate that patients already suffering from bipolar disorder may experience stronger symptoms when taking Sativa. However, there is no evidence that Sativa is able to induce/create this disorder in the consumer.
However, excessive intake of Sativa over a long period of time can, according to some studies, lead to negative, suicidal thoughts and an increased risk of depression. This is not experienced by Indica users.
Good cannabis strains for relaxation
Granddaddy Purple is a classic known for its ability to relieve stress and tension in the body and mind.
Its genetic origin is a combination of Purple Urkle and Big Bud, and gives a relaxed and euphoric feeling in the body, and calms and stimulates at the same time on the mental level.
Granddaddy Purple is made for relaxation and while it relieves anxiety, depression and insomnia it can also help with loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. It is therefore a good choice for patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer.
Jack Herer is known to give a euphoric, energetic and joyful effect that lifts you up without your mind wandering. It helps to be able to stay focused and find the surplus to get different tasks done.
Jack Herer can be taken in the afternoon if you need to keep going until the evening, and is therefore a cannabis strain that is popular with people suffering from mental and physical fatigue.
Due to its mood-enhancing effect, it is also effective against stress and depression.
Furthermore, it is good for pain relief and can reduce headaches, migraines and muscle spasms. It can also help with loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting and is therefore also good for patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Composed of equal parts THC and CBD, it offers effective relief from anxiety, depression, stress, paranoia and restlessness.
As Cannatonic contains the terpene Myrcene, it provides an extra relaxing effect that also contributes to a good, long night’s sleep.
Cannatonic is also an analgesic, and can provide relief from headaches, muscle pain and migraines without an overly debilitating effect.
When consuming Girl Scout Cookies, you will experience a relaxing, happy and uplifting sensation throughout your body. It can naturally lift your spirits and help with stress and depression. As the effect wears off, you will feel well, sleepy and hungry, and therefore can be good for relieving mental and physical fatigue.
As GSC is also an effective pain reliever, it is also good for helping patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Strawberry Cough is a strain that has a very high Sativa content. It therefore has a sustained uplifting effect, providing a high level of energy that can help the consumer maintain concentration, even when very tired.
In addition to great euphoria, it also provides a relaxing sensation in the body, which can help the consumer’s confidence in social contexts.
Its great recreational properties make it perfect for helping depression, stress and anxiety in a natural way.
Northern Lights has a marked psychoactive effect in even relatively small doses. Therefore, it is not a strain recommended for new cannabis users.
The effect is very physical, which can be felt from head to toe, and can help forget one’s worries and improve mood.
As the effect wears off, you will feel hungry and have a strong urge to sleep, and therefore it can act as a natural aid against insomnia.
Northern Lights can also relieve headaches, muscle aches, chronic pain and migraines.
Blackberry Kush is a very strong Indica strain made from a combination of Afghani and Blueberry.
It has a strong anaesthetic effect, but does not last long.
It’s great for relaxing and its mood-lifting properties help with stress and depression.
It can also act as an anti-inflammatory and painkiller against, for example, headaches, muscle pain and chronic pain.
Medical Mass is made from a combination of Critical Mass and Medical Madre.
It provides both a mild euphoric sensation that makes you happy and hungry, and at the same time a very lasting relaxing sensation that helps you fall asleep. It is therefore good for helping stress and depression as well as insomnia.
Furthermore, Medical Mass can also be used as a natural pain relief for headaches and muscle pain, and is particularly effective in the relief of arthritis, migraines and chronic pain.
Sweet and Sour Widow
Sweet and Sour Widow is a mix of White Widow and another unknown Sativa strain.
The ratio between CBD and THC is 1:1, and thus you will predominantly experience the effect from the CBD. This makes Sweet and Sour Widow good for new consumers of cannabis, as the psychoactive effect is mild.
You will experience feeling relaxed, happy and uplifted and therefore this variety is good to help with physical and mental fatigue, pains such as headaches, muscle aches and chronic pain as well as stress and depression.
In addition, it can help with poor appetite and help to get a good, long night’s sleep.
Gorilla Glue is a strong hybrid made from a mix of Chem’s Sister, Chocolate Diesel and Sour Dubb.
The plant itself has huge buds covered in crystals and has a very high THC content of +20%.
Upon ingestion, you will experience an intense euphoria and be “glued” to the couch – hence the name Gorilla Glue.
The strong effect is good for pain relief and to prevent nausea, vomiting and poor appetite.
Gorilla Glue has won several awards such as the Cannabis High Times Cup in 2014 in both Los Angeles and Michigan, as well as the Cannabis High Times World Cup in Jamaica in 2015.
OG Kush originates from Florida, and is one of the ancestors of many newer varieties such as. Girl Scout Cookies and Headband.
A blend of Northern California and Hindu Kush, it is great for relaxation and has a mild euphoric effect that will leave you uplifted, happy and hungry.
It is therefore suitable for relieving stress and depression, but can also help physical pain such as headaches, muscle aches, arthritis and chronic pain. It can also help with insomnia and physical and mental fatigue.
Gelato is a hybrid of Sunset Sherbet and Thin Mint GSC.
Its dark, crystal-covered buds have a high THC content, and have an intense euphoric and relaxing effect.
However, Gelato is not a variety for beginners, and should be consumed in moderate doses.
Its euphoric and uplifting effect can make you creative, while at the same time giving a very relaxed feeling in the body.
Despite its high THC content, it can actually relieve both stress and depression, while also being an effective pain reliever for such conditions as headaches, migraines, muscle aches, arthritis and chronic pain.
Moreover, Gelato can help with insomnia, due to its intense relaxing effect.
White Widow is a hybrid created in the Netherlands, consisting of a mix of a Brazilian Sativa and a South Indian Indica.
It has an energetic, euphoric effect and boosts creativity and self-confidence. It is therefore a variety that lends itself very well to consumption for pleasure, as it works well in social contexts.
This variety is very effective for pain relief. It is a favourite of many pain patients, who – in addition to pain relief – report that it is also good for. to relieve stress and depression, as well as helping with insomnia.
However, it should be consumed in moderate doses as it is a potent strain that is not recommended for new consumers.
A cross between Girl Scout Cookies and Cherie Pie, Wedding Cake, with its sweet, peppery flavour, has a THC content of 25%.
The heavy, euphoric effect will make you relaxed, happy, creative and uplifted, and is therefore very suitable for consumption in the daytime after a day of work.
Wedding Cake is also a good variety to reduce pain and to relieve symptoms of stress and depression, as well as to help you get to sleep if you suffer from insomnia.
AK-47 is a Sativa-dominant hybrid of Colombian, Thai, Mexican and Afghan strains, and has been super popular since it came onto the market in the 90s.
Its high THC content provides a balanced, highly recreational effect that leaves you happy, focused, creative and alert, and lasts for a very long time.
It is therefore good to consume for pleasure, as it is particularly suitable for social contexts.
It is also perfect for relieving pain, stress, depression, and physical and mental fatigue.
AK-47 is a truly outstanding and sought-after cannabis strain that has won countless awards at various Cannabis Cups over the years, and is a must-have cannabis for any Sativa lover!
Important information before using medical cannabis
It is important to point out that although cannabis can be stress-reducing and relaxing for some patients, it can have the opposite effect for others.
The THC that produces the psychoactive effect can have the side effect of making you feel paranoid and anxious.
It is therefore important to keep in mind that some cannabis strains consist primarily of CBD and therefore contain very little or no THC.
This allows patients prone to anxiety and paranoia to benefit from the relieving effects of medical cannabis without experiencing the potentially negative psychoactive effects.
However, whether you go for a CBD strain, a THC strain or a blend, it is important to follow the advice below before buying and using medical cannabis.
- Always be on the safe side and get your doctor to help you find the variety that best suits your needs.
- Your doctor can also help you dose correctly to meet your requirements.
- If you think your dose is too strong, you can always try halving it. Build up your tolerance gradually so that you feel comfortable taking it.
- You should never switch from traditional medicine to medical cannabis yourself. Therefore, if you are already on medication for a condition, you should first consult with your doctor before switching from it to medical cannabis.
Medical cannabis can also work as a supplement to traditional medicine, but again this is on the doctor’s recommendation.
- Watch how you react if you switch to a new variety. Side effects can vary from variety to variety, and all people react differently.