12 High-CBD Cannabis Strains to Ease Anxiety
Cannabis is a go-to remedy for some folks living with anxiety. But not all cannabis is created equal. Some strains can actually bring on or worsen anxiety.
The key is to choose a strain with a high CBD-to-THC ratio.
Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the main active compounds in cannabis. They’re both similar in structure, but there’s one very big difference.
THC is a psychoactive compound, and CBD is not. It’s THC that causes the “high” associated with cannabis, including the anxiety and paranoia that some people experience.
While not a treatment for anxiety, using high-CBD strains might help ease certain symptoms, especially when combined with other tools, like therapy.
We combed through Leafly’s strain explorer to find 12 CBD-dominant strains worth trying if you’re looking for something on the mellower side.
Keep in mind that strains aren’t an exact science. The effects aren’t always consistent, even among products of the same strain.
Remedy is a 14 percent CBD strain that produces little to no psychoactive effects.
It’s got a lemon-pine scent. Most users recommend it for its ability to mellow you out without the intense head and body effects of high-THC strains.
This is another 14 percent CBD strain preferred by people looking to relieve stress, anxiety, and pain without feeling stoned.
It contains no relevant amount of THC. The two most common words used to describe its effects are “relaxed” and “happy,” according to reviews on Leafly.
Lifter is a newer player in the cannabis game. It averages around 16 percent CBD with next to no THC.
Its aroma is described as “funky cheese with a hint of fuel” (weird flex, but OK). It’s uber-relaxing effects won’t put a damper on your focus or function.
This is one of the best-known high-CBD strains. It contains around 13 percent CBD with little to no THC.
It’s used in several health and wellness products to help ease anxiety, pain, and depression without any psychoactive effects.
If you like the smell of wine and cheese, Cherry Wine’s your strain.
It averages around 17 percent CBD with less than 1 percent THC. According to user reviews, it relaxes your brain and muscles without mind-altering effects.
This CBD strain has an average CBD-to-THC ratio of 13:1, but strains as high as 20:1 can be found.
Ringo’s Gift is a cross of two high-CBD strains: ACDC and Harle-Tsu, which is actually next on our list.
Users report a big improvement in anxiety and stress levels after using this strain. Improved sleep is another effect users rave about.
This award-winning strain averages around 13 percent CBD but often tests much higher.
It was named best CBD flower at the 2014 Emerald Cup. Lab tests found it to contain 21.05 percent CBD and 0.86 percent THC.
This ratio makes it a favorite for people looking to lower anxiety and boost their mood and focus.
This was one of the first high-CBD strains ever bred and remains a fan favorite.
It has an average CBD:THC ratio of 13:1 or even lower THC. Users report feeling relaxed and happy without that “heavy body” feeling.
Elektra averages around 16 percent CBD with less than 1 percent THC. Some user reviews say it’s tested as high as around 20 percent CBD.
Its pungent smoke and aroma get mixed reviews, but people love it for its relaxing effect that doesn’t totally wipe you out.
This high-CBD strain has some sour notes as far as aroma, but it gets props from people who use it to relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Sour Space Candy has an average of 17 percent CBD and only a trace amount of THC.
Suzy Q isn’t as high in CBD as some other strains. It comes in at about 11 percent CBD with little to no THC.
It’s considered a good choice for helping to relax an anxious mind and tense muscles without getting you high or knocking you out.
This strain contains more THC than the others we’ve listed, making it a good option if you’re still looking for a light buzz. It can contain anywhere from 4 to 7 percent THC and 8 to 10 percent CBD.
According to user reviews, people who don’t generally do well with THC find that this strain relaxes and calms without causing a green out.
Even if you’re going with a high-CBD strain, most still contain some THC, even if just a trace amount. Still, since it’s hard to predict exactly how any amount of THC will affect someone, a little caution is always a good idea.
Here are some tips that can help make your experience a little safer when trying a new strain:
- Go low and slow by choosing a strain with the lowest THC you can find. Give it ample time to work before considering having more.
- Consider nonsmoking methods, like CBD oils, to protect your lungs. Cannabis smoke contains a lot of the same toxins and carcinogens as tobacco smoke.
- If you do smoke, avoid deep inhalation or holding your breath to limit exposure to smoke’s harmful byproducts.
- Don’t drive for at least 6 hours after use, or longer if you’re still feeling any effects.
- Avoid cannabis entirely if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Also keep in mind that individual states have their own legislation regarding legal levels of CBD and THC. Check your state’s legislation for specific information. Be mindful of other state laws when traveling with cannabis.
Research continues into cannabis, specifically CBD, as a potential way to manage anxiety. While it isn’t a tried-and-true remedy, some people do find it helpful for easing some of their symptoms.
If you want to give high-CBD strains a try, just be sure to keep up with any anxiety treatments prescribed by your healthcare provider.
Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.
Cannabis and anxiety have a complicated relationship. For some, cannabis works wonders for their symptoms, but for others, it ramps them up. If you're looking to use cannabis for anxiety, high-CBD strains are probably your safest bet.
04: CBD:THC Ratios, How to NOT get High with Cannabis
In today’s episode of “How to NOT get high with cannabis,” we’re exploring cannabinoid ratios. In Video 1 we talked about hemp CBD, and in Video 3 we talked about finding your minimum effective dose of THC — but at the end of the day, if we’re really trying to use cannabis as medicine, then we want to use both THC and CBD together .
In our video about Hemp CBD products, we mentioned that ideally you want to be looking for “full spectrum” or “whole plant” extracts that have trace amounts of THC, as they’ve been found to be more effective than CBD isolates — and this is because of a concept in cannabis called the “entourage effect.”
The Entourage Effect
The “entourage effect” theorizes that all of the compounds in cannabis (cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and more) work best when used together, enhancing one another’s effects to maximize therapeutic benefits. When it comes to using cannabis as a medicine, choosing a CBD:THC ratio has a big impact on the level of intoxication or “high” you experience.
If you recall from our hemp CBD video, THC binds to endocannabinoid system receptors primarily found in our brain and central nervous system, which is why it can create intoxicating experiences — while CBD’s primary function is to slow the breakdown of our body’s own naturally produced endocannabinoids so that we can use more of them.
But when THC is consumed with CBD, CBD is actually able to bind to our receptors as well — and it changes their shape, weakening THC’s ability to bind to the receptor and ultimately impacting how “high” we feel.
When used together, CBD can reduce the negative side effects of THC such as anxiety, paranoia, elevated heart rate, memory loss, and sluggishness while THC can help to increase the therapeutic benefit of CBD. This is important information for patients who truly need the therapeutic properties that THC has to offer, but don’t want to feel “high.” And if you are someone who uses THC recreationally, keep this in mind if you do happen to get uncomfortably “high.”
So what’s this look like in practice?
Well, if you walk into a dispensary, you’ll probably see products labeled as Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid — but this doesn’t tell you anything about the CBD:THC ratio, so you’ll likely need to ask your budtender about which products offer the CBD:THC ratio that you’re interested in. This is known as a cannabinoid profile, and all cannabis products fall into three general categories:
Generally speaking, if you don’t want to get “high” then you should look for a CBD-dominant or balanced product, but it’s important to note that cannabis affects everyone differently; depending on your condition and dosing, a THC-dominant product may be an effective medicine without producing a “high.” See Video 03 on Finding your Minimum Effective Dose of THC for more information.
You can typically find CBD:THC ratios such as 1:1, 2:1, 1:2, 3:1 or even 10:1 or 20:1. When shopping, know that CBD-dominant products are relatively new; most cannabis strains have been bred to be THC-dominant — but as more research is done on the benefits of more balanced and CBD-dominant strains, this is changing. Ask your budtender to direct you to the CBD-dominant options in your dispensary.
Now, if you have no experience with THC and are particularly concerned about getting “high,” then starting with the highest CBD:THC ratio available is the way to go. Many medical patients have reported that a 20:1 CBD:THC ratio has been helpful for their symptoms without making them feel intoxicated at all.
Even with this ratio, you’ll still want to start low and go slow, paying attention to how many milligrams (MG) of THC is in the dose you are consuming. For tips on getting started with dosing THC, check out Video 03 on Finding your Minimum Effective Dose of THC here.
If this ratio doesn’t work for you, slowly start increasing your ratio of THC, again starting low and going slow. This may feel tedious and perhaps even expensive as you try new products, but know that as long as you’re careful with your math, you can always combine products to create your own perfect CBD:THC ratio.
On the flip side, if you are already experienced with THC and are looking for a product ratio that would allow you to get the relief you’re seeking while still remaining alert and productive during the day, you may want to start with a bit more THC in your ratio, perhaps 2:1 or even 1:1 parts CBD:THC.
Know that your perfect ratio may change based on the symptoms you’re dealing with. For example, I personally find that a 1:1 ratio of CBD:THC does wonders for my migraines, but if I’m struggling with back pain, a 2:1 ratio allows me to keep a clearer head.
Either way, always be sure to track your dose and the effects you feel — this is important for recreating or avoiding experiences in the future!
To learn more about the science behind using CBD and THC together, click here.
04: CBD:THC Ratios, How to NOT get High with Cannabis In today’s episode of “How to NOT get high with cannabis,” we’re exploring cannabinoid ratios. In Video 1 we talked about hemp CBD, and in