Choosing the Right Marijuana Strain For Anxiety: Indica or Sativa?

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Anxiety: An Emotion That Makes Us Human

Anxiety is a normal and often healthy emotion. It can be characterized as a sense of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe. Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life, but for some people, these feelings can become long-term, interfere with their daily lives, and turn into an anxiety disorder. These disorders alter how a person processes emotions and behaves, also causing physical symptoms.

It’s perfectly normal for all of us to encounter feelings of fear and anxiety from time to time – they are inherent human emotions that equip us to respond to threats. Nonetheless, there are individuals who grapple with an intense and irrational sense of anxiety and worry. This isn’t just a fleeting experience for them, but rather a persistent state that becomes distressing and significantly hampers their day-to-day lives.

Impacts That Anxiety Has On Health and Wellness

  1. Physical Health: Chronic anxiety can contribute to various physical health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and gastrointestinal issues. It can weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to infections, and it can also lead to sleep disturbances and insomnia.

  2. Mental Health: Anxiety often coexists with other mental health disorders, such as depression. It can also lead to or exacerbate substance use problems.

  3. Personal Relationships: Anxiety can strain personal relationships. It may cause you to avoid social situations, leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

  4. Work or School Performance: Anxiety can make it hard to concentrate, remember things, and make decisions, all of which can negatively affect work or school performance.

  5. Quality of Life: Over time, severe anxiety can significantly reduce your quality of life, leading to decreased satisfaction in many areas, including work, relationships, and leisure activities.

  6. Behavioral Changes: People with anxiety may avoid situations or places that trigger their symptoms, limiting their activities and experiences. They may also engage in certain rituals or behaviors in an attempt to control their symptoms.

What Are Symptoms Of Anxiety?

The symptoms of anxiety can be both mental and physical. They can vary from person to person, but common symptoms may include:

  1. Mental/Emotional Symptoms

    • Restlessness, feeling “on edge”
    • A sense of impending doom or danger
    • Increased irritability
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Constant, excessive worry about everyday situations
    • Fear that something bad is going to happen
  2. Physical Symptoms

    • Rapid heart rate
    • Rapid breathing, shortness of breath, or hyperventilation
    • Increased sweating
    • Trembling or shaking
    • Feeling weak or tired
    • Trouble sleeping
    • Gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, constipation, or nausea
    • Difficulty swallowing or a feeling of a lump in the throat

Considering Weed to Eliminate Anxiety?

With the increasing acceptance of cannabis use, more and more people are turning to this natural remedy to relieve their anxiety symptoms. One critical factor, if you turn to cannabis for anxiety relief, is selecting the right strain, given the wide variety available. Let’s delve into the two main types of marijuana strains, Indica and Sativa, and help you select the strain that aligns with your requirements.

Medical Marijuana (MMJ)

Cannabis has gained significant recognition for its potential therapeutic effects, including its ability to alleviate anxiety symptoms. However, not all strains are created equal; different strains can produce varied effects. Understanding the distinction between Indica and Sativa strains is crucial in deciding which strain is best suited to manage your anxiety.

Understanding Marijuana Strains

Marijuana strains are classified into two main categories: Indica, and Sativa. These classifications are based on the plant's physical characteristics, chemical composition, and the effects it produces. Each strain has its own unique combination of cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, which contribute to their distinct properties.

Indica vs. Sativa: The Key Differences

Indica strains are typically associated with relaxation, sedation, and a calming effect on the mind and body. They often induce a “body high” sensation, making them popular for stress and anxiety relief. On the other hand, Sativa strains are known for their energizing and uplifting effects. They are commonly associated with a “head high” and can promote creativity and focus.

The Impact of Indica on Anxiety

Indica strains are commonly recommended for individuals seeking relief from anxiety symptoms. The relaxing and sedating properties of Indica can help calm racing thoughts, ease muscle tension, and promote a sense of tranquility. Indica strains may be particularly beneficial for individuals experiencing anxiety-related insomnia or restlessness.

The Impact of Sativa on Anxiety

While Sativa strains are not typically the first choice for anxiety management, they can still offer potential benefits for specific individuals. Sativa strains may provide an uplifting and euphoric effect, which can help combat feelings of depression or fatigue associated with anxiety. However, it's important to note that Sativa strains can sometimes exacerbate anxiety symptoms in individuals more sensitive or prone to anxiety.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Strain

When selecting a marijuana strain for anxiety relief, several factors should be taken into account:

  • Personal Sensitivity: Understand your tolerance and response to different strains.
  • THC-to-CBD Ratio: Strains with higher CBD content may be more suitable for anxiety.
  • Terpene Profiles: Certain terpenes like limonene and linalool have calming properties.
  • Individual Preferences: Consider the desired effects, such as relaxation or mental stimulation.

What are the best cannabis strains for anxiety?

There are many strains of marijuana that are said to be beneficial for anxiety. Please keep in mind that everyone’s body chemistry is unique, and people may respond differently to the same strain.

  • Selecting the right marijuana strain for anxiety management starts with understanding the characteristics of the Indica and Sativa strains. Most people will need to try several different strains to get the results that make them feel balanced.  It’s usually a case of trial and error taking into consideration personal preferences.
  • Using marijuana to manage anxiety should be done responsibly and with the guidance of a healthcare provider for safety reasons and to achieve optimal results. Also, the legal status of marijuana varies from state to state, so make sure to check the laws in the state you reside.

Strains that are commonly reported to have anxiety-relieving properties:

  • Granddaddy Purple (Indica) – This strain is known for its stress-relieving properties and can help to promote relaxation and sleep.
  • Cannatonic (Hybrid) – A CBD-rich strain, known to produce a mellow high that’s relaxing and uplifting.
  • ACDC (Hybrid) – This strain is high in CBD and low in THC, making it ideal for people who want the anxiety-relieving effects without the psychoactive effects.
  • Northern Lights (Indica) – This is a classic strain that’s known for its relaxing and sleep-promoting effects.
  • Jack Herer (Sativa) – Named after the famous cannabis activist, this strain can provide a sense of blissful, clear-headed relaxation.
  • Strawberry Cough (Sativa) – This strain is said to help manage stress and deliver an uplifting and euphoric experience.
  • Blue Dream (Hybrid) – A popular choice due to its balanced body-mind effects, providing calm attentiveness.

How to Use Weed For Anxiety

Tips for Safe and Effective Usage

  • Consult a qualified healthcare professional: Before incorporating marijuana into your anxiety management routine. Choose a healthcare professional who has knowledge and experience in this area.
  • Choose reputable sources: Obtain marijuana products from legal and reputable dispensaries to ensure quality and safety.
  • Practice moderation: Use marijuana responsibly and avoid excessive consumption to minimize potential adverse effects.
  • Consider strain variations: Numerous strains are available within the Indica  Sativa and Hybrid categories, each with unique effects and characteristics. Experiment with different strains to find the best one for your anxiety symptoms.
  • Maintain a supportive environment: Surround yourself with a calm and supportive environment while using marijuana for anxiety relief. This can enhance the overall experience and promote relaxation.


Is marijuana a suitable treatment for all types of anxiety disorders?

Marijuana may not be suitable for everyone and may have varying effects depending on the individual and the specific anxiety disorder. Consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

Can marijuana completely cure anxiety?

While marijuana can temporarily relieve anxiety symptoms, it is not a cure for anxiety. It should be used as part of a comprehensive anxiety management plan.

Are there any potential side effects of using marijuana for anxiety?

Common side effects may include dry mouth, increased heart rate, impaired coordination, and cognitive effects. It's essential to be aware of the potential risks and use marijuana responsibly.

Can I use marijuana for anxiety if I have a history of substance abuse?

Individuals with a history of substance abuse should exercise caution when considering marijuana use for anxiety. It's essential to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide guidance based on your specific circumstances.

Can I mix marijuana with my current anxiety medications?

Mixing marijuana with other medications, including anxiety medications, can have unpredictable effects. It's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before combining substances to ensure safety and avoid potential interactions.


If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of anxiety, it’s important to seek help from a healthcare provider. Treatments are available and can include psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes, such as stress management techniques and regular physical activity.

Choosing the right marijuana strain for anxiety requires careful consideration of individual factors, strain characteristics, and desired effects. 

Indica strains are generally recommended for anxiety relief due to their calming properties, some individuals may also find relief from certain Sativa strains.

Novices should start with low doses, finding the right balance between THC, CBD and other cannabinoids. Choose a consumption method that suits your preferences and lifestyle. hybrid strains may be just what you need to achieve the proper balance of cannabinoids. 

Lastly, talk with a healthcare professional preferably a “marijuana doctor” and consume your cannabis products responsibly.

Article reviewed by:

Dr. Richard Koffler

Richard Koffler, MD

NPI Number- 1467557264

  • Dr. Koffler is a Physiatrist, specializing in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 
  • Graduated from the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University in 1993 Dr. Koffler completed a one-year internship in internal medicine at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. 
  • Residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Rusk Institute at NYU Medical Center in New York City. Board certified in 1998. 
  • Trained in acupuncture at Helms Medical Institute at UCLA His medical practice incorporates proven conventional western medicine integrating eastern alternative practices. 
  • Medical Director of several medical clinics in NYC, Stamford CT, and Miami Beach, FL.

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