When examining cannabis use as a potential treatment option for anxiety disorder, an important question often arises: Should I use indica or sativa for anxiety relief?
There are two distinct strains of cannabis and each one will affect your anxiety differently. Understanding the uniqueness of each is essential to treating your anxiety effectively.
The key differences between cannabis indica and cannabis sativa
First of all, from seed to flower, the indica and sativa plants are distinct from each other. From leaf size and structure, growing height and flowering time, and to bud size, smell and effects – the differences vary greatly.
Indica plants grow smaller and bushier than sativa plants. They have wide, short leaves and short, wide blades. The buds (or flowers) are usually dense and bulky.
Sativa strains grow taller with long leaves and thin long blades. They are more likely to produce longer and thinner shaped flowers.
The effects of indica on anxiety
Indica strains provide a more calming and soothing experience for the user. This often helps to relax and relieve pain. Since indica is better known for it’s sedative effects, getting a good night’s sleep is relatively easy. As a general rule, preferring indica strains over sativas are best for treating anxiety.
The effects of sativa on anxiety
Cannabis sativa is well known for its cerebral high. Sativa strains have a cognitive effect, providing an energetic, focused, and more “mental” high. They are generally more uplifting and have an energizing effect on the mind and body. Sativa’s are best for daytime use at lower doses.
It’s important to note that high sativa strains may actually trigger panic attacks. Add CBD into the mix in order to alleviate any feelings of anxiety or panic.
Additionally, splicing indica and sativa plants together to create hybrid strains are becoming a popular option.
The importance of CBD
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the chemical compound found in cannabis that contains the qualities used to treat anxiety. THC seems to have the opposite effects on anxiety levels depending on the dosage, with THC acting to decrease anxiety at lower doses yet increasing anxiety at higher doses. Unlike THC, cannabidiol does not have any psychoactive effects and may actually reduce any anxiety symptoms caused by high THC use.
We are now seeing a trend toward cultivating CBD dominant strains for the use of pain management and anxiety relief. CBD oils and extracts will not cause an anxiety attack. This is important to note when deciding between indica or sativa for anxiety treatment.
Research is showing that CBD, when taken alone in regular doses, also reduces social anxiety and the feelings of panic associated with public speaking.
Smoking vs. other methods
Cannabis products are usually consumed by smoking the leaves or flowers of the marijuana plants. Although this is a potent method to get the cannabinoids into your bloodstream, it has all the disadvantages of smoking regular tobacco products, including the danger of lung cancer and general damage to your respiratory system.
Inhaling cannabis may involve minor health issues due to the combustion process, while using cannabis oil does not result in the same effects since it does not require being heated. Consider those with severe health conditions, such as emphysema. Ingesting cannabis instead of smoking achieves the same benefits.
Smokers may also want to consider a vaporizer for whole-plant cannabis consumption.
Further, anytime you burn something and inhale it, you create oxidation within the body. That oxidation is not healthy for the body and can lead to health issues itself.
Remember, it’s hard enough to catch your breath when having a panic attack!
Should you choose indica or sativa for anxiety?
If you are looking to treat your anxiety and panic with cannabis, let’s keep a few points in mind:
- indica strains are best used in the evening since it is ideal for relaxation and sedation.
- sativa strains are best used during the day because of it’s uplifting effects, but at lower doses.
- CBD is essential to use with both, since this is the compound which provides long term anxiety benefits.
As a best recommendation: begin by using an indica strain in the evening with a balanced THC/CBD ratio. When comfortable with this method, you can begin exploring the additional options between indica or sativa for anxiety.
If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please leave them below.
To your health and well being,