It’s currently estimated that over 18 million Americans deal with depression in any given year, and the pandemic is pushing that figure even higher.
Traditional pharmaceutical companies have devised a wide range of medications to treat the symptoms of depression, but these drugs often cause serious side effects, including anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, gastrointestinal distress, and sexual dysfunction. In order to find a natural alternative to these chemicals, a growing number of people are looking into using cannabis for depression.
If you're experiencing severe depression, suicidal thoughts, or other serious mental health issues, it is critical that you reach out to a licensed therapist, doctor, or other treatment resource. Clinical research into the depression-fighting potential of cannabis is still in its early stages, though, so most therapists and physicians are unwilling or unable to discuss using cannabis as a supplement to traditional therapies.
Although there isn’t a ton of research about weed and depression, many individuals have found that specific strains of weed can help them fight the blues by providing fresh inspiration, rekindling motivation, and stimulating the appetites for food and adventure.
In general, sativa-dominant strains are ideal for creating a mental, energetic high that can boost motivation and elevate mood. High-THC strains can also provide some cheer, but people who are also suffering from anxiety may want to check out higher-CBD strains.
It also helps to explore the wide range of terpenes found in different weed strains. Although terpenes are best known for giving weed its flavor and aroma, new research shows that these cannabis compounds can have positive health effects as well.
With all these factors in mind, here are five popular cannabis strains that people are using to ward off depression.
Anyone who needs an extra kick to jumpstart a busy day should take a look at Cinex, a THC-dominant sativa that produces a clear-headed, energetic high. Cinex also contains especially high levels of limonene, a terpene commonly found in oranges and lemon rinds. Clinical researchers are currently exploring the possibility that limonene can boost levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, providing a natural alternative to antidepressant medications.
This sativa strain, also known as Lamb's Breath, is well-known for its energetic and uplifting effects. Originating from Jamaica, Lamb's Bread is another high-THC strain that is often recommended to medical cannabis patients who are experiencing depression as well as chronic stress. Rich in myrcene, this strain is cherished for its ability to spark joy, rekindle creativity, and inspire positive introspection.
If you ask your local budtender or medical cannabis caregiver which strain of weed is best for fighting depression, you might end up with a recommendation for Jack Herer. This sativa-dominant hybrid, named after the iconic pot activist and author, can bring a euphoric, inspiring high that can help melt the blues away. Jack's euphoric effects are due to its relatively high THC content, which can range from 15 to 24 percent, as well as a high concentration of terpinolene, a particularly uplifting terpene that smells like freshly cut pine.
For anyone who is suffering from anxiety along with depression, high-THC strains may actually exacerbate feelings of worry or paranoia. In cases like these, cannabis caregivers often recommend strains that balance out THC with high levels of CBD. Harlequin, a sativa bred from Colombian, Nepali, Thai, and Swiss strains, can contain CBD:THC ratios as high as 5:2, which can help induce a state of relaxation and mental peace.
Cannatonic is another high-CBD strain that many people use to help cope with depression, anxiety, or chronic pain. Not only is this strain a perfect hybrid of sativa and indica, it also packs an ideal 2:1 CBD:THC ratio, with CBD levels sometimes reaching as high as 15 percent. This combo won't get you super blazed, but is perfect for relaxing, unwinding, and lifting your spirits. Cannatonic also has a significant number of terpenes, including myrcene and linalool, which provide this strain's woody, earthy flavor.