Using marijuana to treat depression is tricky. It’s a drug that acts as both a stimulant and depressant, and one’s experience will largely vary based on one’s choice of strain, consumption method, and dosage.
Depression is also one of the most common mental illnesses, affecting more than 16 million American adults each year, according to Mental Health America. And antidepressants come with their own set of problems. For example, many antidepressants can take up to eight weeks to fully kick in, at which point patients may feel less depressed, more depressed, or emotionally neutral. This lengthy, cumbersome process is what turns many people towards a potentially more immediate treatment method: marijuana.
Marijuana isn’t for all patients with depression, but the good news is, you don’t have to wait eight weeks to find out if it works for you.
Here are five of the best strains for treating depression:
This is a great strain for patients with depression who aren’t regular marijuana users, or for those who are looking to ease into marijuana as a treatment method for depression. That’s because Harlequin has a 1:1 THC to CBD ratio. This means it has lower psychoactive properties (which result from high THC contents) and the higher CBD content will help to balance out the anxiety new users may experience from THC. This is another Sativa-dominant strain that is good for daytime use and will leave medical marijuana patients feeling focused, happy and stress-free. This strain’s CBD content is also great for dealing with pain.
Is it just me, or does “Electric Avenue” start playing in your head every time you think of this strain? As it turns out, Eddy Grant’s jovial 80’s tune is a good soundtrack for this strain, which will leave marijuana fans feeling, above all, happy. This Sativa-dominant strain will leave you feeling uplifted, energized and euphoric. For that reason, it’s a great option for treating depression, particularly during the middle of the day when you need a pick-me-up that won’t drain you of productivity. This strain is also a great stress reliever.
Frequent marijuana users may notice that this strain doesn’t make you feel “high”. That’s because Cannatonic is another high CBD strain that is great for relaxing the body and mind without much of the psychoactive properties of THC. This is another great beginner strain for this reason. If your depression is hampering your social life, for example, this strain will leave you feeling uplifted but not debilitated or anxious. It’s also good for pain relief, so patients who are experiencing depression as a result of—or in conjunction with—a physical ailment can use this strain to treat both conditions. While this strain will relax the body, it won’t sap users of their energy, making it another great choice for daytime use and one of the best strains for treating depression.
This is the only indica-dominant strain we’ve included in this list. Indica’s generally act more as a depressant than a mental stimulant, so they’re not always among the top choices for treating depression. However, Indica’s still have an important role to play, particularly as night-time strains. Among indica-dominant strains, Northern Lights is one of the most famous. Medical marijuana patients are recommended to consume this strain in the evening or night time. This strain will make users feel relaxed, happy and sleepy above all else. If insomnia or a general lack of sleep is contributing to your depression, Northern Lights is a great option for you. It’s also great for calming the minds of patients experiencing racing thoughts.
This famous West Coast Sativa-dominant hybrid strain will offer marijuana fans the best of both worlds: the bodily relaxation more common to indica strains, and the uplifted euphoria of heavy Sativas. Blue Dream is a great choice for patients looking to reduce stress and boost their mood. It’s also been reported to enhance creativity. This is a high THC strain, so those new to cannabis are recommended to start off with a small dosage. If you’re a frequent cannabis user experiencing depression, however, Blue Dream is an excellent treatment strain.