Your Definitive Guide to Cannabis Anxiety Treatments

Written by BlackbirdGo January 30, 2018
The Plant

Disclaimer: Keep out of reach of children. For use only by adults 21 years of age and older.

Many people use medical cannabis for anxiety treatments. However, it’s important to understand your symptoms, as well as your treatment options, before you order from your local dispensary. Different anxiety disorders can affect patients in vastly different ways, and as a result you may find that certain products and strains are more effective for you than others.

Anxiety is an umbrella term that includes many specific diagnoses, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Pharmaceutical options for treating anxiety disorders usually include benzodiazepines and certain antidepressants. Benzodiazepines, while effective at providing quick sedation during a panic attack, can lead to tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal symptoms. This class of pharmaceuticals also carries a number of other adverse side effects that make it difficult to function or perform day-to-day tasks. In addition to leaving users tired and sedated, benzodiazepines can also affect memory, alter one’s sense of time, and reduce or impair coordination.

Research has shown that medical cannabis can be a valuable aid to many individuals who suffer from anxiety disorders without any of the serious risks or negative side effects that pharmaceutical treatments carry. Talk to your doctor about using marijuana for anxiety, and let your budtender know what specific symptoms you want to treat.

Smoking and Vaping

Most people’s first introduction to consuming cannabis is smoking it. Smoking has the advantage of feeling the effects almost instantly, making it much easier to control your dosage.

If you’re averse to smoking, you can now use vaporizers to heat the ground-up buds without actually burning the plant material, making it a safer alternative to combustion. You can also buy vape pens, which operate like e-cigarettes but contain THC, CBD, or both.

  • Start with a low-THC strain or vape cartridge. You can always scale up your THC consumption, but you’ll want to avoid the super-high THC products if you’re treating an anxiety disorder. Some cartridges are concentrated up to 90% THC, whereas most flower ranges between 10% to 30% THC.
  • Choose indica strains of flower and vape cartridges until you figure out how you react to sativa strains. Ask your budtender about the best marijuana strains for anxiety to find what works best for your condition.
  • Consider CBD strains and vape cartridges. A high-CBD product offers the same anxiolytic properties that you’d get from THC without as much of a cerebral “high”. Some CBD products actually contain almost no THC, making them a great option for calming down without any risk of panic.

Getting too high too quickly can trigger anxiety symptoms in some individuals, so you’ll want to take it slow until you’ve figured out a dosing system that works for you.

Edibles and Tinctures

Edible forms of cannabis have moved far beyond the pot brownies of your college days (although you can still get plenty of infused baked goods) - today dispensaries carry THC-infused mints, candy, chips, and even beverages like lemonade, coffee, and tea! However, it’s important to measure your doses very carefully with edibles. Unlike smoking or vaping, edibles take one to two hours to fully kick in. Some novices make the mistake of eating part of an edible, thinking it’s not working if the onset of effects have been delayed, and consuming more before any of the effects have begun.

Tinctures and sublingual sprays are another great option, allowing you to treat the symptoms of anxiety with greater precision and dosage control. They’re made from cannabis oil that’s been blended with olive oil or alcohol and they come with an eyedropper to measure out how much you consume. You’ll still have to contend with a longer onset time than smoking, but the convenience and ease of dosing make tinctures and sprays a favorite among medical patients.

When dealing with issues like social anxiety, one great advantage of using edibles and tinctures is the discretion they offer. There’s no lingering odor with these products, meaning you can dose anywhere without drawing unwanted attention to yourself. Using edibles and tinctures can help avoid the risk of paranoia that some people feel when smoking the dried flowers of the plant.


If you want to relax but you have reservations about the intoxicating effects of marijuana, you might want to consider application methods like rubs, balms, salves, and bath soaks infused with THC or CBD. These products interact with the cannabinoid receptors in your tissue, giving you targeted muscle relaxation without any of the euphoric “high” that comes with other consumption methods.

For a relaxing, anxiety-free cannabis experience, pick up an infused bath bomb or bath salts. After a long soak in the tub, you’ll feel like you just got a full-body massage right in the comfort of your home! You’ll still be able to function and carry on conversations at work or in a social setting, but you’ll feel physically relaxed enough to let go of your fears and concerns.

Additional considerations

Many people with social anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, and OCD may feel uncomfortable going to a dispensary in person. After passing through checking in, you may have to wait in a crowded waiting room and then elbow for space at the counter. If you’ve suffered from an anxiety attack in crowded public places, consider ordering marijuana through a courier service. Blackbird can provide you with the exact same flower, vape cartridges, edibles, and topicals that you’d get in-store, but you can order and receive your weed products in the comfort of your own home. Order through Blackbird and we'll bring the marijuana to you, or you can pick up your goods in person at the dispensary without the wait!