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Published: August 14th, 2018
Categories: Cannabis Info
For many cannabis connoisseurs, their favourite pastime is also a big stress-reliever. But what exactly does the science say about cannabis and stress, and what are the best strains if you’re looking to unwind after a long, hard day?
Stress is a big issue and can cause all kinds of health problems. It’s also something we all deal with on a daily basis. Luckily, research shows a little weed might be all you need to overcome symptoms of stress. Now, that might seem pretty obvious to regular cannabis users; just like a cold beer can help you relax and unwind, so can a nice joint. But it wasn’t until recently that studies actually started looking into cannabinoids like THC and their ability to ameliorate stress.
Research by the University of Chicago looked at how THC affected our acute response to stress. The study included 42 participants, who were separated into 3 groups:
Following the dose, participants were asked to prepare for a mock job interview in which they’d be asked a bunch of questions and asked to perform tasks such as count backwards “by subtracting 13 from a five-digit number” to induce stress. After the interview, each participant was asked to evaluate how stressed s/he was, and was also made to complete a range of tests to measure their blood pressure, cortisol levels, and heart rate (all indicators of stress).
The participants who received low doses of THC performed best on the stress tests, while those who received the highest doses of THC performed the worst. The authors concluded that small doses of THC can reduce the emotional impacts of stress, but that “higher doses may non-specifically increase negative mood”. Now that we have the science out of the way, let’s focus on 7 specific strains lauded for their stress-relieving capabilities.
Sometimes it’s all in a name, right? Royal Queen Seeds’ Stress Killer is the perfect strain for unwinding and overcoming symptoms of stress. This is an auto strain with moderate THC levels (11%) and high levels of CBD, producing a well-balanced, calming high.
Thanks to its high concentrations of CBD, this strain leaves you feeling composed, collected, and alert. It produces mild psychoactive effects, but won’t induce anxiety or paranoia like some more potent strains. It is definitely more sativa-dominant, and hence, produces a stimulating yet manageable euphoria.
Stress Killer is a 3-way hybrid crossing Lemon Shining Silver Haze and Juanita la Lagrimosa with a hardy ruderalis. It boasts a very pungent citrus aroma, underlined by sweet and sometimes fruity tones. If you’re looking for a mild strain to kick your feet up with after a long day (or even during), Stress Killer is the perfect option.
Blue Dream is a sativa-dominant variety that’s become a classic across the US, especially in California. Combining Blueberry and Haze genetics, this is a potent strain boasting over 19% THC and low levels of CBD.
The effects of Blue Dream are super strong, but still balanced. Thanks to its genetics, it combines the relaxing, physical effects of a robust indica with the uplifting, cerebral euphoria of a winning sativa. The physical effects will usually kick in first, followed up by a clear head high that’ll keep you functional and attentive. This makes it a great daytime strain, leaving you free to get on with your regular commitments.
Blue Dream is treasured for its strong aroma that preserves the best of both its parent strains. A fresh batch of Blue Dream will easily stink up a room with potent berry aromas from Blueberry, combined with the sweet, citrusy aromas from Haze. If you’re looking to destress, whether it be due to work or some other commitment, Blue Dream is a great choice. While very potent, its balanced effects are great at helping to clear your head.
Girl Scout Cookies (GSC) is a classic West Coast strain that quickly earned itself a reputation as a favourite across the US and the entire world. A cross between OG Kush and Durban Poison, this is an extremely powerful variety with THC levels between 17–28%.
The effects of GSC kick-in quickly, producing a strong physical buzz and state of cerebral bliss. Within just a few minutes, you’ll feel relaxed, happy, and revived, making it a great strain for when you want to let it all hang out. Be careful though; thanks to its high THC levels, GSC is not the ideal daytime strain and should be used at the end of a long day when you don’t need to be productive.
GSC is, however, the ideal strain for anyone looking to curb symptoms of stress like racing thoughts, uneasiness, and a bad mood. A few hearty tokes of this strain will have you feeling cool, calm, and collected as you gain a better perspective on the stressful factors in your life.
Durban Poison is the forefather of some of the most popular hybrids circulating the market today. It is said to originate from Durban, South Africa, but has earned a solid reputation all around the globe.
Durban Poison is considered a native landrace sativa, and was brought to Holland in the 1970s where it was inbred and stabilised for many years. It produces a very apparent, uplifting euphoria with few physical effects. With THC levels between 16–25%, it induces a strong high defined by productive, creative, and focussed sensations. It’ll also boost your mood and allow you to operate as the best version of yourself.
Durban Poison has a very pungent aroma that’s notably different from other popular sativas, which often feature citrusy scents. Instead, Durban Poison has a sweet, natural, earthy aroma with underlying hints of pine. Unlike some of the other strains on this list, Durban Poison is the perfect daytime strain. Whether you’re stressed out at work or lacking the energy to make it through the mid-afternoon, a small dose of this will quickly kick your motor into gear and help you stay energetic and inspired.
AK-47 needs little introduction. This all-star hybrid has taken the world by storm, becoming a household name among all serious cannabis users. It’s a cross between a variety of landrace strains from Colombia, Mexico, Thailand, and Afghanistan, and has won numerous cannabis cups since it first hit the shelves in 1992.
Being a sativa-dominant hybrid, AK-47 produces a strong, invigorating euphoria. You may enjoy a sudden burst of creativity straight after trying it, or find you’re simply more motivated and exuberant. Some users might also detect a very subtle body buzz that’s relaxing, but mellow enough to keep you alert. Thanks to its creative buzz, many users treasure AK-47 as a daytime strain. So, next time you're feeling a little under the weather or looking for a 3pm pick-me-up, stick some of this in your pipe and smoke it.
Following the release of the 2008 comedy film starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, Pineapple Express (the strain) became an instant hit everywhere. This fruity, hard-hitting sativa is a favourite among recreational and medical users alike.
Pineapple Express Auto is a simple autoflowering version by Barney’s Farm. A cross between Pineapple Chunk and Super Auto, this hardy, fast-flowering strain produces excellent buds. Unlike the original Pineapple Express, this is an indica-dominant variety that induces a notable body high and a slight cerebral euphoria. It’s definitely not as rousing as some of the other strains we mentioned on this list, and hence, is best enjoyed at the end of the day when all you need to do is lounge in a comfy chain.
If you’re looking for a strain that offers thorough relaxation after work or play, this is it. And if you’re a grower looking for a fast-flowering, easy-to-manage autos to add to your garden, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something that beats Pineapple Express Auto.
Few strains have achieved the international fame of Northern Lights. And while there are many different versions of Northern Lights circulating the market, one to definitely keep your eye on is Northern Lights XL by Zambeza Seeds.
A cross between an original Northern Lights and a unique Afghan landrace variety, this is one big, bulky strain. It produces large, dense, and heavy buds that induce a knockout indica body buzz when smoked. Within minutes, this strain will have you sprawling happily on the couch, surrendering to a strong physical sensation that’ll melt all your troubles away. If you’re looking for just the right indica to help you experience some well-deserved rest and relaxation, this is a perfect choice.