A panic attack is classified as the rapid onset of fear or discomfort that hits its peak within a few minutes and includes a minimum of four of the following symptoms:
- Increased heart rate or palpitations
- A feeling of choking
- Heat sensations or chills
- Tingling or numbing sensations
- Fear of losing control
- A fear of dying
- Discomfort or pain in the chest
- Shaking or trembling
- Abdominal distress or nausea
Although the symptoms are similar to when you feel extremely anxious, a panic attack is different because it lasts longer and is more intense. Typically, the symptoms of a panic attack reach their zenith within 10 minutes although they tend to subside soon afterward.
One of the most troubling aspects of panic attacks is that they can suddenly ‘hit’ you during a relative state of calm. Occasionally, an individual could suffer a panic attack in the midst of other psychological disorders. For example, if you have a social anxiety disorder, you could suffer a panic attack right before you have to give a speech to a large audience.
According to the National Institute for Mental Health, up to 2.7% of American adults have a panic attack during the year. Moreover, an estimated 4.7% of Americans suffer from a panic disorder at some point during their lives.
Can Marijuana Help with Panic Attacks?
There is a school of thought which suggests that high-THC marijuana strains, in particular, could worsen the symptoms of panic disorder. According to Ryan Vandrey of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, panic attacks from weed happen from the direct effects of the drug in the brain or on the body. Vandrey asserts that marijuana can modulate neurotransmitters in parts of the brain that control anxiety and it could elevate your heart rate.
This combination may result in a feeling of heightened panic. Crucially, research into cannabis and panic attacks suggest that it is ‘dose-related.’ In other words, higher doses of potent weed are far more likely to result in a panic attack than a sensible dose of medium-strength herb. Panic attacks such as this are also more likely to happen in individuals who have a predisposition to an anxiety disorder.
This guide will show you five of the best marijuana strains for helping to combat panic attacks. You will notice that most of them are mid-strength in THC and some of them contain CBD which possibly helps reduce the likelihood of a weed-induced panic attack.
1 – Purple Dragon (The Best Marijuana Strain When You Need to Laugh)
This is a 50/50 hybrid with a THC content of 21% and CBD of 1%. It is supposed to be an indica, but it contains an array of uplifting benefits which means it came out more balanced than expected. It is a cross of Blue Dragon and Purple Urkle and is capable of providing you with a solid high without fear of exacerbating panic symptoms.
Purple Dragon is one of the most soothing marijuana strains on the market, but it also scores a ‘10’ on the Happiness scale. Once you start using it, you will rapidly feel the cerebral effects, and users report feeling euphoric and hazy. As a result, we don’t recommend using it before work! Instead, sit back, relax and allow Purple Dragon’s warm glow to descend across your body.
This strain is also known for its sweet and delicate fragrance. It immediately tempts you with its aroma and its taste does not disappoint. Purple Dragon offers a spicy and skunky taste but with a flowery aftertaste that lingers on the palate. The main side effects include dry mouth and itchy eyes, but that’s a small price to pay for how this strain makes you feel.
2 – Cherry Pie (The Inspiring Marijuana Strain)
This is an indica dominant strain (80%) that contains between 13-23% THC. As it has minimal CBD, it is wise to find a strain of Cherry Pie that’s on the lower end of the spectrum. The origins of this strain are subject to dispute although most experts now believe it is a cross of Durban Poison and Granddaddy Purple.
Despite its indica nature, Cherry Pie doesn’t hit you with an intense body high. However, it is a fantastic strain for elevating your mood. Some users report that a few hits of this strain make them ready to take on the world as it heightens their creativity level and offers a welcome burst of energy.
While it is a reasonably potent strain, it is not overwhelmingly so, which makes it ideal for social occasions. Cherry Pie smells like its pastry equivalent and offers a delicious sweet taste. Side effects to watch out for include dry eyes, and occasional dizziness but in most cases, it provides you with peace of mind.
3 – Sour OG (The Ideal Recreational Marijuana Strain)
This hybrid strain has a relatively low THC content of between 13% and 17%. It is a cross of OG Kush and Sour Diesel. Its mid-range THC level means Sour OG is often touted as one of the best medical strains around. Indeed, it won an award at the 2011 High Times Medical Cannabis Cup.
Sour OG is the epitome of a mellow smoke. It doesn’t hit you particularly fast or hard. Instead, its warm and uplifting feel slowly descends upon you. If you are feeling anxious, smoke some Sour OG and you should feel uplifted and slightly euphoric although you won’t necessarily feel these effects creep up on you.
It has a pine and diesel scent and offers a pleasant citrus aftertaste. Sour OG is one of the most sought-after marijuana strains in patients who have mood disorders because of its capacity to induce a sense of calm and relaxation. Possible side effects include dry and itchy eyes and occasionally an increase in headaches.
4 – Cannatonic (The All-Rounder Marijuana Strain)
There are few marijuana strains better regarded for medicinal purposes than Cannatonic. It is a mild balanced hybrid with a THC content between 7% and 15%. It stands apart from most strains due to its CBD content of 12%. The combination of cannabinoids works to relax and uplift you without causing you to get extremely high.
Cannatonic is a cross of G13 Haze and MK Ultra. It provides users with a thoroughly pleasant mellow high and they often report feeling relaxed and even optimistic. Cannatonic is the perfect afternoon or evening smoke because it helps you think with a clear mind without an energy boost. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself smiling incessantly while using this strain!
It has a sour smell but a beautiful citrus taste. There are very few side effects associated with Cannatonic which is why it is such a fantastic medicinal strain. In very rare cases, you may feel thirsty and dizzy. Overall, it is a great choice for patients with panic disorder and is also a good option if you suffer from chronic pain.
5 – Girl Scout Cookies (The Ironically Named Marijuana Strain)
If you think this indica dominant (60%) strain won’t pack a punch due to its innocuous name, you’re in for quite a shock. Girl Scout Cookies has a THC of between 18% and 28% so be careful if you elect to go for strains at the high end of that range. It is a cross of Durban Poison and South Florida OG Kush and has developed a reputation for providing users with a balanced high.
Despite its potency, GSC is a great option if you have a panic disorder. It gets to work quickly, and you’ll soon benefit from an intense cerebral high which elevates your mood. Expect to feel your confidence improve so consider using this strain before social occasions, but only if you can handle the effects. Eventually, the high moves into your body and users report feeling extremely relaxed after the initial stimulation.
The earthy & sweet smell is pleasant, and it offers a minty taste along with the merest hint of nutmeg. The main side effects are dry eyes and dry mouth. Although Girl Scout Cookies has been used to treat a variety of conditions, it is best-known as a medicinal strain with a special focus on individuals suffering from stress and anxiety disorders.
Final Thoughts on Marijuana Strains for Panic Disorders
If you suffer from repeated panic attacks and conventional medicine is not working, consider using one of the marijuana strains we have mentioned above. In general, indica-dominant hybrids have a better CBD to THC ratio which reduces the risk of adverse effects.
However, there are a few strains that will surprise you such as Girl Scout Cookies and Cherry Pie. If you are new to the world of weed, consider a strain with enough CBD to counteract any possible adverse effects such as Cannatonic, although Harlequin is another good option. Above all, make sure you start slowly with each strain. Use a small amount at first and analyze the effects. If you don’t suffer any side effects but your panic disorder symptoms still manifest themselves, increase the dosage until you find the right balance between relief and functionality.
Irrespective to the information provided above, it is extremely important to consult with your doctor before you consume cannabis. Please note that cannabis may not replace traditional treatment and should be only consumed in according to the laws and with professional guidance.