4 Strains to Help Treat Symptoms of Depression

Man with Frowny Face
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Depression is a serious mental health disorder affecting millions of people around the world. In the US, around 16 million adults have had at least one major depressive episode, and over 3 million more suffer from chronic depression. So, of course, we wanted to compile a list of strains for depression.

Cannabis and Depression

No one likes feeling listless, unmotivated, and hopeless, but antidepressants are a bit of a crapshoot. The data we have available on the efficacy of antidepressants is surprisingly inconclusive. When a study concerning antidepressants doesn't show them in a positive light, that study often never sees the light of day.

A review of antidepressant studies shows that this positivity bias masks the uncertainty surrounding antidepressants. Add in potential side effects and the "zombielike" state many people report, and these drugs can lose their appeal quickly. Can strains of cannabis, with their mood-enhancing properties, help those suffering from depression?

There's some reason to believe that cannabis can be a healthy part of depression treatment. The University at Buffalo has a branch called the Research Institute on Addictions (RIA), which has been studying the role of endocannabinoids in depression. Their study on mice found that chronic stress reduces the production of your body's natural cannabinoids, which in turn leads to one of the biggest causes of depression.

We're certainly not suggesting that weed can cure depression, nor are we saying that getting mad blasted is a constructive way to use marijuana. But the findings of the Buffalo study suggest that a deficiency in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) may be corrected at least in part by the introduction of cannabinoids from marijuana. It's certainly not an exact science, but we can start by lining up the best cannabis strains for depression based on what we know about their effects.

Northern Lights

northern lights cannabis plant
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If one of your symptoms is insomnia, Northern Lights is one of the best cannabis strains for drifting off to sleep. This indica kicks in fast to take the edge off of accompanying anxiety and soothes you into a high that permeates your whole body.

This is definitely not a daytime strain, so cozy up somewhere comfortable before you dig into a bowl of this. Because it can have such high THC (up to 26%), it's best to be sparing with this strain.
Northern Lights is thought to have originated in Washington and has been winning Cannabis Cups since the 90s. Its aroma is sweet and citrusy, with notes of earthiness emerging when smoked.

Harlequin

Harlequin makes it into the best cannabis strains for depression due to it’s 5:2 ratio of CBD to THC. You may get a slight buzz, but it manifests more as an enhanced energy than a true high. Harlequin is primarily a sativa, but the presence of CBD mitigates the traditional cerebral high. Instead, you may experience an uplift in mood, a calmer mindset, and some relief from anxiety if you have it. This is one of the best strains for pain management, too, and it’s helpful to those with achy, stiff joints.

Harlequin is a medium shade of green, packed into dense buds. Even though it doesn't have much THC, the nugs are still blanketed with gorgeous trichomes. The main aroma is musk, but hints of tropical citrus fruits make their way through as well.

OG Kush

OG Kush Bud
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Even if you've never had OG Kush, you may have smoked one of its descendants! There's a little bit of controversy surrounding this strain's origins, but it's definitely a component in many of today's West Coast strains.

OG Kush is very high in THC, so a little goes a long way when trying to treat depression symptoms. This strain will sweep you off your feet with a distinctly energetic sativa euphoria free of mind-racing.

Stress, aches, and pains melt away, and mood elevation is a given. This strain can be somewhat sedative, so it's best in a nighttime or relaxation session.

These buds are silver-white thanks to their healthy coating of sticky trichomes. Their scent is earthy and piney, with a little citrus coming through as well. The smoke is hashy with a bit of spice, and the scent lingers around for quite a while – so be careful! This awesome strain can be found in legal marijuana dispensaries across the country.

Amnesia Haze

Amnesia Haze can be a little tough to get ahold of, but it's one of the best cannabis strains for alleviating depression symptoms with a daytime smoke session. A hit or two of this strain will result in just enough sativa effect to help lift your mood and encourage creative brainstorming and daydreaming. You won't experience couchlock, so this is a great strain to help motivate you to do mundane tasks like washing dishes or cleaning around the house.

Amnesia Haze nugs are on the lighter side of the green scale, and they’re richly dotted with pistils ranging from orange to brown. The aromas of this strain are complex and include a hint of lemon that's underpinned with woody, earthy tones.

Always in Moderation

Don't fool yourself into thinking cannabis will solve your depression. At best, it may simply help your brain replenish some of the cannabinoids your ECS has stopped making due to chronic stress.

From an enjoyment perspective, cannabis can certainly create temporary relief from depression, but smoking too much weed can lead to dopamine deficits. So be sure to consume responsibly!