Sativa vs. Indica for Anxiety Relief – Which Strain is Right for You?

Do you suffer from anxiety? If so, you’re not alone. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults each year. Anxiety disorders are so common that they’re often referred to as the “hidden epidemic.”


If you suffer from anxiety, you know how debilitating it can be. You may feel like you’re constantly on edge, unable to relax or focus. Your heart races, your mind races, and you may even experience panic attacks.


While there are many conventional treatments for anxiety, such as therapy and medication, some people prefer to treat their anxiety with cannabis. Cannabis is effective in treating anxiety, and it’s also non-addictive and has few side effects.


So, suppose you’re considering using cannabis for anxiety relief. In that case, you may be wondering whether you should choose a Sativa or Indica strain. Let’s look at the difference between these two types of cannabis and see which one is best for anxiety relief.


What is anxiety, and what causes it?

Before we take a deep dive into the Sativa versus Indica debate, it helps to understand the very nature of anxiety. Anxiety is a completely normal human emotion that we all experience from time to time. It’s our body’s way of preparing us for danger or stressful situations.


In small doses, anxiety can be helpful. It can make us more alert and help us perform at our best. But when anxiety becomes excessive, it can be debilitating. Anxiety disorders are characterized by excessive, irrational fear or dread.


There are many different anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. No matter what type of anxiety you suffer from, it can affect your quality of life.


Anxiety disorders are often treated with therapy and medication. But some people prefer to treat their anxiety with cannabis. Cannabis is effective in treating anxiety, and it’s also non-addictive and has few side effects.


Sativa vs. Indica: Key differences for anxiety relief

In this section, we’re going to explore the key differences between Sativa and Indica so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you. Keep in mind that there are many different strains of both Sativa and Indica, so that the effects may vary from one to the next.



Sativas are generally associated with uplifting, energizing, and cerebral effects. A Sativa might be your best bet if you’re looking for a marijuana or weed strain to get things done and fight off fatigue.

Indicas, unlike Sativa, are known for their relaxing and soothing effects. If you’re looking for an anti-anxiety strain that will help you wind down, an indica might be your best choice.


So, if you’re looking for anxiety relief, it still highly depends on what kind of anxiety you are dealing with. If your anxiety is more physical, such as muscle tension, an indica would be good. A Sativa would be better if your anxiety is more mental, such as racing thoughts.


Cannabinoids and terpenes

Now that we’ve covered the effects of Sativa and Indica, let’s look at the cannabinoids and terpenes responsible for those effects.


Cannabinoids are the active aromatic compounds in weed that interact with our bodies to produce various effects. The two most researched and understood cannabinoids are THC and CBD. THC is the primary cannabinoid that gets you high, while CBD is the cannabinoid that has medicinal properties.


Sativas are generally higher in THC and lower in CBD, while indicas are the reverse. However, there is a lot of variation among different strains of both Sativa and Indica.


Terpenes are the aromatic compounds in cannabis that give each strain its unique smell and flavor. To produce various effects, terpenes also interact with our bodies (particularly the endocannabinoid system). Together with cannabinoids, they produce a synergy known as the entourage effect.


THC and CBD Content

There are different strains of Sativa and Indica, each with its unique effects. If you’re looking for anxiety relief, an indica strain might be the best choice for you- they can help relax one’s body and mind. Indica strains also tend to have higher THC content than sativas, which can more effectively treat anxiety and pain.


That being said, the high THC percentage found in indica weed strains can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. Those with low tolerance or just starting with cannabis should be careful when trying Indica strains with high THC levels.


CBD is also a key player in anxiety relief. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that can counteract the effects of THC. CBD can help ease anxiety and promote relaxation without the psychoactive effects of THC.


Some users will find that CBD works better than THC to provide relief from anxiety. If that’s the case for you, it helps differentiate weed based on specific strains. Checking whether a strain is indica or sativa is not a helpful indicator of CBD content.


Instead, users should check the THC: CBD ratio to better understand how a particular strain might affect them. A higher THC: CBD ratio means that the strain is more likely to produce psychoactive effects. In contrast, a lower ratio indicates that the strain will be more mellow and relaxing.


It’s important to remember that everyone reacts to cannabis differently. What works for one person may not work for another. So, it’s essential to experiment and find the strain that works best for you.


Other differences

Cannabis indica and cannabis Sativa generally differ in more ways than one. The two plants contrast even appearance-wise. Cannabis sativa plants tend to be taller in length and thinner than Indica, with narrower leaves. Indica plants are shorter and stubbier, with broader leaves.

Cannabis Sativa also has a longer flowering time than cannabis indicas – around ten weeks instead of six or seven weeks. This means that sativas take longer to grow and mature than indicas. To know more about their difference, check out our blog How to Tell the Difference Between Sativa and Indica Buds.


Cannabis strains for anxiety relief

Now that we’ve tackled the key differences between sativas and indicas let’s look at some specific strains known for their anxiety-relieving properties.


Here are some popular Indica strains that are known for their anxiety-relieving properties:

  • Granddaddy Purple: This strain crosses Purple Urkle and Big Bud. It has a sweet, grape-like flavor and a potent indica high.
  • OG Kush: This is a classic Kush strain with an earthy, diesel-like flavor. It’s known for its powerful indica effects.
  • Bubba Kush: This strain crosses OG Kush and Bubble Gum. It has a sweet, bubble gum flavor and a potent indica high.


If you’re looking for a Sativa strain that can help with anxiety, here are some popular choices:

  • Green Crack: This strain gets its name from its energizing, uplifting effects. It has a citrusy flavor and an intense Sativa high.
  • Sour Diesel: This is a classic diesel strain with an intense, fuel-like flavor. It’s known for its energizing, uplifting effects.
  • Blue Dream: This popular strain is a cross between Blueberry and Haze. It has a sweet blueberry flavor and an evenly balanced Sativa/Indica high.


Choosing the right strain for you

As we mentioned before, everyone reacts to cannabis differently. So, it’s essential to experiment and find the strain that works best for you. When trying out new strains, keep in mind that not all work particularly well for cannabis.


And just like with all cannabis use, it’s best to start low and slow, then incrementally work your way up in dosage. You can minimize any possible adverse side effects, like anxiety or paranoia. Other side effects of cannabis use – be it for Indica or Sativa – include the following:

  • Dry mouth and dry eyes
  • Increased appetite
  • Paranoia and heightened anxiety
  • Dizziness


These side effects are usually mild and temporary. They tend to go away once the person adjusts to the cannabis. If you do experience any adverse side effects, here are some tips to help you wean off them:


  1. Hydrate. Drink plenty of water to help with a dry mouth.
  2. Use eye drops. This will help with dry eyes.
  3. Eat healthy foods. Eating healthy foods will help to minimize any increase in appetite.
  4. Find a balance. If you find that Indica strains make you too paranoid or anxious, try mixing them with Sativa strains. This can help to balance out the effects.


Suppose you’re unsure of where to start. In that case, your local dispensary should be able to recommend a few strains that might work well for anxiety relief. You can also ask other cannabis users for their recommendations.


Cannabis can be a helpful treatment for anxiety, but it’s not suitable for everyone. If you’re considering using cannabis for anxiety relief, talk to your doctor first to see if it’s right.


What are hybrid strains, and do they work against anxiety?

Hybrid strains are strains that are a cross between Sativa and Indica. They tend to have characteristics of both strains. They can be helpful for people who don’t react well to either sativas or indicas.


Many people find hybrids to be helpful for anxiety relief. They can provide the energizing effects of a Sativa strain with the relaxation of an indica, which can help to balance out the effects and minimize any adverse side effects.


Some of the popular hybrid strains for anxiety include the following:

  • Cherry Pie: This strain crosses Granddaddy Purple and Durban Poison. It has a sweet cherry flavor and a potent hybrid high.
  • Grape Ape: This strain is a cross between Mendocino Purps and Skunk #I. It has a grapey flavor and a potent indica high.
  • Blueberry Kush: This strain is a cross between Blueberry and OG Kush. It has a sweet blueberry flavor and a potent indica high.


How does cannabis help provide relief against anxiety?

Cannabis helps provide relief against anxiety because of the varying ratio of cannabinoids; for instance, indica has tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), whereas Sativa offers more CBD than THC.


To qualify as “medical marijuana,” cannabis must be a plant containing specific THC and CBD levels. These cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body. The ECS regulates many essential functions, including sleep, appetite, mood, and pain perception.


CBD is known to have anti-anxiety effects because it interacts with serotonin receptors in the brain. THC also has anti-anxiety effects, but it is also known to cause paranoia and anxiety in some people. That’s why it’s essential to find the proper ratio of THC to CBD for your needs.

Sativas are known for their energizing and uplifting effects. They’re often used to treat fatigue, depression, and lack of appetite. Indicas are known for their relaxing and soothing effects. They’re often used to treat pain, insomnia, and anxiety.


So, which one is best for anxiety relief? It depends on the individual. Some people find that sativas help relieve their anxiety by providing an energy boost and lifting their mood. Others find that indicas help alleviate their anxiety by relaxing their bodies and minds.


If you’re unsure which type of cannabis is right for you, it’s best to start with a Sativa. Sativas tend to be less intense than indicas and are less likely to cause couch-lock or drowsiness. If you find that sativas worsen your anxiety, you can try an indica.


No matter which type of cannabis you choose, start with a low dose and gradually increase as needed. Cannabis is non-toxic and impossible to overdose on, but it’s still best to err on the side of caution.


Why choose cannabis over prescription medications?

Safety. Cannabis is a safe and non-toxic alternative to prescription medications for anxiety relief. Prescription medications can be addictive and cause various side effects, including anxiety and paranoia. Weed does not cause any addictions, and it’s much less likely to elicit serious side effects.


Effectiveness. Some people find that marijuana works more effectively than regular anti-anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines (i.e., Xanax, Klonopin, Librium, Valium, Ativan) and buspirone (Buspar). Marijuana’s potential efficacy is likely caused by the plant’s unique combination of cannabinoids, plus the entourage effect. If you’ve tried various anxiety medications and haven’t found one that works for you, cannabis might be worth trying.

Lower cost. Marijuana is typically less expensive than most prescription medications. If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to treat your anxiety, cannabis is a good option.


Natural remedy. Cannabis is a natural remedy, whereas prescription medications are synthetic. Some people prefer to use natural remedies whenever possible. Just be sure that you’re getting your weed from a reputable source that practices proper growing, harvesting, and curing techniques.


As you can see, weed is a safe and effective alternative to prescription medications for anxiety relief. If you’re looking for a natural remedy that is less likely to cause side effects, cannabis might be the right choice. Talk to a mental health professional first to see if this treatment path is right for you. A licensed physician can help you figure out the best type of cannabis and dosage for your needs.


The Bottom Line

In conclusion, cannabis has been shown to relieve various anxiety disorders. While Sativa strains are often recommended for daytime use due to their energizing effects, Indica strains tend to be more relaxing and can be used before bedtime.


Suppose you’re looking for an alternative to prescription medications or want to try out different strains to find the one that works best for you. In that case, our budtenders at Leafville can help. Check out our flower collection today and find the right strain for your anxiety relief needs!