Cannabis strains you can use to treat PTSD, depression and pain

David Heitz

Stock image courtesy Manish Panghal for Unsplash

Once upon a time we thought all weed was the same.

That's not the case. In fact, there are hundreds of strains and new strains being bred daily.

And that's a good thing, because those different strains treat different ailments. In particular, specific strains have been bred to treat PTSD, chronic pain, and depression.

Let's take a look at which strains can tame a lion.

Anger the worst part of PTSD; cannabis soothes

For those of us with chronic PTSD, it’s an especially sobering truth. Anger that never completely goes away.

No, we can’t just get over it. That’s why chronic is placed in front of our PTSD diagnosis. That’s why we’re allowed to legally smoke pot.

I know about anger better than anyone, unfortunately. But PTSD and even chronic PTSD anger is manageable. Here are some cannabis strains worth trying if you’re an explosively angry person with PTSD.

  1. Kavalier Cookies. I often say this strain will get you stoned to the point of being disabled. You won’t be able to think about much of anything, so if that’s not a feeling you care for, or can handle, I would suggest something a little less disabling. If you’re a seasoned pot smoker and angrier than hell, this will allow you to forget about whatever upset you, at least for a while. Kavalier Cookies has a significant CBD content on top of a high THC content. I have to say it induces fogginess; not for us if you want to be creative. This strain is for when you’re madder than a hornet.
  2. Pre-98 Bubba Kush. This is a classic CBD strain that is generally about 1:1 THC-CBD. This strain is perfect for daytime use and can effectively manage PTSD in many people 24/7. Pre-98 Bubba Kush can be difficult to find. Willie's Select, Willie Nelson's cannabis brand, always has Pre-98 available.
  3. Anything “Kush.” I have found that all strains “kush” provide remarkable relief for my PTSD, especially banana, blueberry, lavender, tangerine, and huckleberry kush.

“Kush” actually is stoner vernacular that refers to a variety of indica plants that grow wild along the Afghan-Pakistani border. Kush generally can be broken down into five varieties: Bubba, Purple, OG, Skywalker and Master.

Kush indica plants are short, squatty, and, apparently, easier than most to grow, several sites explain.

In a nutshell, kush strains refer to those heavy indicas that motivate stoners to save the world. These strains induce profundity, introspection, appetite, and finally, sleep.

  1. Granddaddy Purple. This classic PTSD strain is my best friend. You can always expect euphoria and the giggles, followed by deep sleep. Much like lavender kush, granddaddy purple contains Linalool terpenes.

Stock image courtey Esteban Lopez for Unsplash

Strains for when you’re less on the angry side, and more on the frightened side

Sometimes, but not often, I am more frightened than angry. This can actually be an even  worse symptom for me than anger, at least for the short term. I have found these strains help bring about a sense of security:

  1. Northern Lights. It’s trippy and it hits you quick. Suddenly you will remember the time you had your first cup of strawberry Kool Aid instead of obsessing on whatever you were frightened about. Northern Lights is a revered strain of cannabis. I always say it helps me see the good in people.
  2. Silver lights. This strain is amazing. You can be scared stiff, unable to work, and after a few bowls of this be back in the swing of life. Problem is, I can’t find it very often.
  3. Mag Mile (Iranian Landrace). This easy-to-find strain epitomizes “stoney,” with its relaxing effects washing over you like a wave. Suddenly you remember those dozen or so bars of “Smoke on the Water” that you know how to play on the guitar. Mag Mile has saved my life on many a night from a broken heart.

Strains for when you’re feeling sad and blue

  1. Cookies. This venerable strain is generically known as “Girl Scout Cookies” and has been trending quite a while as a national favorite recreationally. Why? It’s happy. It’s earthy. It’s social. It will get even the angriest of PTSD sufferers talking at a party.
  2. Blueberry headband. This strain literally makes your head feel like you're wearing a headband. It's an uplifting strain that cannabis experts say fights depression.
  3. Pineapple Express. Another strain that makes people giggle just hearing the name. Despite the goofy flick that might detract from this strain’s serious medicinal effects, Pineapple Express is an incredibly effective anti-depressive for many. Its delicious taste will leave you licking your lips.
  4. Thai Lights. Think of it as a cross between Silver Lights and Cookies. Fun.

Strains commonly used for pain

1. ACDC. It's not that loud eighties band, it's a cannabis strain (indica dominant) high in both THC and CBD. Both THC and CBD have been shown to help reduce pain and inflammation. Strains high in both compounds prove to be most effective for pain.

Stock image courtesy Kimzy Nanney for Unsplash

THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that some say gets you "high." I prefer to call it medicated.

CBD, meanwhile, is a non-psychoactive ingredient proven effective at managing pain, anxiety, and PTSD all three.

2. Granddaddy Purple (see above)

How can one plant have so many different uses?

Remember that marijuana is a weed, and it grows like one. Cross-breeding has become a science in the modern cannabis industry.

Different marijuana strains contain different kinds of cannabinoids. The different cannibinoids convey different medicinal properties, such as relaxation or stimulation. They work in conjunction with the plant's terpenes, compounds that convey smell, taste, and medicinal effects.

Some dispensaries carry terpenes in liquid form that can be sprinkled on flower before smoking. This allows shoppers to purchase a terpene profile that best matches their condition.

PTSD, pain, and depression may suck, and at times it may feel like nobody is your friend. Cannabis, however, never will let you down.

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I have been in the news business more than 30 years, spending much of my career at some of the best local newspapers in the country. Today, I report on Denver City Hall, homelessness and other topics for NewsBreak, much like I did in my twenties covering Newport Beach, Calif. for the Daily Pilot. I consider myself a lucky guy to still be doing what I love after so many years.

Denver, CO

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