What are the best cannabis strains for social anxiety?

Apr 24, 2024The nama Team
What are the best cannabis strains for social anxiety?

Is your social anxiety taking a toll on your social life? Low THC, high CBD, indica-dominant hybrid strains are best for social anxiety. 

A 2024 study published by Brain Sciences found that 42% of participants with social anxiety disorder (SAD) reported using cannabis as a coping mechanism, while a staggering 100% maintained their use long-term to cope with symptoms. Researchers at Washington University suggest that strains with higher CBD and lower THC content can alleviate symptoms of anxiety, making social interactions more comfortable.

Our Energy THC gummies offer a well-balanced ratio of 2.5 mg of THC and 5 mg of CBD to ease symptoms of social anxiety—which means gentle yet effective relief in every delicious bite.

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Understanding social anxiety

Social anxiety disorder is a mental health condition characterized by intense fear and self-consciousness in everyday social situations. People with SAD often worry about being judged, embarrassed, or humiliated by others. These feelings of anxiety can be so overwhelming that they may start to avoid social situations altogether, which can impact their relationships, work, and overall well-being.

Signs that someone may have social anxiety include:

  1. Intense fear and avoidance of social situations
  2. Excessive self-consciousness and worry about judgment or embarrassment
  3. Physical symptoms such as blushing, trembling, or sweating in social settings
  4. Difficulty making eye contact or speaking up in conversations
  5. Negative self-talk and self-criticism related to social interactions
  6. Panic attacks or extreme anxiety in specific social situations
  7. Feeling isolated, lonely, or depressed because of limited social connections
  8. Avoiding situations that involve public performance
  9. Fear of eating, speaking, or performing other tasks in public

People develop SAD for many reasons, such as: 

  • Genetics and family history of anxiety disorders
  • Negative or traumatic social experiences
  • Overprotective parenting styles
  • Introverted temperament
  • Cultural norms and expectations
  • Limited social skills development
  • Co-occurring mental health conditions

Social anxiety is treatable through therapy, where people learn to challenge their negative thoughts and gradually face their fears. Some people rely on medications such as antidepressants or anxiolytic drugs to manage their symptoms, but many of these medications can have negative side effects, create dependency, and may not address the underlying causes of SAD.

We recommend a safe, plant-based approach that takes the edge off social anxiety without the harsh side effects of prescription meds—microdosing cannabis. Small amounts of THC and CBD can make those daunting social situations feel more manageable.

Read more about the therapeutic benefits of microdosing cannabis

Why do people alleviate social anxiety with cannabis?

For many who suffer from social anxiety disorder, social situations can provoke overwhelming feelings. They turn to cannabis to reduce anxiety and get a much-needed boost in confidence. 

THC and CBD interact with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS) to alleviate anxiety. The ECS plays a key role in regulating mood, stress response, and fear perception. When Delta 9 THC binds to its main receptors in the brain—CB1 and CB2 endocannabinoid receptors—it lowers levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and boosts anandamide, a neurotransmitter that promotes calmness and regulates your fight-or-flight responses. 

A 2012 study explained that the endocannabinoid system seems to have a bidirectional effect on anxiety regulation depending on the dose and specific neural circuits affected. THC at low doses dials down the accelerator neurons (glutamatergic), reducing excessive brain activation and feelings of anxiety. But at higher doses, THC hits the inhibitory neurons (GABAergic) too hard, disrupting the brain's natural inhibition and leading to overwhelming anxiety.

As for cannabidiol (CBD), CBD has a very low affinity for the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors that THC binds to. Instead, it exerts agonistic (activating) effects on the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor. Harvard researchers found that CBD boosts serotonin to promote calmness and relaxation.

Shannon, et. al. explain that CBD has a calming effect on the central nervous system, reducing excessive neuronal excitability that underlies anxiety states. This allows CBD to reduce anxiety levels, particularly for situational anxiety such as public speaking.

In modest doses, the synergy of THC and CBD can provide that subtle relaxing buzz many find takes the edge off their social phobia. Together, they create the entourage effect, which mellows you out just enough to quiet the self-critical inner voice without feeling too out of it. 

Our entourage effect gummies contain carefully formulated ratios of THC and CBD to reduce anxious thoughts and self-consciousness, allowing you to feel more present and authentic in social situations. Get yourself some fresh watermelon Relax Plus gummies with only five milligrams of THC. The right micro-dose balance of THC and CBD can help take the edge off social butterflies while keeping you feeling grounded and in the moment.

"Like the effects this has on me. I can take it to relax, but still be able to concentrate and so things without feeling buzzed."

Susan H.

What is the best strain for socializing?

There are three main types of cannabis strains: sativa, indica, and hybrids. Sativa strains tend to provide more cerebral, energizing effects while indicas are known for their relaxing effects and calming body highs. For managing social anxiety, strains that are high in CBD and lower in THC tend to work best, especially indica-dominant or hybrid strains.

High-CBD strains provide calming and anxiolytic effects without the intense cerebral high of THC. High-THC sativas may increase anxiety due to their cerebrally stimulating and thought-racing effects. Indica-dominant hybrids are a better choice for socializing as they impart a relaxing, sedating body high that can ease physical tension and nervousness. 

Some great indica-dominant hybrid strains to try for social settings include:

  1. Cannatonic: this CBD powerhouse has a 1:1 THC to CBD ratio that delivers focused calm and relief from anxiety without overthinking or paranoia.
  2. Grandaddy Purple: this indica-hybrid provides heavy-bodied relaxation coupled with gentle euphoria, allowing you to embrace social situations with ease.
  3. Northern Lights: this iconic pure indica imparts a profoundly relaxing high that can silence anxious inner monologues and soothe nervousness.
  4. Canna-Tsu: a balanced hybrid cross of Cannatonic and Sour Tsunami, Canna-Tsu offers mild euphoria alongside stress relief—ideal for unwinding socially.
  5. Harlequin: distinctively high in CBD, clear-headed Harlequin calms the mind without sedating effects, making it a discreet anti-anxiety aid in social settings.

If you’re unsure about which strain to choose, our THC gummies are always a great choice. Each bite-sized Bliss Delta 9 gummy packs just the right microdose of THC and CBD to hit the sweet spot, knocking out self-consciousness while keeping you present and engaged. No more getting trapped in your head, just blissful self-assurance to be your most authentic self, no matter the scene.

The worst strain for social anxiety

If you’re struggling with social anxiety—or any other type of anxiety disorder—you'll want to steer clear of potent sativa strains. While uplifting and energizing, sativa strains with high levels of THC can also amp up racing thoughts and paranoia for some people. These strains may leave you feeling over-stimulated, jittery, and overly self-aware. 

The same goes for high-THC indicas. Too much of a sedating body high can make you withdrawn and antisocial. Strains with high THC content are a bad idea in social settings if your anxiety is an issue. 

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Tips for microdosing cannabis to manage social anxiety

Social anxiety can be crippling, making everyday interactions feel overwhelming and exhausting. Even ultra-low THC levels can take the edge off without the psychoactive effects that leave you sedated and groggy. 

If you’re new to microdosing cannabis, here are some tips to make your cannabis experience safe, enjoyable, and anxiety-free:

  1. Go for high-CBD, indica-dominant hybrid strains. High-CBD strains provide anxiety relief without the paranoia sometimes caused by high THC.
  2. Avoid potent sativas which can induce racing thoughts and subjective anxiety, worsening social fears. 
  3. Start low and go slow. 2.5–5 mg of THC is a good starting point.
  4. Choose more controlled, reliable consumption methods such as cannabis edibles. Edibles allow for precise dosing and provide longer-lasting, consistent effects than smoking or vaping. (Plus, they are much healthier as they contain none of the toxins found in marijuana cigarettes.)
  5. Look for strains with terpene profiles that provide calming, euphoric effects such as limonene, linalool, and myrcene. These terpenes promote relaxation and elevate mood, which can counteract feelings of anxiety.
  6. Use microdosing for low-key social gatherings first before trying it in high-stress situations. Go slow and don't re-dose the same day until you know how it affects you.
  7. Consider internal factors; if you have panic disorder, depression, or problematic cannabis use history, consult medical professionals first.

With some experimentation, microdosing can be an all-natural option to relieve your social anxiety disorder and enjoy social gatherings to the fullest. Our hemp-derived cannabis edibles are crafted with customized terpene blends and microdosing in mind, so you can find your perfect elevated zen, no matter the social scene.

Read more about why edibles are the best way to microdose cannabis

Get the best edibles for socializing

Looking to ease the grip of social anxiety with top-notch THC edibles? Say goodbye to uncertain corner store options and questionable brands lacking third-party lab tests. Shop from nama™, your go-to for safe, effective cannabis products with soothing effects for social settings.

We offer safe, third-party tested, quality Delta 9 edibles with potent anxiolytic effects. Our edibles are organic, lab-tested for purity and potency, and expertly dosed from premium American hemp. They contain cannabis compounds derived from hemp, so all of our THC edibles are federally legal in the US. 

Read more about the legality of Delta 9 THC

Social anxiety strains FAQ

If you’re looking to manage the symptoms of social anxiety, indica-dominant strains low in THC typically hold the upper hand. Unlike their stimulating sativa counterparts, indica strains like Northern Lights and White Widow possess calming properties that can soothe social anxiety. By inducing a state of relaxation without overwhelming sedative properties, these strains help individuals feel more at ease in social settings, facilitating smoother interactions, and mitigating the apprehension often associated with social anxiety.

It’s all about finding the right strain to strike the perfect balance between relaxation and sociability. Strains like Northern Lights, White Widow, and Wedding Cake are known for their ability to promote a sense of ease without inducing excessive sedation. These strains offer a gentle yet uplifting experience, making enjoyable social interactions happen.

Social anxiety treatment often involves a multifaceted approach that may include therapy, medication, and lifestyle modifications. In addition to these conventional treatments, some people find relief from social anxiety symptoms by incorporating indica-dominant strains into their routines. If you’re new to cannabis, consult with a healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate treatment plan.

The uplifting and energizing properties of sativas can help shift focus away from anxious thoughts. Sativa-dominant strains foster a more positive mindset and reduce feelings of tension and apprehension. The anxiolytic effects of sativa strains may depend on factors such as strain composition, dosage, and individual response.

Sativa strains have a unique ability to induce a sense of calmness by stimulating mood, creativity, and overall well-being. Through their uplifting effects, these strains can elevate mood and promote a more relaxed state of mind, making it easier to reduce stress levels and anxiety. They encourage a positive outlook and enhance cognitive function, helping those with anxiety feel more grounded and at ease in social situations.

A sativa high is characterized by a surge of euphoria, energy, and heightened sensory perception. Unlike the more sedating effects of indica strains, sativa varieties produce a cerebral and invigorating experience that is often accompanied by feelings of creativity, focus, and sociability. You may feel uplifted, motivated, and mentally stimulated. That’s why sativa strains are well-suited for engaging in social activities, creative endeavors, or tasks that require sustained attention and mental clarity.

Sativa strains are known for their ability to enhance sociability and promote chattiness in some individuals. By stimulating mood and cognitive function, these marijuana strains create an atmosphere conducive to engaging conversations and lively interactions. Whether in social settings or one-on-one conversations, sativa strains can help you feel more outgoing, expressive, and inclined to share your thoughts and ideas with others. 

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Resources

Elsaid, S., Wang, R., Kloiber, S., Hassan, A. N., & Le Foll, B. (2024). Expectancies of the Effects of Cannabis Use in Individuals with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). Brain Sciences, 14(3), 246. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14030246

Stoner SA. Effects of Marijuana on Mental Health: Anxiety Disorders. Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute,

University of Washington, June 2017. URL: http://adai.uw.edu/pubs/pdf/2017mjanxiety.pdf

Ruehle, S., Rey, A. A., Remmers, F., & Lutz, B. (2011). The endocannabinoid system in anxiety, fear memory and habituation. Journal of Psychopharmacology (Oxford, England), 26(1), 23-39. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881111408958

Grinspoon, P. (2024, April 4). Cannabidiol (CBD): What we know and what we don’t. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476

Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., & Hughes, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente Journal, 23. https://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/18-041

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