Cannabis Science

Best Weed Strains for Depression

depressed woman looking at sunset

Depression is a mental disorder characterized by low moods, sleep and appetite disturbances, and loss of interest, pleasure, and energy, among other symptoms. Millions of Americans suffer from depression and are actively seeking ways to counter its debilitating effects. While some people opt for therapy and antidepressants, others self-medicate with weed. Many depressed people swear by weed’s effects while others can’t relate. We investigated whether or not weed helps with depression. We also found out the best weed strains for depression. Here is what we found out.

Photo: Unsplash 

Does Weed Help with Depression?

Weed does not affect everyone the same. 

Therefore, you’ll find reports of people saying weed helped their depression while others may say that it made it worse.

Let’s look at studies that imply weed helps with depression.

A 2006 study with 4400 participants revealed that people with depression who use weed once a week had a more positive affect, fewer somatic complaints, and were less depressed than people who didn’t consume weed.

Interestingly, people who used weed daily also reported similar effects.

“Daily users reported less depressed mood and more positive affect than non-users.”

The study also said people who use marijuana even occasionally had “lower levels of depressive symptoms than those who have never tried marijuana.”

However, medical marijuana users did not have the same luck.

“Separate analyses for medical vs. recreational users demonstrated that medical users reported more depressed mood and more somatic complaints than recreational users,”

That led the study to imply that medical conditions contribute to depression scores.

In addition, most people who use weed, experience short-term relief of their depression, according to a 2020 study. 

“The findings suggest that, at least in the short term, the vast majority of patients that use cannabis experience antidepressant effects, although the magnitude of the effect and extent of side effect experiences vary with chemotypic properties of the plant.”

About 64% of the participants reported positive side effects that correspond to a decrease in depression such as:

  • Feeling happy
  • Optimistic
  • Peaceful
  • Relaxed

Can Weed Cause Depression?

ReThink Mental Illness says that regular cannabis use can be linked to an increased risk of anxiety and depression.

Let’s see what science has to say about that.

The 2020 study finds that weed could increase depression in some people.

“Cannabis use was associated with some negative side effects that correspond to increased depression (e.g. feeling unmotivated) in up to 20% of users.”

Another question people have is: does weed make you depressed over time? 

Well, the same study says that teens who smoke weed are at an increased risk of getting depression and anxiety as adults. 

Therefore there is a likelihood that weed may make you depressed over time if you started smoking blunts as a teen. 

Even if you didn’t vape weed as a teen, your risk of developing depression is not zero.

A 2018 study finds that while weed may help people in the short term, it could make their depression worse over time.

“Cannabis use was associated with some negative side effects that correspond to increased depression (e.g. feeling unmotivated) in up to 20% of users.”

In addition, heavy consumption of weed could also result in developing depression, according to a 2014 study. 

“Cannabis use, and particularly heavy cannabis use, may be associated with an increased risk for developing depressive disorders.”

A 2003 study concluded the same thing. However, the researchers mentioned that weed along with other factors could be the reason some people develop depression disorders. 

“It is still too early, however, to rule out the hypothesis that the association is due to common social, family and contextual factors that increase risks of both heavy cannabis use and depression.”

Besides depression, weed consumption may be linked to other mental disorders such as psychosis and schizophrenia. 

Weed Strains for Depression

Weed may be an effective treatment for depression, at least in the short term. 

The 2020 study says that weed may also benefit people who aren’t benefitting from conventional depression treatment. 

Naturally, you’re here to find out the best weed strains for depression so you can fire up your new bong

Riley Legaspi, Chief Compliance Officer at Eighty Six Group says Sativas are your go-to. 

“The best strains for depression are typically Sativas or Sativa-dominant hybrids like Sour Diesel, Headband, and Cherry Pie, since these generally offer more uplifting, happy, giggly effects.”

If you’re wondering about THC content, Legaspi says, you don’t need a strong strain.

“You don’t necessarily need to aim for the highest THC content for the best results. A middle-of-the-road strain with THC between 16% and 19% can deliver uplifting effects without skyrocketing you into outer space.”

If you’re opting to use weed for your depression, Legaspi says to watch your dosage.

“Regardless of strain, be careful of dosage and pace yourself, as too much THC can lead to you getting couch-locked which really won’t help to ease depression.”

Healthline also says that Sativas may be able to relieve depressive symptoms. For an uplifted mood, they recommend:

  • Strawberry Cough
  • Harlequin GDP
  • Super Lemon Haze

However, the 2020 study says Sativas are not more likely to relieve depressive symptoms.

The 2020 study says, “Symptom relief did not differ by labeled plant phenotypes (“C. indica,” “C. sativa,” or “hybrid”) or combustion method.”

The study says that specific cannabinoids such as THC or CBD were better able to predict whether or not weed would reduce depressive symptoms. 

“Across cannabinoid levels, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels were the strongest independent predictors of symptom relief, while cannabidiol (CBD) levels, instead, were generally unrelated to real-time changes in symptom intensity levels,”

Can I Mix Weed With My Antidepressants? 

Mixing weed with antidepressants is typically a bad idea. 

If you’re already on antidepressants but you feel like they’re not working, please speak to a psychiatrist or another medical professional. 

Mixing antidepressants and weed is a no-no and abruptly stopping medication is a terrible idea too. 


So, what are the best strains for depression? The consensus is that sativa-heavy strains may be the best for you. Examples include Sour Diesel, Headband, and Cherry Pie. However, some sources say a strain with more THC may be better for you. Therefore the best weed strains for depression may differ for you than someone else. You have to see which strain works for you. If you’re suffering from depression, make sure you know all your options by speaking to a mental health professional.


About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].