You might have noticed that we’ve been stuck indoors for quite some time now. People are coping with the pandemic and quarantine in different ways.

And for a huge number of us, the answer seems to be consuming cannabis. Even back in June cannabis sales in the US were on pace to rise 40 percent this year, and, well, there’s no reason to think we’re slowing down.

There are some really positive reasons for this trend! For example, more states are legalizing cannabis. However, it also seems likely that many of us are coping with lockdowns, quarantines, loss, and just straight up boredom.

In this post, we’ll touch on what the challenges of being in quarantine are, how strains differ in effects for more accurate selection, the best strains for each of the quarantine challenges you might be dealing with, why cannabis is well-suited to coping with quarantine, and what to do with cannabis in quarantine.

Table of Contents

Quarantine Challenges

NOTE: We are not doctors and we cannot provide medical advice or healthcare. Please contact a professional if you’re struggling with mental health issues, especially serious PTSD, depression, or suicidal thoughts. For treatment services in your area and information on mental health, contact the SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline at 1-877-SAMHSA7 (1-877-726-4727). If you are having thoughts of suicide or you need help concerning self harm, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Stress and Anxiety

If you’re in lockdown, quarantine, or self-isolation, chances are excellent that your stress and anxiety levels are high. No one wants to be at risk, lose their job, feel isolated, or any of the other things that come with quarantine. Stress and anxiety are pretty much a guranteed part of the scene.

Cannabis as a treatment for anxiety and stress is well-established, but not every cultivar works the same way. The wrong strain can put you to sleep at the wrong time or, worse still, make you feel even more anxious.

Finding a good equilibrium is why breeders create hybrid cannabis strains. These tend to select for the better effects of two or more cultivars to produce more balanced benefits. In other words, these strains have effects that feel like they’re more evenly in the middle between sativa and indica—not too energizing, not too sedating, only that Goldilocks zone that’s just right.

Some hybrids are very well-balanced, but most are either indica-dominant or sativa-dominant. If cannabis can make you anxious—or things in general just tend to do that—start with something a little more on the indica-dominant side. If you know you’re at risk of feeling lethargic or sleepy, aim more for the sativa-dominant end.

And if you’re about to sit through an active two hour Zoom meeting and you really want to avoid feeling that psychoactive THC high, opt for a high CBD strain. We’ve got some here for just that reason.

Insomnia and Sleep

When it comes to sleeping, you’d think being in quarantine would be your friend. You’d be wrong, though.

At least one research study already shows that the COVID-19 pandemic is having a serious effect on sleep and psychological symptoms, including very high rates of insomnia the team called clinically significant. Plus anxiety, acute stress, and depression, all serious problems on their own, definitely do not help you sleep.

That study also found that people who had higher levels of exposure and threat to COVID-19 had worse insomnia and psychological symptoms. So chances are good that if you need to quarantine at all, you may already need a little bit of sleep assistance.

In this case, it’s not just about the strain but also the delivery method. Cannabis you smoke or vape has a fast onset, but it only lasts an hour or two. This can mean drifting off quickly only to wake up again.

For the best night’s sleep, we recommend several things. First, only relaxing cultivars. Second, eat some version of your cannabis, either as an actual edible or by using a high-quality tincture. The onset is slower, but it will stay in your system much longer and help you stay asleep.

If you really have trouble with sleep, take your tincture or edible 45 to 90 minutes before your target out time. Then, if you still have room in your tolerance threshold, vape a little to help you along. Just be mindful of how much you’re consuming, and remember that any edible takes a minimum of 30 minutes to hit your system.

In regards to chemotype, you’ll be looking for strains high in caryophyllene and myrcene, which have sedating effects. High THC strains should be fine overnight and may help you along, but you may also want to seek out minor cannabinoids to avoid feeling paranoid if that’s a problem for you. And high CBN strains are rumored to help sleep, although the idea of CBN alone as a sleep aid isn’t a proven phenomenon.

Depression and Mood

If 2020 had a mood it would probably be depressed. Sure: enraged, hysterical, terrified, disgusted, exhausted, and overwhelmed are all contenders, too. Either way you look at it, strains that boost energy and mood are going to be important during quarantine.

For these kinds of effects people usually think sativa, and rightly so. Some of the best and most famous strains for these benefits are Durban Poison, Green Crack, Super Sour Diesel, or Super Silver Haze. But what you’re really looking for are terpenes like terpinolene, pinene, or limonene in abundance and in the right combinations.

The top strains for quarantine

Best Strains for Quarantine

Here we go! This is our list of the best cannabis strains to use in quarantine and why:

Strains for Stress and Anxiety

For stress and anxiety, we love hybrid strains the most, although we’re open to a wide range here. The ones that really take on stress and anxiety best often depend on the user and the source of the problem.

For example, if you have a strong depression component to your anxiety issues, you might prefer a more sativa-dominant suite of effects and an ocimene or limonene heavy strain. On the other hand, if you’re battling an exaggerated startle response from PTSD and you need deeper relaxation to treat your anxiety, a more indica-dominant range of benefits and more linalool or myrcene may be better.

FPOG: Anxiety or stress that needs a mood boost

FPOG

FPOG stands for Fruity Pebbles OG, but of course we don’t use the brand name, just like Gorilla Glue and Girl Scout Cookies. Whoops! Anyway, FPOG was created by Alien Genetics from Granddaddy Purple, Green Ribbon, and Tahoe Alien. The aim was a delicious, super fruity flavor, and the result absolutely hits the mark.

THC18%
CBD0.01%
StrainHybrid
TerpenesLimonene, myrcene, caryophyllene

Buy FPOG seeds from the #1 most trusted seed bank

The taste is a berry tropical flavor that may remind you of a sweet cereal from your misspent youth. Best of all, though, you’ll love the euphoric effects, deep sense of relaxation, and happy yet gentle mood boost you get from FPOG. When anxiety is troubling you in part due to mood, FPOG is a great strain.

Zookies: Anxiety or stress that needs to come way down

Girl Scout Cookies-1

Some anxiety is the kind that keeps you wound up tight. If you’re the kind of person who transforms your own neck muscles into stone by the end of the day, Zookies is a great strain for relieving that type of stress and anxiety. When you’re in that zone that makes you feel like downing an entire box of Nutter Butters as you read news headlines, light up some Zookies instead and save your own sanity.

THC22.19%
CBD0.05%
StrainHybrid
TerpenesCaryophyllene, limonene, pinene

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A cross of Animal Cookies and GG#4—two truly epic strains in their own right—this balanced hybrid tends to produce trichome-encrusted, frosty looking buds that deliver a sweet fragrance and taste, and a deep, stress-relieving body high. And although this is a way mellow strain for when you need to take it down a few notches, it won’t totally knock you out, either, thanks in part to the trace sativa benefits and .05% CBD. 

ACDC: For anxiety or stress when you need a clear head

If you’re about to drop a major presentation over Zoom, you might not be so into a high-THC strain as a means for cutting your anxiety. With ACDC, CBD is producing the effects, including a feeling of centered calm and pain relief with no intoxication. The terpenes in this strain manage to stay balanced as well to produce delightful hybrid feelings without any fuzzy head effects.

THC<0.1%
CBD14%
StrainHybrid
TerpenesMyrcene, pinene, caryophyllene

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Strains for Insomnia and Sleep

For insomnia and sleep, we love strains with indica and indica-dominant effects. These tend to feature myrcene, linalool, and caryophyllene heavily and sometimes high levels of THC and moderate levels of CBD or other minor cannabinoids.

Banana OG: For when sadness or mood is keeping you up

Banana OG

Look, if you just want a sweet dessert strain, you’ve come to the wrong place with Banana OG. This is a funky, dank strain with pine and citrus elements alongside those tropical notes that earned the Banana name.

THC22-27%
CBD<0.1%
StrainIndica-dominant hybrid
TerpenesLimonene, myrcene, caryophyllene

Buy Banana OG seeds from the #1 most trusted seed bank

A high-THC content, indica-dominant strain, Banana OG runs up to 27% THC, although its mellow onset may fool you. That gentle, relaxing body buzz feels so warm and fuzzy it’s hard to imagine you’d be sleepy, but then the euphoria comes. Once you are blissed out, you won’t want to move—and that’s a win for quarantine and sleep nights.

King Louis XIII: For when anxiety and stress are keeping you up

King Louis

If you’re the kind of person who, even in normal times, lays awake in bed staring at the ceiling, thinking back to some imagined wrong you might have dealt someone in fourth grade, Louis XIII is the anxiety strain for you. When you have too many effs to give about too many things and it’s keeping you up? Louis XIII. This stinky bud has a classic indica vibe, right down to that deep herbal smell and flavor with notes of pine forest. Keep toking until that couch-lock sets in, and, before you know it, you may be there all night.

THC20%
CBD<0.1%
StrainIndica
TerpenesLimonene, myrcene, caryophyllene

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Granddaddy Purple: For anything keeping you up

Since it hit the public in 2003, Granddaddy Purple (or GDP) has been a much-loved indica. Created by Ken Estes, this indica cross of Big Bud and Purple Urkle expresses both plants heartily, with the dense, chunky Big Bud structure and berry, fruity, grape aroma and taste of its Purple Urkle parent.

THC18%
CBD0.5%
StrainIndica
TerpenesMyrcene, pinene, caryophyllene

Buy Granddaddy Purple seeds from the #1 most trusted seed bank

A California staple, Granddaddy Purple flowers even look deep purple—and once that gorgeous crystal resin comes in like a blanket of icy white snow, it looks pretty amazing. But let’s be real: GDP is best known for its potency, inducing serious physical sedation and mental relaxation unlike many others. Don’t hit this flower if you’ve got big plans, but it’s ideal for insomnia, stress, muscle spasms, and related issues—perfect for a lock down.

We have a full review of Granddaddy Purple if you want to learn more about this strain and it’s seeds.

Stephen Hawking Kush: If pain is keeping you awake

Stephen Hawking Kush

Maybe your mind isn’t the issue here and your body is keeping you up. If it’s pain that’s keeping you awake and you are worried about waking up groggy from chasing high THC strains, the smooth fruity flavors and minty, citrus taste of Stephen Hawking Kush may be for you.

THC5-12%
CBD13%
StrainIndica
TerpenesCaryophyllene, humulene, myrcene

Buy Stephen Hawking Kush seeds from the #1 most trusted seed bank

Named for genius and physicist Stephen Hawking, this is the unusual high CBD strain that is also indica-dominant. Bred from HarleTsu and Sin City Kush, this is a very mellow, pain-relieving strain, and, despite being named for one of the thinkers of our times, it does not deliver intense cerebral effects. Instead, it is actually a stress reliever and strong relaxant, perfect for quarantine and insomniacs in pain.

Strains for Depression and Mood

For depression and mood, we love strains with sativa and sativa-dominant effects. These tend to feature limonene, terpinolene, or pinene. They often have high levels of THC, and, depending on the user, the minor cannabinoids may play a role as well.

Jack Herer: For depression that needs a happy mood boost all day long

Named for cannabis activist and author Jack Herer, this world-famous sativa-dominant cannabis strain is now as legendary as the man. Sensei Seeds created Jack Herer from two interesting hybrid parent breeds: a cross of Shiva Skunk and Northern Lights #5, and a Haze hybrid of some kind. The targeted breeding produces uplifting sativa-style cerebral benefits that make users feel clear-headed, joyful, less inhibited, and creative.

THC22.19%
CBD<0.1%
StrainSativa-dominant hybrid
TerpenesTerpinolene, caryophyllene, pinene

Buy Jack Herer seeds from the #1 most trusted seed bank

You can smell the spicy, piney aroma, and it really boosts your mood. Longtime users report feeling happier just grinding up that Jack Herer and smelling what’s coming—and this is a great wake and bake, mood boosting strain all day long. It’s also excellent if you find your mood is causing you to feel fatigued.

Harlequin: The less-intoxicating mood booster

We love Harlequin for when you need to feel happier and more uplifted, but you just don’t want the THC high. Harlequin is a high-CBD, 75/25 sativa-dominant strain bred from a Nepali indica called Colombian Gold and Swiss and Thai landrace strains.

THC5%
CBD8%
StrainSativa-dominant hybrid
TerpenesMyrcene, pinene, caryophyllene

Buy Harlequin seeds from the #1 most trusted seed bank

The scent and flavor of Harlequin ranges from sweet and fruity with a hint of mango to earthy and herbal, skunky and musky. However, non-intoxicating relaxation and mood improvement are definitely why people love Harlequin.

Thanks to its one-of-a-kind cannabinoid profile, Harlequin delivers alert, uplifting, clear-headed sativa effects. It is also excellent for treating anxiety, thanks to high CBD levels that can counteract that famous THC paranoia. Sounds ideal for living out a pandemic, right?

Blue Dream: For a balanced mood fix anytime

With a sweet, fruity, berry fragrance, this wildly popular sativa-dominant hybrid has earned its fame. Blue Dream crosses Haze and Blueberry, two flavorful powerhouse strains with very different suites of effects, to create a very wonderfully balanced hybrid.

THC21%
CBD<0.1%
StrainSativa-dominant hybrid
TerpenesMyrcene, pinene, caryophyllene

Buy Blue Dream seeds from the #1 most trusted seed bank

Blue Dream delivers gentle cerebral invigoration thanks to its Haze parentage combined with the full-body relaxation from Blueberry, producing a calm, gentle sense of euphoria. Blue Dream relieves symptoms quickly without couch-lock, so it is a great anytime strain for a mood boost.

Check out our complete review of the Blue Dream strain, here.

Chemdawg: The mood soother

Sometimes also called ChemDawg, Chem D, Chem Dog, and Chemhund if you’re fancy, Chemdawg is for those who want a more indica-style body relief to calm their mood. If you want to take it down and relax to get social at the end of a day or just let go of anger, Chemdawg is a great strain for soothing those intense moods.

THC19%
CBD<0.1%
StrainHybrid
TerpenesCaryophyllene, myrcene, limonene

Buy Chemdawg seeds from the #1 most trusted seed bank

Chemdawg is famous for its unique, chemically, diesel-like scent that is sharp and pungent, so it can be an acquired taste—you’ll smell it right away from a distance. But that strange taste and smell grow on you, and those effects! Chemdawg delivers a potent heavy-bodied feeling plus a deep, soothing cerebral experience.

Check out our full Chemdawg review for more.

How to Pick the Right Strains

Step one? Particularly if you’re choosing flower, follow your nose. If you do need to wake and bake with a boost of energy, seek out that lemon smell or piney boost. If you’re looking to relax and unwind, seek out the dank, herbal smell or something sweet and grape-y.

Another technique is to select one of your favorite strains and check out the lab results for it. Obviously this works best with a more common or popular strain; you’ll have an easier time finding terpene profiles of something like Jack Herer which has been around for awhile than something like White Runtz which is popular but new.

On the other hand, being common can confuse terpene profiles. One grower’s Blue Dream doesn’t necessarily match another’s, for example. But if you find a strain you like, get the profile for that cultivar from the dispensary, or find out where it’s sourced and go from there.

Once you see that chemotype that makes you so happy, note the cannabinoid ratios and which terpenes are dominant. That’s your target “similar strain” to search for—you’re really looking for a chemotype.

In fact, that’s all you’re doing when you’re smelling the strains you like and even recognize. And even if you’re not an expert at this at first, you can develop the skill!

The best strains for quarantine

Why Cannabis is a Natural Fit for Quarantine

Now that we’ve all switched to pajamas full-time and forgotten the weekend, cannabis is an even better lifestyle fit than ever before. Wake up, eat breakfast, do school or work, eat again, work again…it all blends together. By afternoon, you’re definitely ready to vape, load a bowl, smoke a joint, or pop an edible.

Unless you’re an essential worker—and if you are, thank you, and good luck—you probably have a lot more time for whatever’s popping right now. But nothing is. So although you’ve always wished you had more time, and now you do, here you are wondering what’s next.

Cannabis fits in here because so much of what we used to do to get rid of stress and anxiety is just…gone. You can’t meet for happy hour anymore, or even go work out.

But no quarantine or social distancing rules can rob you of the pleasure of a truly fine bowl. And now that so many more cannabis delivery services exist, it has literally never been easier to stay isolated and smoke out while you’re binge-watching something—maybe even online with friends.

Consuming cannabis is ideal for quarantine. It soothes the pain of sensory overload from the inevitable influx of terrible news, and it makes isolation feel so much easier. In fact, ask one of your old-school stoner friends who doesn’t get out much and they’ll tell you: their life may not be much different now. Cannabis has been assisting people with staying home and being mellow for generations.

Sure, some things have changed. We’re not puffing and passing anymore—or we shouldn’t be. And remember, you can’t just run out for more chips. Be prepared.

What To Do With Cannabis in Quarantine

After that first incredible week of being high all the time, you might be a little bored. What am I supposed to do now? It’s not all about basic survival, right?

Yes, there are lots of strains that can keep you productive for the meeting or your call—strains that can help you get through your day. But we also have some other ideas:

That Fiddly, Creative Project

You’ve been putting it off—maybe you’re anxious about it, or maybe it’s just a PITA—but if you’re in lockdown and you’re about to load a nice, big bowl and have some time, why not tackle something major?

It isn’t really true, in our opinion, that cannabis makes you creative. What it can do, though, is help you access your own, existing creativity in spite of your own anxiety, lack of focus, or whatever else might be blocking you. Sometimes you just need to get past physical pain or a mental hurdle to finish something, and that is what cannabis does.

Cannabis feels like creative grease for the machine that is your mind because anxiety and stress can make focusing and generating ideas freely impossible. Many users just need to get past their own negative self-talk and inhibitions to get to the right creative result.

If you’re not a creative, you can still tackle a difficult task like cleaning out that storage room or redoing the drawers with real contact paper. Is it time to weather strip the doors? Perfect, because you’re in quarantine and you’ve got pot.

Go Outside

Okay, we realize that it literally just dumped snow in many parts of the country. But hey—it’s going to be awhile.

In fact, speaking of snow, you’ve seen The Shining, right? It’s called cabin fever, and you may not be ready to murder everyone around you with an ax, but if you’d like to stay chill, get outside more.

Cannabis is excellent for hiking, outdoor yoga, and even just walking around and admiring nature. This may seem silly, but when you’re stuck on the same old route day after day, it’s a big deal to be able to see things in a new way.

Get Into Homemade Edibles

You may not be able to find yeast at the store anymore, but forget learning to bake bread anyway. Instead, get some bomb bread from the bakery and focus on some cannabis-infused butter! Or any number of delightful edibles. It’s way easier than you think.

Before you could just roll into a dispensary and buy anything from cannabis-infused cake mix to cereal treats and coffee drinks, you were on your own. If you wanted cannabis edibles, you would have to figure out how to make them. But hey—you still can, and now you have time!

You can make all kinds of sweet cannabis edibles, from the basics such as pot brownies or marijuana cookies to more involved creations such as hard candies and cannabis gummies. But you’re definitely not limited to sweets, either. The easiest way to cook and bake savory foods with cannabis is to infuse cannabis into cooking oils and other fats like butter. (Check out our favorite Cannabis Butter Recipe)

But beyond that, remember to choose the right cannabis products and strains to make the best edibles for your purpose. In general, if you use flower, remember that you’ll need to decarboxylate it first, or treat it with heat. This is super easy with something like an Ardent Nova, but it’s also pretty simple with a plain old oven or toaster oven.

You should also aim for the most potent strains you can find. When you ingest cannabis edibles, they have to get through your GI system before hitting your bloodstream and brain, so you often get slower onset and sometimes less intense effects. Offset this issue with nice, medical-grade cannabis and high-THC strains.

Beyond that, go with taste and smell! One of our team loves strains that are high in limonene in honey for tea and strains with high levels of pinene for herby salad dressings.

Cannabis Quarantine Best Practices

Remember: We cannot provide medical advice. However, there are a few best practices to stand by during quarantine with regard to cannabis:

Avoid smoking. It is best not to smoke anything at all if you have COVID-19 or any respiratory illness. While cannabis itself might not be doing any harm, the smoke and the burnt organic matter in it can. If you’re subject to a stay-at-home order or quarantining without any symptoms, this may not be an issue—but if you may be exposed to a respiratory illness, smoking is probably a risk.

Use delivery, pickup, and curbside. At this time, cannabis dispensaries in recreational and medical marijuana states are seen as essential businesses for COVID-19 purposes. If you can, though, use a delivery service. If that’s not available where you are, look for online ordering and “click and collect” services as well as curbside pickup.

Be careful. If you do find yourself consuming more or selecting high-THC strains, use caution and stay responsible. This is particularly important since too much THC can trigger symptoms of anxiety, stress, and even paranoia.

Choose the right method. Vaping is likely safer than smoking, and using tinctures and edibles is safer still. Always wait at least one hour after using edibles to feel their effects.

Use CBD. Remember that high-CBD strains such as Harlequin, ACDC, and Charlotte’s Web can relieve pain and anxiety without getting you high for times when you really need to stay sober and focused.

Clean your gear. Dirty gear makes everything taste bad and can grow mold and other nasty stuff. Plus, you can find some sweet kief in your grinder to bump up your next session.

Grow your own Cannabis

If you’re looking to get a little dirt on your hands, and you live in a state where it’s legal, you might consider growing your own cannabis at home. While it is more challenging than growing other plants, if you have the time on your hands, it’s a great hobby to pick up right now. You can even try growing some of the strains on this list. You can check out our favorite seed banks that ship to the USA and browse seeds that appeal to you. For our Canadian friends, check out our favorite Canadian Seed Banks.

Final Thoughts on Cannabis for Quarantine

Living through a public health nightmare was on exactly no one’s list this year. Yet there are ways to make this process a little easier. To deal with the biggest challenges quarantine has to offer, try some of the best strains for quarantine. Cannabis and quarantine were sort of made for each other when you think about it.

Let us know if we missed any of your current favorite quarantine strains, and why you love them!

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