Forget the official Winter Solstice date of December 21, the coldest season is already upon us in the U.S., and if you live anywhere near the East Coast or Midwest, you’re probably feeling the brunt of it—and it’s only mid-December.

And soon enough it’ll be freezing cold and snowy—or at least drearily raining—across most of America, which makes it high time to begin considering the best medicinal and recreational strains to get you through wintertime.

Call on this pot to handle the polar vortex that’s going to make life miserable for millions from now until Spring has sprung.

MEDICINAL TO KICK WINTER BLUES AND DEPRESSION

The blues blow. And the harsh winter weather’s forced hibernation also brings on claustrophobic depression and anxiety, which can manifest as “cabin fever.” Also, for millions of Americans, this season can be extremely SAD—especially for those suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, a legitimate depressive disorder that strikes people at the same time each year, generally in the winter.  

So to combat the double-downers of cabin fever and SAD, here’s an introductory list of particular strains that can help pot patients across North America.

1. Maui Wowie

Hit winter upside the head with a blast from the Pacific. This optimism-breeding sativa has tropical aromas and flavors, transporting the user to the mildest climates of Hawaii. The euphoria combined with its citrus and pineapple taste is the perfect antidote to another shitty winter on the mainland. This is a classic, original sativa; its majestic origins fueled in the extremely fertile, mineral-rich volcanic soil on the island of Maui.

2. O. G. Kush

This intricate indica has been crushing stress since its rise in the hip-hop culture of the 1990s, favored by such legendary bands as Cypress Hill. During winter, O.G. Kush can equally dismiss depression-related anxiety brought on by cabin fever and SAD. Kush derives from the landrace strains of Afghanistan and Northern Pakistan, and while O.G.’s genetics remain shrouded in some ambiguity, it’s generally considered a Southern California specialty, combining the venerable Hindu Kush from the East with Chemdawg from the West.

3. Gorilla Glue

Yes, the sticky-icky Glue was one of 2016’s trendiest strains—but it’s not just hype. The ability of this sativa-dominant to medicate and change your mood from SAD to glad is as good as it gets. It’s also one of the most versatile strains, as offshoots like GG #1, #2, #4 and #5 offer varying levels of medicinal efficacy, with some being more indica-dominant, but all of them offering especially sweet smoke.

4. Granddaddy Purple 

 

Besides the really cool-looking nugs, GDP will appease those bouncing off the walls and in need of some serious couch-lock with the ultra-relaxing effects these flowers spawn. Created in 2003 by Ken Estes’ combination of Purple Urkel and Big Bud, GDP yields dense flowers and a grape flavor that goes down smooth in a water pipe. Trapped indoors? Smoke da Purps while getting funky and jamming out to Prince.

5. Green Crack 

 

Forget the passive approach—blast away your blahs with this head-rushing, hard-charging jade sativa that brings many to an instant place of happiness that no wind can chill. Puff down one of the dense buds with Skunk #1 parentage to replace your dragging depression with introspective interest in just about anything. But don’t get too carried away, that lint on your tacky Santa sweater isn’t really as fascinating as it seems when stoned on this weed!

Other Seasonal Medicinal Strains to Consider 

6. Aurora, a 90 percent indica that will right all winter wrongs.

7. Hawaiian Punch, another tropical sativa to melt away the snow drift clogging your mind.  

Bonus Winter Medicinal Edible: Gramola by Pura Vida 

Gramola—yummy granola with 120 mg of THC—has a unique ability to elevate from depression, with the user feeling a “lift-off” in the mind that leaves behind all your frostbitten fretting. Munch on Gramola, which pairs perfectly with a warm cup of seasonal tea.  

RECREATIONAL TO ENHANCE THE SEASON

For those who fortunately don’t get depressed this time of year, winter is welcomed for its beauty and for providing unique new experiences. Here are are some seasonal strain suggestions, whether you’re trying to withstand the cold, augment and/or recover from winter sports or make holiday lights all the brighter and merrier

For a list like this, it’s pretty much mandatory to start with… 

Northern Lights

 

This classic indica strain, named for the often spectacular and downright trippy natural light displays occurring in Arctic regions, is a harmonic choice for the season. Arguably one of the most globally famed pot strains, NL originates from Holland, which can often make it more available on the East Coast than the West.

2. White Rhino 

 

This virtually pure hybrid (50 percent sativa/50 percent indica) is another great yuletide choice with its rich trichrome sprinkles and its dense parentage. Skunk, Northern Lights, Afghani landrace and Shiva were blended to craft this strain that offers the best of both weed worlds. Although don’t let the name fool you, when it comes to flavor, Ice is spicy, not minty.

5. Sour Tsunami