Has pain been weighing you down? Has an achy body pushed the activities you enjoy to the backseat? You aren’t alone! Chronic pain affects a staggering amount of individuals – “more than 1.5 billion people worldwide,” according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine.
Unlike regular acute pain that is felt immediately when an injury or illness damages tissue or muscles within the body, chronic pain is persistent. Chronic pain can really take a toll on everyday life causing those suffering to miss work as well as miss out on important life occurrences. Other repercussions include depression, lack of concentration, decreased energy levels, and inability to sleep.
Have you heard about the beneficial qualities that marijuana can portray on different pains? Maybe you have thought about using weed to cure your ailments but just don’t know enough about the different strains and what pains they can help with? Within this article, we have done the research for you and compiled a list of the best cannabis strains to combat pain.
Which Type of Pain Marijuana Can Treat
The various types of chronic pain, according to Very Well Health are the following:
- Nociceptive: Located in softer tissues of the body and/ or organs through sensory nerves (muscles, skin, etc.). Examples include headaches, fibromyalgia, and arthritis.Somatic(a type of nociceptive pain): aches that lie in the muscles, skin, and soft tissues’ sensory nerves. Examples are tension headaches and back pain.
Visceral (a type of nociceptive pain): soreness in the body’s internal organs, felt through sensory nerves. Examples are endometriosis, irritable bowel syndrome, and bladder pain.
- Neuropathic: Root is nerve disturbance. The discomfort is often described as shooting and sharp. Nerve damage can be a big stem of the problem. Examples are phantom limb pain, sciatica, and post-mastectomy pain.
- Psychogenic: Derives from a psychological disorder. These don’t have a physical origin and instead are caused by the side effects of disorders such as depression and anxiety.
- Idiopathic: This pain is the most difficult to treat and truly has no cause, physical or psychological.
The root of chronic pain can range from the previous injury, illness, infection, etc., as well as exist without any known initial rationale. Because the root of chronic pain varies from person to person and nailing down its root can be complex, regular pain medication may have no effect in treatment or relief.
Opiates are commonly prescribed to those that have recently gone through a surgery, i.e., for acute pain. Should they be taken for chronic pain, it’s very likely that the patient may become addicted or their body may become tolerant to the drugs, making them ineffective.
A recent study conducted by the National Academies of Sciences Engineering Medicine concludes that “in adults with chronic pain, patients who were treated with cannabis or cannabinoids are more likely to experience a clinically significant reduction in pain symptoms.” “Relief from chronic pain is (actually) by far the most common condition cited by patients for the medical use of cannabis.” The question of which types of pain can cannabis alleviate follows.
Weed can be used to treat a large variety of chronic pain. Nociceptive, neuropathic, psychogenic, and idiopathic pains can all be mitigated with marijuana.
This means that aches that occur as headaches, muscle soreness, cramps, inflammation, cancer, lower back issues, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, shingles, nerve damage, and many others can all be alleviated through the use of cannabis.
Really, the use of weed as a pain treatment can really vary from person to person depending on the intensity of pain and the individual’s physiology.
So how does weed provide pain relieving qualities? The US National Library of Medicine explains that “Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting a3 glycine receptors.” Glycine receptors are responsible for nociceptive regulation as well as for cannabinoids in the nervous system.
Which Cannabinoids and Terpenes are Known for Pain?
There are a multitude of strains as well as components that come into play when choosing the “right” weed. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the two marijuana components that work for pain relief, mirrors “cannabinoid chemicals that occur naturally in the body,” according to Medical News Today.
Cannabinoids, one of the chemicals in a cannabis plant, helps relieve pain as it “activates the brain’s reward system” by “binding to cannabinoid receptors.” THC is most commonly linked with weed’s high.
Cannabidiol (CBD), the other component, is a lot calmer than THC and is probably the most common type of weed used for a variety of medical uses. The reason is that it lacks psychoactive effects, i.e., it doesn’t get you high.
THC and CBD are very different elements, and although they both have very positive medical benefits, their ramifications to the body and mind vary. Both are great for pain, depending on the person using them.
Is Indica or Sativa Effective for Pain?
Weed contains thousands of different cannabis strains. The three subspecies of the flowering herb include – sativa, Indica, and Ruderalis. When it comes to using weed for medical purposes, especially when combating pain, two primary strains come to mind – sativa, and Indica.
Indica, a short, stout plant from the middle-east near Pakistan that excels in colder climates is known for its relaxing qualities. It is commonly used in the evening to help the consumer sleep. Indica has mixtures of both THC and CBD. With that, Indica is great for treating full-body ailments such as multiple sclerosis, cancer, or fibromyalgia.
Sativa, a lankier plant from South America that excels in warmer climates has more of an uplifting effect. It is known to stimulate the brain, which makes it better for daytime use.
Sativa has higher levels of THC and is best with minor, localized aches. Indica and sativa are also offered as a hybrid.
Scientific Research That Proves Marijuana Works for Pain Relief?
The National Academies of Sciences Engineering Medicine released a study of marijuana’s medical benefits to include a reduction in pain symptoms.
The famous WebMD that is known worldwide as a way to ‘google cure’ any type of symptoms you may have also presented research that weed helps relieve chronic pain.
The US National Library of Medicine also describes how the pain receptors are suppressed through the use of weed.
List of 10 Best Marijuana Strains for Pain
The biggest factor to keep in mind when choosing a weed that is appropriate for your type and intensity of pain is that everyone is different. Various strains are known for their effect on different types of pain; however, where one may work better for one person’s headache, a different one may be more successful for someone else’s due to their psyche and the intensity of their pain.
It is also uncommon that someone finds the strain that best fits their needs right off the bat. We have compiled a list of the top 10 marijuana strains for pain, in no particular order.
ACDC Marijuana Strain for Pain
ACDC is a hybrid of Indica (30%) and sativa (70%) derived from the West Coast of the United States. The THC to CBD ratio is 1:20 with the CBD content up near 19 percent making, it a great option for generalized pain paired with staying alert.
This means that it is also sativa-dominant. And although it lacks the high you would get from Indica, the Indica and sativa combo even each other out, so you won’t be stuck on the couch, but you won’t be overly stimulated either.
Its flavor is described as earthy and citrusy. Other perks, beyond pain relief that this strain contains, are relaxation, great focus, boosted energy, and happiness.
Blackberry Kush Marijuana Strain for Pain
This cannabis originates from California as an Indica subspecies with a high amount of THC that falls between 17 and 24 percent. The CBD in this strain is a lot lower, coming in at only 2%. Being mostly THC, this strain will leave your body feeling numb and relaxed.
With that, it is great for severe, generalized pain. You may want to take this in the evening as its high amount of THC causes sleepiness. Many love the berry and sugary flavors that it leaves in your mouth.
Harlequin Marijuana Strain for Pain
Harlequin emanates from a variety of places all over the world, such as Columbia, Thailand, Nepal, and Switzerland. It’s a sativa (75%) subspecies with some Indica (25%).
It’s probably the most popular sativa strain due to the higher concentration of CBD; it has a 5:2 CBD to THC ratio with about 6 % THC and 14% CBD. This is great for treating inflammation in the body, such as, arthritis, and it offers a euphoric feeling to the one who takes it.
Decreased anxiety and increased alertness are also the side effects of this cannabis. Depending on what you get, the taste may be earthy or sweet.
Blue Widow Marijuana Strain for Pain
This even hybrid cross of Blueberry(Indica), a Hawaiin plant, and White Widow (sativa), a British Columbian flower, is great for its medicinal qualities as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever.
Its THC content varies between 12 and 17% while the CBD load is a whopping 0.5%. This sweet, sour, and berry tasting marijuana’s high portion of THC can make you sleepy; therefore, afternoon use is the best.
Purple Arrow Marijuana Strain for Pain
Also known as one of the most well-balanced weed strains, this Afghani hybrid(85% Indica and 15% sativa)holds the positive qualities of Indica’s high pain relief and Sativa’smood boosting powers.
The THC level sits at 15-17%. This is a great, floral flavored option for those killer headaches in the middle of the day.
Blue Dream Marijuana Strain for Pain
As a cross between haze (a sativa strain) and Blueberry (an Indica strain), this Northern Californian cannabis has a berry taste that is raved about. Its hybrid percentages fall pretty even at 60 percent sativa and 40 percent Indica.
The THC levels fall between 17 and 24 percent with CBD’s percentage being only 2. Daytime use is best as a blue dream boosts energy levels. It exhibits stress relieving qualities and is great for headaches, back pain, arthritis, and neuropathic issues that are faced throughout the day.
Bubba Kush Marijuana Strain for Pain
This supposed Afghani weed strain (its origins are not certain) belongs to the Indica subspecies with 27% THC and definitely portrays its sleepy qualities. Its flavor is unique with hints of chocolate and coffee upon exhale.
It is great for more severe ailments to include multiple sclerosis, migraines, and muscle tension. The relaxed, euphoric feeling that a few puffs of this leaves you with will leave you bed/ couch ridden and pain-free.
AK-47 Marijuana Strain for Pain
AK-47 is a sativa dominant hybrid. Its ratios consist of 65% sativa & 35% Indica with the THC content falling between 13-20% and the CBD level falling at a low 1%. It may be sativa dominant, but the THC buzz definitely hits and lingers after a few inhales.
This mixture of Thai, Mexican, Afghani, and Columbian cannabis is very uplifting and relaxing, making it great for more generalized pain. Do you also suffer from anxiety or depression? This weed may be your answer!
Jack Herer Marijuana Strain for Pain
Jack Herer (aka nature’s painkiller), named after a weed activist, is a sativa- dominant hybrid that provides the stimulating, happy qualities of sativa while also relieving pain well with its abundant THC (23%) content.
This piney tasting strain that originated from the Netherlands is great for reducing inflammation and chronic pain. Its high produces a bubbly, energetic, creative result which is great for getting things accomplished throughout the day.
Girl Scout Cookies Marijuana Strain for Pain
This is a California originated, Indica – dominant strain with a 60/40 ratio compared to its sativa compilation which is great for severe pain as it consists of high THC (28%) levels. The extent of CBD is very low at 1%.
This potent cannabis should be used carefully and is probably not best for beginners as it can get you very high, very fast. As one of the most potent strains in the medical marijuana variety, Girl Scout Cookies can knock out severe pain very easily.