Medicinal cannabis for chronic pain relief is one of the top uses of this miraculous plant. But when browsing for the right strain, what should you be looking for? Here we explain and then recommend some of the best available strains to numb that pain.
Medical Cannabis for Chronic Pain
Pain can be debilitating for many, and the pharmaceutical interventions that doctors prescribe are often expensive and sometimes addictive.
Cannabis provides a more natural path to pain relief. The pain-relieving benefits of the plant were well-known to our ancient ancestors, and in more recent times, scientific studies correlate with the subjective experience of our forefathers. They show that patients experience clinically significant reductions in pain symptoms.
Whether it’s inflammation, a headache, muscle soreness, neuropathic pain, a spinal injury, or fibromyalgia, cannabis can help you find relief from chronic pain. But with hundreds of strains available, the question on every patient’s mind is, what are the characteristics of a good strain for pain relief?
Choosing a Cannabis Strain for Pain Relief
Several factors will influence your choice when it comes to choosing a cannabis strain for pain, and the first question is whether you’ll want a strain high in CBD or THC? The answer is that the ideal strain for treating pain relief is a healthy mix of both CBD and THC.
When it comes to genetics, Indica-dominant strains are usually associated with pain-relief and relaxation. The downside is that they aren’t much use if you require pain relief while at work, when you must remain focused and productive. The decision to choose a sedating Indica over a Sativa should come down to your lifestyle. Many patients choose Sativa-dominant genetics for daytime use and Indica-dominant genetics for evening use.
Edibles or Smoking For Pain Relief?
The third factor is whether smoking cannabis is preferable over eating it. The choice comes down to personal preference. Edibles often last longer and have a stronger effect and a more in-body high. But the pain-relieving effects from smoking will come on quicker, something that will allow you to smoke up to the point of optimal pain relief before stopping. Edibles are much more of a lottery. A variety of factors influence the strength of the effects, like how full your stomach is, how much fat you’ve eaten, along with the actual dose of the edible.
Finally, the plant compound profile of the strain is of vital importance, in particular, the terpenes. These compounds give cannabis its unique smell and also accentuate the medicinal properties of the plant. One terpene, in particular, named caryophyllene is associated with pain-relieving effects.
The Top Marijuana Strains for Pain Relief
Now that you know what to look for, here are some of the most well-known cannabis strains for pain relief.
If you require pain relief, but also need to stay focused and alert, then Harlequin may well be the strain for you. Renowned for its ability to numb pain without knocking you out, Harlequin is high in CBD (8.5 percent) and boasts a ratio of CBD to THC approaching 1:1.
Harlequin is the ideal daytime strain that’ll help induce an uplifting and clear-headed high while providing relief from pain and letting you get on with your day.
The high levels of caryophyllene and THC levels of 18-23 percent mean that White Widow is one of the most popular cannabis strains available for pain relief. It often induces a relaxed and somewhat euphoric feeling while also helping lower stress, anxiety, and pain.
This Indica-dominant hybrid combines Afghani and Blueberry genetics and produces a fruity mix of flavor. With its strong sedating effects, it’s not the strain you’ll want if you need to stay active and alert throughout the day. Like most kush strains, it’s best to leave this one until the late evening.
Afghan Kush is a renowned Indica strain that comes from the legendary Hindu-Kush mountains on the Afghan-Pakistani border. Well-known for its pain-relieving and sleep-inducing properties, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys a smoke to wind down at the end of the day, then Afghan Kush is for you.
With relatively undiluted genetics, it’s one of the few true Indicas. THC levels average at 17 percent, with the sedating myrcene being the most common terpene along with limonene and caryophyllene.
9 Pound Hammer
As its name might suggest, 9 Pound Hammer is renowned for knocking out pain. Its effects are long-lasting, and if you’re looking for a strain that’ll take your mind off the pain for a few hours, then 9 Pound Hammer with its THC levels approaching 20 percent, may well be the knockout punch you require.
This high-powered and potent Indica contains high levels of myrcene that induce a relaxing sensation, along with abundant caryophyllene that helps accentuate the strain’s ability to combat any pain you may experience.
ACDC contains negligible amounts of THC with CBD levels in the 11-15 percent range. The remarkably high CBD to THC ratio means that this one often ends up in the hands of those suffering from chronic pain. It’s widely known to help offset the adverse effects associated with chemotherapy treatments and is extremely popular among medicinal patients.
The low amounts of THC help ensure that you’ll remain sharp and alert under its effects. And if you’re looking for effective pain relief with zero risk of couchlock, then ACDC may be worth a shot.
Named after the well-known cannabis activist, Jack Herer is one of the best pain-relieving strains of cannabis available. With average THC levels of 15-19 percent with low amounts of CBD, Jack Herer also contains high levels of caryophyllene known to help with pain relief.
Jack Herer also lowers depressive symptoms and provides happy and uplifting feelings. When coupled with its pain-relieving effects, this makes it the perfect strain if you’re finding it both physically and mentally challenging to deal with pain.
Jack Flash gets its name from the rapid onset time—something every pain patient welcomes. But aside from the fast-acting effect, Jack Flash also targets a specific type of pain—nerve pain.
Nerve pain is different from other forms of pain and often feels like a shooting or stabbing sensation. Jack Flash is one of the best strains to help nullify those debilitating sensations. It’s an Indica-dominant hybrid and averages THC levels of around 20 percent and typically induces a relaxed vibe that’ll help you prepare to wind down come evening.
AK 47 is a hybrid of several Sativa strains from as far apart as Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia, along with a hint of the deeper Indicas from Afghanistan. With THC levels of 14-18 percent and abundant levels of myrcene, caryophyllene, and pinene, it combines strong medicinal properties with abundant flavor.
AK 47 is known for its ability to combat pain as well as depression. With its abundant Sativa genetics, it helps inject an uplifting and energetic feeling in addition to pain-relieving effects. Due to its stimulatory nature, AK 47 is best consumed during the day to help pain relief while on the move. But be warned, when consumed at night, this strain may get the creative juices going with that uplift in mood and make sleep difficult.
Treating Chronic Pain With Medical Cannabis
As someone with chronic pain, how do you know which strain is best for relief? The experience of pain is just as varied as the many cannabis strains which treat it. Pains will need to do a bit of careful experimentation to work out just which potency, and cannabinoid profile reduce their experience of daily pain. Start low, and increase your dose of THC slowly to ensure the experience is a pleasant one.