More than 25 million adults in the U.S. experience chronic pain. As historical first-line treatments experience an overhaul in the face of the opioid crisis, chronic pain sufferers are turning to alternative methods, such as cannabis, to manage their pain. Patients and citizens alike can get the best cannabis strains for treating pain from recreational or medical retail outlets.
Here’s a rundown on how pain operates and what cannabis strains you should try to treat your chronic pain.
What is Chronic Pain?
Many think that chronic pain is simply pain that lasts a long time. Unfortunately, it’s more complicated than that.
The feeling of pain results from messages sent from the site of an injury through your nervous system to the brain. Your brain then processes that message and raises a red flag that you’re hurt. That red flag is the pain.
Typically the messages from your nervous system stop once the cause of the injury is resolved. The cut on your finger is healed, for instance.
But with chronic pain, your nervous system is stuck “on.” It will continue telling your brain you’re in pain even if the cause of the pain has been resolved.
Chronic pain usually results when a person is in pain for 3 to 6 months. This is a long enough period for a person’s nervous system to become hypersensitized.
A hypersensitized nervous system also means that, should you experience an injury while already suffering from chronic pain, the signals will fire disproportionate to the injury in question.
A person with chronic pain will experience far more pain from something small, like a sprained ankle, than a person without chronic pain.
How Does Cannabis Help Chronic Pain?
Cannabis can help with chronic pain in a number of ways. It can target areas of a musculoskeletal injury, help with inflammation, and work on the nervous system itself.
There are many different strains of cannabis and not all of them affect the same areas of the brain and body. A strain that might help with musculoskeletal pain might not be suitable for the treatment of inflammatory pain, for instance.
The exact reasons why cannabis works as pain relief are still being studied. It’s likely that the cannabinoid compounds present in cannabis interact with the natural cannabinoid receptors we have in our bodies. Those natural cannabinoid receptors have long been thought to play a role in pain control.
Best Cannabis Strains for Chronic Pain
Which cannabis strain works for you will depend on a number of factors. The type of pain being treated, the intensity of the pain, and your own physiology all play a part in a strain’s effectiveness.
It’s recommended that you sample a number of suggestions to find a strain that works for you. Experimenting with different forms, such as topical oils, transdermal patches, smoking, or vaporizing is also a good idea.
Now, onto the strains. By clicking the title of each strain, the Leafly listing will appear which will give you even more information about the strain. The link will also help you locate where to find it near you. When you scroll down the Effects and Attributes section, there are three different areas: Effects. Medical and Negatives. It is essential to click each one and determine what the positives and negatives of each strain are. All the Leafly information is user-based content, so the cannabis community is who is giving you this information.
The ACDC strain is a hybrid strain and one of the best cannabis strains for treating generalized pain. This is because it’s high in both CBD and THC.
As a rule of thumb, cannabis strains with high amounts of both CBD and THC generally make the best painkillers.
Native to the Kush Mountain Region in the Middle East, this strain is great for relieving musculoskeletal pain.
It’s nearly 100% indica, which means the effects will be felt predominantly in the body. It’s a strain high in THC and terpenes, compounds shown to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.
Sativa cannabis strains aren’t the typical first choice for people with chronic pain but the high-CBD content of Harlequin makes it an exception.
This strain is particularly useful for daytime medicating. This is because it doesn’t produce the intoxication levels of many other strains. Harlequin will, instead, leave you clear-headed and uplifted.
Blue Widow, also known as Blue Venom, White Berry, and Berry White, is another hybrid cannabis strain. It’s praised on review sites for its anti-inflammatory properties which makes it ideal for inflammatory pain and musculoskeletal pain.
It boasts a rich terpene profile and high THC.
Jack Herer is a sativa-dominant hybrid cannabis strain. Named for the famous author and activist, this strain is a favorite worldwide for its uplifting and energizing effects.
High in THC and terpenes, Jack Herer is a great painkiller and anti-inflammatory.
The typical Headband hybrid is commonly described as “cerebral.” This is due to feeling its effects first in the crown of your head.
Blueberry Headband is a hybrid that lives up to its name. This strain is great for killing pain caused by migraines and headaches.
Redwood is another potent indica known for its painkilling properties. High in THC and with tension-relieving effects, it’s ideal for easing pain associated with muscle cramping.
This strain, Cataract Kush is a hybrid cross between two potent classics: OG Kush and LA Confidential.
It’s not typically recommended for the novice consumer, as its effects can be hard-hitting, but if you’re looking for something to take on serious pain this strain might be for you.
Cannatonic contains a nearly one-to-one ratio of THC and CBD, making it one of the best cannabis strains for fighting pain.
Due to its high concentrations of CBD, this strain keeps you more clear-headed than most others. It’s great for daytime medicating, allowing you to socialize or work pain-free.
The strain, AK-47 is a veritable mix of different strains, including the Afghani Indica strain and South American, Thai, and Mexican Sativa strains.
It’s Sativa-dominant, which means it’ll provide you with an uplifting, energizing effect along with its painkilling properties.
Cannabis Is a Great Way to Treat Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is an often debilitating condition. Finding the best cannabis strains that work for you may take some time and effort, but the benefits to be had far outweigh the negatives.
Using this list of recommended strains you’ll be able to narrow down the cannabis strain that works best for you and get to manage your chronic pain naturally.
Cannabis can treat more than just chronic pain. Check out this beginners guide to understanding marijuana and anxiety.