Best Marijuana Strains for Pain
Posted by Glenn Beierle on 02/10/2018 in Strains
Updated on January 29, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Medical marijuana is a highly effective medicine for chronic pain as well as a wide variety of other ailments, from epilepsy to severe nausea. But with seemingly endless strains to choose from, how do you know what the best strain is for pain?
Indica vs. Sativa for Pain
To understand how specific strains effect you, you need to understand the two families of marijuana strains and the chemical compounds in them. These factors influence how a strain makes you feel. If you know how your marijuana works, you’ll have an easier time knowing how to tweak your treatment to make it work better.
All marijuana plants come from two families, indica and sativa, both of which can relieve pain. But, indica strains tend to provide a full-body effect suitable for deeper, more widespread aches. While indica strains relax and sedate the user, sativa strains stimulate and energize the user. Because indicas affect the body, these strains are the best choice for patients with chronic pain.
CBD vs. THC for Pain
Marijuana contains chemicals called cannabinoids that provide the effects associated with the plant. THC provides psychoactive results, while CBD doesn’t produce a “high”. CBD has more pain-relieving benefits than THC, but combining both can balance the side effects of each chemical, just keep in mind THC vs CBD content.
Some patients who prefer the invigorating effects of a sativa over the sleep-inducing qualities of indica may fare well with a hybrid. Hybrids combine characteristics of each parent to minimize some of the unwanted effects of one strain or add the desired effects of another. For example, adding sativa to indica strains adds mental clarity and decreases sedation effects. And adding indica to sativa strains can decrease or even eliminate the sativa tendency to stimulate anxiety.
Patients who live in states that allow them to purchase marijuana from a pot dispensary or cannabis club can ask their budtenders for a heavy indica to treat their chronic pain. Each dispensary will have a varied selection of indicas, sativas and hybrids to choose from, and you can ask the budtender which one he or she recommends for chronic pain. Some dispensaries will even conduct lab testing on the products so you can determine the exact levels of THC, CBN and CBD.
Recommended Strains for Pain
Chronic pain patients who don’t have access to medical marijuana dispensaries and have to grow their own medicine should be sure to select the right strain before embarking on the time consuming process of growing their medicine. Look for seeds or clones of a heavy indica. Some good strains to choose from include:
- Afghan Kush: Afghan Kush is almost 100% indica. Thanks to its species, it provides a physical effect suitable for aches and pains. It has caryophyllene in it that works against cancer, so cancer patients experiencing pain may want to try it.
- ACDC: ACDC not only has a both THC and CBD in it, but it has high amounts of both chemicals. The presence of both components balances out the potential side effects from them. So, you can take advantage of more benefits without worrying about more side effects.
- Blue Dream: Blue Dream provides relaxation without making you feel tired. So, you can use it to get relief during the day without worrying about grogginess.
- Granddaddy Purple: While Granddaddy Purple gives ton of pain relief, it also provides a lot of sedation. If you don’t mind taking your medicine during the evening, you can get effective results from this strain.
- Girl Scout Cookies: The Girl Scout Cookies strain helps nausea and appetite problems in addition to helping you hurt less.
These are just a few suggestions, however there are endless choices when it comes to choosing a medical marijuana strain. Patients who can purchase their medicine from a dispensary have the huge advantage of sampling or purchasing small amounts of cannabis before committing to a larger quantity. Bottom line, if you suffer from chronic pain, it’s best to stick with an indica. Then you should try out several strains until you find the best one that works for you.
Talk to a Doctor About Strains of Marijuana for Pain
While we have some ideas to get you started on using medical marijuana, only trained professionals can look at your personal health issues and find the right fit for you. A knowledgeable marijuana doctor can advise you on how to medicate properly. Your dispensary staff will know about the traits of each strain and can help you with your shopping experience.