What Are the Best Cannabis Strains for Chronic Pain?


Lukas Barfield

October 16th, 2017

Policy


Neck and shoulder pain close up

Chronic pain is defined as pain that last more than twelve weeks, but can often affect patients for many years. Acute pain is more immediate, and often alerts patients to tissue damage or other more urgent medical issues. Chronic pain can be categorized as a disease unto itself due to the effect it has on patient’s daily life and the difficulty in treating it, but many diseases such as fibromyalgia, cancer, arthritis and MS are accompanied by chronic pain. Although limited due to Federal illegality, research has shown cannabis to be an effective treatment for chronic pain. Most medical cannabis states list chronic pain as a qualifying condition, but with so many strains and products out there patients may need some direction to help choose which form of medical cannabis is right for them. Here are some general guidelines to follow when looking for just the right medical cannabis to treat chronic pain with a list of SPECIFIC strains to help get started along with recommendations on consumption methods.

CBD, THC and Terpenes

Due to their anti-inflammatory effects both Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are effective for treating chronic pain. The majority of strains are high THC, but new high CBD strains are coming online every day. High CBD strains may be preferable due to their pain relieving effects without a THC high. Terpenes give each cannabis strain their unique smell and effect. Terpenes that are known to help with pain and inflammation are Alpha Pinene (piney smell), Linalool (floral smell) and Caryophyllene (woody/spicy smell). Cannabis strains with high concentrations of these terpenes may help ease chronic pain for patients.

Specific Strains  

Cannatonic

Rated as one of the strongest strains in the world, this 2 to 1 high CBD strain helps pain related to inflammation with its high CBD content, and has just the right amount of THC. It also has a high linalool concentration making it a go to for pain relief and sleep.

Blackberry Kush

Blackberry Kush is a heavy hitting Indica strain that is well known for its pain relieving effects. Not only does this strain have high THC levels, but the anti inflammatory terpenes of linalool, alpha pinene and Caryophyllene are its most prevalent terpenes.

Granddaddy Purple

Also known as GDP, this is a heavy indica strain known to help with pain due to its high THC, linalool and alpha pinene content. In general, other “Purple” strains are often helpful for pain as well.

ACDC

ACDC is a high CBD strain with no THC, making it a great pain reliever for those patients who want to avoid a THC high. The most prevalent terpene is alpha pinene, which adds to ACDC’s pain relieving effects.

Jack Herer

Jack Herer is a high THC strain that has one multiple awards for its potency. The top two terpenes are alpha pinene and Caryophyllene, making it a sure thing when treating chronic pain. There are many strains with Jack Herer lineage that may also help with chronic pain.

Consumption Methods

There are three basic cannabis consumption methods:  inhalation, topical and edibles. Each method has its own benefit for treating chronic pain, but patients should place the cannabis chemical constituents as close to the affected area as possible.

  • Inhaling, or smoking, cannabis will provide quick relief for chronic pain, but the effects may be short lived due to lower rates of absorption. However, effects from terpenes are strongest when cannabis is vaporized or smoked.
  • Topicals such as cannabis infused lotions, oils and savs, are good for joint pain, and work best when applied directly to the inflamed area. Topicals provide twice as much absorption as inhaling cannabis, so expect longer pain relief when applying cannabis infusions to the skin.
  • Edibles provide 5 times more absorption as inhaling cannabis. Thus, this method may be the best for treating severe chronic pain, especially for internal chronic pain. Due to high absorption, effects last longer and are generally stronger, but edibles may take longer to provide relief. Sublingual, under the tongue, is an alternative oral method that may provide quicker relief while sustaining high absorption rates.

About Lukas Barfield



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