In today’s technology driven, high-stress ‘life in the fast lane’, chronic pain is something that affects a lot more people than, say, those suffering from diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.
Chronic pain is the #1 most common culprit of long-term disability in the US. A recent study revealed that approximately 100 million adults in the US are chronic pain sufferers. In another study, an estimated 20 million US adults suffer from neuropathic pain, a debilitating condition that manifests itself due to damage from the motor, automatic or sensory nerves – leading to often intolerable pain in the hands and feet.
Here’s another gloomy statistic – at least 10% of the world’s population suffers from chronic pain. That’s a staggering near-60 million people who have to put up with chronic pain on a daily basis.
The Main Problem with Traditional Pain Relievers
A pressing concern revolving around pain is that even though perpetual efforts have been made by researchers and scientists to identify the exact causes of specific kinds of pain in the body – one thing is for certain that pain does not originate from a single source and can be a vexing problem to remedy. It can be so complex, in fact, that there isn’t any effective medicine for proving relief from specific kinds of pain.
One thing is for certain, however – that chronic pain may be the result of a host of issues including disease, injury, traumatic physical experiences, biological factors, etc. As a result, doctors and other medical experts are quick to prescribe staple medicines for pain relief including aspirin, epidurals, local anaesthetics, cortisone, NSAIDS and opioids.
For acute pain following surgery, for instance, doctors will typically prescribe opiates – highly potent drugs derived from chemicals. As far as chronic pain is concerned, these drugs may still be prescribed but they seldom work. And, in cases where they tend to be effective, they can also cause adverse effects like sedation and nausea. Furthermore, chronic pain sufferers have a tendency to develop high tolerance to opiates. The same can be said for NSAIDS and other off-the-counter pain killers.
Cannabis as a Painkiller
Many doctors have been hesitant to recommend cannabis as a pain killer, but current laws have led to majority of physicians resorting to pharmaceutical drugs to treat different kinds of pain.
However, there is a silver lining – one that is prominent and noteworthy enough to make any chronic pain sufferer sit up straight with eyes wide open: earlier in 2018, NASEM (National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine) presented substantial evidence to conclude that cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, especially THC and CBD, can effectively be used to treat chronic pain.
Further studies have also suggested that cannabis has the potential to provide relief from nerve pain by activating specific receptors in the human endocannabinoid (ECS) system, and regulate certain neuro-pathways, which can directly help manage pain.
Researchers also discovered in a separate study that THC and CBD-rich strains may provide relief from arthritic pain.
To sum it all up – those seeking relief from all kinds of pain – there is irrefutable evidence that medical marijuana can provide relief, and, without the often unpleasant after effects that are typically associated with strong pain relief drugs including opiates.
Those who have already secured a medical marijuana card have met a crucial qualifying condition to use cannabis for a variety of reasons including relief from arthritis, neck pain, joint pain, nerve pain, non-migraine headaches, serious chronic pain, fibromyalgia and a range of other pain conditions.
The Best Cannabis Strains for Pain Relief
Suffice it to say, marijuana’s potential and reputation as a painkiller has shifted quite a lot in recent years. The medical community as well as the general public are now starting to not only understand but appreciate cannabis’s potential as a painkiller.
With so many indica, sativa and hybrid strains to chose from, it can be overwhelming to handpick the ones to find relief from certain kinds of pain. After all, every strain type comes with its own unique feel – one may work brilliantly for one patient while it may provide a lacklustre effect at best for another.
Even though patients may have to experiment a little to find the best marijuana strain for pain relief, having a basic understanding of what effects each of the three strains have will certainly help you choose the right ones.
In general, sativas are vastly popular and preferred, given their ability to provide an upbeat, invigorating and energetic high, helping patients become more adept in physical activities and social engagements. The positive high can work wonders to alleviate a variety of pain-inducing health conditions and inflammation.
Relatively, indicas offer a very relaxing, sedating and ‘full body’ kind of high – ideal for patients who suffer from severe chronic pain.
Then there are hybrids which encompass sativa and indica elements, providing for a balanced effect which is neither too invigorating nor too sedating.
Now that you’re armed with some basic knowhow, here are currently some of the most effective strains for pain relief:
Granddaddy Purple (GDP)
GDP is a very popular indica strain among cannabis smoking circles – delivering a powerful psychoactive high which is an ideal combination of physical relaxation and cerebral euphoria. Like the majority of indica strains available today, GDP is very effective in remedying pain, muscle spasms and stress, delivering between 17-23% THC and just 0.1% CBD.
If you’re dealing with nerve pain, half-hybrid, half-indica is perfect – no wonder it won the 98’ Dutch High Life Cup, with its signature 14-20% THC content.
As the name suggests, Jack Flash is one of the best strains for providing quick pain relief. Within minutes, users have reported feeling a headrush, which is replaced by highly euphoric and ‘happy’ feeling. In addition to the sustained mood elevation, you will also feel the nerve pain starting to dissipate.
Eponymously named after the pro-cannabis activist, this sativa strain not only provides quick relief from chronic pain but also treats fatigue, depression, lack of appetite and a lot more.
Boasting an earthy and pungent flavour with hints of pine, this acclaimed strain offers 18-23% THC content with traces of 0.03-0.2% CBD.
This hybrid cannabis strain has been derived from two unique strains – an indica South Indian strain and a South American sativa strain. The pain relief potential can be only described as ‘borderline excellent’, providing not only quick relief but also a very uplifting and euphoric high, which can treat depression, stress and lack of appetite.
This intriguing strain goes by many names including Blue Venom, White Berry or Berry White, just to name a few. However, its potent effects are unmistakable. Blue Widow’s heavy resin is courtesy of a cross between White Widow and Blue strains, providing users with generous amounts of THC. This makes it one of the best choices for pain relief from arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
The sativa-dominant strain provides an optimal ratio of cannabinoids to provide quick relief from nerve pain, while also ensuring that users never experience a high that’s too potent. The THC content ranges between 7-15% while CBD is also typically in the 15% range.
If you’re looking for a strain that soothes nerve pain but also keeps you sharp and active, while helping your relax – this is one of the best one you can buy today. The herbal flavour is a real treat for the senses while the unusually high CBD content makes it a super analgesic – helping you deal with joint pains, migraines, muscle spasms and much more.
This hybrid strain is high in terpenes and CBD – making it a popular choice for chronic pain and migraine patients. The low 6% THC content means you can enjoy the therapeutic effects without going into a psychoactive high. Given its aromatic qualities and floral notes with small traces of spice, Cannatonic is a great daytime choice as it does not impede social interaction or productivity in the least bit.
The sativa-dominant strain has enjoyed widespread popularity among medicinal cannabis consumers, providing a host of benefits which include relief from pain, stress, depression and appetite disorders.
With THC content in the 18-23% range and CBD in the 1-3% range, there’s absolutely no denying Sour Diesel’s ‘pungent’ ability to alleviate pain while simultaneously providing an energetic and uplifting high.
GSC – Girl Scout Cookies
The sweet and earthy scent is a dead giveaway that you’re about to smoke some GSC. The full-body relaxation and sedation will definitely be appreciated by those who seek instant relief from pain.
The Hybrid’s THC content is a generous 17-28% with a CBD range of just 0.09-0.2%. GSC has unsurprisingly won several Cannabis Cup awards – more proof that it works remarkably to alleviate almost any kind of pain associated with fatigue or stress.
With research progressing in the US and other countries, marijuana strains for pain relief continue to become more readily available. However, some of the most common ones listed above should offer a good starting point.