The 5 Best Cannabis Strains for Inflammation and Pain
Cannabis has a history of therapeutic benefits dating back thousands of years. In fact, The ancient Egyptians were cannabis users who used hemp (cannabis) in suppositories for their pain-relieving properties related to hemorrhoids.
Fast forward to our modern era. We have access to a diverse range of cannabis strains that can help alleviate various ailments like migraines, muscle spasms, fibromyalgia, inflammation, and more.
In this post, we’ll walk through cannabis for inflammation and pain, how it helps, and the best weed strains to use for relief.
How does cannabis reduce pain and inflammation?
Our modern understanding of inflammation, and what causes it, is still in progress. But there’s a general consensus among the medical community and general public that many people experiencing issues related to aches, pains, and general debilitation are actually suffering from excessive inflammation.
The causes of inflammation can vary significantly. Some are related to diet, some to exercise or stretching, and some are caused by disease or illness.
One thing we are learning more about is that people may have a new household option for reducing inflammation and managing pain instead of popping Ibuprofen – cannabis.
What the science says
An early study from Future Med Chem found: “Cannabinoids are potent anti-inflammatory agents and they exert their effects through induction of apoptosis, inhibition of cell proliferation, suppression of cytokine production and induction of T-regulatory cells (Tregs).”
Let’s break that down:
1. Cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury or illness, but sometimes it can become excessive and cause pain or other problems. Cannabinoids can help calm this inflammation.
2. Apoptosis is a natural process in the body where old or damaged cells are programmed to die off. Cannabinoids can encourage this process, helping to remove problematic cells.
3. Cytokines are proteins that play a role in inflammation. Too many cytokines can lead to excessive inflammation. Cannabinoids can help reduce the production of these proteins, which in turn reduces inflammation.
4. T-regulatory cells (Tregs) are a type of immune cell that helps regulate the immune response. By inducing Tregs, cannabinoids can help control the immune system’s reaction, preventing it from causing excessive inflammation.
Another less-discussed cannabinoid, called cannabigerol (CBG), has been found to help relieve pain and inflammation. More specifically, CBG has been linked to reducing feelings of pain and inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease, according to a 2013 study.
Cannabigerol (CBG) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant that has been gaining attention for its potential therapeutic properties related to the nervous system. While CBG-rich strains are less common compared to those high in THC or CBD, there are some strains known for their relatively higher CBG content.
How to choose a cannabis strain for inflammation and pain
There are a few ways to pick out the right strain for your particular inflammatory or pain management needs. And there’s also a variety of consumption methods to try. We’ll discuss both concepts in this section.
Choosing the best strains for inflammation:
- High CBD: Because studies are linking CBD to inflammatory reduction, strains with higher CBD content are believed to be most effective. CBD is helpful for more than just its relaxing effects, the way it interacts with the endocannabinoid system appears to have a significant on pain receptors.
- High THC: Steve Alexander finds tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) “activates certain cannabinoid receptors, one of which is in the nerve cells and the other is in the immune cells. When it activates the one in the nerve cells, it reduces the sensation of pain.” It’s clear that higher-THC sativa and indica strains have the ability to be both uplifting and reduce pain.
- Terpenes: Myrcene has been studied across various plants and essential oils and found to contain anti-inflammatory properties, particularly in cannabis. Linalool, the popular terpene found in lavender and many purple-colored cannabis strains, produces calming effects that can help reduce anxiety and chronic inflammation related to pain. Pinene has been found to reduce tooth pain in mice and may carry over pain-relieving properties to humans.
- The entourage effect: The way cannabinoids and terpenes in a strain interact is what gives each its unique properties and benefits. Even if a strain has high THC or CBD, it’s going to provide its full therapeutic benefits when all aspects of the plant are working together. This is often why there’s an argument to either consume cannabis flower or full-spectrum cannabis extracts/products that do not strip away valuable terpenes.
- What’s right for you: Regardless of what’s said about the best strains for inflammation and pain, you’re going to have to find the right fit for your body. Everyone has different experiences and interactions with cannabis, so it may take a bit of trial with a variety of options. But keep the basics in mind as you’re trying out different options.
Choosing the right consumption method:
- Flower: Flower is a great option to experience a cannabis strain in its raw form to get a complete feel for its effects.
- Vaporizer: Carts and vapes often contain high levels of cannabinoids, but can be lacking in terpenes, meaning you’ll miss out on the full entourage effect.
- Tincture: Tinctures, like CBD oil, are often highly concentrated and regularly used as medicine. If you’re in need of a more potent therapy for your various types of pain, go with this option.
- Edibles: Edibles often last longer and can include high concentrations of cannabinoids like CBD.
- Concentrates: Concentrates are your best bet for a very potent cannabis experience. Keep in mind that many concentrates have terpenes stripped away.
- Topicals: A topical cannabis product often contains high levels of CBD and allows the user to apply the balm or lotion directly to affected areas.
By the way, our Budtender Basics course covers all of these consumption methods in depth!
The 5 best cannabis strains for inflammation and pain
Some of the most effective medical cannabis strains for inflammation and pain include Harlequin, ACDC, Charlotte’s Web, Strawberry Sorbet, and Jack Frost.
Here’s more info on each strain of cannabis:
Harlequin is a sativa marijuana strain renowned for its high CBD content, often ranging from 8% to 15% or even higher, while THC levels usually remain below 5%. The CBD-to-THC ratio can vary between phenotypes.
This strain’s high CBD and relatively low THC content, make it a good choice for pain relief without the psychoactive effects of THC.
ACDC is a CBD-dominant cannabis strain containing around 20:1 CBD:TCH. This medical marijuana strain is made from a phenotype of Cannatonic and it’s known for an ability to reduce pain and inflammation without causing any intoxicating effects. It’s another great option for those looking for therapeutic cannabis without a strong high.
3. Charlotte’s Web
Charlotte’s Web gained fame for its effectiveness in treating severe forms of epilepsy, particularly Dravet syndrome, which Charlotte Figi suffered from. Many patients, especially children, who had previously not responded well to traditional medications found relief with Charlotte’s Web. You can use this strain to manage a wide range of other medical conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety, and certain neurological disorders.
What sets Charlotte’s Web apart from many other cannabis strains is its extremely low THC content, often testing at less than 0.3%. This means that it produces little to no psychoactive effects, making it an ideal choice for patients who want the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the intoxication. Instead of THC, Charlotte’s Web is rich in CBD (Cannabidiol), with levels that can reach up to 20% or more.
4. Strawberry Sherbet
Strawberry Sherbet is a hybrid strain that has been gaining popularity among both recreational and medicinal users due to its unique characteristics and notably high levels of Cannabigerol (CBG). This strain has a delightful flavor profile but also potential health benefits, making it a noteworthy choice for those seeking a well-rounded cannabis experience.
5. Jack Frost
Jack Frost is a sativa-dominant strain that is often noted for its relatively high CBG levels. The strain also contains solid amounts of the cannabinoids CBD and THC, as well as the terpenes myrcene and caryophyllene which are known to help reduce inflammation and relax muscles. The entourage effect of this particular strain’s components is very effective for those dealing with hard-to-manage pain.
Love learning about cannabis? Enroll today!
THC University has over a decade of experience educating cannabis lovers. Students go on to work as budtenders, cultivators, managers, and other crucial roles in the cannabis industry.
Check out our affordable course offerings to get trained and certified today!