The Best Cannabis Strains for Pain

Whether it is from an accident or due an illness, pain remains the most common reason Americans seek medical treatment. Current treatment methods range anywhere from traditional medication to natural remedies and though the options are plentiful not many are a success. With over 25.3 million daily pain sufferers across the country, finding an effective treatment without harmful side effects has proven to be a challenge.

Chronic pain sufferers are now finding relief in cannabis and ditching the harmful side effects produced by their traditional pain medication. Pharmaceutical drugs for pain relief, including opioids, have been known to be highly addictive and can cause severe liver, stomach, and kidney damage. However, the legend holds true, there are no reported deaths from cannabis and it’s side effects are as harmful as fatigue, nervousness, or lack of concentration. It has become an increasingly popular pain treatment and with the opioid death toll above 70,000 Americans a year, it is saving lives.


When first deciding to treat pain with cannabis, the options can be overwhelming. Some factors to consider when making the decision is the ratio of THC and CBD, your type of pain, and the desired experience. You may find that in different scenarios particular THC and CBD ratios will be most ideal. Keep in mind, two people with an identical ailment may have different reactions to the same strain and dosage. Finding the most effective combination will involve trial, error, and dosage adjustments as a personalized approach is required.


The majority of cannabis strains are designed for optimal euphoric effects making high-THC strains most desirable. However, CBD-dominant strains have incredible benefits as well. A strain high in CBD can be a perfect starting point for medicating cannabis—especially if you are inexperienced or apprehensive to euphoric effects. Although fairly new to the cannabis world, high-CBD strains are currently in demand due to their non-intoxicating, healing qualities. CBD has helped shape a more positive public perception towards cannabis, proving the plant has much to offer. These strains make for a perfect day time, social, and productive choice of medicine.

Our endocannabinoid system plays a key role in pain regulation. It is here, that the receptors bond with the cannabinoids to promote pain relief. Of over 60 total cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, THC and CBD are two of the most well known, and for good reason. Their effects differ greatly depending on if they are consumed separately or in combination.

CBD is highly regarded for its effectiveness to reduce general and inflammatory pain. It has been found to have positive effects on mental health anywhere from general anxiety to schizophrenia. You may be wondering, why not consume CBD isolate instead of flower? While CBD alone does have proven healing qualities, theories insist that the combination of cannabis compounds have the potential to produce a greater physical impact than a single compound on its own. This theory is referred to as the entourage effect.


Image by Green Door West

One of the most commonly suggested strains for pain relief is ACDC. It is one of the least psychoactive and most medicinal strains available. ACDC is a hybrid cross between Ruderalis and Cannatonic, which was one of the original CBD-dominant strains bred specifically to help individuals suffering from serious medical conditions. It’s THC:CBD ratio is 1:20 meaning it produces no noticeable high and with CBD content as high as 19% it has an incredible healing value. Any change in mood due to the sativa is slight—producing uplifting effects, focus, and sociability.


Image by Green Door West

Harlequin’s CBD:THC ratio is 5:2 with around 4-7% THC and 8-16% CBD making it the perfect choice for medical users and inexperienced consumers. It has been known to produce a clear-headed, and alert high while providing relaxation, and an uplifted mood without the heavy sedation. Harlequin is frequently cited by fibromyalgia and arthritis patients to relieve aches and pains due to inflammation.


As mentioned earlier, Cannatonic is the mother strain of ACDC. This strain is perfect for those who are sensitive to even the smallest amounts of THC, with it’s potency rarely above 4%. It is uplifting and powerfully relaxing. Cannatonic is often used to treat pain, muscle spasms, anxiety, migraines, and a wide variety of other physiological and psychological symptoms.


Although CBD may be looked upon more favorably because of it’s non-psychoactivity, there remains value in consuming high-THC strains for pain relief. THC, popularized as the psychoactive compound in cannabis, has been found to be effective when relieving central and neuropathic pain, as well as pain in cancer, AIDS, and fibromyalgia patients. Chronic and severe pain sufferers tend to prefer high-THC strains due to their sedative and euphoric effects.

In a recent 2019 study by the University of New Mexico, researchers suggested that THC may be even more important than CBD in producing therapeutic effects. The information was gathered from self-reported data of 3,300 people in over 20,000 user sessions on an application titled, Releaf App. They found that THC produced significant and measurable improvement of pain symptoms as higher levels of THC resulted in stronger effects.

While the healing effects of CBD have helped to change the negative stigma of cannabis, convincing the public of the benefits of the high still proves difficult. Cannabis has powerful effects on the mind, able to provide relaxation, stress-relief, and enhanced mood. This escape into a blissful, and euphoric state of mind is often the very element that is perceived negatively—however, there’s utility in this escape.

Individuals who suffer from diseases like Crohn’s disease or cancer are often in severe and constant pain. They have difficulty sleeping without the administration of powerful drugs such as lorazepam, and morphine to relieve pain. These patients can benefit the most from THC’s psychoactive effects. A euphoric high from cannabis allows patients to escape the aches and pains that are constantly on their mind. The heavy sedation induces a more comfortable sleep, providing the patient with their much-needed rest in absence of harmful side effects.


Originating from Oakland, California, Purple Kush has been cited to be effective in treating pain for fibromyalgia patients and temporary pain from sprains, sore joints, or pulled muscles. It produces a slow and relaxing full body high that eases muscular tension, fight headaches, and promotes sleep. It has been tested to be anywhere from 17-27% THC and induces a psychedelic high rather than a sharply-focused cerebral high. This will provide consumers with an escape, allowing them to appreciate the calming effect of music or of their tactile surroundings.


A hybrid mix of Afghani and Blackberry strains, Blackberry Kush is highly recommended for pain relief due to its strong indica effects. While some people may want to avoid the “couch-lock” feeling, chronic and severe pain sufferers may find it as a relief. The intense body high is accompanied by powerful euphoric and sedative effects. Blackberry Kush is 80% indica, with total THC content testing around 20% helping to relieve the mind of negativity and promote an elevated mood.


A cross between Blueberry and Haze, Blue Dream provides a motivated and focused cerebral high making it ideal for productive day time use. The THC content in Blue Dream falls anywhere between 17-24% while hardly containing any CBD–usually only up to .2%. This strain works to relieve muscle spasms and pains caused by injury or illness and leaves you ready to take on your daily tasks.

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.

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