As more states legalize medical marijuana usage, more people have turned to marijuana as a medical alternative to treat a variety of ailments. Research has shown that medical marijuana is commonly used to relieve anxiety and depression, help with insomnia, and to treat chronic pain.
Medical marijuana is often used to manage pain for multiple conditions such as headaches, nerve pain, inflammation, muscle stiffness and joint pain. But how exactly does marijuana help relieve pain? Here’s a brief run down:
Cannabinoids and Cannabis Categories
The two most commonly occurring cannabinoids found in cannabis plants are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Each of them affect the body in different ways.
THC is the main psychoactive compound that produces that “high” sensation typically associated with cannabis. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that can help you feel relaxed without experiencing that “high”.
There are three major categories for cannabis plants:
Some sativas may have CBD and others have higher doses of THC. Indica does not necessarily have a lower dose of THC, but it does have higher levels of CBD. Hybrid strains are specially bred combinations of sativa and indica, and each hybrid plant will have unique CBD-THC ratios.
While it isn’t an exact science, indica strains are associated with a more full-body relaxation experience, likely because of its higher levels of CBD. Indica strains are typically recommended for those seeking pain management solutions with medical marijuana.
Medical Marijuana Usage in Massachusetts
While the regulations differ from state to state, marijuana is legal for both medical and adult-recreational use in Massachusetts. To qualify as a medical marijuana patient, you must receive a written recommendation from a certified health care provider and register online.
There are several medical conditions that qualify a patient to participate in Massachusetts Medical Use of Marijuana Program:
- Hepatitis C
- Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Other debilitating conditions as determined in writing by a certified physician
Best Strains for Pain Management
Here are some of the best marijuana strains for pain management:
- Northern Lights is an indica strain with a THC concentration between 16-21%, providing a muscle-relaxing high that can ease pain. It can make you feel sleepy, which is helpful for insomnia or if chronic pain keeps you awake. It also contains the terpene myrcene, which acts as a natural pain reliever.
- Blueberry is another cannabis strain with myrcene. With an approximate THC concentration of 17%, this cannabis strain provides a euphoric high alongside its pain relief.
- Not to be confused with the cookie, Do-Si-Dos is an indica-dominant hybrid strain with a THC concentration of 21-30%. This strain is popular with those experiencing acute and chronic pain and relieving everything from migraines to nerve pain.
- Speaking of cookies, GMO Cookies is a mix of the Chemdawg and GSC marijuana strains. “GMO” stands for garlic, mushrooms and onions, referencing the strain’s unique smell. With a 20-30% THC content, GMO Cookies is another powerful, pain-relieving strain.
- If you’re looking for a beginner friendly indica strain, L.A. Confidential might be for you. With a THC content of 17-25%, you can enjoy the benefits of pain relief with a more sedated, relaxing high.
- White Widow is a popular hybrid strain that contains myrcene and cannabigerol (CBG) and a THC concentration of about 15%. This strain is great for pain relief, but for those who prefer a more earthy, herbal flavor from their cannabis.
- Not a fan of the psychoactive high that THC gives? Try out the Harlequin strain. With a ratio of approximately 9% CBD and 5% THC, you can enjoy the benefits of pain relief without a more significant high. Harlequin also contains myrcene, which also provides inflammation relief.
- Cannatonic is another low-THC strain with myrcene. Many users experience relaxation, focus and pain relief with this strain that has a 9% CBD, 4% THC ratio.
- Rock on with ACDC, a CBD-dominant strain with myrcene. With a THC concentration of 1% and a much higher concentration of CBD at about 12%, this strain is great for those looking for pain relief but who want to maintain focus during the day.
Research on the effects of medical marijuana as a form of treatment is ongoing. At UpTop, our knowledgeable Budtenders are here to provide resources and assistance in finding the cannabis products that are the best for you. Visit us online or at one of our Massachusetts locations to learn more. We hope to see you soon!