Even though pain is a necessary function of the human body, that doesn’t make the sensation any more pleasant. All over the world, people suffer pain every day. That’s not just because of pain’s many different causes: many people also struggle to find the right pain treatment for their personal circumstances and symptoms. There are many ways to treat pain, but in recent years, cannabis is used as an analgesic ever more often. It is known to yield promising results with various kinds of pain. The anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids and terpenes only add to its analgesic potential. In this blog, we investigate the possibilities cannabis offers for treating pain, and we list our best pain-killing weed strains.
How Cannabis Can Help Against Pain
Pain can be caused by many different factors. These causes can be either external (bumping one’s head, breaking a leg or spraining an ankle), or internal (a flu, all sorts of diseases and conditions, headaches, and infections). Pain can be acute and flare up suddenly, or it can be chronic, which means it lasts for extended periods. Chronic pain is widespread; it affects more people than cancer, heart disease and diabetes added together. In the United States, chronic pain is the most often-cited cause of long-term disability. According to scientists, the analgesic capacity of cannabis is particularly worth exploring for chronic pain conditions.
Cannabis contains a great number of organic compounds capable of interacting with the body. As its pain-relieving properties have been acknowledged for centuries by cultures all over the world, this should not come as a surprise. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is responsible for maintaining balance within the body. In order to do so, it affects a range of internal processes, including emotions, rhythms of sleep and wakefulness, and also pain. The cannabinoids found in cannabis can influence the ECS, which puts pain within their sphere of influence, too. Other weed plant components with similar abilities include terpenes.
Cannabis Or Synthetic Drugs Against Pain?
Of course, over the years, we have invested many ways to treat pain. Opium, for instance, has been our trusted ally against pain since the dawn of history. These days, many of our modern painkillers are based on opiates: new synthetic opioids are many times more powerful than the original ‘milk of the poppy’ opium. Unfortunately, though, this type of painkiller comes with a host of undesirable side-effects. We need only look at the opioid crisis in the US to see the risks involved.
Yet even relatively innocent and generally accepted analgesics such as paracetamol and ibuprofen come with risks and side-effects of their own. It’s wonderful that humanity discovered them and many people rely on them every day. Still, today, the call for natural alternatives with fewer side-effects is stronger than ever. That partly explains why cannabis against pain has moved to the top of the agendas of patients, doctors, researchers and pharmaceutics companies in recent years.
Homegrown Cannabis Against Pain?
Using cannabis against pain still comes with many legal catches; in the Netherlands and definitely so in other countries. That probably accounts for the number of people deciding to grow their own cannabis against pain; especially those suffering from hard-to-treat and chronic pain. Although we obviously do not intend to incite anyone to break local laws, we do want to explain how cannabis might help treat pain, as well as which strains would be the most promising candidates.
We want to make it perfectly clear that self-medication entails serious risks. That’s why we urge anyone to always consult their doctor about (chronic) pain before experimenting on their own account. Even if, like so many other, you are dissatisfied with regular pain treatment – or its side-effects – we still strongly recommend seeking professional medical advice, and complying with it whenever possible.
With these words of caution in mind, let’s explore the potential of using cannabis against pain.
Research Into Cannabinoids Against Pain
Most studies investigating cannabis against pain focus on THC and CBD. These two cannabinoids are known for their ability to work with human physiology, because they strongly resemble the endocannabinoids produced by our own body. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a psychoactive compound. Using it can make you high, altering your perception in the process. CBD (cannabidiol) does not have such effects.
Certain studies used the whole cannabis plant; others zoomed in on specific substances derived from it. Both kinds of study have their use. However, the benefit of using the whole plant and all the compounds it contains is that these compounds can interact with one another, boosting each other’s effects through the entourage effect.
In 2015, a review of several studies investigated use of cannabis against chronic pain among over 2,300 subjects. The positive outcomes made scientists conclude that cannabis or cannabinoids can be effective in treating certain types of chronic pain, including nerve pain and multiple sclerosis.
Another research paper, published in 2016, demonstrated that use of cannabis to treat pain in cancer caused a 64% decrease in opioid use to treat the same pain. On top of that, subjects reported improved quality of living on cannabis to treat their pain. Other medication had fewer side-effects, and in general, participants needed to use less other drugs to treat their symptoms while using cannabis.
Useful Compounds: Cannabinoids And Terpenes
Which Terpenes Could Help?
Cannabis contains a large number of terpenes. These are the compounds responsible for the distinctive scent of weed, and for the aromas of most other plants. However, terpenes turn out to also have analgesic potential; especially when working in tandem with cannabinoids through the entourage effect.
Linalool: The terpene linalool causes the pleasant, uplifting scent of lavender and mint. It has properties that can help reduce anxiety, but it can also help counter inflammation. That could make it an interesting treatment for inflammatory pain conditions.
Myrcene: One of the most common terpenes found in cannabis. Research has demonstrated myrcene’s capacity to reduce pain in rodents.
Pinene: This terpene is found in cloves and rosemary besides cannabis. This is one of the most promising terpenes when it comes to combating pain.
The Potential Of CBD
CBD has pain-relieving capacity, too. Research conducted in 2016 demonstrated that it can be used to fight painful inflammations such as those involved in arthritis. Rats administered CBD gel suffered less from swellings and pain caused by inflamed joints. Migraine is also promising as a field of application for CBD. It can help relieve muscle and joint aches, as well as reducing nausea and the urge to vomit.
Apart from CBD, cannabis contains THC, and in the case of migraine, combined use of both cannabinoids is yielding encouraging results.
Amsterdam Genetics has bred several strains especially for their high CBD content. If you don’t want to wait until your CBD weed is ready to harvest, however, we recommend trying our high-grade CBD supplements to benefit from CBD’s effects immediately.
The Use Of THC
THC affects the receptors of the ECS; particularly those located in nerve cells. When that happens, you become less sensitive to painful stimuli, causing you to feel less pain. The fact that THC alters perception also impacts your personal experience of pain. Feelings of euphoria can mask your experience of pain, for instance, reducing it’s impact on your daily activities.
It appears that a combination of cannabis’ active compounds, including THC, CBD, and terpenes, amount to the most powerful analgesic effect. CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties can dovetail with THC’s analgesic capacity. That implies cannabis and its multitude of helpful terpenes and cannabinoids could have a major positive impact on the pain you experience. The question then becomes: which types of cannabis (‘strains’) work best for your particular situation?
Our Top Cannabis Strains Against Pain
Now that you know how cannabis could help against pain, it’s time to look at a list of our top painkiller cannabis strains. As you consider the genetics, keep an eye on the other strain characteristics, because all of them have subtly different overall effects. The ultimate result depends on a complex interplay between many different factors. The strain descriptions you’ll find in our webshop give you an indication of many different factors and the ways they interact. In finding your perfect cannabis strain against pain, try to look for a sum total of effects, flavours and aromas that best suits your individual needs. Only then will you be able to grow your ideal analgesic cannabis match at home.
1. Critical Mass
Critical Mass is world-famous for her analgesic potential. Many growers use their Critical Mass harvest for production of edibles, or to make salves that help reduce pain. A big plus for you as a grower is the huge mass of big buds the strain was named after. You’ll find Critical Mass as regular, non-feminized seeds in our product range.
2. Blue Monkey CBD
Blue Monkey CBD is a sturdy, robust strain suited for in outdoor conditions as well as indoor grows. The analgesic potency of Blue Monkey CBD are largely due to the high CBD content of the flower buds, although the added effect of terpenes and other cannabinoids also plays a part. The effect is completely different from what you might expect from other strains due to the very low THC levels. Feelings of sadness and pain symptoms often go hand in hand; fortunately, this happy little primate works against both problems at once!
3. Pineapple Kush
Pineapple Kush is special both in terms of her taste and her effects. Embodying 70% inidica genetics, this lady focuses her efforts on the body, making her particularly helpful against painful limbs, back aches, and a broad range of injuries. A unique taste and terpene profile indicate a special terpene profile, making her more subtle effects worth while too. In addition to pain, Pineapple Kush cannabis is also good at dealing with stress and tension. Furthermore, she is easy to grow, especially indoors, making her an absolute medical must-try for anyone impaired by pain.
4. Kosher Choco Kush
Kosher Choco Kush is a well-balanced 50/50 mix of indica and sativa genetics. That allows her pain-reducing effects to reach deep inside the body, while a relaxed and blissful feeling helps your mind unwind. Is your pain making you edgy and jumpy? Then Kosher Kush is a fine candidate for you, yielding fine harvests either indoors or in your back garden.
Choose The Strain That Matches Your Pain
As you can see, there is plenty to choose from when it comes to using and growing cannabis against pain. Time to check our full range of world-class cannabis seeds and pick the strain that best matches your personal situation and your personal experience of pain.
Disclaimer: Local laws and legislation on cannabis cultivation and germination of seeds vary between countries and states. Amsterdam Genetics products and information are exclusively intended for use in areas where such use is fully legal. Check your local rules; do not act in conflict with the law!