Treating pain is one of the most common uses for medical marijuana. This guide by Leafly will help you understand which strains can be used to treat different kinds of pain.
What are the Best Cannabis Strains for Pain?
By Bailey Rahn
One of the most common applications for medical marijuana is pain, whether it’s inflammation, headaches, neuropathic pain, muscle soreness, spinal injury, fibromyalgia, or cramps. Patients have seen varying degrees of success with cannabis in treating various pain-related ailments, depending on the type of pain, the intensity, and the individual’s own physiology.
This guide is informed both by user-submitted strain reviews and chemical profile data, as certain cannabinoids and terpenes are known to have areas of specialization such as pain. Because every person’s experience is so nuanced, we recommend sampling several of these suggestions and maybe even experiment with them in different forms, like topicals, oils, or even transdermal patches. Smoking and vaporizing are great ways to get marijuana’s painkilling properties quickly, but read up on non-smoking consumption methods and cannabis concentrate alternatives to get an idea of the full spectrum of options available to you.
And remember — there are many adept pain slayers out there in the cannabis world. Use our Explorer’s symptom and condition filters to find out what else has worked for other patients, and check the “Availability” tab on their strain pages to see if they’re available at a shop near you!
1. Cannabis Strains That Help Treat Generalized Pain
All hail ACDC, one of the most effective painkilling strains out there due to its one-two punch of cannabinoids CBD and THC. As a general rule, cannabis strains with high amounts of both THC and CBD tend to make the best pain medicines, and there are plenty of high-CBD strains out there offering similar chemical profiles as ACDC.
Unfortunately, high-CBD strains are relatively new to the game and not all patients have access to them, especially those living in states without medical marijuana laws. Luckily, high-THC strains also offer pain relieving benefits, and many people find that heavy indicas such as Blackberry Kush are particularly skilled in the art of killing pain.
2. Cannabis Strains That Help Treat Inflammation and Arthritis
Cerebrally-focused sativa strains aren’t typically a first choice for patients treating pain and inflammation, but Harlequin’s high-CBD content makes it an exception. Its uplifting and clear-headed effects set it apart from heavier, more intoxicating options and make it a perfect choice for daytime medicating.
Also known as Blue Venom, Berry White, and White Berry, Blue Widow is a prolific hybrid cross between parent strains Blueberry and White Widow. Leafly user reviews praise Blue Widow for its anti-inflammatory qualities, and perhaps the reason for this is Blue Widow’s rich terpene profile that typically boasts high levels of caryophyllene, or it could be its heavy resin production which gives way to massive amounts of THC and other beneficial compounds.
3. Cannabis Strains That Help Treat Headaches and Migraines
Purple Arrow hits the target somewhere between heavy pain relief and uplifting euphoria, making it a great choice for headache sufferers needing swift relief without the couchlock effects typical of indica varieties.
Headband hybrids are commonly described as “cerebral” with effects that go straight to the crown of your head. Blueberry Headband lives up to its name, delivering focused headache relief and a sweet berry flavor.
4. Cannabis Strains That Help Treat Cramps
With effects that relax tension in both mind and body, Redwood Kush is known to deliver a woody forest aroma alongside hefty amounts of THC to help ease muscle cramping.
Dynamite is another high-THC indica strain that blows pain and cramping out of the water, but be wary: Dynamite is also known to incite the power of the Munchie Beast.
5. Cannabis Strains That Help Manage Spinal Injury Pain
Cataract Kush is a heavy-hitting hybrid cross between powerhouse classics LA Confidential and OG Kush. This strain’s potency may not be for the novice consumer, but it’s perfect for patients needing a strain that can expertly annihilate pain associated with spinal injury.
Descending from some of the earliest indicas of Afghanistan, Mazar I Sharif is a relentless painkiller with a potency you can see on her heavy blanket of crystal trichomes. Afghani indicas have a reputation for their high cannabinoid contents, so it isn’t hard to imagine that so many patients have found relief from stubborn pain in Mazar.