With medical marijuana now a legal treatment option in many states, this natural solution is available to us for joint and muscle pain management.
Raise your hand if you've ever woken up feeling stiff, sore or aching? I'm betting everyone reading this could put their hand in the air.
From arthritis and back pain to general soreness and stiffness that comes from daily life, we have all experienced some level of discomfort from joint pain and inflammation.
Cannabis is now a legally recognized natural treatment option for alleviating these pains. But with so many options available in the booming medical marijuana market, how do we know which product is best for our needs?
This article breaks down what you need to know about choosing the best strain for joint and muscle pain relief.
You'll learn about different types of strains and aromatic compounds found in marijuana that add a therapeutic boost to your experience.
After reading this, you'll be able to choose the best type of cannabis for your pain based on the different aromas and strain types.
Indica vs. Sativa for Joint Pain
When you walk into your local dispensary or browse a cannabis website, you are likely to see cannabis flowers and products that are categorized as Indica, Sativa or Hybrid. These are the three primary types of cannabis strains.
You'll probably wonder, as many have, what is the difference between these strain types? Don't they all just get me high?
Perhaps you've heard rumours of strains that will actually energize you rather than knocking you into a deep sleep, or the stories of strains that eliminate feelings of paranoia and anxiety?
As modern research, studies, and personal experiences are showing us, there are big differences between the effects of Indica versus sativa strains.
Often used in the evenings, Indica strains are known for their “couch-locking” levels of relaxation.
This is because Indicas have high levels of THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, and aromatic compounds that help induce a naturally calming, sedative effect.
The analgesic and euphoric effects from high-THC Indica strains allow for deep relaxation. The pain relieving properties of cannabis compounds combined with its anti-inflammatory effects provide safe, natural relief from joint pain.
One of the most well known, old-school Indica strains is Original Blueberry. Blueberry's beautiful and delicious tasting flowers give a strong body-high with ultimate relaxation effects.
Original Blueberry’s properties can help to remedy inflammation, muscle spasms, arthritis, and joint pain, and its naturally calming effects help you fall asleep and stay asleep at night.
On the other side of the spectrum, sativa strains work well for daytime use, having a stimulating effect, while also providing many therapeutic benefits.
Sativas are characterized by their CBD content, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis that also unlocks many health benefits.
Sativa strains provide uplifting, anti-anxiety vibes. They may bring out your creative side, or help you focus to get your household chores done.
A great example of an energizing sativa strain is the popular Green Crack. This strain helps reduce your fatigue, pain and stress levels so that you can get more done in your day.
Green Crack is a sativa strain with high THC content but is well balanced by moderate amounts of CBD, or cannabidiol.
The balanced ratio of cannabis compounds helps induce a pain-relieving effect without making you terribly drowsy. Rather, the combination of cannabinoids and terpenes help to that alleviate joint and muscle inflammation while exerting a cerebrally stimulating alertness.
Indicas and Sativas are the two classic types of marijuana or cannabis. We use these labels to help us classify and understand marijuana varieties and their effects.
But mankind has been selecting and breeding cannabis varieties for millennia. In modern times, cannabis genetics can easily travel around the world, and they have.
The result is an endless genome of cannabis traits and characteristics upon which marijuana breeders continue to explore thoroughly. Keep reading to learn about what we call hybrid strains.
Hybrid Strains for Joint Pain
Hybrid strains are birthed from the cross-pollination of an Indica strain with a sativa strain and most strains on dispensary shelves are hybrids.
These kinds of “cross-breeds” have characteristics of both its Indica and sativa parents but will produce new characteristics and chemical profiles.
Hybrid strains combine the potency and power of Indica genetics with the uplifting, cerebral effects known of Sativas.
Experts believe that by breeding strains with specific, synergistic ratios of cannabinoids and terpenes, we can develop new, safer treatments for largely underserved conditions such as chronic pain and arthritis. Hybrids have the best of both worlds and many patients report they are especially effective in joint pain from arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
One of the best examples of a hybrid strain is the well-known Headband, the result of cross-pollination between OG Kush and Sour Diesel, two of cannabis cultures most beloved Indica and Sativa strains.
Headband is known for its long-lasting effects that provide powerful pain relief and relaxation, without the heavy sedative effects often caused by high-THC Indicas.
Best Strains for Joint Pain
Let's go back to that moment when you walk into the dispensary.
Instead of looking around feeling overwhelmed, with what you now know you can feel equipped to ask your budtender for the product you need.
If you want a heavy, sedative nighttime product to help reduce joint pain and improve sleep onset, then you may opt for a high THC product like Super Lemon Haze or Space Candy.
If you're looking for daytime relief, with more energizing, mind-focusing effects, you may decide to try a sativa strain like Green Crack or Durban Poison.
Or perhaps a hybrid that can provide adequate pain relief without too much drowsiness or psychoactive potency will be best for you. Because each person responds uniquely to cannabis’ effects, it may take some experimentation to find what potency and profile work best for you.
The easiest way to pick the right strain for joint pain is to first ask, “What are you looking for from your cannabis experience?”
You’ll find that, like wine, different strains can be more enjoyable or effective when taken at the right time or combined with the right activities.
You may find that you’ll want to keep a few different strains in stock that can help manage joint pain in a variety of situations.
Every person and situation is unique, so tuning into your body and how it responds to cannabis is always a good practice.
Here’s a quick tip when strain shopping for joint pain. Strains high in B-Caryophyllene, the aromatic compound known as a terpene, or an essential oil of cannabis, have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Want to learn more about how terpenes can enhance the relief you experience with cannabis? You can read all about them in our other articles linked below.
Strains for Pain in Maine
The Maine Cannabis Exchange provides locally owned and locally grown cannabis to medical marijuana patients living in Maine and keeps a variety of strains in stock that can alleviate symptoms of joint pain and other conditions.
Make sure you check out our other articles linked below to learn more about cannabis’ strains and their health effects.
All of the strains mentioned in this article are provided by MCE and available for delivery to your doorstep for medical patients in Maine.
Thanks for reading our blog; we would love to hear your thoughts and comments below. Tell us about your favorite strains and how they have helped you manage pain.
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Written by Aaron Herlocker