Cannabis is mainly used for recreational purposes. People often smoke cannabis for fun or to relax after a long day. However, in recent years another effect of cannabis has become very popular: the use of weed for pain relief.
The figures do not lie: 2 million people in the Netherlands suffer from chronic pain. Medical cannabis, cannabis produced especially for medical purposes, is increasingly used to combat pain when regular painkillers don’t have the desired effect. Medicinal cannabis may also be preferred when regular painkillers cause too many side effects.
How can medicinal cannabis relieve pain? What types of cannabis are available for pain relief? And what is the best cannabis for pain? We’ve investigated.
Why does marijuana help with pain?
If we want to discover how cannabis can help fight pain, it is important to pay attention to the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system plays an essential role in regulating various bodily functions, such as pain. Cannabinoids, which are found in cannabis, can influence this system. It is therefore not surprising that we are increasingly turning to cannabis for pain management.
For both acute and chronic pain, opiates are often administered in the regular health care system. Opiates, derived from opium, offer a narcotic effect that reduces pain. Yet opiates also have drawbacks. They cannot be used for a long time and have unpleasant side effects. These can have a significant effect on daily functioning and quality of life.
Cannabis, on the other hand, can relieve pain through the relaxing effect caused by its composition of cannabinoids and terpenes. With the right composition, you can be physically relaxed, yet mentally uplifted. Thus, you suffer less from fatigue or nausea and can perform your daily activities without pain.
How does cannabis help relieve pain?
Although much is still unknown about the exact effects of medicinal cannabis, there is some reason to suggest that cannabis, such as medicinal cannabis oil, can help to manage pain. It is thought that cannabinoids work in a similar way in comparison to opiates.
Cannabinoids such as CBD and THC work as follows: when cannabis enters your body, these substances bind to receptors throughout your system. Once bound, these receptors are activated. As a result, the release of chemicals in the brain is either stimulated or inhibited. The effect of this can manifest itself in various ways, such as pain relief.
Weed for pain relief: THC
THC can contribute to pain relief in two ways. On the one hand, it binds to nerve cell receptors as described above. This causes less pain signals to be sent from the nerve cells to the brain. Less pain is then ‘felt’.
THC is the substance in cannabis that generally causes a ‘high’. During a high, you feel good, cheerful, and happy. This contributes to the way you experience the current pain. The pain is then often categorised as less severe. This is incidentally also the case with regular pain management. When a person feels good he or she is less affected by the pain.
Research has shown that cannabis with a high concentration of THC provides pain relief. With CBD, the findings are different.
Weed for pain relief: CBD
Through research, it has not been possible to prove that cannabis with a high concentration of CBD has an alleviating effect on acute pain. However, many people indicate that CBD does help in fighting chronic pain. Whether this can be demonstrated with research remains to be seen.
Which weed helps against which type of pain?
There are numerous types of cannabis available. So how do you know if you’re dealing with medicinal cannabis?
What distinguishes medicinal cannabis from cannabis for recreational purposes is the concentration of, and balance between, THC and CBD.
Marijuana with a high concentration of CBD often has a physically relaxing effect and, in some cases, can relieve chronic pain.
Marijuana with a high concentration of THC provides acute pain relief, but can also provide the well-known “high”. Don’t want this? Then it is advisable to choose cannabis with a slightly higher concentration of CBD. The CBD inhibits the psychoactive effect of THC.
These types of medicinal cannabis are popular for fighting pain:
Special Kush is a sought-after cannabis strain when it comes to pain management. Coming from the Afghan Indica plant, Special Kush has a high THC percentage (17%) and a high CBD percentage (8%).
This cannabis strain provides a relaxed feeling which reduces acute pain. Moreover, this strain works well against insomnia. You feel relaxed without feeling a strong high. This is due to the present CBD level.
Medical Mass is a strain that is often used because of the upbeat, euphoric feeling that it brings about. Because of this feeling of happiness, you experience the pain that occurs as less severe.
The equal concentrations of THC and CBD ensure that the effect of the cannabis is not intense. Therefore, you can easily carry out your daily activities.
Royal CBVD Auto
The strain Royal CBVD auto also contains balanced concentrations of THC and CBD. This, together with the effect of the terpenes present, provides an energetic feeling, improved concentration, and increased mental focus, however, physical relaxation. No cerebral high is noticeable with this strain.
Haze Berry, unlike the other medicinal cannabis strains, does generate a strong cerebral high. This is due to the high concentration of THC (20%) and the low concentration of CBD.
Haze Berry is a combination of the popular strains Shining Silver Haze and Blueberry. This composition provides a euphoric feeling with physical relaxation that relieves pain.
White Widow is one of the most famous strains when it comes to cannabis. This marijuana strain comes from the Sativa plant and contains a high THC concentration. As such, this strain is very potent and is usually used by experienced smokers.
What may be less known is that this strain is also very powerful for fighting pain, such as nerve pain, and nausea. Pain can be greatly reduced by White Widow. However, it is recommended that you start with a low dose first, ensuring that you do not take more than is necessary for the desired effect.
This type is a cross between Afghan and skunk genetics, two well-known strains. This cannabis brings about a euphoric and relaxing feeling which makes it very popular for combating pain.
The combination of cerebral euphoria and physical relaxation ensures that pain symptoms are relieved. In addition, Afghan Skunk cannabis reduces stress, which generally has a negative effect on physical health.
The last strain we will discuss is the Kera Critical. This strain is easy to grow but also has numerous benefits medicinally. This versatile cannabis strain helps reduce various types of pain, as well as stress.
Kera Critical is known for easing severe headaches, such as migraines. The effect of this cannabis is a relaxing high. You feel relaxed which reduces pain and stress symptoms.
Other desirable effects of cannabis
In addition to its pain-reducing effects, cannabis has many other benefits. By adjusting the concentrations of the active components, THC and CBD, you can create your preferred effect. In other words, the effect of cannabis depends on the ratio of THC and CBD.
Other effects of cannabis are:
- Increased concentration. Marijuana helps you focus on important tasks without feeling tired or losing focus.
- Reduce insomnia. Certain types of cannabis have an intensely relaxing effect. This helps many people fall asleep easier and create a deeper sleep during the night. Instead of being tired, you then wake up feeling rested.
- Feeling of happiness or euphoria. The well-known effect of THC in marijuana is the euphoria one feels when on a “high”. You don’t worry about the past or the future and simply feel good about yourself.
Want to know more about weed for pain relief?
Feeling overwhelmed due to the numerous types of medicinal cannabis and not sure which one is right for you? Come visit us at The Border coffee shop next to the Amsterdam Forest.
We can tell you more about the different types of cannabis and their medicinal properties. At The Border coffee shop, you can also try out different strains.