THC strains have become an increasingly popular alternative to conventional pain-relief medications which come with several negative side effects. A survey of patients dealing with non- cancer pain in Canada has revealed that 35% of respondents have cited the use of marijuana in some form or other for pain relief. To quote from a study published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine, “Cannabis likely has numerous constituents that possess analgesic properties beyond THC, including terpenes and flavonoids which likely act synergistically for people that use whole dried cannabis flower,”.
Why use marijuana for pain relief?
With over 100 million people in North America suffering from chronic pain, people are on the lookout for a safe and effective treatment that the pharmaceutical companies have failed to provide. The traditional treatment currently available for pain includes NSAIDs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and opioid containing medications, none of which are as safe as marijuana therapy.
Marijuana for pain relief: The History
Evidence suggests that cannabis was grown and used by men since the third millennium BC and has been used as a herbal medicine for a wide range of ailments. It was in 2700 BC that Chinese Emperor Shen Nung recognized the use of this plant for curing pain related diseases. However, the taboo associated with pot-smoking has denied the miraculous benefits of this plant to thousands of patients until a few years back when scientists started to appreciate the various medicinal values of the cannabis plant.
THC vs CBD for pain relief
Being similar to the cannabinoid chemicals present naturally in our bodies, smoking or ingesting THC strains stimulates the cannabinoid receptors of our brains which in turn turns on the reward system of the brain and lowers the level of the pain. Being a psychoactive compound, THC also uplifts your mood, and promotes sleep. CBD on the other hand also interacts with the pain receptors of our brain and thus provides anti-inflammatory and pain alleviating effects. Patients of arthritis have cited relief from pain after the use of CBD oil or similar CBD extracts available in the market.
However, it should be noted that the high associated with THC strains can play a major role in how people experience the sensation of pain. As stated by Angela D Bryan, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder, “A little bit of euphoria can help us not care that we’re experiencing quite as much pain, much in the same way that other pain medications work,”
Which one is better for pain relief?
There’s is no straight answer to the debate between CBD vs THC for chronic pain. Based on available studies it can be safely stated that a combination of CBD and THC strains can be the most effective treatment for pain relief. THC comes with properties which allow us to deal better with the pain while CBD has proven anti-inflammatory properties.
Benefits of THC strains for chronic pain and inflammation
Although loads of researches have been conducted on the efficacy of cannabis therapy for pain relief in conditions like migraine, Chron’s disease, fibromyalgia, etc, not much attention has been showered on the specific advantages of THC strains. A study in Neurology indicates that THC is helpful for dealing with chronic nerve pain. In another study that involved 177 patients of cancer, it was revealed that patients on a combination of CBD and THC experienced a 30% reduction of pain when compared with patients who were on placebo. THC also has potential benefits for coping with post-surgery pain and pain related to chemotherapy. It has been suggested by many contemporary researchers that one of the foremost benefits of THC strains is that they can improve the pain alleviating properties of CBD through the entourage effect.
What is Entourage Effect?
To put it very simply, the Entourage Effect is the way in which CBD and THC can work in conjunction. Even though THC and CBD are the most dominant natural compounds in marijuana plants, there are many other terpenes and cannabinoids in the plant which works simultaneously and provides various synergic effects. For instance, CBC or cannabichromene which is the 3rd most dominant compound in marijuana comes with anti-inflammatory effects just like CBD. Basically, the entourage effect is all about the advantages one can get by using multiple cannabinoids (CBD, THC and more) together. High CBD strains and high THC strains each come with its own unique benefits but they are more likely to work wonders against pain when combined and taken together.
A combination of CBD & THC strains can be effective for pain reduction
A breakdown of eighteen pieces of research on cannabinoids for pain related to multiple sclerosis has uncovered that intake of a mixture of CBD and THC is more effectual in reducing pain than taking CBD on its own. CBD products in the market come under two broad categories- full spectrum and isolate. While full spectrum CBD items come with all the terpenes and cannabinoids from the plant, isolate CBD products excludes all these other cannabinoids giving you a product which is pure CBD.
Medical strains with both CBD and THC
If you are looking for strains where the buzz is accompanied by pain relieving properties then go for strains like Cannatonic, CBD Therapy, Juanita la Lagrimosa, OG Kush CBD, CBD ComPassion, CBD Critical Mass, SAGE CBD, CBD Chronic etc.
To wrap it up it can be said that while high CBD and high THC strains have their unique benefits, a strain loaded with the benefits of both these compounds is the most effective for pain relief. Users who want to smoke high THC strains for medical reasons would do better to go for strains that come with an equal proportion of both CBD and THC. However, make sure to talk to your doctor before choosing a medical marijuana strain from your local Canadian weed dispensary.