The Best Cannabis Varieties for Pain Relief

Written by Trevor McDonald

Cannabis has become popular for treating pain relief, and for good reason. There are many cannabis varieties, and each has its own characteristic benefits. Whether you are suffering from migraines, back pain, arthritis, or other ailments, cannabis may be able to help.

But how do you know which variety is right for you? Let’s look at some of the best cannabis cultivars for pain relief, based on your individual needs. Certain cannabinoids and terpenes specialize in combating different types of pain.

Best Varieties of Cannabis for General Pain

If you suffer from generalized pain, such as soreness, cramps, or headaches, these cannabis varieties may help alleviate your pain:

  • ACDC – Many experts consider ACDC to be one of the most effective pain killing varieties of cannabis because it has both CBD and THC. Remember, CBD, or cannabidiol, is one molecule in cannabis that is non-intoxicating, meaning it doesn’t get you high. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol is the well-known intoxicating cannabinoid responsible for a variety’s potency and overall high. Because ACDC has both, it makes one of the best pain medicines (read more about the difference between THC and CBD here).
  • AK-47 – AK-47 is a mix of cannabis from South America, Mexico, Thailand, and Afghanistan. All of these mixes make it a great choice for general pain relief, stress management, and helping with depression. This variety is sativa-dominant, meaning it will likely have an uplifting effect on the user. The terpenes in AK-47 cause its sweet, hardwood and floral taste and its spicy, earthy scent.
  • Jack Herer– Cannabis enthusiasts might recognize the name Jack Herer, as he was a major cannabis activist. Jack Herer, the cultivar, eases generalized pain, depression, lack of appetite, and fatigue thanks to its sativa-dominant nature. It is a cross between Shiva Skunk, Northern Lights #5, and a Haze Hybrid. Jack Herer has a very in-depth cannabis variety profile, including terpenes like linalool, myrcene, caryophyllene, limonene, and pinene.

Best Varieties of Cannabis for Pain Caused by Arthritis or Inflammation

Many people who suffer from arthritis or other inflammatory conditions turn to cannabis to help lessen their pain. The following varieties are specialized for this kind of pain relief:

  • Harlequin – Although Harlequin is cerebrally-focused, it’s great for pain and inflammation because of its high CBD content. It makes users feel uplifted and clear-headed, which is a good choice for daytime medicating. Harlequin’s total terpenes have been reported to be around 9%, containing higher levels of pinene, myrcene, caryophyllene, and nerolidol. The first three have been shown to have analgesic properties, while nerolidol produces a sedating effect.
  • Blue Widow – Blue Widow has a rich terpene profile, high levels of caryophyllene, heavy resin production, and a high-THC content. It is a popular variety and may also be called Blue Venom, Berry White, and White Berry. These qualities make it a great anti-inflammatory pick.

Best Varieties of Cannabis for Headaches and Migraines

Many people suffer from migraines and headaches, and the right variety of cannabis can help with this pain. Below are some of our favorites:

  • Purple Arrow – Purple Arrow hits the target (pun intended!) between heavy, knock-you-out pain relief like other indica varieties and uplifting euphoria, characteristic of sativa varieties. This “best of both worlds” variety means you can enjoy quick relief while still being able to go to work or focus on responsibilities. Purple Arrow is known as a CBD-rich plant, since it contains around 3-4% CBD. Purple Arrow also contains terpenes such as humulene, caryophyllene, pinene, and limonene.
  • Headband Hybrids – Headband hybrids are perfect for users who suffer from migraines because their healing properties go straight to the crown of your head, hence the name. There are many different kinds of Headband hybrids, but Blueberry Headband is a cannabis favorite. It delivers focused pain relief right where your headache lives. High concentrations of the terpenes like limonene and myrcene are common with this variety.

The most common ways to use cannabis for pain relief are smoking and vaping, but there are many other ways to self-medicate, even for those who prefer not to smoke, including:

  • Edibles
  • CBD or THC oils
  • Topical creams or balms
  • Tinctures

Finding the right variety of cannabis for your pain is much more effective (and safer) than over-the-counter pain meds, prescriptions, and pills. Our country’s opioid addiction epidemic is a major concern, and cannabis is helping shed light on more natural remedies.

Trevor is a freelance content writer and a recovering addict & alcoholic who’s been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources, addiction awareness, and general health knowledge. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.

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Trevor McDonald

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