Neuropathic pain, commonly referred to as nerve pain, is experienced by millions of Americans. It is potentially chronic or temporary, debilitating and intense, or just plain aggravating. People who struggle with conditions like HIV, diabetes, and fibromyalgia often experience neuropathic pain. Medications, injuries, and infections are also possible factors.
Neuropathy involves damage to the motor, sensory, or autonomic nerves due to an underlying cause. It’s a painful condition that affects various parts of the body and results in weakness and numbness, along with pain. Patients often describe it as a burning, tingling, or stabbing sensation. The pain level ranges from moderate to excruciating.
The first line of treatment usually consists of antidepressant and anticonvulsant drugs. NSAIDs such as Motrin and Aleve are standard options. Other options include physical or massage therapy, or even acupuncture.
Sadly, neuropathic pain often responds poorly to traditional pain treatments. Indeed, there is evidence that it gets worse over time. Then there is the small matter of a possible addiction to stronger painkillers. As a result, an increasing number of people are considering cannabis as a feasible option for neuropathic pain.
How Could Marijuana Help Neuropathic Pain Patients?
The suggestion is that cannabis can provide relief from neuropathic pain. This news is a potential boon for patients who are unresponsive to conventional medications. Marijuana’s possible efficacy is primarily due to the relationship that it has with our endocannabinoid system. More pertinently, weed seemingly targets specific nerves that are responsible for the pain.
When CBD or THC enters the body, they activate cannabinoid (CB) receptors. They work by regulating the neurotransmitters and ultimately reducing pain levels. Studies show that a short-term, low cannabis dose could lower pain intensity. It may also improve sleep patterns without impairing cognitive function.
A study by Lee et al., published in Current Pain and Headache Reports in February 2018, looked at MMJ for neuropathic pain. The researchers reviewed data from randomized controlled trials (RCTs). They said that medical cannabis is potentially useful for treating neuropathic pain. The evidence points towards vaporized marijuana in low doses providing the best effect.
However, there is a lack of strong clinical evidence supporting this hypothesis. The fact that cannabis is a prohibited substance in all but two nations hinders research.
There is an enormous amount of anecdotal evidence supporting its use for neuropathic pain. However, without sufficient hard data, it is tough for advocates to make a convincing case.
Nonetheless, a growing number of people are willing to take a chance on cannabis. In this article, we look at five of the best strains for patients with neuropathic pain.
1 – Blue Dream
Blue Dream is a sativa-dominant hybrid that first came to prominence in its native California. It is a cross of Super Silver Haze and Blueberry indica. It has a relatively high THC level that averages between a low of 17% and a high of 24%. The CBN and CBD levels reach 1% and 2%, respectively. For many years, Blue Dream was the king of the marijuana scene.
The Blue Dream strain induces cerebral euphoria, as well as extended pain relief without heavy sedation. Along with promoting reasonable pain control, it could also help to alleviate depression and reduce stress. With a sweet berry aroma and flavor, users claim it is a pleasant and delicious tasting strain. While it is no longer ‘top shelf,’ Blue Dream remains a crowd-pleaser.
2 – Jack Herer
Jack Herer is a cross of Shiva Skunk, Northern Lights #5, and Haze. It is a slightly sativa-dominant hybrid, with a reputation as a potent painkiller. An unknown breeder created it in the Netherlands in the mid-1990s. The goal was to develop a useful medical strain by combining Haze’s clear-headed properties with two potent strains. The breeder also named it after a legendary marijuana activist.
Jack Herer is a phenomenally successful strain, winning a variety of awards. It is also one of the most heavily prescribed strains by MMJ doctors. Furthermore, it is trendy among recreational users. This strain has THC levels as high as 23%. Medical marijuana patients use it to treat neuropathic pain. They also consume it for muscle tension, joint pain, back pain, muscle cramps, and pain in the feet and wrists.
This sativa strain helps to ease pain while giving you everything that you would expect from a great sativa. Jack Herer has pine and earth-like flavor with a CBD range between 0.3% and 2%.
3 – Harlequin
Harlequin is a strain that provides a unique combination of cannabinoids. With a typical CBD/THC ratio of 5:2, it is useful for those who suffer from neuropathic pain or epilepsy. It doesn’t come with the same psychoactive effects associated with high-THC strains. As a result, you don’t experience much of an intoxicating ‘high.’ Harlequin is a sativa dominant strain, and a cross of Swiss & Thai sativas Nepali indica, and Colombian Gold.
This type of strain is perfect for new cannabis users. It is also a decent option for those who “fear” the psychoactive high that may accompany high-THC. Those seeking pain relief use it because it could help you to relax. It may also soothe nerve pain and keep the mind sharp and active. The THC content is between 7% and 15%. The CBD level usually falls between 10% and 15%.
It’s ideal for morning or daytime use because it gives a light and clear-headed effect. You may also experience small bursts of focus and energy and enhanced creativity or productivity. Along with the potential to treat neuropathic pain, the Harlequin strain is an option if you have depression, anxiety, or stress.
4 – White Widow
The White Widow cannabis strain is one of the most popular in the world. Its primary medical use is stress, pain, and insomnia. A Dutch breeder was the first to create White Widow, back in the 1990s. It is a cross of a South Indian indica and a South American sativa. Its potency means it is probably best used after work.
In terms of THC percentage, White Widow tops out at a staggering 25% level. Even today, it remains one of the most potent strains in the world. This strain will leave you feeling energized yet relaxed and in a state of complete euphoria. As a result, you may feel more positive and energetic. White Widow suits those seeking a strain that doesn’t cause tiredness or lethargy.
Overall, White Widow is the perfect balance between feeling both relaxed and alive. It is a popular strain among those suffering from chronic pain, and more specifically, neuropathic pain. Its proponents say it acts as a neuroprotector and has incredible anti-inflammatory effects on the body.
5 – ACDC
ACDC is a sativa-dominant strain best known for its painkilling abilities. What is profound about this strain is its THC: CBD ratio of 1:20. With a THC content often below 1%, you will not experience an intoxicating high. CBD-rich strains are gaining popularity due to their apparent benefits.
Resin Seeds bred this cross between Cannatonic and Ruderalis. ACDC has won several awards thanks to its high CBD content. The smell of this strain is earthy, skunky, and sweet, and some may taste a hint of fruit. Due to the balance between sativa and indica, ACDC usually makes users feel uplifted and happy. You may also feel more sociable and focused after using this strain.
The high CBD content of ACDC makes it an option for treating inflammatory conditions. It could also help soothe the pain associated with conditions such as fibromyalgia, and, of course, neuropathy. Users say they experience relaxation while the pain melts away, and their mind settles into a peaceful groove.
Final Thoughts on Marijuana for Neuropathy
Millions of people around the world regularly experience the woes associated with neuropathic pain. While Big Pharma makes billions from drugs designed to treat the condition, they don’t seem to offer long-term benefits. There is a growing trend towards the use of cannabis instead.
Preliminary research suggests that marijuana is an anti-inflammatory, neuroprotector, analgesic, and a neuro-regenerator.
It could inhibit the production of compounds in the body that cause inflammation. There is a suggestion that CBD protects the myelin sheath that covers nerve cells.
To date, it seems as if a combination of CBD and THC is your best bet. A high ratio of CBD to THC, from 4:1 to 20:1, may provide you with the effects you seek. Such a ratio also reduces the intoxicating effects of THC.