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Inflammation is one of those topics that your doctor won’t necessarily discuss. Instead, it is either thrown at you as a typical outcome of another condition or disease. Go to your primary doctor, and you’ll probably hear words like “It’s inflamed, you need antibiotics.” Furthermore, ask them about cannabis as a treatment, and you’ll probably get a puzzled look.
According to WebMD: “Inflammation is a process by which your body’s white blood cells, and substances they produce, protect us from infection against foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses.” Inflammation associated with general medical conditions such as fevers, chills, and headaches may not indicate any significant threat.
Even a simple thing such as a toothache can cause inflammation. In some diseases like arthritis, however, the body’s defense system triggers inflammation when there are no foreign invaders to fight off. These diseases then cause damage to the body’s tissue as the inflammation thinks it is fighting off an intruder when there is none.
What Causes Inflammation?
When a foreign substance attacks your body, it goes into combat mode. It releases chemicals and white blood cells to fight off the invading bacteria or virus. These chemicals flow to the infected area and start to heal the injury.
This situation can result in redness and warmth which then leads to swelling. While it helps the body repair itself, it also causes pain. This scenario is ‘acute inflammation’ and is a normal healing process.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is an exaggerated response that leads to changes in the cells that are trying to heal and destroy nearby tissue. If you leave chronic inflammation untreated, it can lead to severe medical conditions such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and more.
Inflammation is also associated with several other disorders. Examples include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, Crohn’s and other inflammatory bowel diseases. It even causes some forms of cancer.
When treating these diseases and their inflammation, the main goal is to reduce the issue rather than let it take its course. Autoimmune inflammation, as it is known, can lead to other severe conditions. These include stiffness, loss of function, rashes, and heart issues. It even affects other internal organs.
Common Treatment for Inflammatory Diseases
When treating inflammation, it is essential to understand the source of the problem, as each disease requires specific treatment. For example, arthritis-related inflammation is very different from acute inflammation.
The type of treatment often depends on the patient’s age, type of disease, overall health, medical history, and other factors determined by your primary doctor.
There are many pharmaceutical drugs designed to help decrease joint pain, inflammation, and swelling. They range from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen to oral medications (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs) such as sulfasalazine, leflunomide, and azathioprine.
When using any pharmaceutical drug, it is crucial to meet with your primary care doctor regularly in case of any side effects.
Marijuana and Inflammation
Those who suffer from inflammation frequently turn to alternative remedies, including natural herbs such as marijuana. Weed has been used to treat inflammation for centuries. It is often assumed that cannabinoids such as THC and CBD are the primary reasons for its effects.
The cannabinoids in marijuana and endocannabinoids produced by the body are similar enough to enable cannabinoids to act upon our endocannabinoid system (ECS). A review by Pandey et al., published in Pharmacological Research in February 2011, looked at endocannabinoids and immune regulation. The researchers found that CBD and THC potentially act on immune functioning to trigger an anti-inflammatory response.
In all, several studies suggest THC and CBD, in particular, help with inflammation as a symptom. A study by Grill et al., published in Scientific Reports in February 2019, looked at the ECS of patients with colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It found that patients with these conditions have an altered ECS. By adding cannabinoids to the equation, these individuals could at least enjoy relief from symptoms such as inflammation.
What’s also interesting is the role that terpenes play in marijuana. A study by Gallily et al., published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research in December 2018, looked at the anti-inflammatory properties of the terpenoids in weed. The team analyzed the effects of essential oils prepared from “three monoecious non-psychoactive chemotypes of cannabis.”
The study concluded that the oils exerted “moderate anti-inflammatory activities in an in vivo anti-inflammatory model without affecting tumor necrosis factor-alpha serum levels.”
Recreational cannabis users claim that the healing powers of marijuana help them with their inflammation. Whether cannabis aids in the treatment of migraines or offers simple pain management, the herb is potentially a viable solution.
5 Best Marijuana Strains That Kill Inflammation
#1 – ACDC Cannabis Strain
This strain is a multiple Cannabis Cup award winner. It is a popular option for medicinal users due to its combination of high CBD and low THC. ACDC is a sativa-dominant phenotype of the legendary Cannatonic strain. Overall, its THC content rarely exceeds 1%, while its CBD level is between 16% and 24%.
With a CBD to THC ratio as high as 20:1, you can forget about experiencing an intoxicating high. Instead, users suggest that they enjoy full-body relaxation. Although the THC content is exceedingly low, you should feel an uplift in mood, coupled with a greater sense of focus.
In general, ACDC is the preserve of the medicinal user. Patients commonly used it to alleviate the symptoms of chronic pain, and also to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Although it is also a treatment option for depression, PTSD, and seizures, a lot of people find that the strain works wonders for combatting nerve pain and issues caused by inflammation.
#2 – Harlequin Cannabis Strain
This is undoubtedly a unique sativa-dominant hybrid strain with a varied parentage. Harlequin is a cross of a Nepali indica, Thai sativa, Colombian Gold, and a Swiss sativa. The result is a strain with a strange combination of THC and CBD. Its THC and CBD levels can reach 15% apiece, although breeders usually try to create a CBD:THC ratio of 5:2.
Users praise Harlequin for offering a mental release without causing tiredness. It is an excellent option if you wish to relax after a long day but still promotes focus. Users claim that this strain provides an uplift in mood, and because the CBD counteracts the THC so well, you can rely on it as an effective morning smoke.
The unusual CBD:THC ratio makes Harlequin a good option for those looking to treat arthritis pain. You stay alert and avoid the paranoia that sometimes accompanies high-THC strains. It’s perfect for depression, headaches, inflammation, anxiety, and stress.
#3 – Cannatonic Cannabis Strain
Cannatonic is an excellent marijuana strain known for its high CBD levels. It is a cross of G13 Haze and MK Ultra. Most sellers offer this strain as a balanced hybrid with a THC content of 7-15% and a CBD level that often reaches 12%.
Once again, while there is ample THC, the high CBD content means you enjoy a mellow high, rather than an overwhelming one. After a few tokes of Cannatonic, you may feel as if the weight of the world is lifted off your shoulders. In general, users suggest that they feel optimistic and happy after using this strain.
Patients use Cannatonic to treat and prevent inflammation as well as pain, seizures, and epilepsy. It is also a decent option if you are feeling low because of its capacity to lift one’s mood. While it is a favorite of medicinal users, it is also an excellent option for newbie recreational users. You get a mild buzz in what should result in a pleasant first-time experience.
#4 – Girl Scout Cookies Cannabis Strain
It would have been a sin if we left this strain off the list. Girl Scout Cookies is one of the most popular strains on Earth, and its name belies its immense potency. GSC is a cross of OG Kush and Durban Poison and is an indica-dominant strain unlike others on the list.
It has an exceptionally high THC content capable of reaching 28%, against just 0.2% CBD or less. While newcomers can enjoy ACDC, Harlequin, and Cannatonic, we don’t recommend trying Girl Scout Cookies unless you are an experienced user. Even experienced tokers are best served beginning with a small amount if they haven’t tried GSC before.
The high-THC content helps produce powerful, full-body pain relief. Girl Scout Cookies strain may not necessarily combat inflammation, but it CAN help with the pain associated with inflammation. As a bonus, you may experience a boost in energy, and the candy and mint taste is sublime!
#5 Charlotte’s Web Cannabis Strain
This marijuana strain has a lot of history around it as it was first developed to treat an epileptic girl named Charlotte Figi. The Stanley Brothers of Colorado specifically bred Charlotte’s Web as a high-CBD strain they hoped could reduce the number of seizures associated with Dravet’s Syndrome.
Their hard work paid off spectacularly as Charlotte’s rate of seizures per month fell from hundreds to just a couple! There is minimal THC in this strain. It is unlikely to exceed 0.3% in most cases. On the flip side, its high CBD content of up to 17% makes it a favorite amongst medicinal users, and those looking to treat symptoms in children.
Charlotte’s Web may treat a variety of medical conditions, including inflammation. The lack of THC means there is no intoxicating high. However, users suggest that they feel happier, more energized, and focused than before.
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Final Thoughts About Cannabis and Inflammation
One of the main issues facing the marijuana industry is ensuring there is enough scientific evidence to back up claims of its medical prowess. The prohibited status of the herb around the world has hampered research greatly. Although weed is still federally illegal in the United States, avenues to improved analysis are opening.
A reduction in inflammation is one of weed’s apparent benefits. Early research is promising, but we must learn more before jumping to conclusions. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that MMJ users experience an alleviation in specific symptoms after using cannabis regularly.
Even so, we recommend discussing your options with a licensed physician before proceeding with weed to treat inflammation or any other medical condition.