Like most people, we’re perpetually mind-blown at the sheer volume of marijuana strains out there on the market. Everyday, it seems, some new and improved “craft bud” is hitting shelves at a local dispensary, further confusing the already-overwhelmed masses as they try to pick out the right medicinal marijuana for their specific medical condition(s).
But fear not — as typically goes with most “marketing devices,” the vast majority of these obscure, craft strains are simply ploys to get more people to buy more cannabis. Don’t get us wrong, a lot of them are really, really good products, but at the end of the day, it always seems to be the same high-quality strains that prove themselves most effective in terms of actual therapy and medicinal relief.
In this article, we’ll go over 10 common medical conditions, and list three of the best marijuana strains that have proven to be most effective for each one.
Best Marijuana Strains for Anxiety
First, it has to be said that there is no single “anxiety-relieving” marijuana strain. In fact, as a lot of you are probably aware, many high-THC strains out there have actually been known to increase anxiety and paranoia. Each cannabis strain affects each individual differently, and this simply comes down to our differences in genetic and chemical makeup.
Thus, the goal for most people is to try out several different strains, and come to a conclusion on which one is most effective for them. That being said, the following three strains have historically been some of the most popular when it comes to anxiety relief:
- Northern Lights. Northern Lights is one of the most well-known sedative/relaxing cannabis strains, ever. It’s an indica-dominant variety that acts as a great sleep aid when anxiety is keeping you up at night, and also as a general sedative to calm your mind when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
- Cannatonic. Cannatonic is a high-CBD strain, meaning it provides excellent therapy with relatively little psychoactive effect. A lot of anxiety-sufferers find that high-THC flower can actually make their condition worse, so the low THC to CBD ratio in this strain is usually a perfect combatant against generalized stress and anxiety.
- Harlequin. This is another CBD-rich strain that generally has a THC:CBD ratio of at least 1:2. It’s actually a sativa-dominant, but it’s claim to fame is its ability to provide utter relaxation without knocking you out asleep. Harlequin is a good choice for daytime use.
[Not comfortable inhaling smoke? Consider CBD Oil for anxiety relief]
Best Marijuana Strains for Depression
Like anxiety, depression is another condition that’s far from universal when it comes to treating with cannabis – overall effectiveness will be dependant on each individual’s neurochemical makeup. As a good starting off point, though, here are three strains that traditionally act as excellent antidepressants:
- Lemon haze. Citrusy or “lemony” sativa strains like this typically act as great antidepressants. The citrus aroma comes from a high concentration of the terpene limonene, which is known to be an uplifting mood-booster. Also, sativas are typically preferred over indicas when it comes to combating depression, as they usually tend to provide a euphoric mental stimulation.
- Jack Herer. One of the most popular and widely-used cannabis strains of all time, and for good reason. Jack Herer is probably the most well-known “happy” sativa – that is, it’s a super uplifting strain that rarely results in over-stimulation. Like lemon haze, it’s chemical profile usually contains high levels of limonene.
- One-to-One. One-to-one is a cannabis strain named for its 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD. For those individuals who find high-THC sativa strains to be a bit too stimulating, this is an excellent alternative that works well in most instances as an antidepressant.
[Also be sure to check out our guide for the best CBD oils for depression]
Best Marijuana Strains for Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is another tricky condition to pinpoint in terms of the best marijuana strains, simply because there are so many different types of it. In general, though, it seems that strains with a high count of both THC and CBD are historically the most effective, because they work to block the pain sensation at both the brain and central nervous system (THC), and also in the body at the actual site of pain/inflammation (CBD).
- Harlequin. Like we mentioned earlier, Harlequin actually has a higher ratio of CBD to THC, usually at least 2:1. Since CBD is more effective at binding to CB-2 receptors in the body (as opposed to CB-1 receptors in the brain), this is a great strain for localized pain and conditions like arthritis and muscle soreness.
- ACDC. We’ve heard ACDC been called “the ibuprofen of cannabis” before, simply because it seems to be so effective on so many different types of pain. This is a strain that’s high in both THC and CBD, which is believed to be the reason why it seems to work on just about everything. For generalized chronic pain, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a much more therapeutic strain of cannabis.
- Cannatonic. Again, like we said in the intro, you’ll typically find the same strains of cannabis popping up time and time again when talking about the best varieties of medicinal marijuana. If you remember, Cannatonic was one the best strains for generalized anxiety. It’s also great for chronic pain relief due to its high-CBD content, though, and is preferred by a lot of people because it doesn’t cause the intense psychoactive highs associated with other strains that are higher in THC. For good pain relief and a minimal high, this is an excellent choice.
Make sure you check out our article on 5 Best CBD Oils for Pain Relief [2017 Update]
Best Marijuana Strains for Seizures/Epilepsy
While there hasn’t been a ton of direct clinical research on marijuana strains for seizure/epilepsy treatment, the few that have been done have suggested that strains high in CBD may be more effective than others at both preventing and minimizing seizure activity.
- Charlotte’s Web. When it comes to the best marijuana strains for seizures, there’s literally no better option than Charlotte’s Web, which was in fact bred specifically to treat chronic epilepsy in a young girl named Charlotte Figi. The strain contains over 20% CBD and virtually no THC (it essentially comes from the hemp plant), so if you want effective seizure relief without any high, this is a perfect option. The only downfall, however, is that it can be expensive, and at times, difficult to find – especially if you don’t live in a legalized state. (Due to its hemp derivation though, some manufacturers claim it is legal to sell online and ship online. As is always the case though, do plenty of your own research on state and federal laws before considering buying any cannabis product online).
- (Tangerine/Mango) Kush. Since most kush breeds are highly potent, many seizure/epilepsy sufferers prefer them over other strains because their effects come on so quickly. If you’re looking for a cannabis strain to stop an onset seizure dead in its tracks, a quality kush variety may very well do the trick.
- Avi-Dekel. Like Charlotte’s Web, this is another super high CBD strain that has an almost negligible amount of THC. If you have trouble finding these specific strains though, there are plenty of other ones with similar profiles out there.
Best Marijuana Strains for Arthritis
The best marijuana strains for arthritis will depend on what type of pain you’re dealing with; specifically, whether you’ve got rheumatoid or osteoarthritis. High-CBD strains that target body cells to reduce inflammation are preferred for osteoarthritis, while higher THC varieties are usually preferred for R.A. (rheumatoid arthritis), which is actually an immunodeficiency disorder.
- Girl Scout Cookies (GSC). GSC is a super-potent hybrid strain that has been known for years to reduce pain-inducing inflammation, and specifically arthritis-induced inflammation. It has a relatively high THC content, so you may want to find something milder if you don’t have any intentions of getting high.
- Cannatonic (and other cannatonic hybrids). Well, we told you the same strains would keep popping up over and over again. Cannatonic is one of the increasingly popular marijuana strains for arthritis because of its high-CBD content and relatively mild high. A lot of individuals who suffer from arthritis are older patients who don’t have much use for getting high, so this is a great option for them – excellent pain relief with almost no psychoactive high.
- ACDC. ACDC is actually a direct genetic descendant of cannatonic, and in fact has virtually no THC. If you’re looking for an almost pure CBD strain that’ll knock out arthritis-induced inflammation with no high, you need to be on the lookout for this strain.
Best Marijuana Strains for Sleep/Insomnia
Believe it or not, insomnia is one of the single most popular reasons why people smoke marijuana. To get a good and healthy and night’s sleep, indica-dominant strains with a sedative, relaxing high are far preferred to the more energizing and uplifting sativa strains.
- Northern Lights. Easily the single best marijuana strain for insomnia. Northern lights has been around for ages, and its ultra-sedative, tranquilizing effects are perfect for achieving a sound, restful, healthy night’s sleep.
- Afghan Kush. Afghan kush is a strain that’s widely known to provide a whole body/mind knockout — but in a good way. A lot of people describe it as the ultimate sedative high, with your eyelids just wanting to close shut and drift off into a calm, blissful sleep.
- Skywalker. Skywalker is frequently described as providing an almost out of body/mind experience – excellent for forgetting all of your cares and concerns and drifting off to sleep. It’s usually a very high-THC strain, though, so take caution if you know you have a tendency to get over-stimulated paranoid with potent strains.
If smoking cannabis isn’t your thing, then check out 4 Best CBD Oils for Sleep and Insomnia (2017 Review)
Best Marijuana Strains for Multiple Sclerosis
Being a neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system, most people find that hybrid strains with both high THC and CBD content are most effective at treating multiple sclerosis. THC readily binds to CB-1 receptors in the brain, while the high CBD content helps to balance psychoactivity to avoid an over-stimulating (and unnecessary) high.
- Sour Diesel. This is generally regarded as a super-potent strain with one of the highest levels of THC out there. If you are accustomed to a significant high, sour diesel can do amazing things in terms of treating neurodegenerative conditions like MS.
- One-to-One. Named for its 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD, this strain is great for those individuals looking for a decent THC content, but not wanting to get high. While the THC works well to bind to receptors in the CNS, the CBD will counteract psychoactivity to minimize the overall high.
- Critical Mass. Like Sour Diesel, Critical Mass has a very high THC content, but it differs slightly in that it contains significantly more CBD. While the high amount of THC provides quality MS relief, the CBD content ensures that you (likely) won’t get completely stoned.
Best Marijuana Strains for Abdominal pain/Crohn’s Disease
While the mechanisms of cannabis on digestive physiology aren’t really well understood (or documented), there have been a handful of strains over the past decade or so that seem to – for whatever reason – be more effective than others at treating gastrointestinal/abdominal conditions like Crohn’s disease. Since Crohn’s Disease is essentially a chronic inflammation of the GI tract, known anti-inflammatory sativa strains are usually the most effective varieties.
- Silver Kush. A strong sativa variety with potent levels of THC, Silver Kush is generally regarded for its psychoactivity rather than it’s out-and-out medicinal therapy. However, we’ve been surprised at the amount of people who have said it’s been a godsend for their abdominal pain, so we figured it’d be foolish not to include it on the list.
- Tutankhamen. “King Tut,” as it’s also known, is a strong sativa with a very high (22+%) THC content. It provides an incredible head rush and is widely known to numb the body and organs, providing excellent relief from all sorts of abdominal/GI discomfort.
- Lemon Jack. This is a hybrid strain of the world-famous Jack Herer and the potent Lemon Kush variety. While super energetic, it’s known to have a very mild, soothing effect on the stomach and digestive tract.
Best Marijuana Strains for Migraine/Headaches
While the onset of headaches and migraines can stem from a variety of different reasons, by far the most common is inflammation of tissues and blood vessels in the head and neck region. As such, the best marijuana strains for headaches tend to be the varieties that have well-known anti-inflammatory properties.
- OG Kush. While there are plenty of kush strains out there in the world, we included OG Kush because it’s probably one of the most popular varieties of all – you can likely find it in most any reputable dispensary. It has extraordinary body relaxation effects, and its high THC content has been known to work wonders on severe migraines, both in terms of preventing them and alleviating them once they’ve started.
- Remedy. The name pretty much says it all in this indica-dominant strain. It’s not nearly as potent as OG Kush, but for a lot of people who aren’t interested in the cerebral highs, that’s actually a good thing. Its super high CBD content provides extraordinary relief from inflammation, while producing hardly any high.
- Harlequin. In our experience, Harlequin has easily been one of the most well-represented cannabis strains in terms of headache relief – we’ve heard countless times how incredibly effective it is at obliterating even the most stubborn of migraines, even on a daily basis for chronic sufferers.
Best Marijuana Strains for Cramps/PMS
Considering that roughly half the world’s population has to go through the physical and hormonal agony of menstrual cycles, it’s very surprising that marijuana for PMS and cramps is not more popular than it is. If you’ve never tried cannabis as a relief from your monthly cycle, be sure to give some of these varieties a shot:
White Widow. White Widow is a slight sativa-dominant hybrid, and is known for producing an energetic high as well as excellent therapy and pain relief. The perfect choice for bloating, cramps, and other menstrual-related abdominal discomfort.
Orange Kush. This particular strain is better known for providing more of a pre-menstrual relief, rather than relief from the actual physical symptoms of menstruation. Orange Kush’s deep relaxation effects are excellent for balancing mind and body, and reducing erratic mood swings that are common with PMS.
(Super) Silver Haze. Being a genetic mix of Northern Lights, Haze, and Skunk, the world-famous Silver Haze is best known for combating stress, depression, and the mood imbalances that come along so commonly with pre-menstrual cycles.