The holiday season is rough on us. It’s dark and it’s cold, which causes a lot of us to experience the worst of our chronic conditions during this time. If you hurt your back this season lifting all those heavy gifts or if you’re just feeling the brunt of your arthritis rearing in its ugly head, cannabis is proven to help you with inflammation.
Inflammation is Natural, but only to a Degree
Inflammation is your body’s natural response to most injuries, viruses, and bacteria. As part of your immune system response, your body turns up the heat in order to fight off foreign invaders. For example, a fever is your body releasing combat chemicals from your white blood cells to eliminate the bacteria that makes you sick. In the case of an injury, these same chemicals flow to an injured area and cause warmth and redness which becomes swelling. This is known as acute inflammation and is just a normal step in the healing process. While it’s normal, it does still cause some pain and discomfort.
On the other hand, we have chronic inflammation, which is responsible for a number of other health concerns. Chronic inflammation is associated with diseases like cancer, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and even other ailments like depression and irritable bowel syndrome that all contribute to common ailments that lower our quality of life and create illness, pain, and suffering. Chronic inflammation occurs when your immune system is constantly aggravated and being hyperactive. It’s an exaggerated response to external stimuli that leads our cells to simultaneously heal and destroy themselves and nearby tissues. Basically, your body will trigger an immune response and start attacking itself, leading to chronic pain and inflammation.
With that in mind, we know that inflammation is a big issue and preventing our bodies from constantly trying to fight themselves is a priority if we don’t want to suffer from chronic conditions, premature aging and chronic pain in the future. Luckily, a ton of research has been conducted on the way cannabis can stop our bodies from triggering an autoimmune response that does more harm than good. According to the most recent studies, cannabis reduces pain and inflammation due to its high concentration of the cannabinoids known as THC and CBD.
Cannabinoids and Inflammation
THC and CBD are both cannabinoids found in cannabis that do wonderful things for our bodies. When it comes to managing inflammation, there are studies published that support both THC and CBD as anti-inflammatory and pain relieving cannabinoids. Both cannabinoids can stop inflammation because they contain a terpene known as beta-caryophyllene, a proven anti-inflammatory.
THC is the most common cannabinoid found in cannabis and it affects inflammation in its own way. For one thing, THC offers powerful relaxing effects that can mask the symptoms of chronic pain, which leads to a better quality of life for some people. For another, THC reduces the activity of the neural pathways that speed up the inflammatory process, according to a recent study by the National Institute of Health.
However, CBD is the headlining figure when it comes to reducing pain and inflammation in people who suffer from things like arthritis and Crohn's disease. When you apply for a medical marijuana card, chronic pain and inflammation are listed as a qualifying condition because it’s easy to treat with CBD and people generally respond better to it than they would with most prescription drugs. It is known for its ability to reduce inflammation in joints as to prevent the associated diseases from making you ill.
Even people who smoke weed recreationally claim that marijuana helps them with their inflammation in the form of headaches, migraines, and pain.
Delivery Methods + When to Reach for Each
Cannabis comes in many different forms these days, which means there are a lot of potential delivery methods out there that help with inflammation and the pain that comes with it.
For example, if you suffer from arthritis in your hands and you need that pain to go away and don’t have all the time in the world to wait, you can try a CBD transdermal patch. Apply the patch directly to the afflicted area and you can absorb the CBD (and THC) through your skin. This makes the relief localized and great for those who prefer not to feel high from other delivery methods. You can also find THC bath bombs that reduce pain and inflammation that produce no psychoactive effect because of the transdermal delivery. Other topicals include creams, lotions, salves, and balms.
Another great delivery method is ingestion. Digesting cannabinoids changes them but it also intensifies their pain relieving properties. Edibles make a great option for those who can’t smoke and need more powerful relief than skin absorption. If you have some time to wait for your medicine to kick in, try these CBD gummies. Introducing CBD to your system this way allows for the cannabinoids to last longer in the body. These edibles also contain a healthy dose of THC that allows you to double down on the pain relief.
A small subsection of the edible category includes tinctures, which are typically isolated cannabinoids that you drop under your tongue and absorb. Full-spectrum CBD drops are an excellent option for daily relief. They provide powerful, near instant relief from pain and inflammation and are an excellent option if you don’t want to be high.
Finally, you can smoke actual flower for fast and powerful relief that enters your bloodstream almost immediately. Smoking is the quickest delivery method and will make the most sense if you are already experiencing pain and inflammation and don’t have time to wait for another delivery method to kick in. Check out some of the best strains below.
These are the 5 best strains for Inflammation:
- Cannatonic - Hybrid strain with high CBD levels.
- Stephen Hawking Kush - Indica strain with a healthy dose of CBD and THC punch.
- Girl Scout Cookies - High percentage of THC for full-body relief.
- Harlequin Sativa - Gentle Sativa with a 5:2 CBD:THC ratio.
- ACDC - high-CBD strain with virtually no THC.
Hybrid Cannatonic is a strain that is best known for its high CBD-percentage. It’s one of the most popular strains out there for chronic pain management. It is also popular among patients who suffer from epilepsy or seizures, patients undergoing chemotherapy, and patients who want a break from chronic pain and inflammation. Because it contains some THC it also includes a gentle and mellow head and body high that tends to go away after a short time.
Stephen Hawking Kush
Indica as a great middle of the road strain, Stephen Hawking Kush contains a healthy dose of CBD with a powerfully sedative THC punch. This is one of the more unique CBD strains that offers the best of both worlds, including a nice mental effect and a soothing body high that battles pain and inflammation and promotes relaxation.
Girl Scout Cookies
Hybrid Girl Scout Cookies (GSC) has the highest percentage of THC on this list at somewhere between 25% and 30% THC. This uber-popular strain is known for potent, full-body relief from the pain associated with inflammatory diseases and conditions, including people who suffer from Crohn’s Disease.
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This gentle sativa typically has a 5:2 CBD:THC ratio, making it a great middle of the road option for treating pain and inflammation in people who want to stay focused and alert without the paranoia that comes with some high-THC strains. Aside from inflammation and pain, it’s great for managing stress and even headaches.
Hybrid ACDC is another high-CBD strain made from Cannatonic with virtually no THC. It can produce powerful relief from pain and inflammation as well as help manage certain types of anxiety thanks to its 20:1 CBD:THC ratio.