What Is the Best Cannabis Strain for Arthritis?
If you’re considering cannabis to support the relief of arthritis symptoms, it’s important to choose the right strain. Different kinds of strains have different concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes, each of which can have different therapeutic effects. If you’ve already tried using THC products and have been dissatisfied with the results, you may just be using the wrong variety.
There are no effective treatments that can cure arthritis and joint damage, but cannabis may be able to help you manage the common symptoms of arthritis. So what is the best strain for arthritis?
Choosing a Cannabis Strain for Arthritis
There are a few specific factors to consider when choosing a cannabis strain for the various types of arthritis:
The cultivar (indica, sativa, or hybrid)
The amount of CBD
The dominant terpenes
The experience of other users (though this one is strictly anecdotal)
To simply recommend three or four marijuana strains wouldn’t do the topic justice (we are going to make specific recommendations, don’t worry). Experts estimate that there are over 700 unique strains of cannabis, and not every popular strain is available in every market. If you can’t find a specific strain that’s recommended for arthritis support, you can still find a suitable alternative by understanding what qualities to look for in the strains you have access to.
The two most common cannabis varieties are sativa and indica. Indicas are commonly associated with a body high (sedative effects, relaxation, sleep support, and general comfort and well-being). Sativa strains are often associated with a head high (cerebral effects that include heightened energy, euphoria, mental clarity, and alertness).
While both indicas and sativas have the components necessary for arthritis support, indicas may have the edge over your average sativa-dominant strain. That’s because indicas are more commonly associated with pain relief, possibly due in part to the higher CBD concentration. So if you’re not sure which strain to go with, you might start with an indica or an indica-dominant hybrid strain.
The amount of CBD
As previously noted, higher CBD levels may contribute to greater arthritis support. Studies have shown that CBD may influence the body’s cannabinoid receptors in a way that blocks pain signals to the brain, thereby reducing both generalized pain and joint inflammation.
Indicas tend to have higher CBD levels than your average sativa plant, but the concentrations will vary from one strain to the next. In addition, there are some sativa-dominant strains that contain higher-than-average CBD levels. These include Harlequin and Sour Tsunami. That’s why it’s always important to look at the actual CBD content—don’t just look at the cultivar by itself.
Other notable high-CBD strains include Canna-Tsu, Stephen Hawking Kush, and Cannatonic.
The dominant terpenes
The terpenes are the aromatic oils that exist in all plant life — including cannabis. Terpenes give cannabis its sweet, skunky, citrusy, or piney smell. They’ve also been shown in studies to carry certain therapeutic benefits. The most common types of terpenes found in cannabis include limonene, pinene, myrcene, and terpinolene.
Certain terpenes in particular have been associated with possible pain-relieving and anti-anxiety effects. These include myrcene, caryophyllene, and pinene. Every cannabis strain has a different terpene profile, so it always helps to know what the dominant terpenes are when comparing strains.
The experience of other users
Anecdotal recommendations should always be taken with a grain of salt. With that said, however, it can be helpful to browse cannabis strain reviews and determine which strains are being used by other arthritis sufferers. And if you know a person who already uses cannabis strains for arthritis or severe pain, you can ask them for their input as well.
The entourage effect (the combined effects of various cannabinoids and terpenes in concert with one another) is a complex phenomenon that researchers are only beginning to comprehend, and the most helpful strains can often be those that don’t appear the most beneficial on paper. So keep an open mind, and take some time to learn about the favorites among arthritis patients.
The Best Strain for Arthritis Pain Relief
If you’re seeking the best cannabis strain for arthritis support, you might start with Northern Lights #5. This amazing strain is worth considering for the following reasons:
It’s wildly popular and accessible in most recreational and medicinal markets, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding it. It has won several Cannabis Cup awards and is often used to address pain-related medical conditions including certain neurological disorders. It’s a popular choice among medical marijuana patients.
It’s an indica-dominant strain with strong indica effects, noted specifically for assisting with pain and inflammation support.
It’s rich in anti-inflammatory terpenes like myrcene and caryophyllene, which may additionally be helpful for people with arthritis.
It may not be a perfect strain, but it may prove to be a highly effective strain.
Here are some additional recommended strains of marijuana for arthritis pain and inflammatory diseases:
Death Star OG: This indica strain is noted for having high concentrations of cannabigerol (CBG), a minor cannabinoid that may provide additional inflammation support. Just be warned that this strain contains over 20% THC and has significant psychoactive effects, so it’s not recommended for lightweights.
White Widow: Like Death Star OG, this one contains ample CBG. But it also contains less THC than Death Star, so it’s less intense. The dominant terpene is myrcene, which is another great benefit. Users report that it relaxes muscles and soothes joint pain. If you like the terpene and cannabinoid profile of White Widow but are looking for something a bit stronger, you might also try G13 Haze.
White Berry: Though it consists of indica genetics, White Berry can produce a head high and body high when consumed at higher doses. So if you want the anti-inflammatory effects of an indica but without sacrificing focus and mental sharpness, this might be a good strain to try as both an evening and daytime strain. It may also provide support for muscle spasms and generalized soreness.
Additional strains to consider include Girl Scout Cookies, Black Widow, Purple Space Cookies, Durban Poison, and Chemdog 91. You can find most of these strains in medical marijuana clinics and recreational dispensaries. For instance, at our recreational cannabis dispensary in Bellevue, you can find many of these strains in the form of flower, concentrates, edibles, and more.
Finding Your Best Medical Cannabis Strain for Chronic Joint Pain
There are many types of inflammatory arthritis, from rheumatoid arthritis (the most common form) to psoriatic arthritis and degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis). No matter what form of arthritis you live with, cannabis may be able to help on account of its anti-inflammatory and pain-killing properties.
Relief from arthritis pain can be achieved. Try a few different strains that are recommended for chronic pain and chronic inflammation, and don’t get discouraged if your first high-CBD indica strain doesn’t provide you with adequate relief from your type of pain. It’s largely a game of trial and error, but before long, you’ll find the right combination of cannabinoids and terpenes to suit your unique symptoms and body chemistry. Your joint tissue will thank you.