While the opiate epidemic ravages communities across the nation, both private citizens and government officials are searching for an effective solution to this complex problem. Unfortunately, our country has consistently failed to implement a successful, science-based drug policy, and combating the opiate problem is no different. The primary treatment for chronic pain in the U.S. is usually pharmaceutical medication and/or surgery, because the federal drug warriors in charge remain hesitant to allow full access to medicinal cannabis. Many states, however, have taken the initiative and provide legal access to medical and/or recreational marijuana with positive results.
Many suffer from chronic pain with the chief complaint among them being back pain. I’ve dealt with chronic back pain for several years due to bulging disks, and I’ve tried many medications and treatments in search of relief. The most effective, non-addictive treatment for my back has certainly been cannabis.
THC vs. CBD for Chronic Back Pain
The pain-relieving properties of cannabis mainly come from its chemical cannabinoids, THC and CBD. THC is psychoactive, while CBD is not. However, CBD is very effective at reducing inflammation, which reduces pain. THC and CBD content depends on the strain you decide to purchase. But, with the availability of a multitude of marijuana strains, it’s reasonable for people seeking wellness solutions to pause and ponder which is the best strain for pain?
The Best Strains for Back Pain and Sciatica
- Candyland: 24% THC/1% CBD, one of the best strains for pain and fatigue
- OG Kush: 23% THC/1% CBD, the best strain for sciatica pain
- Bubba Kush: 22% THC/1% CBD
- AC/DC: 1% THC/20% CBD, some of the best marijuana for pain
- Headband: 28% THC/1% CBD, one of the best strains for back pain
- Harlequin: 5% THC/9% CBD
The Best Strains for Herniated Disk
- Gorilla Glue: 25% THC, no CBD content
- Skywalker OG: Varying rates of THC/CBD, effective at reducing physical limitations caused by pain
- Uncle Andy: Varying rates of THC/CBD, not as popular among regular cannabis enthusiasts, but very effective for treating significant back pain
- CBD Critical Mass: 18% THC/10% CBD, not to be confused with Critical Mass which does not contain CBD
Can CBD Help a Herniated Disk?
CBD can certainly help alleviate the discomfort of a herniated disk. A herniated, or bulging disk, occurs when one of the disks between the spinal bones pushes out into the surrounding area, often pinching nerves and causing pain. A study published by the National Institute of Health (NIH) confirms the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids, specifically CBD. By reducing inflammation, CBD will also reduce pain associated with a herniated disk. CBD’s non-psychoactive properties are also noteworthy because they provide safe consumption for all ages from children to seniors.
Are Edibles Good for Back Pain?
Edibles are extremely effective at relieving back pain. Some back pain sufferers even claim edibles are the best cannabis product for pain. The effects of smoking weed are immediate and intense but only last 3-4 hours, whereas edible effects can last for 10-12 hours. In addition, back pain often interferes with sleep. Edibles are known for making users drowsy, and the long duration of the effects from edibles will endure throughout the recommended 8 hours.
Choosing an Alternative to Opioid Pain Medications: Cannabis for Back Pain Management
Those suffering from chronic back pain are willing to try any number of medications and/or other types of treatment to find some sense of relief despite uncomfortable side effects. Opiate medications certainly alleviate pain, but side effects are the least of the problems associated with regular opiate use. Cannabis contains many cannabinoids with potential healing properties, but we know both CBD and THC can reduce pain and inflammation without the side effects and addictive potential that accompany consistent opiate maintenance. If you’re treating back pain with opiates but live in a state that has implemented marijuana legalization, I strongly encourage you to discuss medical cannabis with your doctor. And, you won’t even need to ask him, “What’s the best marijuana strain for pain?”