The world of medical marijuana has exploded in the past few years, with the herb now legal for medicinal use in over two-thirds of U.S. states. One of the most well-known and well-researched uses of medical cannabis is in the treatment of chronic pain.
Today we will look at how cannabis could help to relieve a specific type of pain, causalgia, and which strains you should consider if you have this debilitating condition.
What is Causalgia?
Causalgia, sometimes called complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) type II, is a condition which usually arises from an injury or other physical trauma. Rather than healing as it should, the injured area can continue to cause severe pain and other symptoms for far longer than is normal. This is due to the nerves in the area being damaged, and therefore CRPS is classed as a type of neuropathic pain.
As well as pain, causalgia can also cause many other distressing symptoms. The most common symptoms of causalgia include:
- Burning pain
- Pins and needles
- Sensitivity to touch
- Sensitivity to temperature changes
- Abnormal sweating
- Restricted movement
- Changes in skin color
- Changes in hair and nail growth
- Osteoporosis in the affected area
These symptoms typically persist for longer than six months, and although they may eventually resolve, this is not always the case.
Causalgia was once considered a psychosomatic disease, meaning that its symptoms were thought to be all in the mind. Although this has now been disproved, the nature of its symptoms means that CRPS can lead to anxiety or depression in some patients.
There is no known cure for causalgia, and treatment is geared toward managing symptoms and improving quality of life for the sufferer.
Medication such as painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs are often used to keep pain under control, and tricyclic antidepressants and anticonvulsant drugs may also be used for this purpose. However, all of these pharmaceuticals carry a risk of side effects ranging from digestive disturbances to dependence.
Alternatively, symptoms can be managed with physical therapy and rehabilitation, and practices such as CBT can help CRPS patients to cope with their condition on a psychological level.
Another treatment which may offer some relief from the symptoms of causalgia is marijuana. This natural medicine has been found effective in managing a variety of painful conditions, including neuropathic pain.
How Could Cannabis Help Causalgia?
Causalgia is a result of nerve damage in one area which, over time, can begin to affect the central nervous system as a whole. Blood vessels may dilate and constrict abnormally leading to skin that sometimes looks unusually pale and other times becomes hot and red. Changes in blood flow can also starve the underlying muscles of oxygen and nutrients, and eventually, they may begin to atrophy.
Cannabis could help this situation by influencing what is known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex system made up of molecules called endocannabinoids and receptors called CB1 and CB2 receptors. The ECS has a crucial role in many of our biological functions, including nervous system activity and blood circulation.
The ECS can interact with plant cannabinoids such as THC and CBD too. These compounds influence the nervous system to alter the way that we experience pain and cause vasodilation to improve blood flow. Because of this, marijuana could help to relieve many of the symptoms of causalgia.
There are currently no scientific studies specifically on cannabis for causalgia, but the herb has been found effective for other neuropathic pain syndromes. One 2013 study found that even low doses of THC relieved neuropathic pain by 30% in more than half of its subjects, and was more effective than placebo, ruling out a psychosomatic effect.
So, if you want to try cannabis for causalgia, which strain should you choose? To help you to make up your mind, we have put together this list of five of the best cannabis strains for causalgia. Keep reading to find out more.
5 Best Cannabis Strains for Causalgia
Harlequin is a well-respected medicinal strain with abundant CBD and enough THC to provide a light and enjoyable high. A cross between Thai and Swiss sativa strains and Colombian Gold, Harlequin averages 8–6% CBD and 4–7% THC.
While it isn’t going to knock your socks off, this strain can aid relaxation and improve both energy and focus. More importantly, Harlequin’s high CBD content makes it perfect for managing various types of pain.
Another plus for Harlequin is that it is a relatively easy strain to grow at home, providing a good yield in as little as 8 –9 weeks. You will know your Harlequin is ready when its layer of cannabinoid-laden trichomes turns from clear to milky white.
Cannatonic is a balanced hybrid created from MK Ultra crossed with G13. The major bonus of this strain is that it provides a wealth of medicinal benefits without getting you super stoned. With an average CBD content of 6–17% and average THC content of 7–15%, you may feel a light buzz from Cannatonic, but it won’t render you useless for the day.
As a 50/50 sativa-indica hybrid, Cannatonic provides uplifting yet relaxing effects and is ideal for treating chronic pain as well as symptoms such as depression and anxiety.
Although Cannatonic is not an easy strain to grow, if you put in a little effort, you will be rewarded with a sizable yield in 10–11 weeks. For best results, grow this strain indoors where you have complete control over its environment.
ACDC is a sativa-dominant phenotype of Cannatonic, but has an even higher average CBD content of around 16–24%. The THC content of this strain is also lower at 0.5–1.2%, making it ideal for those who want to benefit from marijuana without the psychoactive high.
With an earthy yet sweet flavor, ACDC is known for its ability to relieve all types of pain, including neuropathy. Although it won’t get you high, this strain is reported to increase focus and concentration, and help you to get through a busy day without succumbing to stress.
Like Cannatonic, this strain is not straightforward to grow. It is susceptible to pests and mildew and is best grown indoors to increase its yield and potency. If you do decide to grow your own ACDC, you can expect it to be ready for harvest after 9–10 weeks.
#4 Jack Herer
Unlike the strains that we have looked at so far, Jack Herer has a high THC content of 18–24%. Its CBD content is much lower at 0.1–0.2%, but it is still a useful strain for relieving pain and alleviating stress and depression.
A cross between Shiva Skunk, Northern Lights, and Haze, this slightly sativa-dominant strain is known for its uplifting, energizing effects and its ability to significantly improve your mood. Due to its high THC content, a low dose should be enough to help melt away pain and leave you feeling happy and calm.
Fortunately, this strain is reasonably easy to grow at home as it is resistant to pests and provides a hefty yield in just 7–10 weeks. The only downside of growing this strain is that you need a lot of space as it can reach an incredible two meters in height!
#5 Blue Dream
Its high THC content of 17–25%, coupled with low CBD levels of 0.1–0.2% mean that this is not a strain for absolute beginners. It provides a strong, energetic buzz, and is excellent for relieving pain, anxiety, and depression throughout the day. However, its dynamic high means this strain may not be the best for night-time use.
As well as its medicinal benefits, Blue Dream is prized for its complex flavor with hints of blueberry, citrus, and floral notes combining on your tongue. It has attractive buds, covered in sticky trichomes which hint at the overall potency of this strain.
If you grow your own Blue Dream, you will be rewarded by a high yielding flower which is ready in an average of 8–9 weeks. Just be aware that this is a greedy plant which needs a lot of water and nutrients to reach its full potential. It does best when grown in high-quality, organic soil.
Best Cannabis Strains for Causalgia: Final Thoughts
When choosing a cannabis strain for causalgia, it is essential to take into account factors such as CBD and THC content as well as the way a strain looks and tastes.
If you are looking for a marijuana strain that will get you high as well as providing relief from symptoms, look for a strain with a higher THC content. If you would prefer a strain without psychoactive effects, look for high CBD and low THC. Strains with a high CBD content may also mean fewer side effects such as dry mouth, dizziness, and paranoia, a definite plus if you need pain relief on a daily basis!
You should also consider how you imbibe your chosen strain. While smoking and vaping provide the fastest relief, edibles are slower to kick in, and the effects last much longer. If you are using edibles, make sure you leave at least two hours after your first dose to see how it hits you before taking more, or you could be in for an uncomfortable ride.
Here at WayofLeaf, we are dedicated to educating you about the benefits of marijuana, but we are not doctors. Always consult a qualified physician before using cannabis to treat any medical condition, and enjoy responsibly!