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 management of chronic pain.
Today we will look at how cannabis could help to relieve a specific type of pain, causalgia, and which strains patients should consider if they have this debilitating condition.
What Is Causalgia?
Causalgia, sometimes called complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) type II, is a condition that 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. The pain is due to the nerves in the area being damaged. 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 now 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. Doctors may also use tricyclic antidepressants and anticonvulsant drugs for this purpose. However, all of these pharmaceuticals carry a risk of side effects ranging from digestive disturbances to dependence.
Cannabis has been found effective in managing a variety of painful conditions, including neuropathic pain.
Alternatively, patients can manage their symptoms with physical therapy and rehabilitation. Also, CBT can help CRPS patients to cope with their condition on a psychological level.
Another option that 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 by influencing what is known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex system consisting 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 how 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. However, 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 patients want to try cannabis for causalgia, which strain should they choose? To help people make up their minds, we have put together this list of five of the best cannabis strains for causalgia. Keep reading to find out more.
Of course, not every marijuana strain is created equally, which is why you need to find the best one for causalgia. We offer five possibilities below. Please note that these haven’t been proven to be the best strains for causalgia in any studies. They are merely our recommendations.
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, a Nepali indica, and Colombian Gold, Harlequin averages 8–6% CBD and 4–7% THC.
The Harlequin 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.
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 potential medicinal benefits without overwhelming intoxicating effects. With an average CBD content of 6–17% and average THC content of 7–15%, users may feel a light buzz from Cannatonic, but it won’t render them useless for the day.
As a 50/50 sativa-indica hybrid, Cannatonic provides uplifting yet relaxing effects and is ideal for addressing chronic pain and depression, and anxiety.
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 intoxicating high.
With an earthy yet sweet flavor, ACDC can potentially manage all types of pain, including neuropathy. Although it won’t make users high, this strain is reported to increase focus and concentration and help its consumers to get through a busy day without succumbing to stress.
#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 still may be a helpful 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 improve the user’s mood significantly. Due to its high THC content, a low dose should be enough to help melt away pain and leave consumers feeling happy and calm.
#5 Blue Dream
Its high THC content of 17–25%, coupled with low CBD levels of 0.1–0.2%, means that this is not a strain for absolute beginners. It provides a robust and energetic buzz, and it may help to relieve pain, anxiety, and depression. 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 the tongue. It has attractive buds covered in sticky trichomes, which hint at the overall potency of this strain.
Best Cannabis Strains for Causalgia: Final Thoughts
When choosing a cannabis strain for causalgia, it is essential to consider factors such as CBD and THC content and the way a strain looks and tastes.
If consumers are looking for a marijuana strain that will get them high and provide relief from symptoms, they should look for a strain with a higher THC content. Those who would prefer a strain without the intoxicating effects should 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, which is a definite plus for those who daily need pain relief.
Strains with a high CBD content may mean fewer side effects, which is a definite plus for those who daily need pain relief.
Cannabis users should also consider how they would like to consume their chosen strain. While smoking and vaping provide the fastest relief, edibles are slower to kick in, and the effects last much longer. When consuming edibles, leave at least two hours after the first dose to gauge the effect before taking more.
Here at WayofLeaf, we are dedicated to educating consumers about the benefits of cannabis. However, you should always consult a qualified physician before using cannabis to address any medical condition and enjoy responsibly!