Neuropathy is a painful, unpleasant, frustrating condition that affects millions of people every year. People are increasingly turning to medical marijuana to ease the pain, but the trouble lies in finding the right product to suit an individual’s needs.
In this article, we cover the basics of neuropathic pain and how to choose an appropriate medical cannabis strain based on desired effects.
What Is Neuropathic Pain?
Neuropathy is best described as a sensation of tingling, numbing, or general pain/discomfort that doesn’t appear to have a specific cause.
With neuropathy, nerve cells send pain signals to the brain, often without an identifiable reason. This results in a confusing sensation wherein pain occurs without a direct known source. Imagine the burning sensation of touching a hot stove, but knowing that you didn’t touch the stove at all.
What Causes Neuropathic Pain?
The precise causes of neuropathic pain are not well understood. Most times, it seems to happen without reason.
However, several risk factors may increase the likelihood of developing neuropathy. For example we know that diabetes increases the chances of developing neuropathy, as a high concentration of blood sugar leads to damaged nerves.
In most instances, however, the development of neuropathy is unknown. Complications involving the heart, kidneys, and lungs can likely result in neuropathic pain, but again, little is known regarding the exact physiological onset.
Neuropathic Pain Symptoms
Those that suffer from neuropathic pain often describe the main symptoms as tingling throughout the extremities; feelings of pain and irritation around the fingers, toes, arms, and legs are especially common. This can vary from vague sensations of tingling, all the way to intense physical pain that may come and go without reason.
Choosing the Best Cannabis Strain for Neuropathy
There is no clinical evidence supporting the use of one cannabis strain over another in neuropathy effects. However, suppose you do choose to use medical marijuana to assist with neuropathic pain. In that case, it’s important to choose a strain that will coincide with the effects you’re looking to achieve, as well as assent with your overall cannabis experience.
Here are five strains to consider based on a variety of general effects users prefer to experience.
There is no evidence that cannabis can cure neuropathy. Anecdotal reports suggest that some strains can reduce symptoms of pain; however, always take the advice of your physician when it comes to adequately treating neuropathy.
#1 – Blue Dream
The Blue Dream strain is an exciting hybrid from California that leans towards the sativa end of the spectrum.
With high THC levels, this strain offers an incredibly cerebral and dreamlike high that leaves users too exhausted to think about anything other than relaxing.
While this strain doesn’t have an exceptionally high CBD content, it’s still an excellent strain to help deal with pain.
#2 – Jack Herer
The main benefit of the Jack Herer strain is a clear-headed high; perfect for suppressing physical pain while still letting you carry on with your day.
A nearly balanced 50/50 hybrid, this strain offers up an iconically fruity flavor profile, making it not only physically pleasant, but delicious as well.
Many neuropathy sufferers use this strain as it distracts them from the physical distress that the condition can cause. Instead of feeling down about their painful condition, Jack Herer helps patients develop a newfound mental and physical energy that works to put pain at the back of the mind.
This is also an extremely social strain, making it great for encouraging you to engage more with your friends. With a frustrating and stressful condition like neuropathy, it’s easy to let social connections and conversations fall by the wayside. Jack Herer gives you the social energy and focus to go out, meet some people, and enjoy your life again.
#3 – Harlequin
The Harlequin strain is perhaps one of the most well-known CBD strains out there, frequently used to help chronic pain. With a CBD content around 12% (and up to 15% in some samples), this strain is a great option for those who want to try and relieve neuropathic pain, but don’t want to get high.
When using Harlequin, your head will remain clear while your body will be overcome with a calm, almost numbing sensation – a perfect combination for dealing with the intense pain caused by neuropathy.
Harlequin is also known to aid in productivity and creativity, giving users that little push they may need to get going with their day. The strain also has an incredibly tasty flavor; it’s somehow both fruity and woody at the same time, with a subtle creaminess that permeates the mouth after the first inhale.
#4 – White Widow
The White Widow strain is one of the most popular and well known marijuana strains out there. In fact, White Widow is the first marijuana strain many new medical cannabis users try; so it makes sense that so many people turn to it to try and help them with their neuropathy.
The strain does have a high THC level, frequently topping out at around 25%. The resulting high leaves users feeling revitalized, yet also chilled out and relaxed. This strange mix of sensations makes it perfect for getting through uncomfortable pain.
White Widow also rarely causes tiredness (unlike other strong indica strains), so it’s perfect for daytime use. The only potential problem with this strain is that it is easy to accidentally smoke too much; potentially bringing on feelings of anxiety and/or paranoia. The best way to avoid this is to go low and slow – especially if you’re an inexperienced cannabis user.
#5 – ACDC
ACDC is another CBD-dominant strain, though it does possess enough THC to give a very subtle high. Bred from a blend of other CBD-rich strains, ACDC offers a burst of happiness, relaxation, and a general feeling of well-being.
The taste here is also really interesting. Replete with aromas of earth and vague sweetness, ACDC offers a thoroughly one-of-a-kind flavor profile. It’s also a fantastic strain for those with neuropathy, as the high-CBD content provides tangible analgesic (pain relieving) effects.
With complete relaxation and a smooth and barely perceptible high, ACDC is an excellent strain for those that want relief from neuropathy, but don’t want to deal with an intense high. Also, many dispensaries now keep a consistent stock of ACDC, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find.
Final Thoughts on the Best Strains for Neuropathy
Trying to find a solution for neuropathy feels pretty much impossible for most people. Nothing seems to work effectively, and the body oftentimes doesn’t seem to respond effectively to conventional drugs or medications.
This is why, for many people, marijuana is a last-resort option. While cannabis won’t cure neuropathic pain, it may help soothe the body and ease sensations of tingling, discomfort, and even shooting pains.
For those struggling with neuropathy, consider heading to your local dispensary and seeing what you can find; you might just find the perfect marijuana strain to help improve your life. Also, if you need help getting an MMJ card in your state, be sure to check out our informative guides.