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  • Writer's pictureAaron Killion

Top 7 Cannabis Strains for Inflammation

Chronic inflammation and the associated pain can be extremely debilitating and lead to a host of other health problems, which is why many people turn to medical marijuana strains to ease their symptoms. If you’ve tried cannabis for inflammation but haven’t been impressed with the results, it could be that you’re not using a strain that’s conducive to remedying inflammatory symptoms.


The Best Strains to Reduce Inflammation

While just about any cannabis strain can be used to treat inflammation on some level, there are several strains that may be particularly helpful.


1. ACDC

ACDC is an award-winning, slightly sativa-dominant strain with a sweet, citrus taste and a CBD:THC ratio of 20:1, making it ideal for people who want relief without a high or feelings of anxiety and paranoia. The presence of the terpenes limonene, myrcene, and beta-caryophyllene contributes to its anti-inflammatory effects.

Patients report consuming ACDC for a range of health issues, including:

  • Inflammation

  • Nerve pain

  • Stress and anxiety

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

  • Depression

  • Seizures

2. Cannatonic

Another high-CBD strain, Cannatonic is a balanced indica-sativa hybrid that typically has around 6% THC and up to 17% CBD. This strain does produce a mild high that’s not overwhelming. Rather, patients report feeling happier and more optimistic, and like the weight of the world has been lifted off their shoulders.


In the medical marijuana community, Cannatonic is often used to prevent and reduce pain and inflammation, such as that associated with rheumatoid arthritis—as well as to reduce seizures. It's also a great first-time strain for recreational consumers as the high is not too extreme.


3. CBD (Blue) Shark

CBD Blue Shark, or simply CBD Shark, is one of the most popular strains for inflammation. This indica-dominant hybrid with a balanced CBD:THC ratio is gently relaxing and soothing with uplifting effects.


Myrcene, pinene, and limonene give this strain an herbal and fruity fragrance that's refreshing, and they also contribute to the strain's inflammation-fighting power. Patients often use CBD Shark for aches, pains, and feelings of anxiety.


4. CBD OG

This hybrid strain with a 2:1 CBD:THC ratio is mostly used in the medical community thanks to its relieving effects and very mild high. While it's fairly rich in myrcene (a sleepy terpene), this strain is not sedating thanks to the presence of limonene (which is more energizing). This strain also contains caryophyllene, which has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antidepressant properties.


Patients often consume CBD OG as a cannabis strain for muscle spasms, headaches, and cramps or whenever they're seeking a gentle physical and mental lift. First-time cannabis smokers and those who don't like strong psychoactive effects may also appreciate this strain.


5. Charlotte's Web

This famous sativa strain was created by the Stanley Brothers of Colorado to help a young girl called Charlotte Figi who suffered from multiple seizures per day due to a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome. After she started taking this high-CBD strain, her seizures stopped almost completely.


With CBD levels of around 20% and rarely more than 0.3% THC, Charlotte's Web is more therapeutic than intoxicating. Patients report feeling more focused, energized, and happy after consuming this strain, and it also supports a reduction in pain and inflammation symptoms.


6. Harlequin

Originally bred with the purpose of creating high-THC concentrates and resin, the sativa-dominant Harlequin actually came out as an extremely high-CBD strain with powerful properties for relieving inflammation, pain, and anxiety.


Rather than causing intoxicating effects, Harlequin has an effect that's more uplifting, relaxed, and clear-headed. The terpenes myrcene, alpha-pinene, and limonene give Harlequin a sweet citrusy, earthy flavor.


7. Girl Scout Cookies

The only high-THC strain on our list, Girl Scout Cookies is a powerful, indica-dominant strain that has been associated with strong full-body pain relief. The terpenes myrcene, caryophyllene, and limonene combine to create a deliciously sweet, minty flavor, and you can enjoy this strain with even more flavor if you can find its terpene-enhanced version, Cronuts.


Whether you decide to try Cronuts or go with a classic GSC, this strain is reportedly capable of reducing intense pain while providing a gentle boost in energy. The high THC levels can be pretty overwhelming, though, so we don't recommend this strain for novice consumers, and even experienced consumers who are new to this strain are best off taking it slow.


The Link Between Cannabis and Inflammation Relief


Interestingly, a study published in 2019 in Scientific Reports found that patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colorectal cancer showed signs of an altered endocannabinoid system. Adding cannabinoids via cannabis consumption may help to balance the ECS and provide relief from inflammation-related symptoms.


Some of the main terpenes in cannabis exhibit anti-inflammatory properties, as noted in a study by Gallily et al. that was published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research in December 2018. When the whole cannabis plant is consumed, terpenes, cannabinoids, and other compounds appear to work in concert to achieve their effects, a phenomenon known as the entourage effect.


Can I Get a Medical Marijuana Card for Inflammation?

Inflammation on its own isn't a qualifying condition for a medical marijuana card. However, two of Arizona's qualifying conditions—Crohn's disease and severe chronic pain—are linked with inflammation.

Acute inflammation, such as the temporary inflammatory response you might experience when you injure a joint or come down with the flu, will not qualify you for an MMJ card. However, unresolved injuries that lead to chronic pain (lasting three months or more) often will.


If you live in Arizona and you experience ongoing pain relating to an unresolved injury or one of the qualifying conditions listed above, you can book an in-person or MMJ telemedicine appointment and be evaluated by a medical professional at Green Leaf. Once you've paid the application fee and been approved, you'll have access to lower-cost cannabis and a greater assortment of products.


Other Tips for Treating Inflammation

If inflammation is causing ongoing discomfort and affecting your quality of life, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Drug interactions. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and diclofenac are often prescribed to reduce pain from inflammation. If you are thinking of using cannabis as a natural way to combat inflammation, talk with your supervising physician first about dosages and drug interactions before introducing cannabis as a supplement or substitute for your current routine.

  • Diet and exercise. As well as looking into supplements and medications, it's important to look at diet and exercise. People who suffer from inflammation are often advised to follow a low-inflammation diet that's rich in collagen and Omega-3 fatty acids and low in Omega-6. It also helps to perform regular exercise that's easy on areas that might be inflamed (like the joints). Swimming and hydrotherapy are great places to start.

  • Regular check-ups. Systemic inflammation has been linked to the development of other problems over time, including arthritis, heart disease, and cancer. It's important to have your health checked regularly for early warning signs of these diseases so that you can act before the symptoms become severe.

Each Patient’s Journey Is Unique

There are many cannabis strains for inflammation relief, all of which have slightly different flavors, terpenes, cannabinoid levels, and effects. The "best" strain for inflammation in your case might be different from the best strain for someone else.


As you continue on the journey to treating inflammation effectively and with as few unwanted side effects as possible, remember that medical professionals and dispensary budtenders are there to help. Whichever strains or therapies you decide to try, we hope you experience effective, long-lasting relief.

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