The Definitive Guide to Medical Marijuana for Pain Management

The Definitive Guide to Medical Marijuana for Pain Management

If you have a health condition that causes severe or chronic pain, you might want to look into using medical marijuana. Many people believe that taking cannabis can help them sleep better at night while reducing their pain. But you might not know much about how it works. 

Will I Be High All of the Time?

Some people who have chronic pain do not want to try cannabis since they do not want to be high all of the time. It is true that in the beginning, you might feel different when you start with cannabis. However, your tolerance to the THC will build up quickly. 

Many users will find the right strain, method, and dose to ease pain and not cause side effects. Of course, remember that no matter what method or dose you choose, you might still end up experiencing side effects. Remember not to use very much cannabis until you are familiar with it. Start with a lower dose than you think you need. You can always take more later on, but once you have smoked or eaten it, you’ll just have to wait for the effects to wear off. And, of course, a doctor with knowledge of medical marijuana can be a big help in this process.

Choosing the Right Strain

Different strains of cannabis have different effects because each strain has a unique combination of terpenes, CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids. The cannabinoids are what give your herb its medicinal and psychoactive properties. Each one also has flavonoids and terpenes, which some people believe might offer health advantages. 

As with the many different cannabis strains out there, not all types of pain are the same. Some pain might be caused by inflammation, and THC and CBD together might help to fight that kind of pain. Both of these cannabinoids may also reduce inflammation in the body right near the infection site or wound. 

Some people believe that CBD may remove the pain signals before they can make it to your brain and be recognized. On the other hand, THC may help to regulate pain at both the musculoskeletal and brain levels. So, if you have inflammation, then you might want to have both THC and CBD. 

In other cases, damage to your nervous system might cause some kinds of pain. Sciatica is an example of damage to your nerves. In other cases, diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis cause nerve issues. In these scenarios, you might want to go with a strain that has both CBD and THC in it. But if you have nerve pain from chemotherapy, you might want to stick with CBD only. THC might interfere with the way that some chemotherapy drugs work. 

Central pain is a sort of catch-all name for pain that no one knows the source of. For instance, consider fibromyalgia. Many fibromyalgia patients use medical marijuana, but it is still not known whether CBD, THC, or both of them are best for helping patients.

Picking Out a Strain

Picking Out a Strain

It might seem like a sativa strain, which has a high CBD-to-THC ratio, is the best method of relieving pain. It gets you very high, so you might not think about the pain any longer. But these will often have a reduced effectiveness over time. Plus, you will end up missing out on the potential benefits of using plain CBD, which is not psychoactive.

Some patients actually prefer using an indica strain, especially for issues such as joint pain, migraines, or neuropathy. And an indica strain that has a lot of CBD in it is believed to be more effective. But you might still want to look for an indica strain that has a more balanced level of THC and CBD.

If you still need to get work done while fighting your pain, you will likely not want to choose a strain that has much THC in it. But remember that an indica strain that has a lower level of THC in it can also be highly sedative, usually since there is more CBD in it. You might start to fall asleep instead of being very high. 

The answer is to find a few strains that offer the right balance for you. That balance will differ from patient to patient since each person’s body reacts a little differently. One reason that the strains offer such different effects is because of the terpenes. You want to find strains that have higher levels of caryophyllene, limonene, and myrcene, which are thought to be helpful for pain. 

White Widow Strain 

This is a balanced hybrid that has equal levels of indica and sativa in it. That balance could help with your severe pain, and it might also help combat the depression that many patients living with pain experience. The strain offers a nice body buzz, but it can also offer a mental high that is both cerebral and uplifting. That way, you can deal with your pain, but you will not be totally knocked out. Many people who suffer from migraines like to use this strain. 

You should keep in mind that this is a highly potent strain, so you will want to use it in moderation. Otherwise, you might find yourself with racing thoughts or be spaced out on the couch. This is a parent strain to The White, which has a good terpene profile for trying to treat pain. It includes caryophyllene, limonene, and myrcene. 

Blue Dream

Blue Dream

Even if you are not a medical marijuana patient, you will likely still like Blue Dream because of its high THC content and blueberry taste. You will get a strong and relaxing high. However, the strain does not leave you feeling sleepy. It can help you stay motivated and have a stronger level of focus. That might help to relieve your pain while helping you to still function.

If you have migraine headaches, this might be a good option for you. Since you can easily deal with many kinds of pain when using the strain, it is also popular for issues like injuries, muscle pain, and even depression. This is because of its uplifting effects.

Master Kush

This strain is dominant in indica, but it has a fairly high level of THC. Many people choose this strain to treat body pain, such as arthritis, similarly to Purple Kush. It offers a fairly blissful high that can numb your body, which is perfect for if you have achy joints. The good news is that only your body will be numbed, not your brain. That means that you can function well when you are taking this strain.

You will want to avoid taking too much of a good thing, however. If you do take too much, you might end up feeling anxious or dizzy. Taking this strain might make you feel more hungry than usual. In fact, if you have an eating disorder or a lack of appetite, this is a great choice for you. However, it is also popular among people with chronic pain and body aches, and it offers a refreshing high.

Harlequin

When you try a strain that has a lot of THC in it, you might feel like you can’t overcome the high and be productive, even if the strain is energizing and uplifting. That means that Harlequin is a good alternative since it is dominant in sativa. It still has a lot of CBD and has less than 10 percent THC. You will likely not feel any brain fog. If it does have an impact on your brain, it will most likely be both pleasant and mild.

Medical marijuana patients use this strain for many conditions. For instance, both nerve pain and fibromyalgia can be treated. It can also be used for nausea, joint pain, other chronic pain, and menstrual cramps. If you have work or chores to get done, this is the ideal strain for you.

Critical Mass

Critical Mass

If you want the pain to go away so you can sleep at night, you could try taking Critical Mass. The strain is dominant in indica and has a high level of THC in it. That can numb your body while sedating your brain while you sleep. This is a good strain if you suffer from insomnia as a result of chronic pain. It also could help relieve pain all over your body that might be caused by central pain or fibromyalgia.

Stay Ahead of Your Pain

It can be hard to treat pain, whether you are using cannabis or traditional medications. So, if you have chronic pain, you might want to try to get ahead of things. Think of pain like a snowball falling down a mountain. If you don’t stop it now, it might be unmanageable later on. If you were taking a traditional medication, you might take a baseline medication for your pain on a daily basis. Then, you might also get a stronger prescription for times when you were still in pain. 

Consider mimicking this when it comes to cannabis. You can try taking tiny doses throughout the day. You might take a few milligrams of THC or CBD oil, or you can try vaping several times a day. Then, when you have the highest levels of pain, you can go for more cannabis. 

You might also want to look for full-spectrum CBD oil to supplement your treatment. Try taking around 25 milligrams each day. Look for a high-quality product. Since the product is not very closely regulated, you might not always get what you pay for, so you should look for a company that you trust.

Getting the Right Dose

When you visit a doctor to look into getting medical cannabis, you will likely not get a certain dosage to take. Unlike with a traditional pharmacy, each dispensary will have different types of products. Each one will have varying amounts of CBD and THC. Trying to get the most consistent dose possible will be difficult.

When you smoke or vape, you might be getting different amounts of cannabinoids than if you were to take an edible. But you should still aim for consistency. Using as little as you can is cost-effective, but it will also help you avoid developing a tolerance to the herb.

Another tricky thing about dosing your marijuana is that at one dose, the cannabis might have a certain effect. But at a higher dose, you might get the opposite effect. For instance, at a lower dose, a sativa strain might make you feel energized and more focused. But if the dose is too high, you might end up feeling tired and drained.

Getting Consistent Doses

Getting Consistent Doses

You can get transdermal patches and pills if you want to get an exact amount of THC into your system. You can also look into getting a tincture. This is a liquid product, and the THC in it is already active, so you do not need to heat it. You will use a dropper to easily measure out the right amount of THC every time you take it. Then, you can place the drops under your tongue so it can be absorbed into your bloodstream right away. 

If you want to try microdosing, then a tincture is a good option. You might try taking 4 to 5 milligrams of THC throughout the day. You might want to start out taking it every two hours and then moving up.

This allows you to have a steady level of cannabinoids in your bloodstream, and the dose is small enough that you will not feel high. This might also make it less likely that you will become tolerant to the effects of THC or CBD.

Closing Thoughts

If you suffer from pain and other methods have not helped you, it might be worth looking into medical cannabis. There are many strains out there that might meet your needs, and experimentation can help you pick out the perfect one. 

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