With advancements in the weed industry as a whole, plant genetics have come a long way. We now better understand what indica and sativa strains mean, and breeders are even crossing genetics to better harness unique effects or benefits. This also means…we have a better understanding of what types work best for chronic pain too. Not only does chronic pain affect one in every five Canadiens, but the growing number of overdoses from opioids is making many patients seek alternative methods of healing.
Hence, the growing use of medical marijuana for chronic pain. In fact, a recent study concluded that two-thirds of patients with chronic pain saw improved help from using cannabis. So, which is the best type of strain to use…indica, sativa or hybrids? We’ll explore the differences between the genetics and how to choose the ideal strain for healing that works best for you.
Indica vs. Sativa vs. Hybrid
Before we understand strains that are best for pain, let’s first review the key differences in indica, sativa and hybrids cannabis genetics. Indica, sativa and hybrid refers to the plant’s original species and gene makeup. The classification identifies how the plant grows, the type of cannabinoids it produces, along with its specific terpenes, and flavonoids too.
The type of effects we feel from cannabis plants come from these unique combinations. Over the years ‘hybrid’ strains have emerged when indica and sativa genetics have crossed, to make a new gene altogether. This process occurs when a breeder purposely ‘mates’ male and female parent plants, to produce seeds of their ‘child’. These seeds are then sprouted, to produce the cross of the two genetics. For instance…when OG Kush and Durban Poison were ‘mated’, Girl Scout Cookies came from the legendary combo.
Next we’ll highlight the specific characteristics of each classification –
Indica plants are native to the middle-east and Asia regions of the world, originating from India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and even Turkey. When growing, indica genetics tend to be shorter in stature and wider, too. Their leaves are generally bigger than sativa plants, or thicker in size and shape.
- Common Effects: Indica strains are typically more relaxing and sedative in benefits. A ‘body buzz’ is common with indica genetics.
- Ideal for use: At nighttime, due to indica’s relaxing effects.
Sativa plants prefer hot, dry climates and originate from regions that support this climate. Including Africa, Asia, and Central America. While growing, sativa genetics grow skinny and tall with lesser bud sites. Their leaves are more slender in shape, and the genetics generally take longer to mature, too.
- Common Effects: Sativa strains are typically more cerebral in effects, and energizing, too. You’ll feel more motivated and focused, versus relaxed from indica strains.
- Ideal for use: In the daytime, due to sativa’s stimulation of productivity.
Hybrid strains are uniquely original, and are usually a combination of indica and sativas. Meaning you can find 50/50 hybrids, or some that lean more towards one of the classifications, like 70/30 Indica to Sativa or even 90/10. It all depends on the exact lineage of the genetics crossed, for what the end-product’s ratio will be. So, hybrids are far harder to classify for common effects or when to use them as this differs from strain to strain. This also applies to how they’ll grow or what their final appearance, or length to harvest will be.
Cannabis for Pain – How does it work?
Two recent studies are proving what many cannabis users have known for quite some time. That cannabis for relieving chronic pain is quite effective. One Harvard study reviewed six trials with over 325 patients, all reporting positive results for cannabinoids relieving pain. Specifically chronic pain from multiple sclerosis and neuropathic pain.
Another study from University of Michigan published by The Journal of Pain in 2016 had similar results. The trial not only showed that chronic pain patients had an improvement in the quality of life, but also reduced opioid use by 64%. In addition, cannabis was effective in reducing use of other medication and the presence of side-effects.
For the most part, cannabis – whether indica, sativa, or hybrid, works against pain in a few simple ways. First, many cannabinoids and terpenes are anti-inflammatory in nature. By reducing inflammation, you’ll feel less pain or discomfort overall. This helps a wide range of conditions considering inflammation has varied reactions depending on what area is ‘inflamed’. Like headaches, arthritis, and even depression.
CBD, and THC are equally showing to have pain relieving tendencies. They both interact with our body’s endocannabinoid system which is a network of neurotransmitters regulating a variety of functions. Including, their ability to influence pain receptors. While research catches up on the exact science, many cite equal ratios of CBD:THC as ideal for pain. As is an ‘entourage effect’ that comes from full-spectrum goods like flower, tinctures, and RSO. That means the product contains whole plant matter. Including, the entire spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that all amplify one another for stronger effects overall.
Top Indica, Sativa and Hybrid Strains for Pain
To help you navigate the world of cannabis for pain…we’ve put together a list of the top indica, sativa and hybrid strains that you can use to effectively and alternatively heal from morning to night.
- Pink Kush – Indica Dominant
- Blackberry – Indica Dominant
- Cherry Diesel – 50/50
- Dutch Hawaiian – Sativa Dominant
Medical Marijuana – Healing Pain Alternatively
As you can see…there’s not an exact science to choosing a strain that’s perfect for pain. A wide range of cannabinoids, terpenes and combinations can effectively relieve chronic pain that stems from a number of conditions. While it’s good to know what to look for, and which indica, sativa or hybrid is ideal for you…experimenting is key. Start browsing MMJDirect.co’s extensive collection of all three types of cannabis, available in flower, concentrate, edible, vaping, and tincture form. Chances are, we have the ideal blend for you!