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Best Cannabis Strains For Pain Relief: Marijuana & Hemp

More than 50 million people report experiencing pain on most days or daily, and pain relief is a huge reason people turn to medical cannabis. 

There’s a reason weed’s been used medicinally for centuries. It works. 

Medical cannabis strains are popular for their pain relieving potential. In states with medical cannabis laws, 30% of patients report using cannabis to manage pain. 

What are the best strains for pain? 

Here we’ll take a look at various weed strains used to support a variety of medical conditions. Keep reading to learn more about how cannabis works to relieve pain, the use of cannabis vs opioids for pain and some of the best cannabis strains for pain.

marijuana flower with colourful light

Key Takeaways: Best Weed Strains For Pain

  • Certain strains can have the ability to reduce chronic pain.
  • The endocannabinoid system plays an important role in how cannabis may relieve symptoms such as pain and stress.
  • Some cannabis strains have been shown to more effectively treat certain types of pain.
  • Weed is commonly used to aid other health conditions aside from chronic pain, including depression, anxiety and muscle spasms.

How Cannabis Works To Relieve Pain

Before we learn how the pain relieving potential of cannabis works (and the best strains to experience potential pain relief), it’s important to understand a bit more about pain itself. 

Pain is activated from specific segments of the brain. Specialized neurons known as nociceptors are responsible for causing the feeling we associate as pain. These cells also regulate pain signals. 

There are also different types of pain. Those times when you have pain without a physical injury (like a headache), as well as times you experience pain from a physical injury like an accident or sports injury.  

More research needs to be done on the exact way cannabis works to relieve pain but here’s what we know so far.

Certain neurons are responsible for causing pain signals. There’s a specific class of neurotransmitters known as endocannabinoids, however, which show to reduce the number of these cells that cause pain.

Endocannabinoids are part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and are activated when we consume cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. When these endocannabinoids are activated, chemicals are released that reduce pain. 

Here are the most common types of pain we experience:

cannabis flower in bloom

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain affects every aspect of daily life. It’s defined as pain that doesn’t go away after 3 months. It can come and go or be there all the time. 

It’s also one of the most complex pain conditions to treat. There are several causes of chronic pain, although sometimes its exact cause isn’t understood. 

While more research is needed, there are some studies that have found cannabis beneficial in treating chronic pain. In a 2017 study, over 60% of study participants experienced a reduction in central pain when using cannabis.

Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic pain is triggered by damage to nerve tissue, and is often caused by medical conditions that cause stabbing nerve discomfort. 

Cannabis shows some promising potential to support conditions that cause neuropathic pain, however.One study showed that 50% of patients felt a 50% of greater relief in nerve pain.

Nociceptive Pain

Nociceptive pain is mainly caused by body tissue damage. Typically resulting from bodily injury, this tissue pain can feel stabbing and persistent. 

The damage to body tissue increased inflammation making nociceptive pain notoriously hard to treat.

A few clinical studies have shown that inhaling cannabis can benefit this type of pain. Cannabinoids are thought to inhibit certain nociceptive receptors that are known to cause pain.

Cannabis VS Opioids for Pain

Unlike Marijuana, opioids are highly physically addictive so patients are seeking alternatives to treat pain.

One study showed that patients who had started using medical marijuana to relieve chronic pain experienced a 64% reduction in opioid use.

A 2017 survey of medical marijuana patients using cannabis for pain found that 97% of participants “strongly agreed/agreed” they can decrease the amount of opiates they take when they consume cannabis, and 81% “strongly agreed/agreed” that cannabis alone was more effective for managing pain than using cannabis and opioids. 

Research also shows that states that have passed medical marijuana legislation have experienced a reduction in opioid overdose rates. There are also studies that have shown that cannabis may be more beneficial than opioids in treating patients with non-cancer related pain and neuropathic pain.

The 7 Best Weed Strains for Pain Relief

Some strains are better for pain relief than others. 

The best strains to offer relief are those commonly used by medical marijuana consumers that work with the body’s chemistry and cannabinoid receptors. 

Following you’ll find the best strains that encourage pain free living with fewer side effects than traditional pain relieving medications.

1. White Widow

White Widow is a slightly indica dominant strain (60/40) with a THC levels upwards of 15%. Its major terpenes are terpinolene, limonene, myrcene and carene.

This strain produces feelings of euphoria and relaxation meaning it offers a balanced cerebral and physical high. White Widow is good for uplifting mood, reducing depression, and pain relief. 

Because it leans more on the heavy indica side of hybrid strains, White Widow will ease pain before inducing sedation.

2. Blueberry

Blueberry is a strong 80/20 indica-dominant hybrid cannabis strain with an average THC content of 16-22%. 

The strain’s dominant terpenes are myrcene, caryophyllene, humulene and pinene.

Blueberry causes euphoric, relaxing and sedating effects, making it ideal for those with anxiety, chronic pain and insomnia

The indica strain is perfect for letting the user physically and mentally unwind, before drifting to sleep.

3. OG Kush

OG Kush is a descendent of Hindu Kush, and is among the most popular strains for pain relief. With a 70/30 indica-sativa content, the powerful strain is used to treat pain and induce sleep. 

This potent strain has average THC levels of 20-25%.OG Kush’s major terps are myrcene, caryophyllene and limonene, resulting in a skunky aroma. It’s a great strain for relieving pain and treating chronic insomnia.

4. Northern Lights

Northern Lights is another indica dominant cannabis strain used for improving mood, boosting happiness and relaxing achy muscles. 

The strain has a spicy and pine aroma due to its terpene profile of myrcene, caryophyllene, humulene, pinene and limonene.

This marijuana strain tests between 15-20% THC on average. Yes, Norther Lights is one of the harder hitting indica strains.

Northern Lights is good for reducing anxiety, pain and depression, while offering full body relaxation.


ACDC is a popular strain due to its 20:1 High CBD-Low THC content. It’s shown to have potential therapeutic effects without causing extreme intoxication. 

ACDC has an extremely high CBD level, testing at about 20% CBD and 1-5% THC.

With a flavor profile consisting of sweet pine, wood and a hint of spice, ACDC’s major terps are myrcene, pinene, caryophyllene and limonene.

High CBD strains, such as ACDC, are largely considered medical cannabis that contain several therapeutic applications.

6. Cannatonic

One of the balanced CBD/THC strains (1:1), Cannatonic is used widely for its potential therapeutic effects. It has an average THC and CBD content of 5%-15%, respectively.

Cannatonic’s dominant terpenes are myrcene, limonene, pinene and caryophyllene, resulting in a woodsy aroma with notes of citrus and spice.

It’s suggested to be one of the best cannabis strains for reducing pain and promoting happiness. Cannatonic is popular with many MMJ patients due to its stress and pain relieving potential.

7. Harlequin

Harlequin is a 1:1 CBD/THC strain that’s commonly used as medical marijuana. Its CBD content is around 10%, making the THC levels also average 10%. This is how 1:1 cannabinoid ratios work.

Like other balanced strains, Harlequin is ideal for relieving symptoms associated with stress, chronic pain and sore muscles and joints. 

The sativa-dominant strain has a terpene that contains myrcene, caryophyllene, pinene and humulene.

Harlequin is great for providing relaxation and acute pain relief without being overly sedating.