Best UK Medical Cannabis Strains for Interstitial Cystitis | CAC
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Best UK Medical Cannabis Strains for Interstitial Cystitis

Medical Cannabis for Interstitial Cystitis

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Interstitial Cystitis (IC) is a bladder pain disorder characterized by an inflamed or irritated bladder. This chronic condition can cause scarring and stiffening of the bladder wall, which in turn increases pain. IC affects 14 million people in the UK. More women than men are affected by IC, as 90% of IC patients are women.  

Key Takeaways

  • Medical cannabis offers diverse strains: Different strains provide tailored relief for various symptoms of interstitial cystitis, from pain and inflammation to stress and nausea.
  • Consult medical professionals: Only doctors registered on the General Medical Council’s Specialist Register can prescribe medical cannabis in the UK, ensuring that you receive safe and appropriate treatment.
  • Multiple consumption methods: Legal methods include vaping, tinctures, edibles, and topicals; each offering different benefits and onset times.
  • Potential side effects: As with any medication, medical cannabis may have side effects such as dry mouth, dizziness, and fatigue; always monitor and discuss them with your specialist.
  • Medication interactions: Always inform your prescribing specialist of any other medications or treatments to avoid potential interactions with medical cannabis.
  • Leave a review: Share your experience and insights with others considering medical cannabis as a treatment option by leaving a medical cannabis review for your clinic. Your knowledge can help others make informed decisions about their health and well-being.

Symptoms of interstitial cystitis include the following:

  • significant pain in the pelvic area
  • sudden, strong urges to urinate 
  • waking up several times per night to urinate
  • needing to urinate more often than normal

Symptoms can last for days or weeks and usually come in bouts. These flare ups can be triggered by stress, hormone changes, diet, and other factors. 

Patients may experience changes in frequency, urgency, and pain. Frequency can include during the day and/or night. Patients may have a sudden urge to urinate along with pain, spasms, or pressure. Pain can occur in the abdominal, urethral, or vaginal areas. 

Medical Cannabis Strains for Interstitial Cystitis

What causes IC?

Some potential causes of this condition include damage to the bladder lining. It is possible that this damage may mean urine can irritate the bladder, muscles, and nerves in the pelvic area.  It is also associated with many different disorders such as chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, migraine, panic disorders, depression, and fibromyalgia. 

Scientists believe that the nerve signals send wrong signals that there is a need to urinate, although the urge is not real or only the response to a very small amount of urine. It’s as though the bladder is tricking the mind into thinking it has to urinate. 

Can medical cannabis help reduce the symptoms of internal cystitis?

Cannabis-based medicinal products may offer patients with IC relief from their symptoms. The medicinal properties of cannabis make it effective in treating chronic pain, inflammation, and muscle spasms — all of which are common symptoms of IC. 

As cannabinoids (namely THC and CBD) interact with the endocannabinoid system, the body’s natural system responsible for maintaining balance, they can help to reduce pain and inflammation. In addition, cannabis may also act as a muscle relaxant, helping to relieve the spasms that can cause pelvic pain in IC patients.

The importance of finding the right strain for interstitial cystitis patients

Finding the right strain will help a patient manage symptoms more quickly and effectively. Sativa, indica and hybrid strains offer different assortments of benefits. For example, Pineapple Express is a sativa-dominant strain that offers pain relief, anxiety reduction, and chronic fatigue syndrome. 

Not all medical cannabis strains produce the same effects, and each patient will have somewhat of a different experience depending on their condition and genetics. Some strains are better than others for interstitial cystitis patients, so it is essential to find the right strain that works best for individual symptoms.

Medical Cannabis Strains for Interstitial Cystitis

What are the best UK medical cannabis strains for IC?

While all patients will have different experiences with cannabis, some strains have been shown to be particularly beneficial for the symptoms of IC.

Fiji Sunset

  • Type: Sativa-dominant hybrid
  • THC: 25%
  • CBD: >0.1%
  • Effects: Known for helping with nausea, this strain also offers relaxation and pain relief.

French Cookies

  • Type: Sativa-dominant
  • THC: 19.25% – 23%
  • CBD: 0.44% – 0.61%
  • Effects: Provides stress relief and can help with pain and inflammation.

Girl Scout Cookies

  • Type: Indica-dominant
  • THC: 19% – 28%
  • CBD: <1%
  • Uses: Offers profound relaxation and pain relief, particularly effective for evening use due to its sedative effects.

Gelato 33

  • Type: Hybrid
  • THC: 19.33% – 21.67%
  • CBD: 0.2% – 0.53%
  • Uses: Known for its stress-relieving and pain management properties, it also offers a balanced high suitable for daytime use.

These are just a few of the many options available for IC patients, but before you make any decisions, you must consult with a medical professional. In the UK, only doctors registered on the General Medical Council’s Specialist Register can prescribe medical cannabis. It is essential to have a proper diagnosis and treatment plan in place before considering medical cannabis as an option.

Medical Cannabis Strains for Interstitial Cystitis

How to take medical cannabis for interstitial cystitis

In the UK, current legal, medical cannabis consumption methods include inhalation, edibles, topical creams, and tinctures. 


The UK medical cannabis program does not currently allow smoking cannabis flower. Smoking poses too much of a health risk. 


Vaping is a popular and efficient way to consume medical cannabis. It involves inhaling the vaopur of dried cannabis flower, extracts or concentrates through a vaporiser, which heats the product without burning it. This reduces the potential harm to the lungs and makes for a more pleasant experience.

Inhalation offers rapid onset of effects, making it ideal for patients seeking quick relief from symptoms such as pain or anxiety.


Medical cannabis oils/tinctures can be taken subliungually, meaning they are placed under the tongue for absorption. This method allows the cannabinoids to enter the bloodstream and produce effects more quickly than edibles, making it another option for patients seeking fast relief.


Edibles can also be an effective way to consume medical cannabis. These include capsules, oils, tinctures, annd sprays. These can be added to food or drinks, making them a discreet and easy way to consume cannabis for those who do not want to inhale it.

However, edibles may take longer to take effect compared to inhalation. Patients should start with a low dose and increase gradually to find the most effective dosage for their symptoms.


Topical cannabis products, such as creams and ointments, can be applied directly to the skin for localized pain relief. This method is ideal for those who do not want to experience any psychoactive effects of cannabis. However, topicals may not provide relief for internal symptoms of IC.

Medical Cannabis Strains for Interstitial Cystitis

Medical cannabis for internal cystitis FAQs

How should I dose medical cannabis for interstitial cystitis?

Your prescribing specialist will be the one who determines the dosage and method of consumption for your medical cannabis treatment. They will consider factors such as your condition, symptoms, weight, age, and previous experience with cannabis.

It is important to follow their recommendations and not exceed the prescribed dosage. Starting low and gradually increasing until you find relief from your symptoms is the best approach.

Are there any side effects of medical cannabis for interstitial cystitis?

As with any medication, there can be potential side effects when using medical cannabis. These may include dry mouth, changes in appetite, dizziness, and fatigue. It is important to discuss any potential side effects with your prescribing specialist.

Can medical cannabis interact with other medications or treatments for interstitial cystitis?

Yes, medical cannabis may interact with certain medications and treatments for IC. It is essential to inforrm your prescribing specialist of any other medications or treatments you are taking to avoid any potential interactions.


While there is still much research needed on the effectiveness and best practices for using medical cannabis to treat interstitial cystitis, many patients have reported positive results. It is crucial to work closely with a prescribing specialist and follow their recommendations for safe and effective treatment.

If you have any recommendations from your experience, please leave a medical cannabis review for your clinic. Your insights and expertise are invaluable to those considering medical cannabis as a treatment option.