What Are The Best Indica Strains For Pain Relief? | CAC
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What Are The Best Indica Strains For Pain Relief?

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Chronic pain issues are among the most often prescribed conditions in the UK medical cannabis community, and it is pretty easy to see why. Pain is an unwanted passenger that causes major disruptions to daily life, can be difficult to manage, and is a symptom of just so many conditions.

Key Takeaways

  • Chronic pain is a common condition that can be difficult to manage, and pain is a symptom of many health issues.
  • Medical cannabis is often prescribed for its analgesic (pain-relieving) properties
  • Indica strains are known for their relaxing and sedative effects, making them suitable for pain relief

While there are a bunch of conventional pharmacological options for pain management, they come with the risk of heavy side effects, and even dependence issues.  Many people are now turning to natural remedies like medical cannabis. In particular, Indica strains high in THC and CBD offer patients effective relief from pain and other symptoms associated with chronic conditions, with much lower risks.

Indica strains are known for their sedative effects, making them perfect for evening or bedtime use, when pain often strikes and sleep evades. These strains offer deep relaxation and may also have anti-inflammatory properties.

Choosing the best indica cannabis strain for pain relief starts with understanding your unique needs and preferences. Having an open, honest conversation with your prescribing specialist is also imperative to determine the best treatment plan for you.

Understanding Indica Strains

Indica cannabis genetics were first identified in the Hindu Kush region, a mountain range that stretches from Afghanistan to Pakistan. These plants are short, dense, and bushy with wide leaves. They tend to have a higher concentration of CBD than Sativa strains.

Indica effects, in general, include muscle relaxation, pain relief, decreased nausea and increased appetite, making them a great choice for those struggling with chronic pain and related issues like appetite loss and sleep deprivation.

This array of effects relates to the higher CBD to THC ratios than you might find in Sativa dominant options, and also the dominant terpenes produced by many Indica strains. Beta-caryophyllene, linalool, and myrcene are common terpenes found in Indica strains that have been shown to offer anti-inflammatory properties, making them ideal for pain relief.

What Are The Best Indica Strains For Pain Relief?

Leafly, one of the largest cannabis-specific online resources,  provides a list of over 600 indica strains for pain relief, but with so much choice, how are you supposed to know which one is right for you?

Thankfully, The Journal of Headache and Pain released their own clinical review looking into this exact question and whittled down the options to just forty-two specific strains – for several different categories of pain.

Of the 42 patient-preferred strains for pain, a few Indica options rose to the top:

  • Afghani
  • Alien OG
  • Black Tuna (hybrid but Indica-dominant)
  • Blueberry
  • Bubba Kush
  • Cheese (hybrid but Indica-dominant)
  • Master Kush
  • OG Kush (hybrid but Indica-dominant)
  • OG Shark (hybrid but Indica-dominant)
  • Pink Kush
  • Purple Kush
  • Rockstar (hybrid but Indica-dominant)
  • Skywalker OG
  • Watermelon (hybrid but Indica-dominant)

Many of the strains on the above list are either pure Indica or Indica-dominant hybrids. The effects of each indica or hybrid can vary significantly based on the growing conditions and the specific chemical compound combinations in each, including terpenes and cannabinoids.

The clear winner, in the eyes of the patients, was OG Shark – an Indica-dominant hybrid with a potent THC/CBD ratio.

How To Choose The Best Indica Strain For Pain Relief

Individual reactions to each type of cannabis strain can vary significantly based on many factors, including how the cannabis was grown, how your body reacts to certain phytochemical ratios, the severity of pain, and the specific type of pain.

The ultimate choice comes down to your personal preference and what you find most effective. You may need to try a few different strain options before you find the right fit. Some factors to consider when choosing an Indica strain for pain relief include:

  • THC and CBD levels: THC is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, responsible for the “high” feeling. It also has pain-relieving properties. On the other hand, CBD is known for its anti-inflammatory and calming effects. Finding a balance between these two compounds may be key to effectively managing pain.
  • Terpene profiles: Terpenes are compounds responsible for the aroma and flavour of weed plants, but they are also being shown to offer therapeutic benefits. Beta-caryophyllene and linalool, commonly found in Indica strains, have been linked to anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Method of consumption: UK Medical weed cannot be legally smoked, but you are allowed to vaporise, ingest, or use it in tincture form. Each method has its own unique effects and onset time. Experimenting with different methods to see which one works best for your pain is important.

Since most pain patients prefer hybrids, finding a more balanced THC-to-CBD ratio can be a good start. Depending on your levels of pain, you may want to explore different potency levels of each type of cannabinoid to find which one provides the most satisfying relief.

While the NHS does not offer medical cannabis solutions for pain issues, private cannabis clinics can help guide you towards finding the best strain and dosage for your specific pain needs. Remember to always consult with a medical professional before starting any new treatment plan, including using medical marijuana for pain relief.

So, while OG Shark may be a top choice for pain patients, it’s important to research and experiment to find the best strain for you.

Dosage And Consumption Method Considerations

Your prescribing doctor will almost certainly advise that you “start low, go slow”.

But what does that actually mean?

Every single UK medical marijuana patient will react differently to each strain and method of consumption, so finding your optimal dose can take some experimentation. It’s always best to begin with the recommended dose of lowest and slowly increase as needed.

  • Vaping – start with one or two inhales and wait 30 minutes before taking more. Effects are felt fully within 15 minutes and last for around 2 hours.
  • Edibles and capsules – start with a 5 to 10 mg dose. The full effects will take anywhere between 1 and 2 hours, so don’t take another dose until a few hours have passed.
  • Tincture oils – Medical cannabis oils are usually taken sublingually, directly under the tongue. Begin with a few drops (5 to 10 mg) and work your way up as needed. The effects should be fully felt within 15 minutes, and last 2 hours.
  • Topicals – Transdermal patches, balms, and creams can relieve localised pain without any psychoactive effect.

Regulation of Cannabinoid Suppliers in the UK


Are Indica or Sativa strains better for pain relief?

Both Indica and Sativa strains can offer pain relief, but the type of pain and individual reaction to each strain will vary. Generally, Indica strains are known for their sedative properties, which may be more effective for certain types of pain.

What is the best Indica strain for pain?

According to a clinical review, OG Shark was the preferred Indica strain for pain relief among patients. However, everyone reacts differently to different strains, so it’s important to find the best one for your specific needs.

Can medical marijuana help with pain?

Yes, medical cannabis has been shown to have pain-relieving properties. It interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate pain, mood, inflammation, and other bodily functions. However, it’s important to consult with a medical professional before starting any new treatment plan.

How do I get a UK medical weed prescription for pain?

While the NHS does offer prescriptions for three specific conditions, pain is not one of them. However, there are private clinics that specialise in prescribing medical cannabis for pain relief in the UK.

Final Thoughts On The Best Indica For Pain

Finding the best Indica strain for your specific pain issues can take a little trial and error. This only highlights just how important it is to seek the guidance of a specialist who is experienced in the use of medical cannabis for chronic pain management.

They can help guide you towards the right strain, product, dosage size, and consumption method based on your individual needs.

Medical weed can help you move away from heavy pharmaceuticals and towards a more natural and gentle approach to finding relief from pain. With the right strain and dosage, you may find that Indica cannabis can provide effective long-term pain management without harsh side effects.