Did you know that back pain is one of the leading causes of disability? The condition is associated with excruciating pain that makes it impossible for you to undertake basic tasks.
In the US, this condition affects approximately 10-30% of the adult population annually. Even worse, it has a lifetime prevalence of 65-80% among adults, which means that approximately 75% of US adults may experience pain at one point in their lives.
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But is it all gloom? Is there a way to alleviate the pain?
Well, research has shown that some strains of marijuana are highly potent in back pain eradication. This article explains how you can use the herb to alleviate pain and restore your quality of life.
Definition of Back Pain
Back pain is a condition that causes intense discomfort and pain in the back/spine. The condition is predominant and contributes significantly to disabilities.
If the condition is not treated in time, it may result in other complications. When that happens, the patient will experience high-degree anxiety, insomnia, loss of balance, and other associated comorbidities.
But what exactly causes this condition?
Well, back pain is more of a symptom than a disease. When you first feel pain in your spine, it could be a sign that you’re having conditions such as arthritis, nerve damage, or disk depletion.
As such, the condition manifests differently in people, depending on the underlying cause. For example, back pain associated with depleted disks/cartilage will be severe than the one associated with strenuous activities.
Symptoms of Back Pain
Treating back pain at the right time determines whether you get relief or not. As such, you should always be on the lookout for the initial symptoms.
Some of the symptoms that you should never ignore are:
- Sharp/stabbing pain originating from your leg/foot. This symptom is prevalent when you remain in one position for long.
- Dull ache on the lower back, causing intense discomfort. The lower back is the area most affected by back pain. Whenever you feel unexplained pressure on the spot, you should seek medical attention immediately.
- Sudden pain when bending, lifting, or standing up.
- Inability to stand upright and an overall reduction of the range of motion.
- Aching muscles are relieved when you lie down.
Whenever you experience these symptoms, you should never procrastinate seeking medical attention. The earlier you get the correct diagnosis, the easier it will be to rectify the problem.
Origin of Back Pain
Are you wondering how back pain starts? Well, this condition manifests differently among people. However, the pathogenesis of the disease is more or less the same in all patients.
In most cases, the pain will start after you undertake a strenuous activity. For example, when weight lifting, you may feel a sharp pain in your spine.
When the pain appears, no one knows when it will disappear! It could take a few hours to months. Based on the pain duration, the condition can be classified as follows:
- Acute Back Pain. This is pain that comes for a short time then disappears. Any back pain that lasts six weeks or less falls under this category. The pain is usually caused by a fall, weight lifting, or any other activity that may exert too much pressure on your spine.
- Chronic Back Pain. This refers to back pain that lasts more than three months. In most cases, this form of back pain will be a symptom of another underlying condition. The common causes of chronic pains include arthritis and obesity.
The exact cause of back pain may not be known by physical examination. As such, your doctor may recommend several imaging tests to pinpoint the precise cause of the problem.
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Some of the most common causes include:
- Muscle Spasms. The wrong posture when lifting heavy items may cause muscle strains that will cause back pain. Such exercises will lead to ligament and muscle injuries, which will present as intense pain.
- Structural Problems. This is the pain caused by deformities in the structure of the spine. It is caused by conditions such as disc ruptures, sciatica, bulging disc, and arthritis. For this type of back pain to be diagnosed, you should undergo imaging tests. The condition may also turn out to be chronic if your doctor does not perform corrective surgery on time.
- Sedentary Lifestyle. Living an unhealthy lifestyle will indeed cause you problems. It leads to excessive weight and fragile bones. This lack of fitness may lead to stubborn back pain.
- Ergonomic Issues. Your comfort will determine your chances of getting back pain. Things like your furniture, mattresses, and chair-size may lead to/aggravate your back pain. As such, you must always ensure that you get furniture that encourages you to sit upright.
- Pregnancy. A significant percentage of pregnant women will complain of back pain at one point or other in their pregnancy. The pain is caused by hormonal changes, an increase in weight, the fetus’s pressure to the back, and an overall shift in the center of gravity.
Structural Problems as a Cause of Back Pain – An In-Depth Analysis
As earlier indicated, structural problems are the leading cause of chronic back pain. These conditions alter the anatomy of the spine, thus causing too much friction between bones.
In this section, we delve into each structural condition to understand how it causes back pain:
- Arthritis. This is a common joint condition characterized by tenderness and inflammation of the joints. While any person can get it, it is more common among the elderly, worsening during the cold season. In most cases, this condition can only be managed.
- Sciatica. This condition is characterized by an alarming pain originating from the lower back and travels through the buttocks towards the legs.
- Ruptured Disc. Your spinal cord is made of different bones called vertebra. There is a disc between every two vertebrae that prevents direct interaction between the bones, leading to friction and pain. If any of these discs are ruptured, it will result in intense pressure on the nerves. If the condition is not rectified in time, it may lead to disability.
- Bulging Discs. This is a type of herniated disc, but it is only partially torn. Due to this, the disc is dislodged, thus causing pressure on nerves. The condition can be repaired through surgery, failure to which will result in a disability.
Now that you understand your spine’s anatomy and back pain causes, it is time to look at how marijuana can help alleviate pain.
So, does marijuana have any medical effects on back pain? In what form should you take it to benefit from its medicinal properties?
If these questions are running through your mind, then worry no more. This section will give an in-depth analysis of the use of marijuana for relieving pain when suffering from back pain. Read on.
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How to Use Medical Marijuana to Manage Back Pain
Medical Marijuana is known to have some of the most potent analgesic properties ever. When taken in the right doses, it can reduce your pain like no other pain killer.
Using medical marijuana for pain alleviation has been shown to have significant success. Its potency depends on several factors, including the degree of pain, administration method, and the recipient’s anatomy.
Research-Based Analysis on the Use of Medical Marijuana for Back Pain
Scientists have taken an interest in cannabis due to its reported medicinal properties. As a result, there exist many research studies that seek to establish the accuracy of this hypothesis.
This section will evaluate two types of research conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of medical marijuana in alleviating back pain.
In both studies, the use of marijuana products showed a significant reduction of pain and inflammation in patients.
This research was published in the Canadian Association Journal in 2010. It involved 23 participants who were given different types of marijuana. All the participants (both men and women) were suffering from chronic pain.
Interestingly, the participants were not aware of the drugs they were taking. They were given in different doses and were expected to record their pain degree daily (on a scale of 1-10).
After the research, the scientists noted that the participants who had taken high doses of marijuana reported a significant pain decrease (by 1 point). The study concluded that medical marijuana has powerful analgesic properties capable of alleviating chronic pain.
This study was conducted in 2016, and the findings were published in the Canadian Association Journal. In this study, chronic pain patients who used marijuana reported a significant drop in their pain levels.
The scientists recommended that patients with neuropathic conditions may smoke at most four puffs of marijuana to alleviate their pain. The study estimates that the four puffs equate to 400 mg a day and 9% of THC.
While marijuana shows positive results in chronic pain management, we recommend that you always consult your doctor for the right dosage.
Best Marijuana Strains for Back Pain Relief
Different strains of marijuana will offer varying pain relief benefits. As such, your understanding types of marijuanas will help you to choose the right one for your condition.
This section offers a highly detailed analysis of various strains of marijuana that you can use for alleviating back pain.
To help you understand the concept of the marijuana strains, we’ve simplified them into four specific categories as below:
- Terpene Caryophyllene. This is particularly helpful in alleviating pain and inflammation.
- Terpenes. These are organic compounds that are useful in providing flavor and aroma to medical marijuana.
- THC and CBD Hybrid. There is a balanced amount of the two compounds. These are the most useful and widely used strains. If you want to get the best results when using medical marijuana, you should find a THC and CBD product.
- Smoking and Vaporizing. This method is only recommended when you need a quick onset of action. It offers relief from pain within a few minutes.
While smoking and vaping techniques have a fast onset of action, we recommend using other healthier options, such as CBD-oil, edibles, and weed brownies.
Also, you should always seek a medical opinion before you start using medical marijuana. Most doctors will recommend products with the same THC to CBD ratio (the hybrid strain).
However, the doctor will evaluate the condition and decide the best product. Here’s how the constituents of the hybrid products work:
- Products high in THC are better at relieving pain. They are ideal for managing anxiety and muscle strains.
- Products high in CBD are best for relieving back pain and reducing inflammation.
As such, the ratio of the two marijuana types will depend on the condition you are managing.
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Best Strains for Back Pain
This is a THC dominant product that has the following features:
- Primary Terpenes include Limonene, Linalool, Caryophyllene, and Myrcene
- THC cannabinoid dominant profile
- Indica dominant (THC 23.5% and CBD 0%)
- Has different flavors, including lemon, citrus, spicy, and lime
- The natural smell, old forest, and dank aromas available
The product has cerebral, euphoric, uplifting, calming, and spacy effects. It helps in relieving back pain, eliminating insomnia, reducing inflammation, and reducing anxiety.
OG Kush Description
This is a popular product used for both recreational and medicinal purposes. It has numerous medicinal benefits, which makes it one of the best medical marijuana strains.
The product is common among people suffering from depression, anxiety, and ADHD. It helps to increase concentration and eliminate anxiety in such patients.
Additionally, the product reduces migraines and eliminates muscle spasms. It is high in THC, making it the best for inflammation reduction and relieving neuropathic pain.
Due to its benefits in pain and anxiety alleviation, its proponents have created many sub-phenotypes, including Ghost OG, GSC, Fire OG, and Tahoe. One of the most commonly used sub-phenotype is Headband (discussed below).
This strain has the following unique features:
- Terpene Composition: Alpha Pinene, Caryophyllene, Limonene, Beta Pinene, Myrcene, and Linalool
- Dominant Cannabinoid Profile: THC dominant
- Sativa or Indica Dominance: The product is sativa dominant (has 25% THC and 0.15% CBD)
- Therapeutic Effects: Gorilla Glue has favorable medicinal effects to relieve chronic pain, depression, and insomnia.
- Potential Effects: It numbs, sedates, and relaxes the patient. It also induces sleep.
- Flavors: Available in diesel, chocolate, and coffee flavors.
- Aroma: Has spunky and pungent aroma with a unique earthy/pinewood smell.
Gorilla Glue Description
Gorilla Glue has high THC levels, making it one of the most effective psychoactive strains of medical marijuana.
However, this product should only be taken under medical supervision. It has high potency, and it can be counterproductive when misused.
If used in the right doses, it offers a quick onset of action, and it relieves back pain fast. It also exists in a hybrid strain that combines sour diesel and classic diesel strains.
The hybrid version is more potent and can have an even better onset of action. This strain can be overwhelming due to its high potency, especially when you have a low tolerance to drugs.
However, you should only use this product after visiting your marijuana doctor.
This marijuana strain has the following features:
- Terpenes Composition: Myrcene, Caryophyllene, and Limonene
- Cannabinoid Dominant Profile: This is a CBD-dominant product (0.85% THC and 20% CBD)
- Sativa/ Indica Dominance: ACDC is a hybrid product
- Therapeutic Effects: Ideal for managing nerve pain, PTSD, anxiety, seizures, and paranoia
- Potential Effects: The product makes you happy, uplifts your spirit, and increases concentration
- Flavors: Available in citrus, spicy, and sweet flavors
- Aroma: It comes in juicy citrus and earthy sweetness aromas
The ACDC strain has a low THC level, and its psychoactive effects are minimal. As such, you can use the product and continue with your daily activities normally.
If you want a product that you can use during the day with minimal side effects, then the ACDC strain will fit the bill. It relieves back pain, boosts your energy levels, and alleviates stress & anxiety.
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This strain has the following unique features:
- Terpene Composition: D-Limonene, Linalool, Caryophyllene, Alpha-Pinene, and Beta-Myrcene
- Cannabinoid Dominance Profile: Harlequin is CBD-dominant
- Sativa/ Indica Dominance: The product is Sativa dominant (7% THC and 10% CBD)
- Therapeutic Effects: Ideal for back pain management, muscle spasms, and seizures. It also helps in fighting nausea.
- Potential Effects: It energizes, relaxes, and uplifts the spirit of the user
- Flavors: Available in herbs, vanilla, and mango flavors
- Aroma: This product has a sweet aroma with an impressive hint of mango
Harlequin strain is one of the lightest strain, ideal for newbies in the medical marijuana industry. It has relatively low THC content and high CBD levels than other strains.
As such, the product offers pain relief and muscle relaxation without causing any undesirable psychoactive effects.
The product is commonly used in managing muscle spasms, joint pains, and inflammatory conditions. If you have never tried any other marijuana product, then the Harlequin strain would be an ideal starting point.
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Below is a detailed profile of the Blackberry Kush strain:
- Terpenes Composition: The product contains Cineol, Limonene, Caryophyllene, Menthol, and Pinene
- Cannabinoid Dominance Profile: THC dominant
- Sativa/ Indica Dominance: Blackberry Kush strain has 0.4% CBD and 18% THC
- Therapeutic Effects: It relieves depression, muscle spasms, and chronic pain
- Potential Effects: The strain has sedation, euphoria, numbing, and high-body effects
- Flavors: The product is available in blackberry, earthy, and diesel flavors
- Aroma: It has a sweet blackberry aroma
This is one of the sweetest medical marijuana strain you’ll ever find in the market. The high THC concentration offers a fast onset of action, thus giving back pain relief.
However, it has intense psychoactive effects, and it may not be the best for newbies. Also, you should only take it at night, preferably a few minutes before bedtime.
Here are the unique features of this strain:
- Terpene Composition: It contains Myrcene, Limonene, and Ocimene
- Cannabinoid Dominance Profile: This product is THC dominant (it has 0% CBD and 23% THC)
- Sativa/ Indica Dominance: Headband strain is Indica-dominant
- Therapeutic Effects: This strain is useful in managing insomnia, muscle spasms, loss of appetite, and chronic pain
- Potential Effects: The product sedates and relaxes the patient. It also has cerebral and spacy effects.
- Flavors: Available in earthy, vanilla, sour, lemon, and diesel flavors
- Aroma: It comes with a spicy, lemon stench aroma with earthy tones and hints of lavender.
The headband strain has incredible analgesic properties with a unique ability to alleviate muscle aches, chronic pain, anxiety, back pain, and ADHD. Once you take this strain, you’ll experience incredible cerebral effects almost instantly. The intense relaxation will induce sleep. However, you should avoid taking this strain during the day since it may reduce your vigor to accomplish your daily tasks.
The Candyland Strain
Here’s the unique composition of the Candyland strain:
- Terpenes Composition: This product contains Beta Myrcene, Linalool, Alpha Pinene, and Alpha Humulene.
- Cannabinoid Dominance Profile: The product is THC-dominant (THC 14% and CBD 0%)
- Sativa/ Indica Dominance: Candyland is Sativa dominant
- Therapeutic Effects: Offers relief against chronic pain, nausea, fatigue, and anxiety
- Potential Effects: The product leads to an increase in appetite, sedation, and relaxation
- Flavors: This product has earthy, pine, and candy flavors
- Aroma: Has spicy, sweet, earthy, herbal, and piney aromas
The Candyland Strain has a significantly high THC level (14%), which offers a soothing and uplifting effect on the patients. It helps in muscle relaxation and relieves back pain fast.
However, we recommend that you talk to your marijuana doctor before you start using this product. If you’re a newbie, you should consider starting with low doses.
You should also avoid taking the Candyland strain during the day since it has strong sedative and spacy effects. It will make you generally sleepy and weak, which will affect your productivity in your daily activities.
Additionally, you can use the Candyland strain for both recreational and medicinal purposes. When used in low quantities, it gives impressive energy bursts that would help you stay happy without sedative effects.
The strain is among the few cannabis products that have cannabichromene (CBC) content. This binds to the pain receptors, thus reducing pain without causing much intoxication.
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Medical Marijuana Plant for Alleviating Back Pain
In the analysis of the strain above, we concentrated on the percentages of CBD and THC. However, you should consider several other factors when selecting the best medical marijuana plant for back pain.
You should understand the cannabis type that your doctor prescribes. Here is an analysis of the three types of cannabis plants available:
- Sativa. This strain has more THC than CBD, but variations are present. As such, it offers an energizing and motivating experience for its users.
- Indica. It has a higher amount of CBD and low THC content with certain variations. It provides deep body relaxation.
- Hybrid Strain (mixes Sativa and Indica). The hybrid strain provides an equal mix of Sativa and Indica. It has a wide range of applications, including pain eradication, stress relief, reducing muscle spasms, and anxiety.
Research-based findings on Indica and Sativa’s use show that the former is more effective in relieving pain. Participants in research studies report that Indica relieves back pain, neuropathy, joint pain, and headaches fast. Additionally, Indica has more sleeping benefits than Sativa.
Here is a summary of the benefits of using cannabis for back pain management:
- Restores Vigor. The use of cannabis eliminates chronic pain, which helps you to become active and regain your vigor.
- Relaxes Muscles. Medical Marijuana has various chemicals that relax muscles significantly. The relaxation helps in relieving chronic pain.
- It eliminates the Side Effects of Back Pain. When you’re experiencing intense back pains, you’re likely to get other comorbidities such as insomnia and anxiety. Marijuana has been shown to manage these side effects adequately, thus improving your quality of life.
Benefits of THC Dominant Marijuana Strain When Managing Back Pain
THC is one of the most widespread components of managing epileptic patients. It helps in reducing neuropathic and central pain, thus improving the quality of life of the patients.
Additionally, several research studies have linked the use of THC-rich products to pain reduction in cancer, fibromyalgia, and AIDS patients. When other treatments fail to alleviate pain, doctors will prescribe THC due to its strong analgesic properties.
Also, a study has linked THC to an increase in the levels of serotonin and dopamine hormones. When the patient takes this product, they will be happier, and their degree of pain will reduce significantly.
As a result, the patient will achieve both pain relief and mood uplift. A THC-rich product is ideal for any individual in pain and depression at the same time.
Benefits of CBD Dominant Strain Products for Back Pain Management
CBD stands for Cannabinoids. This product is used to sedate, relieve pain, and relax muscles. It can either be used alone or as a CBD-THC hybrid.
When used alone, the product relieves pain and eliminates inflammatory pain caused by injuries and arthritis.
Two animal studies conducted to determine the efficacy of medical marijuana on alleviated back pain showed positive results.
In one of the studies, the participants used topical CBD, which reduced inflammation and pain in arthritis. The other study also showed a reduction in neuropathic and inflammatory pain neuropathic and inflammatory pain.
Wondering how CBD helps in pain alleviation? This is how:
- CBD blocks the mediators that cause inflammation. As a result, the existing inflammation will reduce and eventually disappear.
- CBD blocks glycine receptors. These receptors regulate the pain that affects the spine. When blocked, the patient will experience sudden relief from the pain.
High in THC, High in CBD, or Hybrid? Which is Best for Back Pain Relief?
The amount of THC or CBD you find in a marijuana product will directly determine its efficacy in managing back pain.
If you want both THC and CBD’s benefits, you should consider choosing a hybrid strain containing a 1:1 CBD to THC ratio.
Like we’ve earlier indicated, THC is best for neuropathic pain, while CBD is recommended for inflammatory pain. As such, your doctor will assess your condition and determine the right product for your back pain.
However, the most widely prescribed products contain both CBD and THC strains. The combination will offer superb pain alleviation while relaxing your muscles and allowing you to continue with your work.
Other possible prescriptions for back pain include:
- Hybrid product with high CBD and low THC. The doctor may prescribe this strain if your back pain is accompanied by inflammation. It helps eliminate THC’s psychoactive effects, thus ensuring that you continue with your daily activities with minimal interruptions.
- A hybrid product with high THC and low CBD. This is the most prescribed strain when managing chronic back pain. This strain not only alleviates back pain but also relaxes muscles. It should be taken just before bedtime since it may make you a bit spacy.
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Methods Used to Administer Medical Marijuana for Back Pain
Now that you’ve understood the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana, it’s time that we check on various methods of administration available. The method you choose will affect the onset of action and the overall efficacy.
Additionally, the application methods will affect the side effects that the marijuana product may have on your body. As such, we advise that you follow your marijuana doctor’s recommendation strictly.
Some of the application options available include:
These are marijuana products that are applied topically. They come in different formulations, including ointments, lotions, salves, and sprays. This application method is recommended when seeking relief against tendonitis, joint pain, localized inflammation, and spasms.
Once you apply the products to your skin, they get absorbed immediately. As a result, you’ll be guaranteed a fast onset of action.
This method comes in two different forms: inhalation and smoking. The technique offers a quick onset of action. You’ll start feeling the effect within the first five minutes after inhalation.
Once you inhale the medical marijuana, it will go directly to your lungs.
To speed the absorption more, most of the vaporizing cartridges can heat the marijuana to a given temperature, which guarantees the steam’s melting. This will consequently result in faster absorption.
This method offers a relatively fast absorption of marijuana. When using tinctures, you’ll need an eyedropper to place a few drops of the product under the tongue. You may swallow the product without any effect.
If you want a highly concentrated marijuana dose, then you should select this option. It offers highly therapeutic effects even when used in small doses.
When you’re starting with CBD oil, the doctor will recommend that you start with small doses and scale it up on a need basis.
Due to its high marijuana concentration, CBD oil is the best product for managing chronic back pain. It guarantees a fast onset of action and top-notch pain relief.
If you’re looking for a long-lasting pain-relieving effect with minimal psychoactive and psychotropic effects, then you should consider edible marijuana formulations.
However, edibles will have a slower onset of action, and it may take some time before you start experiencing its benefits.
This is because the product has to pass through the digestive system. As such, it must be absorbed and metabolized by the liver before you start experiencing its therapeutic effects.
Despite these limitations, the edibles are believed to be one of the healthiest medical marijuana administration options.
Did you know that you can take medical marijuana as part of your favorite juice? Well, this method is safe and reliable.
It shows no psychoactive effects, and it is considered a healthy option for medical marijuana administration.
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The Bottom Line
If you’ve experienced back pain in the past, then you’ll agree that the condition can make your life miserable. It makes it difficult for you to undertake your daily activities and lead to disabilities if not well managed.
As such, you should never ignore even the slightest sign/symptom of back pain. This article has detailed all the symptoms that you should never ignore.
Luckily, research studies have shown that medical marijuana has immense potential to alleviate back pain. Most consumers opine that marijuana products offer incredible relief from pain and improves their quality of life.
However, you will need a thorough medical assessment by a marijuana doctor before using the products. This way, you’ll get a personalized marijuana strain that will work the best for your condition.
This article highlights all the available marijuana strains that you can use for managing back pain. Have you used any of the strains in your pain management? How was your experience using the product? Feel free to share your experiences with us.
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