For the longest time, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) got the spotlight all to itself. It’s no wonder, because that’s the cannabis compound, which produces the psychoactive effects everyone associates with marijuana. But the other prominent cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), has become increasingly popular. The more researchers, doctors and patients learn about the compound’s benefits, the more accessible it is. There are now plenty of marijuana products and cannabis flower touting high levels of CBD.
Many people’s first reason for choosing CBD-rich cannabis is because the compound won’t make you feel high, which is preferable for many people. But another powerful upside of CBD is its incredible anti-inflammatory properties.
That’s why people with long-term health conditions, which feature inflammation like irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes and arthritis, turn to CBD for help. It also means CBD can help soothe pain and reduce inflammation after an injury.
So why is CBD effective in relieving pain? And which marijuana strains offer the most relief after an injury?
CBD’s Powerful Anti-Inflammatory & Anti-Pain Properties Come With Little to No Side Effects
Inflammation is a necessary part of the healing process. When your body recognizes an injury or infection, it sends fluids and white blood cells to the affected site to protect it.
However, the body’s inflammatory response can often be excessive; this can lead to prolonged inflammation and a range of other problems.
That’s where CBD comes in. A 2010 review of animal, in vitro and human studies from the University of South Carolina shows that CBD can suppress the body’s inflammatory response. This is due to the way it affects the cells that modulate the immune system. CBD also affects the production of cytokine and chemokine, which are small proteins that regulate certain functions in the immune response. So, taking CBD as part of an injury treatment plan can help reduce inflammation and speed up the healing process.
Looking beyond its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD is also helpful when you’re faced with an injury thanks to its ability to fight pain. There are now several studies, like one published in Current Neuropharmacology, which touts CBD’s anti-pain properties. CBD has been shown to ease several different kinds of chronic and acute pain, specifically in relieving neuropathic, inflammatory and oncologic pain.
Another plus with CBD for injuries is its lack of side effects. Even the World Health Organization has noted that CBD doesn’t have any abuse potential. Compare that to the common pharmaceuticals people often take for pain, such as various opioids, which carry a laundry list of scary side effects like dependence and even death.
Here are our top six picks of CBD-rich cannabis strains, which can help quell inflammation and pain. One of these strains may be the key to getting you feeling more comfortable and helping speed up the recovery process after an injury.
1. Harlequin Soothes Injuries & Boosts Mood
Clocking in at 8–16% CBD, Harlequin is a sativa-dominant strain popular among medical marijuana patients. With a consistent CBD-to-THC ratio of 5:2, it offers effective relief from inflammation and neuropathic pain.
Harlequin also delivers very mild psychoactive effects that provide a slight mood boost. So, if your injury has you feeling a little down, it may just push you into a more positive space. You may also enjoy Harlequin’s pleasant aroma of earthy musk with an undertone of tropical fruit that’s sure to tickle the taste buds.
2. ACDC Fights Pain but Leaves You With a Clear Head
Featuring exceptionally high levels of CBD, 20–24%, with very little THC, ACDC offers strong pain relief. And while most ACDC consumers won’t feel any psychoactive effects, you may feel slightly altered if you’re especially sensitive to THC.
Besides being a good option for easing pain asociated with injuries, consumers also report that ACDC promotes focus. So, this could be the strain for you if you’d like to medicate during the day, but still need to be productive.
3. Cannatonic Will Help You Relax After an Injury
A hybrid strain bred by Spanish company Resin Seeds, Cannatonic is popular among medical marijuana patients due to its high levels of CBD (6–17%) and low THC content (typically 6% or lower).
Cannatonic produces a relaxed, warm sensation that some consumers report almost feels like numbing—this may be just what you need to feel after an injury. The great thing about Cannatonic is that because of the CBD to THC ratio, it reduces inflammation and alleviates pain without disrupting your regular day-to-day activities.
4. Sour Tsunami Was Created as an Opioid Alternative for Back Pain
Sour Tsunami was one of the very first strains specifically bred to have high CBD content (11–14%)—because the cannabis breeder who created the strain suffered from back pain. He developed Sour Tsunami specifically to make his own medicine so he could get off of opioids.
With a CBD-to-THC ratio of about 1:1, Sour Tsunami produces almost no psychoactive effects. This is due to the low levels of THC and because CBD has been shown to counteract THC’s psychoactive effects.
This means recreational cannabis consumers rarely choose Sour Tsunami. But among medical marijuana patients, Sour Tsunami is prized for its pain-relieving properties and relaxing effects.
5. Trident Is a Good Option for Injury Treatment if You’re New to Marijuana
Unlike some of the other entries on this list, little is known about Trident’s heritage. What we do know is that it packs a strong CBD punch (12–15%) combined with low levels of THC (less than 6%). It’s another strain that offers significant medical benefits with minimal intoxicating effects. In fact, the strain’s pine smell is a sign of the terpene pinene, which is known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties—just what your body needs as it recovers.
This means Trident is a good option if you need pain relief from your injury during the day. It’s also your go-to strain if you’re a cannabis newbie who’s curious about medicating with cannabis, but is a little nervous about feeling high.
6. Canna-Tsu Can Help You Relax Enough to Get Some Zzzs
Canna-Tsu is actually the child of two other strains on this list: Cannatonic and Sour Tsunami. This makes Canna-Tsu another pain-relieving strain widely used in the medical cannabis community.
With a 1:1 THC-to-CBD ratio (with 7–14% CBD), Canna-Tsu produces a sense of happy relaxation and boosts mental clarity without clouding cognitive function. This makes it a good option if you need pain relief yet still need to get things done.
Canna-Tsu’s relaxing properties may also help you get a good night’s sleep, which can be hard after a painful injury. If you’re having trouble getting comfortable enough to sleep well, Canna-Tsu may just relax you enough to get the regenerative and therapeutic sleep your body needs to help heal your injury.
Photo credit: Joan Azeka