There are many ways to describe the concept of physical pain. After all, the experience of pain is a subjective one. Dr. Robert Coghill in his research on this points out that pain is something that all people consider differently based on a number of factors including genetic, environmental, psychological and cognitive. He compares it to someone’s taste for food — where one person might love chocolate, another might not care for it.
That being said, the medical community has broken down pain factors into three major categories:
- Nociceptive pain — This is pain caused by injury to the tissues body. As a shorthand, nociceptive pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong - or warning you to get your hand off of that hot mug before you burn yourself.
- Neuropathic pain — Caused by central nervous system damage, this is pain that is not a result of tissue being hurt, but rather is produced by false indications of pain sent to the brain. Aches associated with illnesses like diabetes are filed under this pain category.
- Central pain — Again related to central nervous system damage, usually this is associated with an agitation caused by amplifying nerve responses. Often chronic pain falls under this category.
Before trying to match your pain with specific varieties of cannabis for treatment, it’s necessary to assess your pain properly. There are a number of tools available to help you properly articulate the kind of pain you are feeling.
Once that is accomplished you can look to what strain of cannabis will be most effective for your pain suppression.
The two major types of marijuana indica and sativa have different qualities based on their THC and CBD levels (which are the main reactive chemicals in marijuana). In general, indica creates a more sedative high while sativa a more euphoric one. However this is not always the case. Also, there are hybrids that work one off the other to try to achieve a balance. One or the other of these may be right for you.
There are a dizzying number of varieties of cannabis with names like Redwood Kush and Purple Arrow, that can become confusing for the consumer. In an infographic and informative article for beginners, Marijuana Doctors provides a guide to matching pain with particular strains.
Here they point out some classic strains and whether they are useful for symptoms of chronic pain, pain related to injury, headaches and migraines, or for relieving the stress surrounding serious illness.
You can also use their infographic below as a quick reference when first going to a dispensary.
Understanding the terminology and effects of specific strains will hopefully take the confusion out of purchasing the marijuana that fits your symptoms.