The 5 Best Cannabis Strains For Pain Relief

Cannabis for pain relief is increasing in popularity as more users are finding a strong and growing preference for natural alternatives that work better while providing fewer side effects.

OG Shark is the #1 preferred cannabis strain for pain and hybrid is the general type of cannabis enjoyed most. Four other preferred cannabis strains are Sweet Skunk CBD, Jack Herer, Lemon Sour Diesel, and Island Sweet Skunk. Patients with different types of pain prefer distinct strains, as discussed below. 

Today, we’ll explore extensive research on patients choosing their preferred cannabis strains for various types of pain.

Medical Cannabis And Its Potential Benefits For Pain Management

Over half of the pain patients in the study we cite below opted to substitute their prescription pain medications for medical cannabis

Opioids were the most common pain relief option that was substituted. Other pain and ancillary-related medications that patients traded for cannabis are anti-depressants/anti-anxiety, NSAIDs, triptans (anti-migraine agent), anti-convulsants, muscle relaxers, and ergots (for severe throbbing headaches). 

Sativa strains generally produce energetic and uplifting sensations that are more cerebrally focused and are typically best for daytime use.

Meanwhile, indica strains are usually more relaxing, with a full-body buzz that users enjoy more for night-time purposes.

The differences in effects are not completely a result of the THC to CBD contents alone due to these ratios being relatively similar.

Research suggests that the differences between sativa and indica may be due to different ratios of other major and minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and other phytochemicals.

Importance Of Choosing The Right Strain For Pain Relief

The two primary reasons for identifying the best strain for your pain are its effectiveness in targeting specific pain types and minimising unwanted side effects.

Different strains of cannabis will have distinct cannabinoid and terpene profiles that can strongly influence how effective a certain strain is for a specific type of pain.

Indica weed strains may be better for patients having pain during the night that also interferes with their sleep. In contrast, individuals experiencing daytime pain may enjoy Sativa’s uplifting, euphoric effects. And then there is the almost never ending list of hybrid weed strains that cover the entire gamut.

Many patients enjoy mixing up the strain to keep the variety fresh and manage tolerance.

Taking the same strain day in and day out for extended periods can lead to a tolerance that can reduce the effectiveness and enjoyment of a particular strain.

Consulting with qualified cannabis strain experts to help you carefully select the right strain for your needs can help you maximise the benefits and minimise the potential risks.

How To Choose The Best Strains For Pain

Various factors are involved in choosing the best medical cannabis strain for pain, which ultimately boils down to the type of pain you’re experiencing and your personal preference.

By consulting with a medical professional they can help you get an idea of how to identify and communicate to your cannabis provider what strains might work best for your pain.

Each type of cannabis will have different profiles of cannabinoids and terpenes to consider as you research strains.

You should review the specific characteristics and reported effects of each strain.

Once you’ve identified a reliable source to obtain your cannabis, it’s best to start with a low dose and slowly increase it until you find the relief you’re seeking.

You may want to keep a journal to keep track of your experiences with each strain. To further zone in on choosing the best strain for pain, keeping detailed journal entries can help considerably by logging the time you consume, how much you take, the method, and as much information about the sensations you notice throughout its effects.

Best Strains For Pain Relief

Published in The Journal of Headache and Pain, an extensive study involving over 2000 patients to determine some of the best strains used for various types of pain, with chronic pain being the most common reason for the decision to use cannabis.

Patients preferred hybrid strain across all pain categories, with the clear winning strain in this study being OG Shark.

Following hybrid, users preferred indica, sativa, and then higher CBD strains that included an equal amount of CBD and THC and a 3:1 ratio of CBD to THC.

OG Shark was preferred due to its high THC contents and low amounts of CBD with the dominant terpenes including β-caryophyllene and β-myrcene.

Further results published in this study found that pain patients show a preference for 42 specific cannabis strains, including.

Sleep disorder patients had a stronger preference for indica strains versus hybrid or sativa, and patients with mental health conditions preferred sativa strains.

Cannabis strain preference by pain type includes.

  1. Chronic pain – OG Shark

  2. Arthritis pain – Sweet Skunk CBD

  3. Mental health – Jack Herer

  4. Sleep Disorder pain – Lemon Sour Diesel

  5. GI Disorder pain – Island Sweet Skunk

Overall, patients with different types of pain, in general, preferred different types of strains.


The increasing popularity of cannabis for pain relief reflects a growing preference for natural alternatives that are more effective and have fewer side effects. OG Shark emerges as the top choice among cannabis strains for pain relief, with hybrids being the most popular type overall. Other preferred strains include Sweet Skunk CBD, Jack Herer, Lemon Sour Diesel, and Island Sweet Skunk, each catering to different pain types. Over half of the pain patients in a cited study replaced their prescription pain medications with cannabis, particularly opioids and other related medications.

Sativa strains are noted for their energetic and uplifting effects, ideal for daytime use, whereas indica strains are more relaxing and suited for night-time use. The differences between these strains are attributed to their THC-to-CBD ratios and varying levels of other cannabinoids, terpenes, and phytochemicals.

Choosing the right strain is crucial for effective pain management and minimising side effects. Different strains have unique cannabinoid and terpene profiles, affecting their efficacy for specific pain types. For example, indica strains may be better for night-time pain affecting sleep, while Sativa strains could be preferable for daytime pain due to their euphoric effects.

Factors like the type of pain and personal preference play a role in choosing the best strain. Consulting medical professionals and cannabis strain experts can be beneficial. Starting with a low dose and gradually increasing it, along with keeping a journal to track experiences, can help identify the most effective strain.