Back pain is a common affliction that affects more than 50% of people around the world each year. Traditional medications for back pain can often provide the opposite of relief, causing significant pain, muscle spasms, constipation, and even nausea. Fortunately, medical marijuana can be a positive alternative to these conventional methods. Since New York Governor Andrew Cuomo passed the Compassionate Care Act, beginning a safe and comprehensive medical marijuana program, medical marijuana has become an increasingly preferred alternative treatment for New York patients to alleviate symptoms of chronic back pain.
Misconceptions about Medical Marijuana
- The “high”
- Unlike the street drug, medical marijuana users do not experience a “high.” Medical marijuana contains only natural antioxidants and none of the psychoactive chemicals that produce this effect for those who use marijuana recreationally.
- Side effects
- Unlike many conventional treatments, medical marijuana does not have the same side effects traditionally associated with back pain treatment (nausea, upset stomach, gastric bleeding). Side effects of medical marijuana may include eye redness, fatigue, and increased sensory perception.
Effectiveness of Medical Marijuana
- Reduces pain and muscle spasms in the back.
- Anti-emetic properties → unlike conventional opioids and narcotics, medical marijuana treats back pain without causing nausea, vomiting, or other forms of stomach upsetness.
- Mood-enhancing properties treat depression and suicidal thoughts.
- May reduce or eliminate anxiety and insomnia.
- Reduces or eliminates the need to take possibly dangerous or addictive medications.
- Treats and reduces inflammation, relieving muscle pain in the back.
Forms/Uses of Medical Marijuana
- Inhalation (smoking or vaporizing)* → provides immediate relief in just a few minutes
- Juicing → taken a few times a day, similar to a dietary supplement. Because it’s not heated, raw juice relieves pain without the psychoactive effect.
- Tinctures and tablets → swallowed or placed under the tongue. It provides quick results, though not as quick as smoking. NY allows chewable tablets and lozenges.
- Edibles → essentially food, but provides a slower effect than other forms since the weed has to be digested and metabolized by your liver. But, relief is longer lasting and provides a better psychotropic effect.
- Oils → very different experience; start using in small doses and increase over time. Delivers your body cannabinoids in highly-concentrated amounts. NY allows the use of most oils and ointments.
*Only non-smokeable forms of medical marijuana are permitted under New York state law.
Best Strains of Medical Marijuana for Back Pain
There are two main strains of medical marijuana: THC* (tetrahydro cannabidiol) and CBD (cannabidiol) strains. THC strains work best at relieving pain, while CBD strands are most effective in decreasing inflammation (which can also help to alleviate pain).
*Strains with higher amounts of THC are known to have more psychoactive effects. Many patients choose to use strains that are lower in THC during the daytime and save it before they go to bed.
Here are some good strains of medical weed for back pain, listed in order from highest to lowest percentage of THC:
- Headband (hybrid): 27% THC and up to one percent CBD; eases pain and relaxes muscles. Longer-lasting than other strains
- Candyland (Sativa*): 24% THC and one percent CBD; reduces and relieves pain and eases tense muscles. Stimulates the body and reduces fatigue
- OG kush (indica): 23% THC and one percent CBD; treats muscles spasms and relieves pain
- Bubba kush (indica): 22% THC and 0.1 percent CBD; eases muscle tension and lowers stress levels
- ACDC (Sativa): High amounts of CBD but low in THC; 24 percent CBD and 1.2 percent THC. Reduces pain without psychoactive effects.
*Indica marijuana is sedating and relaxing (depressant) which is best for night use, while Sativa is more stimulating and uplifting (stimulant) and best for daytime use.
How Can I Start Buying Medical Marijuana in New York?
If you are over the age of 21, a New York resident, and have obtained a medical marijuana card from the state department of Health, you can begin purchasing medical marijuana from any one of the registered dispensaries in the state. Medical marijuana doctors can be hard to find, but MD Berry has a comprehensive, user-friendly online platform that makes getting a cannabis card more accessible than ever. With MD Berry, you can apply and get approved for a medical marijuana card in just 3 steps, chat with licensed physicians who are qualified to answer all of your cannabis questions and get the best prices around, starting at less than $100 and matched with any online deals you can find.