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8 Best Strains for Back Pain

old woman bending on her back and hands on her hip

Table of contents

  1. How Cannabis Affects Back Pain
  2. Best Ways to Use Cannabis for Back Pain
  3. Best Strains for Back Pain

The best strains for back pain contain a blend of therapeutic cannabinoids that work together through the entourage effect. Cannabidiol (CBD) works best in tandem with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), as the two cannabinoids enhance each other’s effectiveness.

Learn more about the best marijuana strains to treat back pain and how to use cannabis to treat muscle spasms, muscle strains, and even severe pain.    

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How Cannabis Affects Back Pain

Cannabis has been shown in numerous scientific studies to help back pain and many difficult-to-treat types of pain. Among these types of pain is nerve or neuropathic pain, which often affects cancer patients. Traditional cancer treatments like chemotherapy can lead to painful side effects, including excruciating nerve pain, which cannabis has demonstrated potential in treating.

The way cannabis works for all types of pain is by binding to receptors in your endocannabinoid system (ECS). Your ECS is your body’s master regulator of pain response and many other crucial functions. When the cannabinoids (chemical compounds) in cannabis bind to your pain receptors, they can send signals to feel less pain. The result isn’t instant relief but may occur quickly with specific ingestion methods like smoking marijuana.

Both CBD and THC have been cited as possible pain-relieving agents. CBD has been found to ease chronic pain that has been resistant to other types of treatment, and THC has also been shown to be beneficial in managing pain. Furthermore, minor cannabinoids like cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN) could also contribute to pain relief. Finally, terpenes like myrcene and caryophyllene round out the entourage effect and help to facilitate a healing synergy.  

At the same time, cannabis is not a cure for pain but may be a supplemental pain management option for some people. Speak with your doctor before using cannabis for back pain, especially if you are currently taking other medications.

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Download Free Guide to CBN

Best Ways to Use Cannabis for Back Pain

The topical application of cannabis products is the most traditional way to treat back pain. Applying a soothing cannabis gel or oil directly onto areas of discomfort may help ease muscle strains and other types of acute pain. Heated topical products are especially effective for treating back pain, whether it’s the upper back near the shoulders or the lower back near the sacrum.

Inhaling cannabis can be equally effective in managing back pain but with quicker results. Topical products take about an hour to absorb into the skin entirely or over a much longer period (four to 24 hours) with a transdermal patch. It only takes a few minutes to start experiencing the effects of inhaling marijuana. Neither route of administration is better than the other — it simply depends on what you feel most comfortable with.

Best Strains for Back Pain

The best strains (cultivars) for back pain address issues of muscle spasms and severe pain, including neuropathic (nerve) pain that sometimes occurs as sciatica. Leafwell presents the eight best medical strains to help manage your back pain. There is no definitive “best” strain for back pain or other types of pain. However, cannabinoids and terpenes like THC, CBD, beta-caryophyllene, pinene, linalool, and myrcene may all be helpful for their analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

OG Kush

OG Kush is an indica-dominant strain with a reputation for relieving pain. This high-THC, low-CBD strain has been said to reduce muscle spasms and help users destress. Dominant terpenes in OG Kush include beta-caryophyllene, myrcene, and limonene.


This sativa-dominant strain is good for people who don’t want a psychoactive high. Containing about 1% THC and up to 24% CBD, ACDC will help you have a functional day both mentally and physically. Pinene, beta-caryophyllene, and myrcene are the dominant terpenes in ACDC.


Harlequin is another good marijuana strain if you want to avoid an intoxicating high. Measuring up to 10% CBD, this hybrid strain is reportedly calming and appropriate for use during the day. Alpha-pinene, myrcene and beta-caryophyllene are the dominant terpenes in Harlequin.

Northern Lights

Afghani and Thai genetics come together to create Northern Lights, a popular medical strain. It’s potent and famous for the “couch lock” effect. The strain has reportedly helped address pain, including nerve pain in the spinal cord. Myrcene, humulene, pinene, and beta-caryophyllene are dominant terpenes.

White Widow

White Widow is another popular medical strain known for producing strong effects. Along with treating pain, some cannabis consumers favor White Widow for fighting anxiety and insomnia. The indica-dominant hybrid is suitable for nighttime use and might send you into a long, deep sleep. White Widow’s dominant terpenes include myrcene, pinene, limonene, and humulene.


Candyland is a high-THC strain with no CBD, and some users say it helps with muscle spasms and overall tension. Be sure to use Candyland during the day rather than bedtime, as the strain has an energizing effect with a terpene profile rich in terpinolene, ocimene, limonene, beta-caryophyllene, and myrcene.

Gorilla Glue

Another high-THC strain, Gorilla Glue, is a crossbreed of Chocolate Diesel and Sour Diesel. Containing up to 25% THC, this bedtime strain has helped some users sleep better while managing severe pain like radicular pain and axial pain. The primary terpenes in Gorilla Glue include myrcene, limonene, beta-caryophyllene, linalool, and pinene.


Blueberry is one of the most balanced marijuana strains on our list, containing equivalent ratios of CBD and THC. This balance highlights the many potential benefits of the entourage effect. While Blueberry is known for its relaxing properties, it doesn’t have the same level of sedative effects as Gorilla Glue and isn’t as likely to lead to “couch lock.” Common terpenes in Blueberry include alpha- and beta-pinene, beta-caryophyllene, myrcene, linalool, and terpinolene.

Try these medical cannabis strains and others, like Blue Dream and Black Magic Kush, reputed to have the ability to provide pain relief. Sampling different cannabis strains will help you find the one that works best for you and the pain you seek to heal.

Treat your back pain with cannabis products obtained legally with your own medical marijuana card. Leafwell’s doctors are here to help you quickly apply online.

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