No matter the cause, if you are dealing with muscle spasms, tightness, pain or cramps, your first priority is pain management.
Cannabis: An Alternative Pain Reliever
Of course, medical science today has an almost endless list of pain-relieving drugs. These are known as analgesics, and usually work by blocking the neural (nerve) pathways that register pain signals to the brain. Analgesics don’t actually remedy or “cure” a medical condition – they just mask the pain sensation. However, commonly prescribed analgesics can bring on undesirable side effects. It is also possible for your body to build up resistance to certain drugs, making it necessary to switch to another one to keep your pain away.
But those suffering from muscle spasms will also be prescribed muscle relaxing drugs and in some cases, anti-inflammatory drugs. While these can be effective, they too also have side effects and are not always effective treatments for all patients.
There is solid clinical and scientific research that indicates that a great alternative is pot. The National Academy of Sciences, in an extensive review of medical research to date, published a report in 2018 that indicated that taking oral cannabinoids (derived from Cannabis) was effective in treating muscle spasms in MS patients. Further, they found that oral doses of cannabinoids as well as smoked cannabis were effective in adults who were managing chronic pain conditions.
An additional study, published in the 2013 issue of the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology found results that indicated that various naturally-occurring substances found in Cannabis could, in some instances, reduce spinal cord and/or inflammation of brain tissues.
A third study comes to us from the University of California at San Diego. There, researchers at the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research found that Cannabis which was smoked helped to reduce muscle spasticity as well pain in MS patients.
Cannabis: Best Strains for Muscle Spasm Relief
OK, so you are convinced it’s worth it to try Cannabis to manage your muscle spasms. But which type of seeds do you order? By the way, growing your own pot (either indoors or outdoors) will allow you to know exactly how your pot was grown, what nutrients were used, how it was stored, etc.
However, pot plants can vary a great deal in the amount of active ingredients they contain, and both THC and CBD levels will produce different effects in the body, so you must give some consideration to the strain you want to purchase. You might even want to purchase several different varieties and try them out to see which one seems to be the most effective in treating your symptoms.
One common recommendation, often given, is to stick to the “Indica” type of Cannabis. The Indica variety has shorter and stockier-looking leaves compared to the “Sativa” type, which has the more easily-recognized, thinner and longer leaves.
Many using pot to treat/manage muscle spasms prefer the Indica strain because they usually produce less of a “high” but causes the smoker to feel more relaxed. The substance in Cannabis that causes the high is THC, and in the Indica plant there is usually less of it than CBD, which is the chemical that produces a relaxing and analgesic effect. For that same reason, Indica varieties are also often used by those who are trying to manage the nausea and bouts of low appetite commonly experienced by cancer chemotherapy and HIV/AIDS treatments.
But the situation is, in reality, more complicated than that. Today’s growers have produced a huge number of “hybrid” Cannabis seeds, which marry the characteristics of different strains of pot. For example, a hybrid may be developed from one parent strain that is quicker growing, while the other parent strain may be more resistant to disease.
Here are some varieties of Cannabis that you should read up on that could be very helpful in managing muscle spasms:
Afgan Kush. You really can’t get more Indica thank Afgan Kush. It is almost 100% Indica type, and as its name indicates, was found in Afghanistan where it grows prolifically. These plants are huge: very tall and bushy and they produce an excellent yield when harvested, making them a good choice for those who are price-conscious.
White Widow. Some pot smokers find the effects of a really heavy Indica strain to be too much for them. White Widow strives for more of a balance with a 60% Indica/40% Sativa ratio. This variety will help with pain and muscle spasticity management, with less of a mind-numbing “drugged out” effect.
Blue Dream. With blueberry-flavored taste, Blue Dream is also a good choice if you are looking for a balance, but you are looking for just a tad more “head high” as it is a Sativa-dominant strain. But it won’t be overwhelming because it also provides a calming and sedating effect – perfect for relaxing fatigued muscles. Many folks enjoy this as a morning smoke, which is a great plus if your pain/spasticity problems are greater in the A.M.
AK-47. Another hybrid variety, approx. 65% Sativa/35% Indica, is AK-47. If you want a serious high but also need the therapeutic benefits of Indica, you should check out AK-47. You will definitely get a solid hit from this one – but after the phase-1 head rush, you will experience the Indica effects kicking in, a total body-soother.
Love Potion. So named because of its reputation as an aphrodisiac, Love Potion is another Cannabis variety that is Sativa-dominant (about 70%) but also brings in good Indica effects (30%). It is good for pain management, relaxation, treating anxiety, while at the same time it will leave you alert, sensitive and functioning at your best, especially in social situations.
Cannabis: Why Grow-Your-Own May Be Your Best Option
Quality. When you buy Cannabis for control of your muscle spasm episodes, sure it is convenient to visit your local dispensary. You simply pay and go home with your supply. But what have you actually purchased? A visual inspection can be helpful, but even experienced pot smokers can only deduce so much about the quality of the product they are buying from a visual inspection only. And if you are a newbie to this, would you even know enough to recognize the variety to make sure you were being given the actual product you paid for?
Growing your own Cannabis eliminates these concerns. You will know that the variety is correct because you have raised it from seed. You’ll know how often it was fed, where – and how – it was grown, exactly what methods were used to harvest it and under what conditions it was dried, cured and stored.
Freedom from Red Tape. In some states, those looking to purchase medical marijuana may be subject to various restrictions. They may need to apply for a special ID card, may need formal doctor approval/prescription, and may be subject to limits on how much and how often they can purchase their pot, as well as who they are allowed to purchase it from. But you can grow your own Cannabis in the privacy of your own home, in whatever amount you wish. And you will probably save money in comparison with buying it at the dispensary. You can easily acquire some growing equipment second-hand, so your only real ongoing cost will be the cost of the first batch of seeds and any nutrients/fertilizer that you will be using.
Secure Supply Chain. Of special concern to those using Cannabis for medicinal reasons is having an uninterrupted supply. When you are purchasing pot from someone else, you need to think about what would be done if that supplier were no longer available. Where would you turn? Who would you buy it from? When your day-to-day quality of life is dependent on your access to marijuana a disruption in the “supply chain” can have very negative consequences! But, when you are your own supplier – because you are growing what you are using – then you will never run out no matter what. Market fluctuations or local business conditions that might cause your pot supplier to go out of business will not be a factor at all if you are growing that crop yourself.
A Business Opportunity? Finally, consider that as one who needs pot regularly to help with your medical condition, that there are others like you who could find relief. But they may not know anything about the subject, or have the ability to grow their own. Learning to grow pot for yourself could eventually open the door for you to start your own business. Likely you are already in touch with people who suffer from similar medical conditions – these could be your future customers if you can learn to grow pot successfully. A medical need could also be a great business opportunity for those willing to invest their time learning the ins and outs of Cannabis cultivation.