Last Updated on July 31, 2023 by Team Spinfuel

Sativa or Indica: Understanding the Best Strain for Inflammation


As someone who has suffered from inflammation-related ailments for many years, I’ve spent countless hours researching every possible remedy to alleviate the discomfort and pain. I’ve tried various diets, exercises, pharmaceutical drugs, and even alternative medicines.

But one natural remedy has consistently surfaced in my research, and that is cannabis. The use of cannabis for medicinal purposes is now more widely accepted and has made significant inroads in the field of inflammation and pain management.

To understand how cannabis works to combat inflammation, one first needs to understand the different types of cannabis strains, primarily the two most common: Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica. The question is, which one helps better in managing inflammation?

Understanding Sativa and Indica Strains

Sativa and Indica are the two primary types of cannabis plants. They differ not only in their physical characteristics but also in their chemical compositions and effects on the body.

Cannabis Sativa

Sativa strains are known for their invigorating effects. They often lead to more cerebral experiences, such as increased focus, creativity, and feelings of euphoria. Sativas are high in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. However, they tend to have lower levels of CBD (cannabidiol), a non-psychoactive compound that has gained attention for its potential therapeutic effects, including anti-inflammatory properties [^1^].

Cannabis Indica

Indica strains, on the other hand, are known for their physically sedating effects, making them a favorite for those seeking to relieve pain, promote relaxation, and combat insomnia. Indica’s typically contain a higher ratio of CBD to THC, potentially making them more suitable for medicinal purposes [^1^].

Cannabis and Inflammation

Inflammation is a natural immune response by the body to protect itself from injury or infection. However, chronic inflammation can lead to various health problems, including arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers.

Both THC and CBD have shown anti-inflammatory properties in various studies. CBD, in particular, has been found to inhibit the production of cytokines, proteins that play a crucial role in the inflammatory process [^2^]. THC, while also having anti-inflammatory properties, is primarily responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis.

Choosing the Right Strain

Based on the above information, one might be inclined to think that Indica, with its higher CBD content, would be the superior choice for managing inflammation. However, the reality is not that straightforward.

A study published in the European Journal of Pain suggested that the combination of THC and CBD could potentially offer more effective relief from pain and inflammation [^3^]. This is due to the entourage effect, a phenomenon where the various compounds in cannabis work synergistically to enhance the therapeutic effects of the plant.

Given these findings, a balanced strain containing both THC and CBD might be the best choice for managing inflammation. However, the specific strain that works best can vary significantly from person to person, as it depends on the individual’s unique physiology and the specific nature of their inflammation.

Using Cannabis for Inflammation

For anyone new to cannabis, it’s crucial to start slow. Begin with a small dose and gradually increase it until you find a level that provides the desired relief without unwanted side effects. The method of consumption also matters. While smoking or vaping provides rapid relief, these methods may not be suitable for those with respiratory issues. Edibles, oils, and tinctures provide alternatives that can be easier on the lungs.

Managing Side Effects: Combating Dry Mouth

One common side effect of cannabis use, and one I suffer from to this day, is dry mouth, also known as “cottonmouth.” Drinking plenty of water before, during, and after consuming cannabis can help alleviate this symptom. Chewing gum or using oral hydration products can also help stimulate saliva production and combat dry mouth. The best solution to cannabis-induced cottonmouth is an OTC product called Biotene.

Using Cannabis for medical purposes, such as arthritis pain and inflammation, the biggest reason people stop using it is the common effects that cannabis causes. While these side effects are minor, they can be annoying. In addition to dry mouth, it’s certainly probable you’ll eat more (the munchies) and sleep deeper. I’ll cover these two topics in my next piece.

Conclusion: Which Strain Would I Use as an Arthritis Sufferer?

As an arthritis sufferer, I would likely lean towards a balanced strain that combines the therapeutic effects of both THC and CBD. This approach aligns with the research suggesting that the combination of these compounds can provide more effective relief from inflammation [^3^]. However, it’s essential to remember that individual responses to cannabis can vary, and what works best for one person might not work for another. It’s always recommended to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new treatment regimen.

[^1^]: Russo, E. B. (2007). History of cannabis and its preparations in saga, science, and sobriquet. Chemistry & Biodiversity, 4(8), 1614-1648.

[^2^]: Nagarkatti, P., Pandey, R., Rieder, S. A., Hegde, V. L., & Nagarkatti, M. (2009). Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs. Future medicinal chemistry, 1(7), 1333-1349.

[^3^]: Mücke, M., Phillips, T., Radbruch, L., Petzke, F., & Häuser, W. (2018). Cannabis-based medicines for chronic neuropathic pain in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (3).