The medical cannabis industry has been growing rapidly. Multiple countries around the world have either legalised medical cannabis or are about to. But one of the problems new patients face when buying medical cannabis is choosing the right strain for their affliction. Especially with the ever-growing amount of unique cannabis strains.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at the top 25 medical cannabis strains for sleep, stress, chronic pain, nausea and appetite as well as glaucoma. Let’s get started.
Disclaimer: We used public consumer data like reviews and surveys to create this list. Please note that every cannabis user can have a different experience after consuming medical cannabis, so the effects we describe might not match your experience.
Best medical cannabis strains for sleep
Insomnia is the worst. Instead of sleeping, you lie in bed watching the ceiling for hours on end while your mind races in different directions. But medical cannabis can help you fall asleep.
As a rule of thumb, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-dominant cannabis is the best for sleep problems. However, some people might experience anxiety as a side effect of THC consumption, if so, you should try cannabidiol (CBD)-dominant strains instead.
Here are the best medical cannabis strains for sleep:
1. Northern Lights
Northern Lights is a THC-dominant cannabis strain that has been around since the 1980s. Northern Lights has a THC content of about 16 to 20 percent, so it deals with insomnia in a heavy-handed way. One moment you’re awake and your thoughts are wandering, the next you’re sleeping crouched uncomfortably on a couch with your arms dangling off the side.
The sedating effects of Northern Lights can hit you suddenly, so make sure you’re ready for bed before you consume it. Most users report sleeping within one or two hours after consumption. The only side effect mentioned frequently is dry mouth after waking up.
2. Black D.O.G
Black D.O.G is an Indica-dominant hybrid that was created in California. This strain has a high THC content, usually between 16 and 21 percent. When it’s combusted, Black D.O.G usually gives off an earthy smoke that’s easy to inhale.
It might take several minutes for this cannabis strain to produce its effects. However, Black D.O.G hits hard, usually stripping you of energy and motivation. You might feel your eyelids getting heavy and a total reluctance towards physical activity. Being in close proximity to your bed after consumption is recommended.
Remedy is a CBD-dominant strain that has about 1 percent THC and 16 percent CBD. This is one of the sleep strains recommended for people who are sensitive to THC. Remedy gives off a woody scent and has a tasty smoke.
This strain’s effects set in slowly, and frequent cannabis consumers might need to increase their doses to experience them. But, after several minutes, Remedy induces relaxation and sedation. Your thoughts will stop wandering and lying in bed will seem like a perfect solution. Then, the next thing you’ll know is that it is morning.
4. Death Star
Death Star was created in the early 2000s in Ohio. This is an Indica-dominant hybrid that’s renowned for its high THC content — about 20 percent. Death Star has a powerful fragrance that’s almost impossible to hide, and it produces a powerful buzz. The strain’s onset is rather slow but powerful.
This is a versatile and popular cannabis strain. Consumers who use it as a sleeping aid report that it makes you drowsy about 15 minutes after use. Death Star produces a powerful high, so it’s not recommended for novice users.
5. Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush is a variety of cannabis that arrived in the states in the mid-60s or early-70s, when the hippie movement was in its bloom. Even though it has been used to create different hybrids over the years, Hindu Kush remains a relatively pure Indica strain.
This cannabis strain has a THC content of 15 to 20 percent, and a complex aroma that’s predominantly sweet and spicy. The smoke of Hindu Kush can be harsh and cough-inducing. This strain produces a progressive high that starts off as physical relaxation.
Users generally feel a heavy sensation in their limbs and feel like sitting down. Then, as the high progresses, the heavy sensation moves to the user’s lids. Sleep is usually quick to follow. Some might experience negative effects such as dry mouth and eyes.
Best medical cannabis strains for stress
Stress is one of the most common reasons why people medicate with cannabis. The way cannabinoids interact with the human endocannabinoid system is still largely unknown, but it’s certain that both THC and CBD can help relieve stress.
Here are the best medical cannabis strains for stress:
1. Blue Dream
Blue Dream is a Sativa-dominant strain that was created in California. It has a relatively high THC range that averages between 17 and 24 percent. The strain is rather poor in CBD — only 2 percent — and cannabinol (CBN) — only 1 percent. As the name suggests, Blue Dream has a blueberry-flavoured taste.
This cannabis strain produces a gradual high. Most users first experience a rush of motivation combined with a heightened focus that helps them plan and even work for a little while. Then, the second part of the high is defined by ultra-relaxation. Some users might still maintain their focus in this relaxed state, while others might feel their mind wandering.
Blue Dream is a stimulant at its core, so it will get you moving. The strain is usually recommended to those who want to push through creative projects or who want to complete certain tasks.
2. White Widow
White Widow is a legendary Sativa-dominant strain created during the 1990s in the Netherlands. This strain won several global awards over the years, and its high resin content makes it perfect for the production of hash.
The strain has a high THC content, usually somewhere around 20 to 24 percent. The strain has a stinging scent and an earthy taste. The smoke is easy to inhale, and users who value discretion might complain about its powerful flavour.
White Widow produces a quick-acting high. Consumers become aware of their surroundings, and they might notice details or patterns that they haven’t noticed before, even in familiar locations.
Thanks to the increased perception it produces, the high is also associated with a spike in creativity. The cerebral effects of White Widow help those who are affected by stress to concentrate on a single task, and it can boost their energy if they’re fatigued.
The perceptive and introspective nature of the White Widow high can veer into paranoia at times, so smokers should be careful about their dosage.
3. Durban Poison
Durban Poison is another Sativa-dominant strain. It has African origins but reached the U.S. in the 1970s. This cannabis strain has a THC content of 15 to 25 percent, and it’s usually not recommended for novice users.
The strain has a powerful smell that sometimes has hints of liquorice. The cured flowers are pungent and produce thick smoke.
Durban Poison produces a focused high that hits almost instantly after consumption. Users might experience an amplification of their sight and hearing senses, which might be disorienting at first.
This strain produces a high that’s almost always relaxing without being sedating. As a result, consumers might use it to stave off stress when they want to concentrate on a particular project or when they want to engage in creative endeavours. Durban Poison can help users maintain a deep and intense focus, so it’s sometimes used in meditation practices.
However, this cannabis strain is powerful, so it might produce undesired effects. Users might feel jittery or paranoid. Because it’s a stimulating strain, Durban Poison is not recommended for those struggling with insomnia.
4. Cookie Monster
Cookie Monster is a famous Indica-dominant strain that won several international competitions. The strain has a THC content of 14 to 23 percent, and it produces long-lasting relaxation.
This cannabis strain has a herbal scent with hints of pine. When you light it up, Cookie Monster produces a harsh smoke that might make your eyes water. The thick smoke has a powerful smell, a floral taste and it’s relatively easy to inhale.
Most users agree that Cookie Monster produces a creeping high. The initial effects appear slowly, but once they do, they just keep on coming. In the beginning, the user feels stimulated and calm. Then, the user feels a weighty physical relaxation without sedation. Some smokers might feel sensory distortions, but that’s not a common occurrence.
However, as the high progresses, the user might feel the need to lie down. That’s why Cookie Monster is usually recommended to those who want to relieve stress at the end of a long day.
5. Green Crack
Green Crack, previously known as Cush, is a Sativa-dominant cannabis strain originally bred in Greece in the 1970s. Snoop Dogg changed this strain’s name from Cush to Green Crack after experiencing its effects firsthand, but some retailers still use the old name.
Green Crack has a THC content of 16 percent, and it delivers an energetic high that’s suitable for daytime use. This strain’s flowers have a citrus scent and a woody taste. The smoke is smooth, easy to inhale and has a spicy aftertaste.
This cannabis strain produces an energetic but relaxing high. Smokers might be able to focus better after consuming it. Sometimes, Green Crack can produce some slightly psychedelic effects, including time dilation.
Since the strain produces a stimulating high, it’s not recommended for evening use.
Best medical cannabis strains for chronic pain
It’s estimated that over 50 million U.S. adults and 100 million Europeans suffer from chronic pain. And the problem is that some pain medication can have unpleasant side effects, such as gastric problems, insomnia and addiction.
As a result, many people consume cannabis flowers for pain relief.
Here are the best medical cannabis strains for chronic pain:
ACDC is a hybrid cannabis strain that’s evenly balanced at 50 percent Indica and 50 percent Sativa. The strain is famous worldwide and won several awards for its high CBD content.
This cannabis strain has a low THC content, usually between 1 and 6 percent, and an elevated CBD content that’s around 20 percent. Thanks to its high CBD and low THC content, some users can smoke ACDC and carry on with their business as usual.
The strain has an earthy and pungent smell. Its smoke can sometimes have a hint of lemongrass or fruit and it’s easy to inhale. Some users describe ACDC as the perfect strain for pain relief because it also produces relaxation and a mild euphoria.
This cannabis strain is suitable for novice and experienced cannabis users.
Harlequin is a Sativa-dominant hybrid that was developed in the 1970s. This strain is rich in CBD and poor in THC content, and it has won several international awards.
This cannabis strain has a standard CBD to THC ratio of 5 to 2. The strain’s cannabinoid profile was doctored to provide pain relief without producing psychedelic effects. Harlequin has a woody scent; its smoke is citrus-flavoured and does not induce coughing.
Instead of a powerful high, Harlequin produces pain relief. The strain has anti-inflammatory properties, and it can also reduce nausea. Since the strain produces mild psychoactive effects, most users can use it during the day.
3. Critical Cure
Sometimes called CBD Critical Cure, this strain is an Indica-dominant hybrid created in the Netherlands. The strain is popular amongst those who suffer from chronic pain and consume cannabis strains that are less psychoactive.
Critical Cure has a THC content of up to 6 percent and a CBD content of 10 to 16 percent. Thanks to its balanced cannabinoid profile, the strain can ease pain and inflammation while providing stress relief with minimal psychoactive effects.
This cannabis strain has a mellow aroma. Its smoke is easy to inhale and leaves a citrus aftertaste. The high from Critical Cure is easy to tolerate because it’s relaxing but not psychedelic. However, some users report spacing out after consuming the strain, so daytime use might interfere with your usual activities.
Gravity is an Indica-dominant hybrid that’s often recommended to those who struggle with severe chronic pain. The strain is powerful, so it’s not for novices.
This strain has a THC content of about 20 percent and only about 1 percent CBD. Its smell is earthy and floral, and the smoke can be slightly irritating for your throat.
Gravity packs a powerful punch, so you should prepare for the high before smoking it. This strain starts producing its effects after your first hit, so by the time you finish smoking you might already be high as a kite.
The high is strong but relaxing. Most users feel the need to sit or lie down, hence the strain’s name. The strain can produce mild euphoria, and some people might experience munchies.
But the strain’s greatest asset is its pain-relieving effect. Gravity alleviates pain and can help patients sleep better. This is a strong strain, so it might not be suitable for novice users.
Cannatonic is a hybrid strain that was developed in Spain. The strain is famous for its ability to treat pain and anxiety.
This strain has a THC content of up to 6 percent and a CBD content of about 17 percent. The flower’s smell is earthy and fruity, and its smoke is easy to inhale.
Cannatonic is a powerful, relaxing strain that produces a numbing sensation over your body while lifting your pain. The strain also produces mild euphoria and focuses the mind. Users report using Cannatonic for pain relief and to ease their anxiety.
Best medical cannabis strains for nausea and appetite
Even though it’s usually not life-threatening, nausea can severely impede your daily routines. And people who feel nauseous rarely want to eat, so they tend to lose weight. Cannabis can help with nausea and stimulate your appetite.
Related: Does CBD Oil Help With Weight Loss?
Here are the best medical cannabis strains for nausea and appetite:
Lavender is an Indica-dominant hybrid that’s also known as Soma #10 and Lavender Kush. The strain won several international competitions, and it’s popular amongst medical cannabis patients.
This cannabis strain has a THC content of about 19 percent and a CBD content of 1 percent. The strain’s smell is powerful, and its smoke has a floral aroma. The smoke is not irritating for your throat, but it can make your eyes water.
Lavender produces a cerebral high that hits in steps. The high is characterised by an initial euphoria quickly followed by total relaxation. Inexperienced consumers may fall asleep.
The strain is one of the top choices for those who want to fight nausea and stimulate their appetite, but it can also lower anxiety and improve sleep.
2. Blueberry Diesel
Blueberry Diesel is an Indica-dominant hybrid that’s famous for its relaxing effects. The strain has a THC content of 13 to 23 percent, and it’s low in CBD.
This strain has a fruity aroma most people associate with blueberry. Its smell is powerful and unsuitable for discreet consumption. However, the smoke is smooth and fruity, so most users appreciate it.
Blueberry Diesel produces a creeping high that hits you several minutes after consumption. Smokers might suddenly become interested in the most unexpected things, and they might experience a burst of rambling creativity. In the later stages, the high might make you more talkative and sociable.
The strain produces physical relaxation, eases pain, helps with nausea and stimulates your appetite. Blueberry Diesel’s cannabinoid profile makes it a good choice for both novice and experienced users.
3. Jack Herer
Jack Herer was a cannabis activist who militated for the decriminalisation and legalisation of cannabis. The cannabis strain named after him is a Sativa-dominant hybrid developed during the late 80s or early 90s in the Netherlands.
This strain has won several international titles and it’s appreciated by both medical and recreational users. The strain has a THC content of about 20 percent and a low CBD content.
The strain has a herbal scent and taste. The smoke is very smooth and easy to inhale. Jack Herer produces an energising but relaxing high. Users often experience a boost of creativity after consuming it, and the end of the high is characterised by a stimulated appetite.
Jack Herer’s pleasant high and its smooth smoke make it suitable for novice users.
4. Lemon Haze
Lemon Haze is a very popular Sativa-dominant hybrid. The strain has a memorable citrus flavour and produces a long-lasting high.
The strain has a THC content that varies between 12 and 25 percent between phenotypes, and it also has a low CBD content. This strain’s smoke is smooth and easily ingested.
Lemon Haze produces a creeping high that hits you several minutes after consumption. Smokers might be attracted by new sights or sounds, and they might experience time distortion. The sensory stimulation might also be accompanied by a mood improvement, and the consumers might feel encouraged to talk.
This strain helps users overcome stress and depression. The energetic high is usually followed by a ravaging appetite, so Lemon Haze can be beneficial for those who want to eat more. Thanks to its mildly refreshing taste, this strain is a great option for novice users.
5. Verde Electric
Verde Electric is a balanced hybrid that’s renowned for its relaxing effects. The strain has a THC content of 15 to 24 percent and contains about 1 percent CBD. This strain’s flowers have a powerful smell and its smoke might trigger a coughing fit.
Verde Electric hits you almost instantly. Most users experience psychedelic effects after consuming it, but these effects are quickly followed by a relaxing state. As the high wears on, some users have munchies, so they will eat everything in sight.
This cannabis strain produces psychedelic effects, so it’s not recommended for those who are sensitive to THC or who suffer from panic attacks.
Best medical cannabis strains for glaucoma
Glaucoma is often misunderstood because people don’t realise how severe it is to those affected. When left untreated, glaucoma produces blindness. Unfortunately, about 10 percent of sufferers lose their sight even with treatment.
At the moment, there’s no cure for glaucoma. Cannabis can help those suffering from glaucoma because it can reduce their intraocular eye pressure.
Here are the best medical cannabis strains for glaucoma:
1. Sour Willie
Sour Willie is a Sativa-dominant hybrid famous for its high THC content of up to 29 percent. This strain has a fruity smell. Its smoke has a fruity and peppery taste, but it’s harsh and may trigger a coughing fit.
The strain hits users almost instantly. In the beginning, the high might produce some itchy sensations and it might stimulate the smoker’s salivary glands. These effects soon subside and are replaced by introspection. Users are often focused on their feelings and might find creative solutions to some of their problems.
Sour Willie is mildly energetic, so it might be helpful for those who struggle with stress and depression. The cannabis strain has anti-inflammatory properties and can stimulate appetite.
This strain can lower the user’s intraocular pressure. However, the introspective effects of Sour Willie make it unsuitable for those who are prone to panic attacks or paranoia.
2. Gelato #33
Gelato #33 is an energising hybrid developed near San Francisco. The strain has many phenotypes, but its THC content is usually around 22 percent. However, you shouldn’t let those figures fool you. Even though 22 percent of THC might not seem like a lot, Gelato #33 can hit you like a train.
This strain usually hits while you still smoke it. The first sensation is pure euphoria. Smokers feel happy and uplifted for quite some time, and then they feel relaxed. Some people might feel so relaxed that they’ll start talking and forget to stop.
Gelato #33 is popular amongst those who suffer from anxiety and depression, but it can also lower your eye pressure. This strain is not recommended for novices and those sensitive to THC.
3. Oregon Diesel
Oregon Diesel is an Indica-dominant hybrid developed in the U.S. This strain has a THC to CBD ratio of 9 to 1. The strain’s THC content can vary between 16 and 22 percent, and it has a powerful smell and flavour. Even though its smoke is easy to inhale, some users might disagree with Oregon Diesel’s taste.
The strain produces a relaxing high. Some smokers might feel the need to sit or lie down after consuming it.
This cannabis strain is a renowned painkiller and sleep aid, but it can also help with intraocular eye pressure. The strong sedative high of Oregon Diesel makes it unsuitable for daytime users or novices.
Headband is a popular Indica-dominant hybrid that produces a potent high. This strain’s THC content varies between 20 and 27 percent and its CBD content is 1 percent.
The strain has a flowery smell. Its smoke has a powerful pine aroma and it’s not difficult to inhale.
Headband produces a slow-mounting high. Some people might not experience any effects for 20 to 30 minutes after smoking. The initial sensation is mental fogginess, which is quickly followed by relaxation. Some people might experience psychedelic effects, such as a disconnection from their body.
This cannabis strain has a powerful sedative effect and can serve as an aid for insomnia. However, the strain can also improve appetite and reduce intraocular pressure. Given its sedative effects, Headband is not recommended for novices or those who are prone to panic attacks.
5. CBD Kush
CBD Kush is an Indica-dominant hybrid created in the Netherlands. This strain was specifically developed to yield a balance between THC and CBD. Its THC content is usually between 1 and 8 percent and its CBD content can reach 11 percent.
The strain has a woody smell with hints of pine. Its smoke is harsh and many might consider it unpleasant and difficult to inhale.
Thanks to its cannabinoid profile, CBD Kush produces a light high. Most people experience only mild sedation and relaxation. Some people might feel euphoria as a result of the total relaxation, while veteran cannabis consumers might not even get high from it.
This strain is often used for pain relief, but it can also lower your eye pressure. Since CBD Kush produces mild highs, it’s suitable for novice users.
Closing thoughts on the top 25 medical cannabis strains
The medical cannabis strains we presented are some of the best in the world. However, they are not the only ones that might treat the medical conditions we focused on. If you managed to treat one of these medical conditions with other cannabis strains, please let us know in the comment section below.