There are more than 800 medical marijuana (MMJ) varieties each boasting different effects, flavors and medical uses. How is one to know what is best for them?
For many patients, MMJ is their first time using cannabis. For others it may have been many years ago, or more recently, that they have used it for recreational purposes. In either case, recreational marijuana knowledge doesn’t necessarily translate into medical marijuana. And, today’s marijuana is very different than it once was.
Your best option is to work with a physician and grower who understands what strain or hybrid best matches your specific needs. However, there is quite a bit of information you can refer to for further study.
All medical marijuana products come from two parent strains. Sativas are known for their energetic highs and Indicas are known for their mellow highs. Hybrids have been created to enhance various features of the two basic strains.
No matter the strain, all marijuana has two main active cannabinoids, THC and CBD. THC is the larger percent of active ingredient and is what creates the psychoactive effects. CBD, while a much small portion can have a significant impact on how the pot will affect a patient. The various strains of MMJ have varying degrees of the two compounds. In general, sativa strains have mid to high levels of THC and low CBD. Whereas, indica strains have higher levels of both THC and CBD. Newer varieties have also shown up on the market that allow patients to benefit from medical marijuana without the psychoactive effects.
Indica strains often create a sedative affect and tend to be centered in the body making them most effective in treating muscle spasms and tremors from diseases such as MS and Parkinson’s, as well as chronic pain, arthritic and rheumatic stiffness and swelling, and anxiety.
Sativa strains create a more energetic high experienced in both the mind and the body making them most effective for treating nausea from chemotherapy or HIV/AIDS medications, as well as appetite stimulation, migraine headaches and depression.
Hybrids offer a bit of both and can aid in maintaining mental clarity and reducing the potential side effect of anxiety that sometimes comes from pure sativa strains.
Many MMJ products come with some pretty funky names. Keeping it all straight can be difficult. Leafly.com has attempted to help by creating a database of the hundreds of different strains of medical marijuana and includes their effects and ratings based on user reviews.
This industry is changing and evolving rapidly. Work with your doctor and keep reading to see what’s new or what has changed.
Sources: LAtimes.com, Leafly.com, SensiSeeds.com