You’ve made the decision to use medical marijuana – congrats! The next step in the process can be daunting to patients who are new to medical marijuana. Choosing the correct strain of cannabis for an individual or specific condition can be a complicated process and the sheer number of choices available can be overwhelming.
Research on your part will have to go into choosing the right medical marijuana strain if you hope to successfully relieve your symptoms and not give yourself unintended side effects. Each medical marijuana strain has diverse therapeutic effects that benefit different patients with varying levels and types of symptoms. The wrong strain can get you high, but won’t do anything useful to help your condition.
When choosing a strain, it’s useful to have a basic understanding of the differences between indica and sativa in terms of their medicinal applications. Last week, we reviewed the difference between indica and sativa strains of medical marijuana. If you missed it, we recommend checking it out before reading on as it builds the foundation used in this post.
Generally, the following are the differing effects found between the two strains.
– Uplifting and energetic
– Cerebral, spacey or hallucinogenic
– Best suited for day use
– High CBD: THC ratio
– Relaxing and calming
– Body buzz
– Best suited for night use
– High THC: CBD ratio
For many patients, sativa is found to increase focus, creativity, energy and serotonin levels, offering relief from their medical condition and an elevation in their mood. It’s often characterized as cerebral, meaning patients experience more of a head and mind high. For some illnesses however, sativa alone is not strong enough to provide sufficient therapeutic relief for body pains.
Indica, on the other hand, is more relaxing and sleep inducing, relieving nausea and stress, while giving a sense of calm. Indica is used to treat a larger number of conditions and is often favoured by those diagnosed with cancer, HIV/AIDS, and glaucoma. It’s extremely effective at reducing nausea, stimulating appetite, and reducing pain. Where sativas are generally characterized as a head and mind high, indicas are characterized as giving a body stone.
The high effects of sativa strains make them a better choice during the day, when wakefulness is desirable, whereas the relaxing effects of indica varieties often make them more suitable for evening and nighttime use.
Hybrid strains offer the best of both worlds to many patients. Thousands of hybrid strains are available and fall into two broad groups: indica-sativa (indica dominant) or sativa-indica (sativa dominant). Each of the hybrid medical marijuana strains has been developed to treat different ailments with differing effects. For instance, indica dominant are effective for pain relief with the sativa component allowing you to maintain energy and activity levels. Sativa dominant strains are good for stimulating appetite, with the indica component helping to reduce body pain and increase relaxation.
The type of condition being treated is good guide to whether an indica dominant or a sativa dominant strain is more appropriate. Assessing the type of symptoms you’re looking to relieve is generally the best starting point for selecting the most suitable type of medicinal cannabis for your specific condition. It’s also important to remember that just as every person’s physiological make up is different, the experience of using cannabis medicinally is also different for everyone.
Once you’ve determined whether you’re looking for a sativa dominant or indica dominant strain, now the question is which specific strain within the indica/sativa/hybrid combo will work best for you. This is where trial and error with specific strains and dosages comes in.
We recommend sampling three to four strains to find the one that best suit you and your specific requirements. When testing, we also recommend keeping a journal. Here, you can document what you took, when you took it, the quantity consumed, and how you felt after taking it. Once you’ve tried a few strains, you will find one that works best for you. Each Monday, we feature a $20 mix pack of indica, sativa, and indica/sativa strains that are perfect if you’re looking to sample several products.
If you have any questions about which strain is right for you, just ask us. We’d love to make sure that we provide you with the right medical marijuana for your specific needs!