It seems like almost every day, there’s a new study being published about cannabis’s potential effectiveness in treating yet another medical condition. So far, research into medical cannabis has suggested it might effectively treat chronic pain and PTSD, insomnia and epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and MS, and more.
How can it do all of this? The answer lies partially in the fact that there are so many different types of cannabis. Depending on the medical condition you want to treat, a different type of cannabis will be the right choice for you.
Most people are familiar with the indica cannabis plant. It’s the most common, and its leaves are the basis for the common icon you’ll see on activists’ flags, clothing, and tattoos.
Another variant, the sativa plant, is less common and less widely known to the general public.
From these two major strains, many different types of cannabis have been bred, including many hybrid plants. These hybrids tend to blend the best attributes of indica and sativa. They may be able to treat a wider range of conditions than either a sativa or an indica strain on its own.
Which strains treat which conditions? Some generalizations about each may help.
Although “indica” can be used as a category on its own, there are many different types of indica. This means an OG Kush strain is going to have different effects than a Purple Kush will.
Nonetheless, some generalizations can be made about what indica strains normally treat. Indica strains tend to have high concentrations of THC. Many medical cannabis patients report that they prefer indica as a “nightcap,” since these strains can be so good at putting them to sleep.
Obviously, insomnia is one of the conditions indica strains might treat well. Chronic pain is another. THC also appears to induce hunger, so these types of cannabis strains may be great choices if you’re suffering from a lack of appetite.
THC also appears to have effects on the brain as people age, so indica strains are the go-to in Alzheimer’s treatments.
Sativa strains contain less THC than their indica cousins and usually have higher concentrations of another cannabinoid, CBD. As a result, sativa strains tend to act a little differently than indicas.
Sativa strains claim to promote mindfulness, alertness, and focus. Most people report they feel far more awake when they work with a sativa strain, although they report that they still feel relaxed and at ease.
Sativas may be great for those working through mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. They may also suppress the appetite, which might make them effective tools in weight management.
CBD and other cannabinoids are still being researched to show how they might be used to treat various conditions.
Hybrids blend indica and sativa strains to create types of cannabis showcasing the best of both worlds. Depending on the mix, you can have either a sativa-dominant or an indica-dominant hybrid. Indica-dominant strains are more common, but all have the potential benefits of both indica and sativa.
Some people say they prefer hybrids to avoid some of the side effects of indica-rich strains, while others find they want the effects of sativa strains but coupled with some of the reported benefits of indica. Hybrids can be good intermediaries for those who need an indica or a sativa strain, but want the reported benefits of both.
Hybrids may also have more muted effects than their parent strains. For example, a hybrid strain may not put you to sleep the same way an indica strain would, while still perhaps helping you relieve chronic pain.
As you can see, there are many different types of cannabis, and all of them have suggested medical uses. Consult with a medical practitioner today to discover which strains might be right for you.