Many people tend to think of cannabis as a monolith. That is, they think of cannabis the way they see it portrayed on TV or in movies, and they associate it with the stereotypical “high.” If you use cannabis, they believe, you’ll feel relaxed and sleepy. You might feel hungry. You’ll probably think about peace or have some strange insights about the world.
While some of these traits are associated with cannabis, they’re usually associated with one particular kind of cannabis. Medical cannabis patients know there are many different cannabis strains out there, and most of them act very differently. In fact, different strains have all sorts of different cannabinoids and terpenes, which can produce a wide range of effects. There are thousands of strains with so many combinations.
This quick guide will introduce you to some of the different cannabis strains available. If you’re new to medical cannabis, this guide is for you.
The stereotypes people associate with medical cannabis and its users are typical of the indica strains. Indicas are the most popular and widely used cannabis strains, and they’re very popular with recreational users.
Indica strains typically contain high levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In the human body, THC tends to cause relaxation and drowsiness. It may also associated with increased feelings of hunger, which accounts for the stereotype of cannabis users having “the munchies.”
Typically, medical cannabis users favour indica strains when they want deep relief of pain for several hours. Indica strains tend to put people to sleep, which makes them a great choice for those with insomnia as well.
Not all indicas are the same, however, and you can choose a cannabis strain with a higher or lower THC concentration. The higher the THC levels, the more potent the cannabis strain is.
Many medical cannabis users favour sativa strains because they provide a more energizing effect.
Sativa strains are usually high in cannabidiol, or CBD, though indica strains and hybrid strains also contain cannabidiol. CBD is considered by many as an effective painkiller with anti-inflammatory properties. Sativa strains also contain THC.
Medical cannabis users often state they prefer sativa strains when they need to be alert and awake. Since these cannabis strains still may provide pain relief and relief from other symptoms, they’re ideal for day time use.
Medical cannabis strains with high concentrations of CBD also typically have better profiles for those with mental health conditions, such as anxiety and PTSD, users suggest. CBD’s reported uplifting effects may alleviate some of the mental-emotional symptoms these patients experience. CBD is likely a safer option for those suffering from mental health issues as THC can sometimes trigger worsening symptoms in anxiety patients. It is important to speak to your cannabis physician about this.
What if there was a way to get the best of both worlds? Many medical cannabis strains blend together sativa and indica parents to achieve a strain with the “best” of both. Hybrid strains vary widely in their levels of both CBD and THC.
Since the levels of CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids in hybrid strains vary so much, it’s difficult to make sweeping generalizations about them. Some strains act more like their sativa parents, while others have more in common with their indica side. Hybrid CBD strains typically have lower THC and so they’re popular with users because they tend to have fewer side effects, though hybrid strains high in THC may still provide psychoactive effects. Hybrids open up more options for medical cannabis users, so they can find the right strain for them.
There are many different cannabis strains available, and almost all of them have their place. The right strain for you may be out there. With a little patience and experimentation, you might find it.