- by Marni Meistrell
The names are exotic and not particularly revealing: Sour Diesel, Granddaddy Purple, Bubba Kush, Blueberry Kush, Jack Herer, Durban Poison.…
These are just some of the dozens of cannabis strains might find available for sale during a trip to a dispensary, and when you see this long menu of choices you can hardly be blamed for feeling lost. You want to find a strain that is perfect for your medical condition, but that’s obviously impossible if you don’t know the therapeutic qualities of the choices you’re given.
Fortunately, the situation is not as complex as it seems at first glance. All the names can be narrowed down to three separate categories, based on plant type: indica, sativa and hybrid. Once you know a bit more about these plant categories, and their common characteristics, you’ll have a much easier time selecting a strain that’s likely to work for you. Also, a good budtender should be able to steer you toward the right strain for your needs.
Indica Cannabis Strains: Characteristics and Effects
Originating in the mountains of central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, the indica plant is short, dense and solid in structure, with wide, thick, deep green leaves. Hardy enough to thrive in cooler climates, the indica plant features a potent package of chemicals useful for medical purposes
In comparison to other strains, those derived from indica plants usually have higher concentrations of the cannabis compound THC, the ingredient responsible for marijuana’s mind-altering capacities. They are also more densely packed with the cannabinoid CBD, which is associated with calm and peaceful states. And they contain large quantities of an organic molecule called myrcene, which is yet another chemical that promotes drowsiness and extreme levels of relaxation.
As might be expected from their chemical composition, indica strains are known for their relaxing, tranquility-inducing effects. They are generally recommended for nighttime consumption, since users may have trouble staying awake while under their influence.
Doctors might suggest indica cannabis strains if you’re suffering from any of these symptoms or conditions:
- Anxiety disorders
- Chronic pain
- Muscle spasms
The list of popular indica strains includes Northern Lights, Bubba Kush, Blueberry, Blueberry Kush, Granddaddy Purple, Blue Cheese and Purple Kush.
Sativa Cannabis Strains: Characteristics and Effects
Unlike the stout and sturdy indica plant, the sativa plant is tall, thin and delicate. Its oblong, light-green leaves mark it as a plant most suited for warmer climates, and its low-density leaf and branch structure generally produces flowers with lower concentrations of powerful cannabinoids like CBD and THC.
What sativa plants do have is relatively larger quantities of the compound THCV, which acts as a stimulant and a mood enhancer. Because of their energizing effects, strains derived from sativa plants are often recommended for daytime use, and they are not typically given to patients experiencing anxiety or insomnia regardless of their overall medical condition.
Sativa strains of medical marijuana are appropriate for a wide range of health troubles, including:
- Chronic fatigue
- Mild-to-moderate pain
- ADHD (adult)
- Appetite loss related to cancer
Some of the more frequently sold sativa strains are Sour Diesel, Durban Poison, Chocolope, Jack Herer, Lemon Haze and Lamb’s Bread.
Hybrid Cannabis Strains: The Best of Both Worlds
Customized strains are created by mixing genetic material from indica and sativa strains to capture certain characteristics associated with both. New hybrids hit the market frequently, and dispensaries like Encanna are always on the lookout for new varieties of hybrid medical marijuana that has been targeted at specific illnesses or health conditions.
The names change all the time, and it would be difficult for you to keep up with all the latest hybrid strains. Fortunately, dispensary staff members are paid to keep track of that vitally important information, and they can advise you about the hybrid products they have for sale and help you select the strains that are most likely to bring you good health and relief from your symptoms.
One important variable in hybrids (and to some extent in indica and sativa strains as wells) is the concentration levels of the healing cannabinoids. THC and CBD are the two most common cannabis compounds in medical marijuana products, and each has strong therapeutic effects when used to treat certain symptoms or causes of illness.
THC is known to be effective against:
- Loss of appetite
- Stress and anxiety
- Muscle tension
Meanwhile, CBD can be a potent remedy for:
- Epileptic symptoms
- Bacterial infections
- Spreading cancer
Some strains include high levels of both THC and CBD, and they can be a good choice if the symptoms you’re experiencing are varied and complex.
Dispensaries as a Resource
At Encanna dispensaries our staff members know what each product we sell can or cannot do for those diagnosed with a serious medical disorder. Speak to our personnel about your needs and they will introduce you to your options and explain all the pros and cons of the strains that might offer relief.
You should have some idea of what you’re looking for before you enter a dispensary, but you should also be open-minded enough to consider other possibilities. Ask for help and you’ll get the expert assistance you need, as you seek medicine that can reduce your suffering and restore your quality of life.