Blue Dream, Gucci, L.A. Confidential…these are just three of the dizzying number of fancy-named cannabis strains out there to choose from. Each have their own personalities according to their compounds, but how each react with the chemistry of your body is still a scientific mystery. So, how to choose your strain isn’t always straightforward.
Even though it is now being used more and more for medical purposes, marijuana is still considered a Schedule 1 drug in the U.S., so it’s difficult for scientists to research it without approval from several federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Knowing which marijuana strain to select can be daunting if you don’t know what has what and how it will affect you. Some strains will give you energy, while others will make you sleepy. Some will give you that Pink Floyd trippy feeling at midday, while others (thankfully), won´t.
So, how do you find the right strain of weed? That depends on what you want and a lot of chemistry.
Cannabis Chemistry 101: How to Choose Your Strain
When you walk into a marijuana dispensary and read all those labels on the jars, the best way to select a strain to experiment with is to know the basics about the chemical compounds in cannabis.
For starters, the active ingredients in medical marijuana strains include the molecules: Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Cannabinol (CBN), and Cannabidiol (CBD). The difference between strains and their effects has to do with their particular concentrations of the three. These three ingredients are what help treat ailments and are present in practically all strains.
Derived from the sativa or indica plant, or a hybrid of these plants, medical marijuana strains come from breeding and crossbreeding these plants for different qualities or “personalities.” This includes the strength of the “high” that it offers its users for pain relief.
The indica plant is more common and easier to grow and the majority of medical marijuana strains contain Indica because it is said to provide pain relief and sedation for the body, according to the United Patients Group, an online medical cannabis information resource for patients, caregivers, and medicinal cannabis industry professionals.
Sativa, which is less common, more difficult to grow, and in its pure form is as common as moon rock, is known to energize, invigorate, uplift, and inspire, indica is known to be a heavier, foggier high.
If you’re trying to find the right strain of weed seeking cannabis to simply uplift the spirit or pique the five senses, and not necessarily cure an ailment, choose a hybrid with at least a 70–30 split, in favor of Sativa.
But just exactly how a strain of marijuana chemically reacts in your body is basically a shot in the dark. Unless you know that the strain you purchased contains a very small percentage of THC and a lot of CBD, which means a low level of psychedelics per say. Here we’ll explain.
THC is Mind-Altering, While CBD is Not
The psychoactive properties of THC are what turns medical marijuana users off to using it for relief. That is why cannabis with high levels of CBD has revolutionized the world of medical marijuana. Why? Because its lack of psychoactivity makes it safe for even sick children and more appealing to those who need it for ailments and not for mind-bending weekends.
In fact, CBD-enriched cannabis is showing to be the medical world´s new wonder drug. A study published in Schizophrenia Research found that cannabis with a high CBD mitigates the psychotic symptoms and disordered thinking associated with cannabis use “with a small, albeit significant, effect.”
Mikhail Kogan, the medical director of the George Washington University Center for Integrative Medicine tells the Washington Post that he prescribes high-CBD strains of cannabis regularly for such illnesses as epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, autoimmune disorders, autism, and insomnia . “I’ve seen it work for a lot of my patients.”
CBD is a truly powerful compound: It also seems to have anti-cancer properties according to researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute and that helps alleviate the pain and spasticity of multiple sclerosis, according to Dr. Andrew Weil.
Before buying cannabis speak to your physician. People with heart conditions and the elderly should use it with caution since there’s still so much we don´t know about the potency and effects of cannabis on our bodies and minds.
Keep reading: Page 1 of 1Next