Medical Marijuana | The Best Strains
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Many more people are beginning to become interested in the concept of medicinal marihuana for treating their illnesses and issues such as fibromyalgia, eating disorders, anxiety, depression etc. Many people believe that any type of cannabis is medicinal and apt for treating their illnesses right out of the gate, but they forget that there are various different types of cannabis and each one has a range of different effects. Today we’re going to talk about the best medical marijuana strains and how to know which strain is the best for you.
Medical Marijuana Strains | History of Medicinal Cannabis use
Cannabis legalization is quite a modern concept; large parts of the world have been fighting to legalize it for years now, and some countries finally made it passed the finish line. Even though legalization seems to be quite a modern movement, did you know that medicinal cannabis has been used for over 5000 years?
The first known record of cannabis use for medicinal properties was found in ancient Chinese medical records from 2737 BC. Large amounts of pollen were also found in the Netherlands, dating back to 2459 BC, alongside another herb typically used in ancient medicines, meaning that the pollen in question was most-likely used for pain relief, although there is no way to actually confirm this theory.
Cannabis has been around for thousands and thousands of years, has been used medicinally for quite a large portion of that time (although there are also signs of recreational use) and wasn’t made illegal until the start of the 20th century. Part of cannabis illegality comes from the fact that the construction industry didn’t want hemp to come into the scene, being stronger and cheaper than most materials, and then of course the war on drugs began to rage.
The war on drugs was based on discrimination against people of color and those that struggle with addiction, and sadly it’s still something that’s seen around the world today. Fortunately, in many places cannabis has been legalized medicinally, helping people with a myriad of illnesses including those with dependency issues after being treated with certain medications.
Medical Marijuana Strains and Types
It can be hard to make a full list of the best medicinal cannabis strains because every strain has its own particular effect and can be more or less apt for certain illnesses. Before talking about the best strains, first you’ll need to know which types of cannabis are best for which illnesses.
Indica strains are known for their intense effects that’ll calm and sedate most consumers – this effect is pretty much the opposite from sativa strains. Unlike sativa strains, indicas can be used to treat anxiety thanks the fact that they’re mainly sedating and calming; perfect for someone in the midst of an anxiety attack. Using that exact logic, these types of strains should not be used to treat depression; patients suffering from depression do not want a strain that will sedate them even more, they’d be better off with a more energetic sativa.
Indica strains are perfect for treating issues such as insomnia, muscle pain, nausea, headaches and even rougher illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s arthritis, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, cancer, lupus and many, many more illnesses and issues.
For medicinal uses, we recommend the legendary Northern Lights. We’re aware that NL has already made its rounds and is well-known by many, many, growers around the world, but this doesn’t mean that its medicinal properties aren’t top tier. This strain is super easy to grow indoors, it’s quite fast and it produces deliciously earthy and citric cannabis. It can also be used to make your own extracts, which give a more intense and concentrated medicinal effect.
Sativa strains are known for their generally energetic and euphoric effect, which is almost the entire opposite of most indica strains. This, logically, means that sativa strains are not ideal for treating anxiety. In fact, sativa strains can actually give you such an energy boost that it might actually cause an anxiety attack in individuals prone to such attacks.
Sativa buds are capable of reducing nausea, increasing concentration, reducing physical pain, increasing creativity, reducing stress, increasing energy and improving your mood. Medicinal sativa strains are specially indicated for depression, ADHD, Glaucoma, Alzheimer’s, AIDS, chronic pain etc.
One of the best medicinal strains out there is the world-renowned Kali Mist. Like all good sativas, Kali Mist is a bit complicated to grow indoors as it can grow to massive sizes. If you have enough space and sativa strains sound like they’d be good for your particular illnesses, we highly recommend growing some Kali Mist. This strain has actually been claimed to be one of the most-recommended strains for menstrual pain in women.
When grown outdoors it does well, putting up quite the fight when it comes to humidity and fungi thanks to its open, aired buds. It may take until the end of November to fully mature, although the wait is definitely worth it thanks to the enormous yields it can give and its incredible pain-relief medicinal effects. Make sure to cure it after drying it and you’ll have one of the best medicinal cannabis strains on your hands.
Medical Marijuana Strains with High CBD Content
Last, but far from least, CBD or Cannabidiol is a cannabinoid that has an incredible amount of medicinal properties without giving a psychoactive high like THC. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and neuroprotective properties; it’s also not psychoactive so you won’t feel that typical THC “high”.
Until recently it was quite hard to find cannabis strains with high enough CBD levels to cancel out the effects of THC. Thanks to recent investigations and studies, you can officially get your hands on strains designed to have much more CBD than THC, allowing you to consume your medicine without feeling too stoned. This is incredibly helpful for those that want to medicate during the day and still be able to go about their daily business.
Solodiol CBD by Elite Seeds is a strain designed for those that want to make the most of the medicinal properties of CBD without the psychoactive effect that tends to accompany THC-rich strains.
It can be grown easily indoors and outdoors, and it doesn’t need much care at all to produce more than an acceptable amount of cannabis. The best thing about this strain is that it has 24% CBD and 1% THC – it doesn’t give any high but you’ll still be able to enjoy its medicinal properties and delicious sweet and earthy flavor.
Forms of Medical Marijuana Strains
When it comes to consuming cannabis for medicinal purposes, you don’t always have to smoke or inhale it – in fact, for some illnesses you may do more harm than good by smoking your medicine, such as issues regarding the lungs or asthma.
Smoking does have some benefits for certain issues; it provides almost instant relief, it’s much easier to know what dose you’re taking, there’s little processing and if you have access to a medicinal dispensary you probably have a lot of options. Vaporizing is also healthier than smoking, as there’s no combustion and you won’t stink of smoke afterwards, while still giving almost instant relief, although vaping units can be expensive. You can check out some of our most popular vaporizers right here.
One of the most popular ways of consuming cannabis for medicinal reasons, especially those regarding digestive troubles, is via ingestion. This can be done by preparing your very own meal with cannabis infused ingredients or by using cannabis drops under the tongue. Again, the strain used is going to affect the outcome; if treating stomach issues you’ll want to go with a strain with potent anti-inflammatory properties.
A popular option in places where medicinal and recreational consumption is legal is to simply buy your edibles from your local dispensary; they stock everything from lollipops to chocolate bars, crackers, gummy bears and pretty much everything else you can think of. Most of them actually taste nice thanks to legalization allowing for cannabis culinary artists to fully explore and perfect the art of infusing food with cannabinoids.
Lesser-known Medical Marijuana Treatments
There are a few types of treatments that aren’t the most well-known methods of consuming medicinal marijuana strains, but they’re incredibly effective. Patients that have tried everything and still can’t seem to find relief or have issues with coming to terms with the smell or flavor of cannabis can try transdermal patches, just like nicotine patches, which are usually placed on the ankle or the inside of the wrist and produce small doses of cannabinoids.
Another less conventional treatment is by using cannabis suppositories, which are essentially suppositories made out of cannabis extract that dissolve and are absorbed through the colon into the body. The effect kicks in quite fast and can last for a while, and it’s definitely the most efficient way to digest cannabinoids.
Discover what the best medical marijuana strains are, including their types and how to best consume cannabis for the perfect desired effect!
Beginner’s Guide to Marijuana Strains
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Cannabis use is on the rise in the United States. A 2018 study notes that, while cannabis use among teens has decreased, American adults are increasingly using cannabis on the daily.
According to Forbes, the global cannabis industry is estimated to be worth $7.7 billion. It’s projected to hit $31.4 billion by 2021.
The industry is booming in part because cannabis can be a versatile form of medication. A number of research studies have found that cannabis has the potential to help with a variety of medical conditions, including anxiety, chronic pain, and epilepsy.
But, as any recreational or medical marijuana user can tell you, not all cannabis is created equal. Different strains of cannabis produce different effects, and thus can be used for different reasons.
If marijuana is legal in your state and you’re looking to try it, but not sure which strains best suit your needs, we’ve got you covered. Check out our guide to marijuana strains below.
If you’ve read a little about marijuana, or if you enter most dispensaries, you might see the words indica, sativa, and hybrid. Generally, most people divide marijuana into these three categories.
Indica, which originates from the Hindu Kush mountains of India, is believed to have a relaxing effect on the user. Sativa has a more energizing effect, while hybrid is a combination of the two.
Many industry experts, however, are reconsidering the indica, sativa and hybrid categories. According to Amos Elberg, head of data science at Confident Cannabis, these terms are more or less meaningless.
“We see samples of all cannabis products tested through our partner labs, and when we look at all the data, particularly of the chemical makeup of flower, we see no identifiable characteristics that are consistent with indica, sativa, or hybrid,” he explains.
“Essentially people are using these terms as catchalls for effect, but they’re not all consistent with those effects. Some indica makes some people wired, not couch-locked, for instance.”
In other words, people shouldn’t be alarmed if a reportedly energizing sativa strain has more of a mellowing effect, or if an indica strain makes them feel more bubbly and excitable.
Beyond indica, sativa, and hybrid, dispensaries might divide the types of cannabis they have into strains. Strains are essentially different breeds of cannabis, and they’re bred to have specific effects on the user.
But if the terms indica, sativa, and hybrid are essentially useless categorizations, are strain names also meaningless?
Not exactly, says Elberg.
“Not all seeds that are sold under the same name are genetically identical, or even necessarily related. Some producers may choose to create a strain name essentially as a branding exercise, or to identify their product with an existing name because they believe the product matches characteristics the market expects from product sold under that name,” Elberg explains.
There are, however, still consistencies among product sold under specific strain names, Elberg adds.
“In general, for the less common names, product sold by different vendors tends to be pretty consistent,” he notes. “For the most common strain names, however, a wider variety of different products are sold.”
If you purchase product from a quality source, the strains should be more or less consistent. Bear in mind, however, that every person reacts differently to cannabis.
The strain you choose depends on what effect you desire. As mentioned earlier, cannabis has a range of medical uses, but some strains are better for certain conditions than others.
It’s also worth researching the potential adverse effects of the strain. Many of the more common strains, which you can find below, list dry mouth, dry eyes, and dizziness as possible side effects. Marijuana also has the potential to interact with medications you might be taking. Do not operate machinery when using marijuana.
Check with your doctorIf you’re interested in trying cannabis, and you’re looking to help treat a medical condition or currently taking any medications, speak with your doctor first.
According to user reviews on Leafly, here’s what people might expect from a few of the most popular marijuana strains.
Originating from Acapulco, Mexico, Acapulco Gold is a well-known and highly praised strain of cannabis. It’s noted for its euphoria-inducing, energizing effects. It’s said to reduce fatigue, stress, pain, and even nausea.
Blue Dream is relaxing and soothing, but it isn’t a total sedative. This makes it perfect for easing pain, cramps, or inflammation for when you can’t afford to fall asleep. Plus, it’s said to lift your mood and give you a feeling of euphoria.
Purple Kush is great for inducing a state of bliss so that you feel relaxed, happy, and sleepy. It’s often used for reducing pain and muscle spasms. Its sedating effects means it can be used to reduce insomnia.
A highly energizing, mood-lifting strain, Sour Diesel is great for giving you a burst of productive energy. It also has notable destressing and pain-relieving effects.
Bubba Kush is a relaxing, sleep-inducing strain. It’s perfect for helping you fight insomnia and get some shut-eye. It also offers pain-reducing, stress-relieving results.
Granddaddy Purple is another highly relaxing strain. It’s often praised for its insomnia-fighting and stress-reducing results. Users also note that it can make you feel euphoria and increase hunger, which is great if you’re experiencing a lack of appetite.
Originating from the Hindu Kush mountains near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, Afghan Kush is super relaxing and sleep-inducing. This, too, can help you feel hungry if you’re experiencing a lack of appetite, and can relieve pain.
LA Confidential is another relaxing and sleep-inducing strain that is often used to soothe insomnia. It’s also said to have noticeable anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing effects, which makes it a favorite among people with chronic pain.
Maui Wowie can help you feel super relaxed, yet energetic and creative. It reduces fatigue, too, making it great for days when you need to be productive.
Golden Goat is notable for making users feel euphoric and creative. It’s also great for reducing fatigue and stress while lifting your mood.
Northern Lights is another relaxing, sleep-inducing strain. It’s also known for its mood-lifting effects, and it can be used to relieve insomnia, pain, stress, and depression.
White Widow improves your mood, gives you energy, and relaxes you all at once. It’s said to help reduce pain and stress, as well as feelings of depression. If you’re feeling fatigued, White Widow might help you stay energized and alert.
Super Silver Haze
Another energizing strain, Super Silver Haze is said to produce feelings of euphoria, relieves pain and nausea, and lifts your mood. This makes it excellent for stress relief.
Made famous by the 2008 eponymous movie, Pineapple Express has a pineapple-like scent. It’s relaxing and mood lifting, but is also said to give you an energetic buzz. This is the sort of strain that could be great for productivity.
Fruity Pebbles OG, or FPOG, is associated with inducing euphoria and relaxation, which could make it great for stress relief. It often makes users feel giggly, helps reduce nausea, and increases appetite.
If marijuana is legal in your state and you’re interested in trying — or even growing — different types of cannabis strains, there are a number of products that can make your life a little easier.
Growing Laws Legislation around growing marijuana differs from state to state. Before you decide to grow, make sure you’ve done your research.
Some people might prefer inhaling cannabis over smoking it through a pipe, bong, or joint. This desktop vaporizer heats up cannabis and expels the vapor into a balloon. The person then inhales the air from the balloon.
The vaporizer can be used with dried herbs or liquid concentrates, and can be purchased here.
Magical Butter Kit
Cannabutter — or cannabis-infused butter — is the basis of many edibles. Unfortunately, making cannabutter can be a lengthy and labor-intensive process.
This butter kit, however, makes it easy to infuse herbs into butter. It has its own heating unit and thermostat, which ensures that the product and butter are at the ideal temperature throughout the process.
tCheck Dosage Checker
The tCheck Dosage Checker tests the strength of cannabis-infused liquids — like alcohol-based tinctures. It can also test cannabis-infused olive oil, ghee (clarified butter), and coconut butter, which will help you determine how strong your edibles are before you indulge.
Unfortunately, it only checks liquids, not dried herb.
Grinding up cannabis can be time-consuming, so the Palm Mincer can be quite useful. It fits perfectly into your palm, and it can be used to chop up cannabis quickly and efficiently. What’s more it’s dishwasher safe, so it’s easy to clean off the sticky cannabis resin. You can buy it I here.
Harvest Starter Kit
If you want to start growing your own cannabis, this convenient starter kit contains everything you need to harvest it.
The grow kit includes a trimming tray, a microscope for examining the buds to determine whether they’re ready for harvest, three types of pruning shears, a disinfecting spray for your tools, a drying rack, and gloves.
Note: Even if marijuana is legal in your state, it continues to be illegal under federal law.
Sian Ferguson is a freelance writer and journalist based in Grahamstown, South Africa. Her writing covers issues relating to social justice and health. You can reach out to her on Twitter.
Last medically reviewed on September 26, 2018
Not all cannabis is created equal. Different strains of cannabis produce different effects, and thus can be used for different reasons. If marijuana is legal in your state and you’re looking to try it, but not sure which strains best suit your needs, we’ve got you covered with this beginner’s guide.