Cannabis Strains – Potential Medical Benefits & Side Effects

Cannabis Strains, the Medical Benefits and the effects

Why Do We Need To Know The Difference?

With all of the research being done on medical marijuana, it may be helpful to know what different strains there are. Some people have noticed different results with different cannabis strains due to an effect is known as the entourage effect, different combinations of THC, CBD, and the terpenoids (The Entourage) of cannabis varieties may contribute to different outcomes when using medical marijuana.

This is important to know, as certain cannabinoids, such as THC, may have serious negative side effects for many people, especially when THC levels are high in comparison with other cannabinoids. Certain conditions may also be especially affected by any THC levels (such as seizure disorders). Knowing that there are different strains available may be helpful when considering, along with your doctor’s recommendations, what may be right for you if they recommend that you try a certain variety.

Always be sure to talk with your doctor before beginning any treatment with medical marijuana. It may affect you in ways you don’t anticipate, so it is important that they know:

  1. If you decide to use it
  2. What chemicals it contains.

This article is meant to be a guide to the different marijuana strains (and their chemical makeup) that may be available near you for medical use.

Varieties of Cannabis

Different Cannabis varieties consist of plants from the Cannabis Indica, Cannabis Sativa, or Cannabis Ruderalis plants. The different levels may be a combination of any of these plants when they are bred to be a hybrid cannabis strain, or they could be a pure Cannabis Ruderalis, Sativa, or Indica strain.

Most of the strains in the world are bred from Cannabis Indica and Sativa. Cannabis Ruderalis has trace amounts of THC, much lower compared to the other varieties. A lot of popular strains often have at least some THC in them, so take note of that when considering their effects even if a supplier claims that their strain is perfectly fine for medical use. Any vendor should disclose the CBD and THC levels of their products prove they are lab tested and grown without any harmful chemical (pesticides) so that you know what you are getting into. This is also useful for your doctor to know as well because they will have a better understanding of the potential risks and benefits you are going to undertake.

A cannabis Indica strain is known (to people who can tell the difference in their experience) for a more calming effect than other species of plant. Producers may use this species for growing strains that are targeted for medical conditions that may benefit from a full body relaxation experience. While it is interesting to note that not all people experience this effect from every Indica use, the most common uses of this strain are for body aches, headaches, muscle tension, excessive stress, anxiety, and spasms (such as seizures). Indica has a growth pattern that only gets to about three or four feet tall. They may also have a sweeter smell than other varieties. They generally have a faster flowering time during growth than Sativa strains do and are usually produced in the middle east.

Cannabis Sativa strains are known for the opposite effect of Indica varieties (again, noting that not all people experience the same effects from these plants). They have a focusing effect for some people, causing them to focus their attention more clearly on individual tasks.

Popular Cannabis Strains & Their Medical Benefits

Sour Diesel – Sour diesel is a Sativa variety of cannabis. It is a popular strain. Its name comes from its unique smell that is strongly similar to diesel fuel, but it also has some citrusy tones (most likely from the terpenes that contribute to its uniqueness).

Most of the medicinal benefits are for mood and focusing on disorders, such as anxiety and ADHD/ADD. This is a tricky one to use though because sour diesel has a tendency to only work for these in a low dose. Past a certain dosage, it can actually increase anxiety, social anxiety, or paranoia and have the opposite effect that it was intended for medically. A low dose for someone else may not be a low dose for you, depending on your body and brain chemistry. Keep that in mind if you are considering using it for yourself or for someone else.

In addition to the risk of lung damage from smoking cannabis in general, sour diesel, in particular, is known for a very strong smoke and a lingering taste. Some people say that this one has helped their arthritis symptoms, but it does not generally affect the body as much as it affects mood and brain function.

Og Kush – Og kush is an Indica variety. It is also known for a strong smoke, which is spicy and can induce a cough. This has a very high THC content, sometimes even higher than that of sour diesel.

The kush properties can give a euphoric feeling in your head while calming down your body and making it relaxed. In regards to medical benefits, those who use it say that it treats their ADHD/ADD, anxiety, depression and other mood disorders, digestive problems, headaches, and even Alzheimer’s. Studies are not extensive on these topics, so take caution as the high THC content can either help these conditions in small doses or make them worse with too high of a dosage if there is a connection between Og Kush and these disorders. The most commonly experienced benefits are focused attention, hunger, relaxation, and a general mental or mood uplift.

Durban Poison – Durban poison has a sweet, pine smell and is a pure Sativa variety of cannabis. Its large resin glands make it easy to extract concentrates. It grows very tall and has an early flowering time of 7-8 weeks into its growth pattern. Medically, it is often used for stress, pain, nausea, fatigue, and depression due to its uplifting effects. Some side effects can be dry mouth, dry eyes, dizziness, anxiousness, and paranoia. It also has a very high THC to CBD ratio, which accounts for the risks of paranoia. Some people say that it can help them to stay productive.

White Widow – White widow also has what people call a “creative” high due to the mood uplift and focusing effects experienced by some users. It is thought to be a good strain for managing the pain of various causes. It can also make people hungry, energetic, more social, or introspective.

White widow is a hybrid cannabis strain, combining Indica from South India and Sativa from Brazil. This one can have more of a body high due to its hybrid effect, although some people report a sedative feeling. The nature of hybrids is that the Indica vs. Sativa effects is not always the same from plant to plant, so there’s a chance that it may not have all of the same benefits from one use to another. The Indica side of things can make it so that you experience less of a mental high, and have more physical effects. The medical effects can include pain relief and physical relaxation.

Blue Dream – This strain has a sweet smell, sort of like a combination of berries and cheese. Blue dream tends to be a half-and-half of Indica and Sativa hybrid strain. The body high tends to come from the Indica part, with the mental high coming from the Sativa part. The effects are not the same from person to person, so use caution and talk with your doctor before use. The blue dream strain tends to be used for stress and anxiety. It can have a full body relaxation effect, with a mental effect that can calm a person down without the stressors of paranoia and other effects that can usually come from cannabis use.

Blue dream is sometimes used for ADD/ADHD, mood and emotional disorders, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, PMS, pain, nausea, inflammation, headaches, cramps, and arthritis. Some people feel more social and relaxed, with pain relief and a mental or emotional uplift. The high can come at different rates for different people due to the difference from plant to plant, as well as the responsible people can experience from person to person. The effects can also vary between the body experience and the mental experience.

Important Note – Sour diesel and other strains can have high THC content and may give you some serious side effects. These include paranoia, anxiety, and social anxiety. The severity of these side effects differs from person to person. Also, THC has been known to trigger more severe psychological disorders, such as schizophrenia.

Potential Sativa & Indica Side Effects

The strains listed above are just some of the most popular strains people use for various medical and recreational uses. Although CBD and other cannabinoids carry their own risks and side effects, just like with anything used to treat a medical condition. The strains mentioned above should be of particular caution due to their high THC levels. Other strains lower in THC may be more beneficial when considering other cannabinoids and their uses in treating the same conditions, or even more than the ones mentioned above.

Cannabis Ruderalis – Cannabis Ruderalis, as mentioned briefly at the beginning of this article, has its own worthwhile properties to consider when looking into the issue of medical marijuana. Some people debate over whether it is actually a sub-species of Sativa varieties, but the link between the two species is not certain.

Ruderalis comes from Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and Russia, mostly. Cannabis Ruderalis has extremely low THC levels and has extremely high levels of cannabidiol, or CBD, than any other cannabis species. Part of this is due to its auto-flowering nature, meaning that it flowers on its own accord rather than having flowering times that are linked to light exposure cycles.

These strains, with their high CBD (cannabidiol) content, may perhaps make them a far safer alternative for medical purposes or otherwise, instead of using Indica or Sativa strains. Ruderalis has been used in Mongolia to treat depression, and many other people using Ruderalis strains in the world use it for anxiety and epilepsy. This is especially interesting because other strains with higher THC are only effective for these conditions up to a certain point, but with too high of a dose or too potent of a plant in a single use actually causing anxiety or epileptic seizures, on top of the possible trigger for paranoia or more severe psychological disorders such as schizophrenia.

Cannabis Ruderalis is also sometimes mixed with other Indica and Sativa strains because of its high CBD levels. Due to them being similar in a lot of ways, they can produce hybrids fairly easily. This makes Ruderalis an interesting and important plant to be aware of, as more people may find the high CBD levels to be more tolerable for their particular medical conditions, and the low THC levels may make it less easy to abuse, and perhaps will make it more easier to obtain so that people can reap the benefits of cannabis plants if needed.

Understand Before You Try

Due to more people becoming interested in marijuana’s medical properties, it is important to be informed of the different types of chemicals that different strains contain, and be aware of the risks and benefits associated with each chemical. Always be sure to talk to your doctor if you are considering using medical marijuana.

Even though they cannot prescribe it, they can advise you on its medical uses and may be able to make a recommendation or write a note depending on the laws in your state. Especially important is that you tell them if you are already self-medicating with marijuana, or even using it recreationally, as these uses can affect your body no matter what your intention is or however you use marijuana, whether it is chewed, smoked, vaped, and whatever strain you are using.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
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