04 October 2011

Finding the right Medical Cannabis (MedCan) Strain for You!

There are many, many strains and it can be somewhat overwhelming to try and decide which strain is right for your condition, but choosing is not as difficult as you may think.

There are three distinctly different kinds of cannabis, Cannabis indica, Cannabis sativa and Cannabis ruderalis. 

Cannabis ruderalis grows wild in parts of Eastern Europe and Russia. It is occasionally used in hybrids (an intentional crossing of two different types of cannabis) to help the resulting plants better cope with cold weather. It is not generally used in MedCan strains.

Cannabis indica
Cannabis indica originated from the hash producing countries of the world like Afghanistan, Morocco and Tibet. Short, dense plants, with broad leaves, often a very dark green. After flowering starts they will mature in six to eight weeks. Buds will be thick and dense, with flavours and aromas ranging from pungent skunk to sweet and fruity. The smoke from Cannabis indica is generally a body type stone, relaxing and laid back.

The 'high' a person experiences when smoking a sufficient amount of pure or mostly pure Cannabis indica - such as Medicine Man - is more of a heavy 'body stone'. You may feel lethargic, tired, unwilling to attend to reality tasks. Experienced users call this 'Couch Lock'. You really just want to be left alone to think deep, intellectual thoughts as you enjoy the pain relief. You may find it very hard to stay awake as well, so this sort of strain would be good for those having trouble sleeping. This is the best sort of 'high' for easing pain.

Cannabis sativa originated from Colombia, Mexico, Thailand and Southeast Asia. Just about the opposite of Cannabis indica, the plants are tall and thin, with much narrower leaves and are a lighter green in color. They grow very quickly and can reach heights of up to 7 metres in a single season. Once flowering has begun they take anywhere from 10 to 16 weeks to fully mature. Flavours range from earthy to sweet and fruity. This kind of 'stone' is cerebral, up and energetic, more of a 'head high'. 

This type of 'high' is the one most associated with hilarious fits of laughter, long discussions about next-to-nothing, enhanced audio and visual senses. You hear things in songs you’ve never heard before, see things in movies you’ve watched a dozen times but never noticed before. 

Cannabis sativa
Strolling through brightly-lit malls becomes a whole new and exciting adventure. In other words, smoking a pure Cannabis sativa or mostly sativa hybrid will make you feel great! Energetic and social and ready for fun! And depending on the particular strain of Cannabis sativa/indica cross you smoke, you may get a good measure of pain relief in the deal as well. 

Consuming (eating) either strain or hybrid of the two results in a stronger, longer-lasting high. But it doesn’t feel as good as smoking the herb does to many who have tried it. It’s a matter of experience and personal taste. It really depends on what effect you are looking for when making your selection and choosing a way to ingest it for your condition. 

A good Cannabis indica/sativa cross can also offer the best of both worlds. There are many breeders who work hard to develop strains that will accomplish just that - give you a great head high coupled with a relaxing and definitely medically-beneficial strong body stone. 

Combining different Cannabis indicas, different Cannabis sativas or a combination thereof creates hybrids. The resulting hybrid strains will grow, mature and smoke/ingest in relationship to the Cannabis indica/sativa percentages they end up containing.

THC is found in the resin glands that form on the plant during the maturation process. However, no matter how much resin you induce on a Cannabis indica it's still not going to give you the stone of a Cannabis sativa, so it does have a lot to do with your personal tastes and expectations.

The most desirable strains for medical use are ones that have been genetically developed by experts to have an extremely low CBN concentration while maintaining an available range of THC concentrates. 

Effects of Cannabis indica (lower THC, higher CBN/CBD)
*generally more physical than cerebral (however, the relief of physical symptoms can have a positive psychological effect)
*sedation, pain relief and relaxation
*best for later in the day and bedtime
*perhaps better for anxiety than depression
Benefits of Cannabis indica (lower THC, higher CBN/CBD)
*reduces pain
*muscle relaxant
*relieves spasms, reduces seizures
*reduces inflammation
*aids sleep
*reduces anxiety and stress
*reduces nausea
*stimulates appetite
*relieves headaches and migraines
*reduces intraocular pressure
*bronchodilator and expectorant

Effects of Cannabis sativa (high THC, low CBN/CBD:
*stimulating and uplifting
*energising and thought provoking
*increases focus and creativity
*supports immune system
*best for use in daytime

Benefits of Cannabis sativa (high THC, low CBN/CBD)
*reduces nausea
*stimulates the appetite
*fights drepression
*positive, uplifting, cerebral effect
*energises and stimulates
*promotes creativity
*relieves headaches and migraines
*relaxes muscles, relieves pain
*acts as an expectorant

Selecting the Best Strain and Dosage

The efficacy of Cannabis is directly related to strain selection. Care should be taken when selecting strains that will benefit you. Potency and dosage vary with different strains, conditions and individuals. The idea is to consume as little as possible of the most appropriately potent strains available in order to reduce costs and potential side effects.

Hybrid Strain Crosses

Most cannabis seeds and medicine available today are from hybrids - crosses of Cannabis sativa and indica

The genetics and hence the effects of one lineage will usually be dominant. For example: Cannabis indica-dominant crosses are for pain relief, with the sativa component helping with energy and activity levels.

Cannabis sativa-dominant crosses are good for stimulating appetite, with the indica component helping to reduce body pain and increase relaxation.

Cannabis has been proven helpful in relieving the symptoms of thousands of conditions, including:
*pain from various ailments and injuries
*arthritis, bursitis
*multiple sclerosis
*hepatitis C
*mental/emotional health issues including anxiety, stress, depression, hyperactive and hormonal disorders
*nausea and low appetite
*cancer and chemotherapy
*muscular dystrophy
*epilepsy, Parkinson's
*asthma, emphysema
*glaucoma and other intraocular disorders
*skin diseases such as pruritis and psoriasis
*back pain and muscle spasms
*paraplegia and quadriplegia
*insomnia and other sleep disorders

Active ingredients

There are approximately 60 identified cannabinoids and each of an infinite number of strains of cannabis has its own cannabinoid profile.

The active cannabinoids each have unique physiological effects and many combinations actually appear to have synergystic and antagonistic effects.

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
Euphoric, stimulant, muscle relaxant, anti-epileptic, anti-emetic, anti-inflammatory, appetite stimulating, bronchodilating, hypotensive, anti-depressant and analgesic effects.

Cannabidiol (CBD)
Lessens the psychoactive effects of THC and has sedative and analgesic effects.

Cannabichromene (CBC)
Promotes the effects of THC and has sedative and analgesic effects.

Cannabigerol (CBG)
Has sedative effects and anti-microbial properties as well as lowering intraocular pressure. CBG is the biogenetic precursor of all other cannabinoids.

Cannabinol (CBN)
A mildly psychoactive degradation of THC, it's primary effects are as an anti-epileptic and to lower intraocular pressure.

Strains of high quality Cannabis, ranging from 100% sativa and 100% indica to sativa/indica hybrid crosses can replace heavy narcotic pharmaceuticals like Oxycontin and Morphine. The best strains and correct dosage can help you forget about your pain and allow you to function in your everyday life, not leave you stuck on the couch!

4 October 2011
Adapted from, 
Canada Medical Marijuana

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