If you have a medical problem deserving and needing treatment with cannabis products, you should see a doctor, one who knows something about cannabis and its benefits and side-effects.
The doctor’s advice holds a lot more water than that of friends and acquaintances. They can help you with issues of flavor, handling, using, and shopping. But, you need the doctor’s input – and recommendation before trying your medical marijuana dispensary.
Some basic understanding for your research
Each strain of cannabis plants has distinctive chemical compounds. There is no one-size-fits-all. It’s not like treating every ache and pain with generic ibuprofen. Individual strains may or may not address your specific needs, relieve your symptoms, or create unintended side effects.
- THC/CBD: It’s simple; THC is the ingredient that gets you high. The higher the THC, the more potent the high. The CBD (cannabidiol) treats your symptoms. So, you want to know about the THC/CBD balance.
- Sativa: Strains with a Sativa ancestry have moderate THC and low CBD. Because they affect the brain more than body, they can provide energy to fight cancer, migraines, depression. They stimulate appetite and reduce nausea for those in chemotherapy or AIDS care. Depending on the potency of the Sativa, patients use Sativa strains during the day.
- Indica: Higher than Sativa in both THC and CBD, Indica strains create the legendary highs depending on the potency. They relax muscles and body, and can leave you pleasantly stoned. So, patients select them to treat pain, tremors, spasms, and stiffness. They benefit patients with Multiple Sclerosis, arthritis, Parkinson’s, and other conditions. And, because they are relaxing, patients use Indica strains in the evening.
- Hybrids: Sativa and Indica are bred to create hybrid strains. Most patients try several strains before they settle on what works best for them, and very often it is a hybrid. Depending on the mix, they can treat a combination of symptoms. For example, the Indica can treat the chronic pain while the Sativa treats the pain-related depression.
According to the Medical Marijuana Association, “A fair bit of research will have to go into choosing your medical marijuana strain if you hope to successfully relieve your symptoms and not give yourself unintended side effects.”
The following list represents the input from reviewers and consumers. It is not offered as medical advice or endorsement:
- Cancer: Arizona Western Light Purp has a spicy smell and grape taste. This hybrid is 50:50 Sativa:Indica with a high THC of 25% that will lock you up for the rest of the evening. It will reduce insomnia, anxiety, and stress, so patients use it at night. But, because it increases appetite and reduces inflammatory pain, it is recommended for Cancer, Celiac Disease, gastroparesis, and eating disorders.
- Chronic Pain: Afghan #1 is pure Indica. A moderate THC level of 15% to 20% with a 1% CBN (cannabinol) promises a couch-lock experience. Allbud.com calls it a “massively relaxing nugget” with a sweet earth aroma. Its sedating euphoria relieves anxiety, insomnia, migraines, and pain. It assures the restful sleep needed for recovery.
- Depression: Blueberry is the parent strain of a lot of blue descendants. It’s 80:20 Indica:Sativa with 16% to 24% THC and 1% CBN. That leaves you euphoric and giddy with a long-lasting slumber-inducing buzz. It has a rich smell and taste of fresh blueberries. But, you should know this is a potent strain causing paranoia and dizziness in novice users or on heavy doses.
- Glaucoma: The American Glaucoma Society says, when other treatment options fail or have adverse side-effects, “It has been definitively demonstrated, and widely appreciated, that smoking marijuana lowers IOP in both normal individuals and in those with glaucoma, and therefore might be a treatment for glaucoma4,5.” The AGS cautions that it is short lasting and cannot be used while driving or operating heavy machinery. And, reluctant to recommend smoking, it suggests using oral or sublingual treatments instead of smoking. So, you might try a Sativa dominant hybrid like Maui Wowie Sativa dominant hybrid with 20% to 28% THC. It will leave you buzzing, focused, and energetic
- Headaches: Super Lemon Haze is another Sativa dominant hybrid with THC (25%), CBD (1%) and CBN (2%). Cerebral effects leave you peppy, happy, creative, energetic, and euphoric. It’s highly potent in a nice way, but shouldn’t mingle with other medications for your conditions. Lemony, indeed, it’ll remind you of hard candies.
- Joint Pain: Many patients, especially seniors, complain of chronic joint pains in knees, hips, wrists, and fingers. Purple Kush is a potent 100% Indica (THC 22%) with an immediate euphoric high, too strong for first time smokers. But, that warmth spreads from head to foot leaving patients relaxed and pain-free. It will put you to bed for hours of restful sleep.
- Multiple Sclerosis: The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is studying the efficacy of marijuana in MS treatments and finds nothing positive in patients tested after smoking marijuana. Significantly, however, patients administered oral cannabis extract reported, “Muscle stiffness improved by almost twofold in the group taking cannabis compared to placebo, and improvements were also noted in body pain, spasms and sleep quality.” Similar positive results were found in test patients taking Sativex® and oral THC.
Remember, you’ll want to spend time with your physician, neurologist, oncologist, or ophthalmologist on the benefits of marijuana/cannabis for your specific medical problems. That may mean a longer appointment, more research, and more open discussion that you might expect from many a medical marijuana doctor.
The more serious your condition and your symptoms, the more frequently you want to monitor the effects and side effects with your medical professional. Almost any strain will relieve the consciousness of stress and pain for a short time, but you’ll want to explore the product and information available online and at your medical marijuana dispensary.