Narrowing Down the Marijuana That’s Best for You

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Your doctor may recommend that you try medical marijuana as a way to cope with pain or some other persistent medical condition—but that’s not quite as simple or straightforward a recommendation as you might think. If you’re new to the world of MMJ, you may find yourself dumbfounded by just how many kinds of it there are. One of the most significant challenges you’ll face, as a new MMJ patient, is determining which strains of marijuana are best for you, and most appropriate for treating your condition. Not All Medical Marijuana is Created Equal You may find some hippie holdouts who’ll try to tell you that “weed is weed” and that it doesn’t really matter which strain you select. Don’t trust these folks: They’re clearly not medical professionals! Science, specifically the study of genetics, has played a huge role in shaping the way we grow and understand the cannabis plant, and we know now that there are many different forms in which the stuff comes. Our first and most significant piece of advice to you, then, is just to remember that MMJ is not all one and the same; it’s vital that you do some research into which strain you really need. Cannabis in Different Forms  It’s not just that there are many strains of medical marijuana to choose from; there are also different methods for using MMJ products. The basic options are these:
  • You can smoke it. We all know that you can smoke marijuana from a joint, a bong, or a pipe, and that this is the quickest way to introduce it to the bloodstream; effects of it can usually be felt in a matter of just three or four minutes. There are a number of downsides to this, like the fact that the effects will wear off after a couple of hours, meaning you have to use the product continually throughout the day or night. You obviously can’t smoke the stuff just anywhere, which limits your use, and there are concerns about a link with lung cancer—though this has not been proven.
  • You can vaporize it. This process involves unleashing a cloud of MMJ vapor by applying heat to it. This is a great option because the buds are not burned, so there are no harmful byproducts like those that tar or carbon monoxide produces (as with smoking), and there is less damage done to the throat and to the lungs.
  • You can eat it. More and more dispensaries are selling cannabis edibles. The negatives of smoking MMJ are all addressed here, but the long-lasting effects (sometimes as much as 10 hours) may mean that this isn’t the best option for all situations. Appropriate dosage is harder to evaluate, and if you’re struggling with nausea—as many MMJ patients are—then this is hardly viable.
Different Strains, Different Attributes But yes, there are also different strains to consider, each one possessing different chemical/genetic makeups. The attributes of different strains vary, and some particular attributes to consider include:
  • CBD, a major part of the cannabis plant that is often said to have the most significant medicinal and pain-killing properties.
  •  THC, which is the most prominent psychoactive ingredient.
  • CBC enhances the effects of THC and is known to have sedative and anti-inflammatory properties.
There are other attributes, or cannabinoids, to consider as well, and this article offers a helpful rundown. Critically, though, these cannabinoids work best when they are working together, united into a potent strain. To that end, there are two basic strains into which MMJ can fall:
  • Cannabis Sativa strains are usually higher in THC content; because it has stronger psychological effects, it is sometimes called the “cerebral” strain. Folks who turn to marijuana for focus and creativity lean toward this strain, while many who grapple with pain find that it’s not quite strong enough—though your mileage may vary.
  • Cannabis Indica strains. A higher level of CBDs means that this strain is usually thought to be better for pain relief, though again, this can be an individual thing.
Determining Which Strain is Right for You Armed with this knowledge, you’re ready to head to the dispensary. When it comes time to select the strain that’s best for you and your condition, we recommend talking to some of the dispensary employees. In our experience, there is always at least one person there who works in the cultivation department, and is therefore passionate and knowledgeable about the science and the medicine. That’s the person to find. We’ll also say that it’s important to find a strain that doesn’t have too many negative effects. A strain may help with your pain, but it may also keep you up at night or make you feel too paranoid; if this is the case, it may be helpful to try another variety. Finally, we do invite you to research some of the materials we’ve gathered here at AllBud. Choosing an MMJ strain is, to some extent, subjective, but the better informed you are, the more able you’ll be able to narrow things down.