Cannabis has been used for ages. It has been used in religious rituals, medical practices, and simple pleasures. As a plant, it has fallen into two groups – Indica and Sativa. Each has its uses, benefits, and side-effects. And, to capture the best of both groups, farmers and cultivators have bred hybrids over time.
Why do Indica?
Cannabis Indica is a name that gives credit to its origins in India and the surrounding region in Asia. It is characterized by broad leaves on a short, conical, and densely-branched plant. It favors cool highland area outdoors and climate control indoors.
Its preference for cool environments shows in dense resin and terpenes. Its heavy concentration of CBD, necessary to sedating and soothing medical afflictions, offsets its psychoactive THC.
Indica aroma and taste favor earth, woods, skunk, and sugary fruits. Users recognize scents of rosemary and sage from the plant’s oils that come from pinene, an organic compound found in turpentine and other pine tree products.
That same pinene has a history in folk remedies for bronchitis, congestion, and skin irritations. Those same practitioners recommend it for improving mental energy and intellectual focus. One study reported by the National Institutes of Health reported testing on animals that leant “pharmacological credence to the suggested folkloric uses of the plant in the management and control of painful, arthritic and other inflammatory conditions.”
As ABC News reported, “More than half of Americans live with chronic or recurrent pain, with broad numbers saying it interferes with their activities, mood and enjoyment of life – sparking a vast search for relief, from medication to bed rest, yoga or the palliative power of prayer.”
Cannabis Indica strains are analgesic. They relax and sedate thanks to their CBD. So, instead of the “trip” you might expect from marijuana, the “stone” hits you in the legs and body. That knockout is benefit enough for some, but it is also palliative for those suffering from chronic pain, spasms, and other medical problems.
As for those medical benefits, we lack the thorough research to speak authoritatively. But, the anecdotes from personal experience have accumulated attention and reputation. Medical practitioners who support marijuana therapies recommend cannabis treatments for anxiety, appetite problems, chronic pain, muscle spasms, sleep deprivation, and more.
Patients suffering from auto-immune conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, and lupus relief as well as cancer patients suffering from the pain and nausea from treatments including chemotherapy find weed a favored option.
Users of well-known Indica strains like Granddaddy Purple, Bubba Kush, and Northern Lights, report dry mouth as the only significant negative side-effect of using Indica strains.
Why do Sativa?
Cannabis Sativa is a product of the equatorial climate which explains its tall (up to 20 feet), slender-leafed plants. These large plants produce a much higher yield of powerful weed than Indica plants.
Sativa strains invariably have a high density of THC. And, depending on the respective strain’s balance with CBD, Sativa can pack a wallop. Effects are cerebral, tripping, and possibly paranoiac. The THC density assures creativity and energy and/or euphoria and joy.
Sativa flavors and aromas favor vary across the phenotype, but true Sativas are usually diesels and hazes which assures you diesel aromas with under-tastes of fruit. But, you won’t find the strong, cushy, and sweet fruit touches of the Indica strains.
You will find Sativa invigorating and great for socializing. It’s meant for daytime use, and the milder strains should not hinder creative work and mental focus. This uplift helps those suffering from anxiety and depression putting them at ease with feelings of well-being. And, medical practitioners have recommended it for ADD/ADHD and HIV/AIDS.
Even the prestigious Mayo Clinic reports, “The plant has been studied as a potential treatment for many conditions, including chronic skin disorders, cancer-related weakness and weight loss, chronic pain, Huntington's disease, sleep disorders, eye disease, multiple sclerosis, and schizophrenia. The most significant benefits have been seen in the treatment of chronic pain and multiple sclerosis. Marijuana may help reduce eye pressure in people who have glaucoma.”
According to Marijuanadoctors.com, powerful and popular Sativa strains like Afghani, Hindu Kush, and Rebel God Smoke “can make you feel ‘high.’ Also, some users may experience panic attacks, paranoia and anxiety when taking a Sativa strain. These should be avoided if you have social anxiety.”
Why do hybrids?
As users have favored the Sativa stone over time, suppliers have pretty much bred the pure Indica out of the market. It’s only with the expanding market wrought by legalization and decriminalization, that providers are developing strains that will be all throngs to all people.
These hybrid strains are designed to combine Indica and Sativa chemistry into various products that give more customers more options. Growers cross strains to replicate and continue some of the favorite aspects and diminish or eliminate the disliked qualities.
For instance, users might want something relaxing at night that also does not diminish their mental alertness. Others may want the big psychoactive bang without risking the paranoia and anxiety.
Breeders are also trying to enhance flavors and aromas by adjusting the plant engineering. They want to meet a marketplace that wants everything in an affordable package. And, other breeders seek to create durable and pest- and mildew-resistant growth.
Experiments in hybrid design and farming go on all over the world, and this makes keeping the heritage of stains straight difficult. Getting them straight and understanding their respective botany and chemistry is important to researchers among others studying benefits, effects, and medical applications.
What’s your choice?
When shopping among the popular hybrid strains, customers can research the ratio of CBD and THC as well as the degree of their concentration. Online research sources will also provide reviews of experience, flavor, and aroma to help you make your choice.
The cannabis marketplace will decide where the demand lies and what will sell best in what markets. Legalization and decriminalization have accelerated the demand, and research and development will deliver the supply in different ways and product forms. New users may want to experiment with the traditionally successful strains, and regular users may want to try the new.