Medical marijuana is one of the most regulated controlled substances across the country. Currently, cannabis is a schedule 1 drug that supposedly has no medical value. Although the federal government doesn’t recognize the therapeutics of medical weed, millions of people do.
Cannabis is not just a substance people use to get high. Its medicinal properties are legendary in the medical community. Cannabis can be used to treat a myriad of health symptoms and medical conditions, from nausea to pain, stiffness, inflammation, mood disorders, and more.
As popular as marijuana treatments are, many users focus more on the substance’s THC content instead of its benefits initially. THC is the compound in cannabis that causes users to experience its euphoric and mind-altering effects. However, it’s not the only property found in the cannabis plant, though it’s the most abundant. CBD or cannabidiol-rich strains are very helpful for many recreational and medicinal users too.
Whether one is new to the world of marijuana or a long-term enthusiast, it’s beneficial to know the difference between medicinal and recreational cannabis strains and how to choose the best ones for personal use. Keep reading to learn what the top medical marijuana strains to consider for your situation.
Benefits of Medical Cannabis
A deeper understanding of the cannabis plant is necessary in order to truly appreciate its benefits. Medical marijuana is full of cannabinoids that affect the brain and various systems in the body. Cannabis comes in many varieties with different amounts of cannabinoids that determine its effects. The effects also differ depending on the form of cannabis used.
Cannabis products have different properties that produce various effects depending on the method of usage. Marijuana is available as flower, vape, concentrates, tinctures, topicals, ointments, and salves. These properties are also dependent on the strain variety.
Indicas tend to be sedating. They promote relaxation and are commonly used as muscle relaxers, stress relief, and sleep aids.
Sativas are uplifting and energizing. Many users rely on sativa varieties to increase their energy, elevate their moods, and enhance creativity.
Hybrids are a combination of indicas and sativas. Hybrid cannabis products offer users uplifting and relaxing properties at the same time. Many hybrid strains have different percentages of indicas, sativas, and in some cases, CBD.
CBD does not cause any psychoactive effects. However, its therapeutic effects include anxiolytic, antiepileptic, and pain relief. There are also CBD products available for those interested in harnessing the medicinal benefits of marijuana without the mind-altering effects.
There are other properties in cannabis, most notably: CBG, CBN, CBC, and numerous other cannabinoids whose properties have not been fully studied yet.
Most Common Ailments
Marijuana has been used for centuries as an alternative medication. Now that clinical evidence is slowly emerging on the beneficial and therapeutic effects of medical marijuana, it is becoming a standard alternative treatment for many conditions, including:
Mood disorders like depression and anxiety
Lack of appetite
Every strain of marijuana contains a different composition of cannabinoids that are responsible for the effects users experience. The most abundant cannabinoid in cannabis responsible for its mind-altering effects is delta-g-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. Although THC is predominantly responsible for many of marijuana’s therapeutic effects, not everyone experiences relief or has a favorable experience with it.
Some people are sensitive to the psychoactive effects of THC-rich strains and tend to fare better with one-to-one CBD/THC or CBD-dominant cannabis treatments.
CBD is a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis that increases the effect of other substances, like THC, and has other medicinal properties. CBD reduces anxiety and panic attacks. It also helps protect damaged nerves, reduces seizures, and inflammation, and induces relaxation and sleep.
Side Effects of Medical Marijuana Treatment
There are side effects associated with cannabis that all patients should know before starting or continuing treatment. Many of these concerns are strain, dose, potency, and patient-dependent.
Dry or red eyes
Decreased cognitive and motor skills
It’s important to note that side effects are not always unpleasant. What may seem like undesirable effects to certain patients may be beneficial to others. For example, some individuals suffer from insomnia and anxiety, and the sedating and relaxing properties of marijuana that some find unpleasant are useful in improving moods and sleep issues. The same goes for cancer patients. Certain cancer treatments like chemotherapy make it difficult to eat as they suppress the appetite.
Cannabis is a popular anti-emetic and appetite stimulator. Many cancer patients use cannabis to ease the adverse effects and discomfort of pharmaceutical treatments, including alleviating nausea and vomiting to increase their appetite.
Most of these side effects can be managed with the right strain and proper dosage for your condition.
Top Medical Marijuana Strains
Identifying the best strains of medical marijuana is not about picking a favorite. Instead, we can look at the effects each strain has on common conditions it is used to treat and name the most beneficial, and most popular, medical marijuana strains.
However, the most effective medical marijuana products have some amount of THC content in them. Check out some of the top medicinal weed strains below.
Girls Scout Cookies is an indica-dominant hybrid that averages 18% THC. Many patients rely on for its antianxiety, antinausea, pain relief, euphoric, stress-reducing, and relaxation-inducing properties. GSC is also a great sleep aid and creativity booster for those with sleeping problems or creativity blocks. It has a spicy, lemony aroma with a hint of mint and sweet vanilla flavor. Its terpene profile consists of myrcene, linalool, limonene, pinene, and caryophyllene.
Green Crack is a sativa hybrid that averages 16% THC and is a favorite in the medical and recreational communities because of its energetic and uplifting cerebral and mood effects. It has a sweet and fruity aroma and tropical taste. Its terpene profile includes linalool, alpha-pinene, beta-caryophyllene, alpha-humulene, and limonene.
Trainwreck is a spicy sativa dominant strain that averages 16% THC and is a favorite because of its cerebral and mood-boosting, pain-alleviating, nausea-preventing, and sedating properties. Many patients use it to soothe aching joints and relax tense muscles. It has a woody, earthy, and piney flavor. Its terpene profile consists of beta myrcene, beta-caryophyllene, alpha humulene, linalool, and alpha-pinene.
Wedding Cake is an indica-dominant hybrid that boosts up to 27% THC content. It’s popular for its calming, sedating, and appetite-stimulating properties. It’s also an effective pain reliever and muscle relaxer. It has a sweet, cherry, and fruity aroma and an earthy, cheesy vanilla flavor. Its terpene profile consists of limonene, myrcene, terpinolene, caryophyllene, and pinene.
Gelato is an indica hybrid that averages 20% THC. It’s a favorite among patients treating chronic pain, PTSD, depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. It has a fruity and earthy taste with a sour citrusy aroma. Its terpenes include limonene, caryophyllene, myrcene, ocimene, and terpinolene.
OG Kush is a slightly sativa-dominant hybrid that averages 20% THC. Its therapeutic properties are useful in treating anxiety, poor appetite, depression, migraines and headaches, nausea, and stress. It has a citrusy, pungent, skunky, and earthy aroma and an herbal, pine-like, and woody taste. OG Kush’s terpene profile consists of caryophyllene, limonene, and myrcene.
Harlequin is a CBD-rich sativa hybrid that’s widely used for its pain-relieving and anxiety-fighting properties. It produces a clear-headed high and promotes relaxation without the sedative effects. It has a musky, earthy taste with a hint of mango. It has myrcene, beta caryophyllene, pinene, and humulene.
One to One is an equally CBD-to-THC-balanced hybrid that offers users the best of both worlds. It averages 10-14% THC content. It’s a favorite for treating poor focus, muscle spasms, pain, insomnia, stress, and lack of appetite. It has a woody flavor and aroma. It is a myrcene-dominant terpene strain.
White Widow is a balanced sativa/indica hybrid that averages 15% THC. Its powerful euphoric properties make it a favorite among patients struggling with fatigue, stress, anxiety, and low moods. It has a spicy, woody, and earthy flavor and a citrusy, yet musky aroma. Its terpenes include myrcene, caryophyllene, and pinene.
Blue Dream is a sativa-rich hybrid that averages 17-24% THC that gives users an energizing, euphoric high with a creative buzz. Its medicinal benefits treat mood disorders, chronic pain, inflammation, nausea, stress, and headaches. It has a sweet, fruity, herbal, and blueberry taste. The strain has a sweet, fruity, and earthy aroma. Its terpenes include myrcene, alpha-pinene, and caryophyllene.
The key to choosing good medical marijuana strains is selecting those with the right balance of THC and CBD to treat the medical condition that is present.
Speak to a Medical Marijuana Doctor
There are thousands of medicinal weed strains, and new ones are developed all the time. Choosing the best medical cannabis strains does require some personal experimentation. Each strain of medical marijuana affects patients differently, furthering the need to try different strains, potencies, and forms before deciding on what’s best for their situation.
It’s beneficial to speak with a medical marijuana doctor to learn of suitable medical marijuana strains for your condition. Marijuana Doctors offers a national directory of board-certified medical providers who are ready to discuss your health concerns to help you learn of the best medical cannabis products that can improve your health and well-being.