Not all cannabis is the same. It is ok not to know this, most cannabis patients are unaware of the vast number of strains and differences between them. In order to learn about the different strains, try to ignore the popular culture names attached to the specific strains and focus more on the scientific taxonomy denoted to each plant. This means that one of the first thing you should be looking for when identifying cannabis is whether it is Indica, Sativa, or Ruderalis. Now, to keep it simple, we will treat each one of these individually to discuss the medical benefits of each specific name. However, be aware, that growers and scientists can successfully cross breed any of the three identified types of cannabis to form a hybrid.
What is the difference between Indica, Sativa, and Ruderalis?
Indica, Sativa, and Ruderalis are the names given to each specific family of cannabis. The names are indicative of the unique genetics found within each specific strain of cannabis. Physically, the plants of each separate family look similar, but have slightly different features. The real difference between indica, sativa, and ruderalis comes from the amount of cannabinoids present within each strain. An indica strain might have different amounts of cannabinoids compared to another indica strain, but the general profile will still look similar. If you compare an indica strain to a sativa strain, the cannabinoid profile will look completely different. This is also why different strains have different effects on individual users.
What does it matter that their is a difference, isn’t THC universal in all Medical Marijuana?
It matters because THC may be universal, but other cannabinoids such as CBD, CBM, and CBN are found in differing quantities between each strain. These minor cannabinoids interact with our bodies in different ways, and until the DEA and Federal Government allow medical studies to be published, we will not be able to fully understand these micro-interactions causing different effects within patients. One day soon, we will be able to test and study the effects of all cannabinoids present within cannabis.
How do different strains affect the strength and type of my medicine?
Unfortunately, because the DEA and Federal Government do not allow test results to enter the light of day, medicinal strength of each strain can not be properly tracked. The only things that can be tracked are the cannabinoids present in each different strain by testing the strain with a gas chromatograph. Patients in California have started to notice these numbers already present on packaging.
This is all too sciency, is there an easier way to explain it?
Different names of strains refer to the 3 main categories- indica, sativa, and ruderalis. Any dispensary budtender or delivery company employee will help you further understand any strains origins. The effects between the strains differs and the best way to think about it is that indica based strains will help you sleep, sativa based strains will help you think, and ruderalis based strains are not for medical use. Learning this is the basis for understanding all variant hybrids and concentrates within the industry.
Understand the medicine you are ingesting. Whether it be Tylenol™ or medical cannabis, it is important to know what is going on with your body when you ingest any drug. Luckily, medical cannabis’ effects are trackable and different strains effects can often be felt and recorded immediately. By knowing what type of strain, and what test results say about the contents of that strain, patients are now aware of what specific medical cannabis strain effects work best. If a patient feels they want to go to sleep, some indica can possibly do the job better than any OTC sleeping pill, unfortunately we can not say this with permanence due to the Federal Government.