With the rise of legalized medical marijuana, patience are seeking out the alternative treatment for a growing number of ailments. Currently, medical marijuana has been legalized in the state of Florida for patients diagnosed with ALS, cancer, Crohn's disease, chronic nonmalignant pain (that is either caused by or originates from a qualifying medical condition), epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, PTSD, seizures, terminal illness (patients diagnosed with no more than 12-months to live), other debilitating medical conditions comparable to those stated above.
Today, patients can choose not just among medical marijuana delivery methods (including edibles, tinctures, flowers, and vapes) but also a seemingly unlimited variety of strains. Choosing the delivery method can be as simple as lifestyle preferences, but how do you know which strain is right for you?
The expansive cannabis industry can be daunting for first-time users, but we have put together a comprehensive guide that will shed some light behind the various available medical marijuana strains and their effects. This information will simplify and streamline the process of choosing the right strains and products for your lifestyle.
While most people are familiar with the terms sativa and indica, and the adage that these classifications will provide them with euphoric and active energy or subdued couch-locked relaxation, respectively, there’s far more to consider when selecting your strain, particularly its cannabinoid and terpene profile.
Cannabinoids affect the body by interacting with specific receptors located within the central nervous system to deliver the desired effect. There are 66 cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant, which are separated into nine subclasses including cannabigerols (CBG), cannabichromenes (CBC), Cannabinol (CBN) and cannabinodiol (CBDL), cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabielsoin (CBE), cannabitriol (CBT). Of course, the most well-known of these cannabinoid subclasses are cannabidiols (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), with THC being the most well-known and researched.
Most cannabis strains are mainly comprised of THC or CBD, with hybrids providing a unique blend of the two. The main psychoactive compound in cannabis, THC is known for its psychoactive effects, most commonly referred to as a "high." This popular cannabinoid is known to help with pain relief, nausea, and appetite loss.
Meanwhile, CBD provides benefits of its own without the psychoactive compounds found in THC. In fact, CBD may even have anti-anxiety properties, and may be responsible for reducing some of the more unpleasant side effects associated with THC, including its psychoactive effects, anxiety, temporary memory loss, and more.
Responsible for the distinctively sweet, citrusy, skunky, or diesel scents and flavors of cannabis, terpenes are somewhat of the unsung heroes of the cannabis world. If you've ever identified a strain from just one smell, or truly appreciated its taste, what you were processing is in fact the terpene profile which gives each strain its unique personality.
That being said, the role of terpenes goes beyond the superficial first-impression. These essential oils which are secreted by the cannabis plant's sticky glands are also responsible for what is known as the "entourage effect." That is to say, the total results of the symbiosis of the compounds found in each strain or product. The harmonic union of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids produces a more enhanced effect than any one compound on its own.
While there are more than 100 identified terpenes in cannabis (each of which producing a distinct combination of feelings and effects), some are more common than others. These more popular variants and their known effects are:
Properties: Antibacterial and antifungal
Aroma: Floral and black pepper
Properties: Anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, pain relief
Aroma: Spicy and peppery
Properties: Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, appetite suppressant, and pain relief
Aroma: Woodsy and earthy
Properties: Anti-anxiety and stress relief
Properties: Pain relief and relaxation
Aroma: Floral and citrus
Properties: Sedative and muscle relaxation
Properties: Anti-inflammatory and effective against short-term memory effects of THC
Properties: Antibacterial and antifungal
When exploring new medical marijuana strains, or trying to replicate the effects of strains which you’ve experienced, it is a good idea to research and identify its terpene and cannabinoid profile as each terpene/cannabinoid combination will produce a unique result.
If you enjoy a particular strain, simply identify it’s dominant terpene in order to seek out other strains which may lead to similar desired effects. On the other hand, it is important to note the dominant terpenes in strains which lead to undesired effects to better avoid them in the future.
For personalized assistance in selecting the right medical marijuana strain for you, we encourage you to speak with one of the knowledgeable specialists at your local or favored dispensary as they are always happy to help. To locate a dispensary near you, please refer to our Dispensary Locator.