With dispensaries popping up and cannabis varieties expanding, knowing how to choose the best cannabis strains for medical needs is not an easy task.
Today the average medical user or those considering using cannabis for medical needs suddenly has a raft of choices available. For those who have never considered using cannabis before (for any purpose), the choices can be liberating – a veritable smorgasbord of variety. For others, however, the sudden explosion of both strains and consumption methods can be overwhelming.
If you have no experience at all with marijuana for medical or recreational use, the first thing to do is take a deep breath and do a little research. This article lays out some of the most basic things you need to know on how to choose the best cannabis strains for your medical needs. There are also at this point many patient guides available online including from United Patients Group and Americans For Safe Access. Almost every drug reform group also has basic information available to guide you.
Go slow, take your time, learn and experiment. It is your body, and you will know best what makes you feel better.
Indica Vs. Sativa
The first thing you need to know is that marijuana comes in two basic varieties – Indica and Sativa.
Indica tends to act as a relaxant and soporific (it makes you sleepy).
Sativa strains tend to give you more energy and increase alertness.
Many brands on the market today are also hybrids of the two. When selecting your bud ask both your prescribing doctor and dispensary staff about what they suggest for treating your specific ailment and go from there.
A lot of this, at this point at least, is also a personal choice. Marijuana acts differently in everybody and with every metabolism. It also acts differently for patients with medical conditions versus those who are using it for recreational pleasure.
If you want to find out more about the best Cannabis strains, you may check out our quick and easy guide at What are Cannabis Strains?
You can also watch Dr John Teh, Cannabinoid Clinician explaining the differences between indica and sativa in the below video:
For Pain Management, Cancer, PTSD, Movement Disorders
That said, overwhelmingly, patients with serious chronic conditions tend to need THC to see real impact. That means that while CBD might certainly work for you, there is a reason that THC reform is finally being pushed through everywhere for medical use.
Beyond using cannabis containing THC, however, there are a raft of choices still left for patients – including how to ingest the drug. There are several options now available in every state with a commercializing industry. Some patients prefer to smoke or vape the drug, which is the fastest way to get relief even though the effect lasts the least amount of time.
Edibles have a delayed reaction but tend to last longer.
Where to Find Your Bud
The first place to turn when researching cannabis strains for medical needs these days is absolutely the internet. This is the best place to research what kinds of marijuana tends to work best for your specific condition, and where you can find it.
Don’t stop with one or two strains. Take your time.
There is so much variety available in most medical-legal states these days, certainly, in America, that potential users should experiment, explore and learn before settling on one variety or brand of medical pot.
It might be that certain kinds of hybrid blends are not found easily in your state or region. If you can’t find them at your local dispensaries, don’t panic. You can pretty easily find substitutes.
This is also important when considering your budget. Since marijuana is not covered by any kind of health insurance, remember you are paying out of pocket for your medication. You might have to experiment with several different brands and varieties until you find the one that both works best for you on a physical level and fits your budget.
How to Get Your Meds
Marijuana in the United States is sold mostly through dispensaries in states where medical marijuana is legal. In states where recreational use is also legalized, medical users can also obtain their supplies from shops serving the recreational market – although this tends to be the most expensive option. In Washington State, medical users have no choice.
Beyond dispensaries, however, patients are beginning to have other options, from non-profit collectives to growing your own. It is critical, however, if obtaining your medication from a non-commercial distributor that you also check to see if they are legit.
There is nothing worse than establishing a relationship with someone who disappears one day because they got busted, or sells you substandard weed because they are not licensed to operate and thus do not follow increasingly stringent state regulations, particularly for medical users.
If you are in Canada you may be able to grow it yourself, but be sure to do your homework first to find out how to choose the best strain and how to grow it properly.
If you also are hard pressed to afford your monthly requirements, and live in a state where you are allowed to grow at home, consider growing at least some of your stash. This is not for everyone, and good bud takes equipment, space and practice (as well as controlled conditions and high amounts of electricity) to grow effectively.
Here is a Checklist to consider before buying:
How To Choose Cannabis For Medical Needs Checklist
Identify what are your symptoms, what kind of relief are you need?
See a doctor to check if Medical Cannabis is right for you.
Do your research to determine:
1) Do you need Indica or a Sativa strain?
2) Do you want/need higher or lower levels of THC?
3) Do you prefer to smoke, vape or eat Cannabis?
Outline a budget
Talk to the dispensary Representative
Try different strains to test which works best for you