The decision to use medicinal cannabis (also known as medicinal marijuana) can be an easy one. But it can be more complicated to choose the variety best suited for an individual person or a specific disease.
Most patients have never smoked or grown cannabis before discovering it as a medicine. We recommend consulting with a medical professional if you are considering self-medicating with cannabis.
First off, we have the Hybrid cannabis, and as you may have guessed, it is a combination of Sativa, Indica, and Ruderalis.
How are Hybrid cannabis plants created, you may ask? Well, with careful selection and professional growing techniques, it is possible to mix different species.
The goal is to create a cannabis strain that will blend several desirable attributes present in each of the crossbred species. This result is a Hybrid plant tailored to treat a specific illness or disease.
Hybrids have an essential place in the cannabis industry as growers try to create a unique flavour and aroma combinations. Hybrids can also be cut to contain higher concentrations of cannabinoids in particular.
Visual Indicators such as size or spacing between leaves can suggest which genetics dominate in a mature cannabis plant.
Depending on the desire for psychoactive effects or medical needs, hybrids can give patients an excellent therapeutic treatment to relieve pain or nausea while staying awake and motivated for the whole day.
Cannabis hybrids do not necessarily produce high-quality strains. In the future, especially with the development of research into the genetic profiles of the plant, we should see the detection of cannabis varieties according to their terpene and cannabinoid composition.
Varieties can then be cultivated scientifically for specific uses. We lose some of the charms of cultivation, but we gain ineffectiveness, for example, in treating cancer or epilepsy.
Indica cannabis for medical use
The easiest way to visually identify a cannabis Indica plant is that the Sativa plants grow tall and thin while the Indica plants grow short (2-7 feet tall). They produce less yield than Sativa with 1 to 3 ounces per plants. They are however typically more potent with higher levels of CBD and THC than Sativa plants.
In Canberra, most of the cannabis plants and seeds tend to be Indica due to their shorter height and rich THC content. The shorter height makes it easier to grow in their backyard and makes them less conspicuous.
The Indica plants typically start flowering between eight to twelve weeks when grown in the proper conditions. They produce dense and sticky buds that have unique smells, such as:
Sweet (brown sugar)
Fruity (a mixture of strawberries, passionfruit and mango)
Skunk (intense weed smell)
Earth (like the earthy smell after rain)
The Indica plants have the same organic compounds found in pine trees called alpha-pinene. Pinene has a mentally uplifting and relaxing effect on its users. The main known benefits of Indica is:
Indica strains of marijuana are used for pain relief (similar to medical analgesics), muscle relaxation, anti-anxiety and includes a light sedative effect.
This is mainly due to the higher levels of CBD found in strains of Indica. This gives you a beautiful body high and light-medium head high.
What are the leading medical benefits from Indica cannabis strains?
Indica has long been known as the best cannabis to help with sleep apnea due to its relaxing body high and light head high effects. Taking the wrong cannabis that creates more mental activity may have adverse effects on your sleep.
The Sativa plant provides more mental energy and is not recommended for the treatment of insomnia or sleep apnea. Ensuring you have the right type of cannabis is critical to receive the full benefits.
Indica medical benefits: stress and anxiety relief
CBD provides the best benefits for stress and anxiety relief. THC tends to help in smaller, less potent amounts. Choosing the right CBD rich strain of Indica will provide a better result for treating stress and anxiety.
Mistakenly consuming too much THC more increase stress. Most cannabis clinics in Australia will provide a suitable dosage of CBD (10-20%) and THC (0-10%) that will treat anxiety.
Indica medical benefits: muscle relaxant
Sativa provides an intense head high, while Indica typically provides a medium-to-high body high and a light-to-medium head high.
Certain types of cannabis are known to treat epilepsy in both adults and children. Since legalising medical marijuana in 2016, the main treatment of CBD and THC cannabis oil has been for MS, Parkinson’s and Epilepsy due to its ability to reduce seizures.
Indica medical benefits: anti-inflammation and reducing physical pain
Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is a globally-recognized organization dedicated to “advancing legal, medical marijuana therapeutics and research.” In their educational resource titled the ASA “Guide to Using Medical Cannabis,” one of the top therapeutic effects of Indica cannabis was to help reduce pain and inflammation.
Sativa cannabis for medical use
The Sativa cannabis plant is much taller than Indica with its height reaching upward of 6-7 feet and thinner larger leaves.
These are one of the most popular plants used for recreational and medical purposes in Australia due to their ability to grow outside and their strong head high effects.
The common therapeutic effects of Sativa is:
Increased physical energy
The Sativa plant comes from a specific geographical region in the world. This means that it has unique characteristics that have evolved of tens of thousands of years that can’t be made from simply crossbreeding.
Most medical cannabis plants are hybrids with a 60% Indica and 40% Sativa genetic mix.
Sativa plants are more tropical and grown in lush soils and humid environments with lots of sun.
This is one of the main reasons why Sativa plants are popular in Australia and the majority of medicinal cannabis farms and facilities being located in Queensland and New South Wales.
While Indica is rich in CBD and THC, Sativa plants are primarily rich in THC. This gives them a strong head-high that is more popular for recreational use.
The Sativa strains definitely have medicinal benefits for treating diseases and disorders related more with the mind and head.
The effects of cannabis isn’t as simple as calculating the percentage of THC and CBD, as there are many other chemical compounds that work together to create different effects.
Some strains may have the same THC and CBD levels, but give the user a completely different experience.
Fortunately, the mental and physical effects of cannabis strains have been well documented online, so people can find the best marijuana plant without years of trial and effort.
What are the main medical benefits from Sativa cannabis strains?
Sativa strains are favoured due to their ability to increase energy levels and boost productivity. For people with fatigue, depression etc.
The energy-boosting medical benefits of Sativa makes it a popular choice. For recreational use the cannabis Sativa strains are also known as a “social strain” that allows people to stay active while still having a head-high effect.
Sativa medical benefits: improves appetite
Both Indica and Sativa are known for the “munchies” (increased appetite). In medical studies, Sativa has been shown as the preferable choice for promoting an increased appetite.
So if you are looking to treat any disorder or illness that is related to a lack of appetite, the Sativa strains are the best choice. This is commonly used for HIV and patients going through chemotherapy.
Sativa medical benefits: helps with depression
Promoting energy levels, lower apathy and elevating your mood, Sativa is the best cannabis choice for treating depression. Depression and mood disorders are challenging to treat and finding uplifting meaning is the first step towards treatment.
While Indica may make you feel relaxed and sluggish, Sativa will keep you physically active and mentally alert. This allows users to continue about their day with a positive skip in their step.
Sativa medical benefits: focus and productivity
ADHD and other similar attention deficit disorders have a lack of focus and are unproductive. Sativa boosts creativity, mental focus and energy that allows you to feel more productive and active throughout the day.
Sativa strains are fast replacing strong medication for ADHD due to its focus and productive benefits, minimal side effects and natural chemical compounds.
James is an experienced writer and legal cannabis advocate in Australia. He answers all the questions about business, legalisation and medicinal cannabis.
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