How Do You Know Which Strain to Buy For Your Medical Condition? - RxLeaf

How Do You Know Which Strain to Buy For Your Medical Condition?

Hands trimming bud

If you’re choosing your cannabis strain based on the THC level, you’re missing out on important healing elements.

THC is likely the most famous cannabinoid of them all; the one associated with the psychoactive effects of cannabis. CBD has certainly started to push THC a little bit to stage left of the spotlight, but THC still plays a very important medicinal and cultural role.

Nug of Venom OG

Venom OG.  Image Credit: M Wessel

Why THC is Important?

In truth, all the compounds (cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids) in a strain of cannabis are medicinally important. It’s the combination of these myriad parts that create the final Entourage Effect that gives you good healing. It’s a synergy among all of the different components that amplifies the overall health effect of the strain. THIS is why pure extracts may not be the best medicine.

Each strain of cannabis has a unique effect due to its novel combination of terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids. Different percentages of each define a strain’s aptitude for treating a given condition. As a general rule-of-thumb, cannabis strains with higher THC percentages are more likely to create a ‘high’ and be great at killing pain while CBD-rich strains are perfect for reducing inflammation and reducing anxiety.

Cannabis Oil in a glass syringe

Image Credit: Doug Shutter

Truthfully, much of the attention paid to THC comes from the chaos of legalization across states and countries. For instance, in regions where only hemp is legal, the THC component will be around 0.03%.  By contrast, regions with legal medical and recreational cannabis have THC percentages ranging from 8 to 20% or even higher (Ghost Train Haze by Rare Dankness: THC 25%)

Because of this disparity, THC levels have taken on a sort of romantic importance. It has bcome the sort of benchmark for quality cannabis. This is simply not the case when it comes to medical use.

Farmer checking cannabis crop

Image Credit: Eric Limon

What to Consider

If you have been prescribed cannabis, speak to your doctor about the most appropriate strains. If they’re not comfortable, cannabis dispensaries are always staffed by knowledgeable experts on the various strengths, strains, and uses. For instance, CBD-rich strains are best used for treating anxiety or inflammation. In that case, you may even look at using CBD oils and creams that have very low THC.

THC and CBD, however, are just the starting point. Far more important are the terpenes and interaction with other cannabinoids. Choosing a strain based on the percent of THC is like buying moonshine and hoping for a nice night.

When you are looking to treat a specific condition, what you are really looking for is terpenes, even if you’re not aware of it. Cannabinoids have a specific effect, but its the terpenes that amplify that effect. For example, it is common to treat anxiety disorders with a high CBD strain, but not all strains are equally up to the task, even if they have identical CBD concentrations. For anxiety, you’ll want to look for an indica to further relax you, and you’ll want to seek out a strain high in the terpenes linalool or limonene. High limonene stains include Sour Diesel and OG Kush. Diamond Girl and Superbud are high in linalool. Both of these terpenes have anxiolytic effects.

stacked jars of cannabis

Image Credit: Open Range Stock

Trial and Error

While the cannabis landscape is certainly changing nationwide, it’s tough to know how quickly cannabis dispensary are keeping up with the latest science and research. Fortunately, there is plenty of information across the web that is reliable, accurate, and useful. If you’re cautious with your research, and only reading accredited or reliable websites, you’ll learn much more than you may realize. And quickly realize how much we still don’t know!

Hands trimming bud

Image Credit: Victoria 43

Don’t ever be afraid to ask. One of my favorite sayings is this: If you’re not prepared to look stupid, nothing great is ever going to happen to you…like getting better.

Ask early. Ask often.


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