Click or tap on each section to learn more about that particular topic.
Sativa: Day Time Flower
Indica: Night Time Flower
Hybrids: Mix of both Sativa and Indica
- Live Resin
- Vape Pens and Cartridges
- RSO Oil (Rick Simpson Oil is a concentrated form of cannabis oil known to have medical benefits particularly for cancer)
- Tinctures (Sometimes known as green dragon, is a alcoholic extract of cannabis)
Medical cannabis is available in more than one hundred varieties, all of which offer unique combinations of effects. Therefore, within certain broad categories, physicians may recommend that their patients test different varieties to find the one that most suits their needs.
There are four main categories of strains: sativa, indica, sativa/indica hybrids and high-CBD varieties which are usually indica derivatives. The specific concentration of each cannabinoid is different by plant and strain. It is important to note that much of the information on strain-specific effects is anecdotal. Studies are now being designed that will shed new light on the following generally-accepted strain specific effects. Please bear in mind that some patients respond differently to the various cannabis strains than might be expected from the general guidelines below.
The sativa strain, native to tropical climates, is tall and tree-like with thin leaves. Sativa strains tend to mentally stimulate and energize the patient, making it suitable for use during daytime hours. Patients may also experience feelings of euphoria when taking sativa cannabis. Negative side effects are rare and mild, but feelings of paranoia and anxiety may be caused or amplified. The sativa strain is thought to be helpful for treating problems such as:
- General abdominal complaints
- Lack of Appetite
The indica strain was first grown in temperate climates. Indica strains are shorter and have broader leaves than their sativa counterparts. Those who take an indica strain may experience a sedated or relaxed feeling, so patients usually get the best results when taking it at night. Indica is thought to be useful in treating:
- General Pain
- Muscle Spasms
The most commonly used cannabis strains are sativa/indica hybrids. Growers created various hybrids to give medical cannabis patients the benefits of both sativa and indica for optimal results. Each hybrid is typically either a sativa or indica dominant crossbreed. Hybrids tend to work well for treating:
- Lack of Appetite
The cannabis varieties in this strain have been laboratory tested and were found to have high cannabidiol, or CBD, levels. High-CBD strains offer several health benefits without a large degree of psychoactive effects, allowing patients to work and drive while taking therapeutic doses. Medicinal high-CBD strains are an excellent option for people who need to treat:
- General Pain
There are multiple dosage methods for cannabis usage: inhalation, ingestion and topical applications. Each method produces a unique medicinal effect, even if the patient uses the same strain in different ways.
Takes Effect in 1-5 Minutes
Effects Last 1-4 Hours
Many patients choose to inhale cannabis via a rolled joint, pipe or vaporizer because these dosage methods are convenient and fast acting. However, respiratory tract irritation is a short-term side effect. Current research finds that the long-term side effects of smoking cannabis are minor, however habitual and heavy smoking of cannabis may cause phlegm production, bronchitis and chronic coughing. Cannabis smoke is known to have substances that cause cancer, called carcinogens. When studied at a molecular and cellular level, the cannabinoids in marijuana are shown to lower the effect of the smoke’s carcinogens and no verified cases of lung cancer or other lung diseases have been found in cannabis smokers.
Kief and hashish, or hash, are two popular cannabis products.
Kief is a powdered substance made from the resin glands of marijuana plants. Kief is compressed to create hash.
Hash has a paste-like texture and a THC content that ranges from 15 to 70 percent. Kief and hash may be inhaled or ingested.
Extracted from mature cannabis foliage, hash oil is a combination of the resin and other essential oils. Hash oil ranges in THC content from 30 to 90 percent. This oil can be added to food or smoked in a joint, pipe or specialty hash pipe.
Takes Effect in 1-2 Hours
Effects Last 6-8 Hours
Cannabinoids reach maximum potency when heated, and they are fat-soluble. Therefore, cannabis may be added to many drinks and foods. Heat is necessary to create active THC and CBD. Since ingested cannabis is processed by the body’s liver, patients may experience stronger and longer-lasting psychoactive effects, especially when using products high in THC.
The most common ways to ingest cannabis are through:
- Cannabis butter, which is cannabinoid-infused butter;
- Cannabis oil, which is made in a similar manner to cannabis butter, but it is a blend of cooking oil and cannabinoid resins;
- Cannabis liquor, which is an infusion of leaves and stems with rum, brandy or other alcoholic beverages;
- Cannabis beverages, which includes coffee and tea. Since the cannabis resins are not soluble in water, some form of oil must be added to coffee or tea to ensure that the resins dissolve in the beverage.
- Another ingestion method is via a cannabis tincture. As concentrated cannabis liquids, cannabis tinctures take effect in 5-30 minutes with effects lasting 1-6 hours. The fastest way to introduce a cannabis tincture to the body is by holding a few drops under the tongue for one minute before swallowing the liquid. This product has a low odor, and it is easy to dose. Tinctures also come in sublingual sprays.
Medicinal cannabis is also available in pills and sprays, with effects that are very similar to those resulting from the preparations above.