There are 100's or even 1000's of different cannabis strains. Choosing the best medical cannabis strain for pain, sleep, and anxiety is essential. What makes these strains different? The Genetics of each strain is unique. Cannabis plant strains are not just about CBD (not intoxicating cannabinoid) and THC (psychoactive) but many other factors.
The Entourage Effect:
The entourage effect is described here: Cannabis plant is more than just the two main cannabinoids, CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Each cannabis strain has unique benefits and risks due to a combination of genetics and environment. There are 100’s of different cannabis strains. Each cannabis strain has a unique chemical composition. Cannabis contains CBD, THC, other cannabinoids (CBN, CBD etc.), terpenes (flavour and taste) and flavonoids. Together, these components contribute to medical benefits and side effects of the strain. This is also called the Entourage effect.
Growing Conditions of Medical Cannabis Strains and Entourage Effect
If you garden, you already realize that how you look after your plants has a major impact on the quality of your flowers or vegetables. Similarly, the quality of cannabis strains can also differ based on growing conditions. Lighting, watering, and medium used to grow, such as soil, substitutes, hydroponics, etc, all contribute to producing the highest quality strains. The curing process after harvesting cannabis takes time has many steps and can majorly impact the quality of the flower as well. Storing cannabis in the correct humidity and temperature so the cannabinoids and terpenes don't deteriorate is needed. Over time, cannabis flower cannabinoids do change, so older cannabis flower is not the same as recently produced flower.
Extraction of Medical Cannabis Oils: Entourage Effect
Extraction methods vary considerably from the flower. This determines what is contained in the cannabis strains. Are terpenes and other cannabinoids removed in the extraction process? Then it is more likely a distillate. Are terpenes and cannabinoids added after the extraction process? What solvent method is used for extraction? CO2 is the most common extraction method but Ethanol extraction and other extraction methods exist. Licensed producers have different approaches in the extraction methods they use to create medicinal cannabis oils, distillates, concentrates etc.
Indica vs Sativa?
Cannabis Indica, Cannabis Hybrid, Cannabis Sativa. Why does it matter?
Cannabis Indica strains uses are for relieving anxiety and for sleep. Helps with pain
Cannabis sativa strain uses are for more energy and uplifting. Helps with pain and depression.
Cannabis hybrid is in the middle and has both attributes of Sativa and Indica. Some hybrid strains are Sativa dominant and some are Indica dominant. Can help with anxiety and depression as well as pain.
Indica and Sativa are not accepted by researchers in medical marijuana as accurate representations of the strains. Pink Kush Indica cannabis strain name for example may not be the same from different producers. The chemical composition of the strain is considered to be a better way to distinguish cannabis strains. However, for most of us, this is still the best approach to understanding what strain to select. Most producers will list on the strain if it is an Indica, Sativa or hybrid.
Best Terpenes for anxiety, pain and sleep? Entourage Effect
Terpenes influence mood, pain, inflammation and other benefits. Terpenes are the taste and smell of cannabis. You can see the major terpenes on each strain since they are listed by the licensed producer.
Most common list of terpenes in medicinal cannabis help with pain and have additional benefits but if you read about them, terpene effects so many things, so to narrow it down see the difference below:
Myrcene terpene effects: helps with anxiety, sleep
Caryophyllene terpene: decreases inflammation and helps best with pain
Limonene terpene: uplifts mood
Pinene terpene: uplifts mood
There are many other terpenes and future articles will focus on other important terpene effects.
Cannabinoid List in Medical Marijuana: CBN, CBG, CBC, CBDA, THCA and more
Although we hear mainly about CBD and THC the two main cannabinoids in medical cannabis plants. Most of these lesser-known cannabinoids also help reduce inflammation, pain and anxiety and are not intoxicating. Some differences are mentioned below but this is not a comprehensive list.
CBN Cannabinoid is Cannabinol: popular lately since it helps with sleep without intoxicating properties as seen with THC.
CBG Cannabinoid is Cannabigerol
CBC is Cannabichromene
CBDA Cannabidiolic acid: a precursor to CBD. When you decarboxylate cannabis ( bake it in the oven to activate it) then you produce CBD from CBDA. This cannabinoid is present in abundance in the cannabis plant, unlike other cannabinoids.
THCA Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid: a precursor to THC. When you decarboxylate cannabis, THCA is converted to THC. THCA is not psychoactive. THC is psychoactive and can get you "high". THCA cannabinoid is present in the plant in abundance in the cannabis plant, unlike other cannabinoids.
More is being learned about these other cannabinoids. Further articles to come will focus on each cannabinoid.
If you would like to book a free video appointment with Dr. Jagmeet Sethi anywhere in Ontario, Canada, please click on the link below.
Dr. Jagmeet Sethi MD
Sethi Cannabis Clinic
Phone: (905) 681-7676
Disclaimer: Information presented is for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat or diagnose medical conditions. Research in cannabis medicine is still limited.