When your healthcare provider recommends using medical marijuana to find relief for your symptoms, it’s often not simply a matter of visiting a dispensary and leaving with a bag of pot.
Choosing the right type of marijuana, the best method of delivery, and the best dosage can make a big difference to how you feel, and how well you respond to the treatment.
Even if you’ve used marijuana recreationally in the past, medical marijuana is a different experience altogether. While your provider might make some recommendations, and you should always ask questions when you visit the dispensary, this guide to the best weed strains, and when to use them, can help you get started.
Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid
The first step to selecting the right medical marijuana is understanding the differences between sativa, Indica, and hybrid strains.
Generally speaking, sativa refers to marijuana that affects your mood and emotions more than your physical feelings. Usually recommended for use during the day, because it can help you feel more focused and energetic, as well as easing symptoms of depression, sativa won’t typically interfere with your daily activities. Indica, on the other hand, has more of a physical effect. Often prescribed for nighttime use because it can help support better sleep, Indica helps reduce pain and tension, and support feelings of relaxation. Hybrid, as you might expect, includes both sativa and Indica strains for both physical and mental effects.
Understanding the specific weed strains is only the beginning of choosing the right product. Even within those broad categories, the cannabinoid content of a particular type of marijuana can vary. As you know, THC is the “active ingredient” in most cannabis, as the compound that creates the high associated with using the drug. However, marijuana contains other types of cannabinoids as well, including CBD. Many people who want the physical and mental benefits of using cannabis, without the physical high, are opting for strains that contain higher levels of CBD as opposed to THC.
While looking at the overall strain and THC content of marijuana can help point you in the right direction for selecting the best option for your needs, the name of the product can also provide clues to the product that will work best. For example, weed products with “purple” and “kush” in their names tend to have a more sedative effect, while those with “haze” in the name tend to be energizing and produce a sense of euphoria. Strains have plenty of clever names, so if you’re unsure about the effects of a particular option, ask.
How to Use
How you plan to use your medical marijuana is also an important consideration and can help determine the best strain for your needs. While smoking is probably the best-known method of using marijuana, if you can’t tolerate the smoke or don’t like the smell, you have other options. Your supplier or shop is likely to have a selection of pre-rolled joints with detailed descriptions of the kind of flower used and the effects.
However, if you don’t want to smoke, you have other options, including topicals and edibles. Topicals containing cannabis can be directly applied to the body to help relieve pain. While topicals containing both CBD and THC are only available in states where marijuana is legal, products containing only CBD are widely available. CBD topicals, which include creams, salves, and rubs, are purely medicinal, whereas products containing THC can also produce a slight buzz in addition to relieving pain.
Edibles are another easy to use option if you do not want to smoke. While most people think of the classic pot brownie when they think of edibles, there are actually a number of other options, including gummies, lollipops, lozenges, drinks, and food items ranging from granola to pizza. Although smoking will get you high faster, edibles can give you a stronger high, but it takes longer to feel the effects. Again, understanding how much THC is in the edible and what strain of weed it contains is important to assuring you get the right medication for you.
Finding the right type of weed for your medical marijuana needs can be a process of trial and error. But if you start off armed with the right information and have a basic understanding of your options, you can find relief and achieve the results you’re hoping for.