Medicinal cannabis can be used to treat a wide variety of common conditions. Generally, medicinal cannabis results in the user having a sense of greater physical and mental relaxation, pain reduction, increased appetite, and better sleep. However, there are two main varieties of medicinal cannabis plants, and each offers a different set of benefits. Understanding the difference between the two is important to find the right strain for each patient.
The two major types of cannabis plants are Indica and Sativa. Each strain has its own range of effects on the body and mind resulting in a wide range of medicinal benefits. Indica strains generally provide a sense of deep body relaxation. Sativa strains tend to provide a more energizing experience.
Typically, cannabis Indica plants are short, bushy plants with wide leaves. Indica plants typically grow faster and have a higher yield than the Sativa variety. Medicine produced from cannabis Indica plants have higher CBD and lower THC counts.
The major qualities of Indica medicinal strains include:
- increased mental relaxation
- muscle relaxation
- decreases nausea
- decreases acute pain
- increases appetite
- increases dopamine (a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centres)
- for night time use
Cannabis Sativa plants are opposite of the Indica strains and grow tall and thin with narrow leaves. Sativa plants are also generally a lighter shade of green then their counterpart, the Indica strain. Sativa strains take longer to grow, mature and require more light. Medicine produced from cannabis Sativa plants have lower CBD and higher THC counts.
The major qualities of Sativa medicinal strains include:
- treats chronic pain
- increases focus and creativity
- increases serotonin (a neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of learning, mood, sleep, anxiety and appetite)
- for daytime use
Cannabis strains range from pure Sativa to pure Indica and hybrid strains consisting of both Indica and Sativa (30% Indica – 70% Sativa, 50% – 50% combinations, 80% Indica – 20% Sativa).