Indica and Sativa represent the two main plant strains found at medical marijuana Portland facilities. However, each provides different effects, which are optimized with cross breeding according to the characteristics desired.

Medical Marijuana: One Size Does Not Fit All

Though THC is the main chemical in marijuana that produces the psychoactive effects, the plants actually contain more than 80 phytocannabinoid compounds. Variations of Cannabidiol, cannabinol and THC prove effective in alleviating different medical problems. Marijuana growers cross-breed and cultivate Indica, Sativa and hybrid plant strains based on their ability to produce abundant yields and tolerate environmental factors in addition to containing the concentration of chemical compounds that provide the desired medicinal effects.

Differences Between Indica and Sativa

Indica derivatives typically produce the mellow, sedating feeling commonly associated with smoking the plant. However, the sensation permeates throughout the body and is known to relax muscle tissue. Strains in this category are preferred for treating muscle spasms, tremors, stiffness, swelling and chronic pain. While Sativa is also useful for chronic pain, the strain produces more of a stimulating high. Sativa is preferred for alleviating nausea, stimulating appetite, combating depression and relieving migraines.

Indica/Sativa Hybrids

Medical marijuana growers combine variable percentages of each strain to produce plants that contain the chemical characteristics of both types. By adding Sativa characteristics to Indica strains, the end benefit is a plant that effectively alleviates musculoskeletal symptoms without causing sedative effects. Adding Indica to Sativa might aid in terms of increased appetite and decreased nausea without overstimulation.

Choosing Medicinal Strains

Patients might be paired with a particular strain of marijuana based on the array of symptoms that they experience. As people differ in age, body size, metabolism and physiology, a strain that works for one patient may not offer much of an effect for another. Personal preference is another factor. Extensive patient experience and laboratory studies indicate that some strains in general are more effective than others in treating the symptoms associated with certain medical conditions.