Not all medical marijuana varieties are created the same. While they are both strains of the cannabis plant and contain THC, the active medical compound in marijuana, there are some major differences between indica and sativa varieties.
When it comes to purchasing medical cannabis, you generally have a huge variety of strains to choose from, each with its own unique properties. Although each strain is different, marijuana can be divided into two major species: indica and sativa. Generally speaking, sativa strains have more THC, the psychoactive ingredient that causes marijuana’s notorious high and promotes sleep, but also has the potential to cause paranoia or anxiety. Indica, on the other hand, usually has higher levels of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive ingredient that has many medical applications as an antipsychotic medication and can help to reduce anxiety.
Virtually all medical cannabis dispensaries in Portland feature a wide variety of both kinds of medical cannabis and even some hybrids between the two major varieties. Determining which kind of medical marijuana is going to be the best and most effective fit for your symptoms starts with separating myth from fact and gaining a true understanding of what makes each variety different.
The sativa species of cannabis grows naturally around the equator and originates from countries like Colombia, Mexico and equatorial regions of Africa when sunshine is plentiful. Sativa plants are easy to recognize visually because they are generally tall and stalky, regardless of strain. Sativas generally have a higher level of the active THC ingredient as opposed to CBD and is therefore usually associated with a cerebral and energetic effect. Sativa is typically recommended as a treatment for mood disorders like depression and ADD.
The indica species originates from colder and more mountainous climates like Turkey, Nepal, Morocco and other countries that have a significant hashish culture. As indica grows, it becomes more dense and bushy than its tropical cousin and tends to contain more CBD than THC. This leads to a mellow and sedative effect, making indica strains a more effective treatment for anxiety and sleeping disorders.
Many strains available in medical cannabis dispensaries in Portland today are a hybridized mix of the traits of indica and sativa. While there are plenty of pure strains, many patients with a medical marijuana card prefer to strike a harmony with hybrid that represents the best of both worlds. Hybrid strains often have a more balanced ratio of CBD to THC.
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