When it comes to medical marijuana, does the strain matter?

So I’m watching a news show about a dispensary when a customer enters and wants something for sleep. He suggests something, like Northern Lights or Blue Cheese, or something like that… I don’t know much about this stuff. I know Indica and Sativa. I think Indica is more for people that can’t sleep.

But if someone walks into a dispensary, with a certain ailment other than sleep issues, does it really matter if you’re getting Fruity Pebbles or… whatever other crazy names?

I know there’s Indica, Sativa, and Hybrids… don’t know much else.

Thank you.

The legal status of cannabis means controlled studies are lacking. Personally, I can tell an indica from a sativa, but I’m hard pressed to pin down the specific strain.

However, the medical condition I’m addressing is ennui, which responds to any strain.

For that matter, if there is some strain that’s better for a certain ailment, why not identify the active compounds in that strain, extract them, and then put them in a pill like we do with everything else?

Because the evidence is rather lacking that medical marijuana is good for any ailment except in a few cases. As kayaker says, controlled studies are lacking.

The next time the clerk in the head shop tells you that Maui Wowie is better for headaches than Purple Seedless, ask to see the double blind studies that show it. Then consider the fact that there aren’t any.


Yo, Shodan. They’re all seedless. How about Purple Urkle?

Yo, kayaker. College was a loooooooooooong time ago, so I have no idea.


Living here in Colorado I will say that people who partake in this constitutional right claim that the product is pretty tailored to certain conditions and that one strain will be much more effective at treating a condition than others. I also will say that their has been a lot of informal investigation and experimentation by growers and I believe that they have been effective at winnowing down and enhancing different traits. Why wouldn’t they be effective to one degree or another?

All of that said, I, like Shodan, am skeptical of the effectiveness of medical marijuana to treat all these different ailments and conditions due to the lack of studies. I am further skeptical that the growers have been as efficient as they could be (i.e. as a pharma company) at isolating the desired traits though I am sure they have tried. Since it became legal here I have been meaning to perform some personal experimentation to see what all the fuss is, but it has not been all that high on my priority list.

When I was in Colorado earlier this year I tried a strain called ACDC.

Tested THC: 0.82%. Tested CBD: 18.35% It’s not going to get you high.

Damn, if it didn’t work great on my back pain. Wish I had more.

As I understand, all recreational/medicinal cannabis is a blend of indica and sativa. Indica is more sedating, sativa is more… high or something. There is also the non-psychoactive component CBD, which is used for anxiety, inflammation, Crohn’s disease, Dravet syndrome, etc.

It’s conceivable that the hippie behind the counter knows that “Northern Lights” was grown by a reliable, knowledgeable grower who labeled it clearly and accurately as to strain, strength, and CBD content, and that they are able to diagnose your medical condition and advise the best product. It is also possible that might not be the case.

There are few controlled studies because the federal government has said “We know pot is bad, so there’s no point in letting anyone study it. Unless it’s a study about how bad it is.”

Until that changes, people are going to rely on folklore and anecdotes because this is consistently more reliable than any information you get out of the DEA.

Studies = “collected anecdotes”

Because of course, until someone officially catalogs the responses, it’s all worthless “anecdotes”. :rolleyes:

There are a shitton of active, inactive, partially inactive, occasionally active, and synergistic compounds in cannabis, and they behave differently depending on how they’re ingested. Many researchers are reasonably confident that delta9-THC and delta8-THC are the only directly psychoactive compounds in cannabis, but their recreational and medical effects are contingent on CBD and other cannabinoids. We don’t have a very good clue how the endocannabinoid neurotransmitter system works either.

(A pretty solid overview of some of those issues can be found here.)

So, yeah. A magic pill (more likely, a wide array of magic pills) will happen eventually. But it’s a complex process, hamstrung by the historic (and histrionic) prohibition on cannabis research.

I have fallen in love with high-CBD strains. I hate being high; a low-THC, high-CBD strain gets me just enough of a buzz to chill and works better than a Flexeril for my muscle and joint pain.

Right, right - it’s not like the scientific method has achieved anything in medicine anyway. So we might as well rely on the word of the stoner behind the counter.


A. “This has no medical value, so we refuse to allow people to study it”
B. What studies there are prove it works for a number of things.
B. Many people report the same.
A. “Those are all just anecdotes and don’t count”

Sure, sure.

The strain matters a lot. Unlike alcohol there is a huge variation in effect and effectiveness with weed. And this is not exactly unexplored territory. For sedation, pain relief or insomnia you want an Indica-strain. Sativa will make you high, bubble, creative and perhaps spiritual, Indica will in general give you more of a body sensation and relax you a lot.

No, actually medical marijuana has been studied and is being studied. So far, most of the studies do not show much benefit apart from relief of spasticity, and helping with appetite in cancer patients.

Which things, and what studies? And how valid are those studies?

Yes, you are correct - when it comes to scientific medicine, anecdotes don’t count for much.

Except that noticing large and sweeping claims with no real evidence behind them is a good way to identify the quacks.


Could you please cite the studies where this has been demonstrated? TIA.


No. As far as I know very little academic study has been done on this, which I think you are aware of. To you something may not work or have meaning until it has been checked by what you deem to be an authority, but obviously when it comes to substances and practices that are nor approved by current mainstream society, you will have to go outside for information. If you only want to accept what is neatly labelled and put into a box for you as real, that’s a fine view to take, but I consider my firs hand experience to be enough for now.

Certain substances have certain effects on you. When it comes to weed you need to either go to shamans or aficionados for information. Just because something hasn’t been checked off by mainstream science yet doesn’t mean it’s not real or effective. Science has its’ own agenda, unfortunately, and seems reluctant to look into the effects of so called “narcotics”.

Dude, ignorant stone age savages invented agriculture and civilization. Without a peer reviewed study published in Nature, mind you. I believe people with a lot of experience in growing and using marijuana can tell you what kind of effect you will get with the individual strains they are familiar with.

I’m as pro-science as anyone, but there are other ways to gain knowledge, personal experience being the best of them. Don’t discount it.