Education

Marijuana Strains

Each strain of marijuana contains different types of cannabinoids with varying effects. Nature’s Remedy offers several different strains of marijuana to accommodate the needs of every patient.

Indica vs. Sativa vs. Hybrid

The marijuana plant can be categorized as follows: indica, sativa, or hybrid. Each group is made up of a variety of strains, all with different cannabinoid profiles.

Sativa

Sativas are reported to increase energy and appetite while elevating the patient’s mood and focus. They are generally recommended for daytime use.

  • Effects: uplifting, energetic, cerebral, spacey, hallucinogenic
  • Appearance: tall with long, narrow leaves
  • Ailments: generally speaking, sativas are best for mental conditions such as depression and ADHD

Indica

Indicas are reported to promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and enhance sleep. They are usually recommended for evening use.

  • Effects: sedating, calming, “couch lock”
  • Appearance: short with wide leaves
  • Ailments: generally speaking, indicas are best for physical ailments such as pain and inflammation

Hybrid

Hybrids are produced when cultivators cross-breed indica and sativa strains. Hybrids may take after either parent or be a blend of both. The goal in creating hybrids is to create a strain with desirable characteristics from each parent.

Hybrids are relatively common. When a strain is more characteristic of one species (indica or sativa), the strain is referred to as an indica-dominant or a sativa-dominant hybrid.

Cross-breeding is useful for many different reasons:

  • Indicas, with a 6-8 week maturation time and a hardier stature are easier to cultivate; it is helpful to breed some of these characteristics into sativa strains
  • Indicas have the ability to “mellow out” a sativa strain that tends to cause paranoia
  • Sativas have the ability to decrease tiredness caused by an indica

Exogenous Cannabinoids

The cannabis plant has hundreds of compounds, with more than eighty classified as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids in the cannabis plant are known as phytocannabinoids. Each phytocannabinoid produces different effects.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

THC is the most widely-known cannabinoid and is found in high concentrations in most marijuana strains. Its psychoactive properties cause a “high” feeling.

Benefits of THC:

  • euphoria
  • relaxation
  • pain relief
  • appetite stimulation
  • anti-inflammatory
  • amplified senses
  • improved sense of well-being
  • increased creativity
  • prevention of nerve damage
  • antispasmodic, minimizing spasms and convulsions
  • minimization of vomiting and nausea
  • antioxidant, fighting free radicals in the body
  • promotes growth of new brain cells
  • protects brain cells from damage

When patients consume too much THC, it is possible to experience negative effects. Potential side effects of THC include:

  • anxiety and paranoia
  • confusion or disorientation
  • dry mouth and eyes
  • short-term memory problems
  • potential long-term alterations to memory (particularly verbal memory)
  • increased heart rate
  • sense of slowed time
  • decreased body temperature
  • tremors
  • tolerance over time, reducing effectiveness of THC

Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THC-A)

THC-A has numerous benefits as a neuro-protectant and anti-inflammatory agent. THC starts in the cannabis plant as THC-A, an acidic compound that is non-psychoactive. When heated, THC-A converts to THC, producing a high; this occurs through decarboxylation. When applying heat to marijuana (decarboxylation), chemical reactions occur and transform THC-A into THC.

Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)

THCV is similar to THC in its molecular structure and psychoactive properties but produces different effects. THCV is an appetite suppressant, can regulate blood sugar levels, reduces anxiety, and stimulates bone growth. THCV also improves tremors, motor control, and brain lesions associated with Alzheimer’s disease. THCV is not common in most strains, but is most abundant in African sativas such as Durban Poison, Pineapple Purps, and Willie Nelson.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that balances the effects of THC. CBD has many medical benefits. Some medical marijuana users prefer CBD to treat their symptoms because of the minimized feelings of euphoria in strains offering higher CBD content.

Benefits of CBD:

  • balances/reduces THC’s negative effects
  • anti-inflammatory properties
  • neuron protection against injury and degeneration
  • mood improvement
  • pain relief
  • antipsychotic characteristics
  • anti-spasmodic
  • decreased appetite

Potential side effects of CBD:

  • dry mouth
  • low blood pressure
  • lightheadedness
  • drowsiness (may be a benefit depending on goal)

Cannabinol (CBN)

CBN is created when THC is exposed to air. When marijuana is left out in the air, it will have a higher concentration of CBN; this is why many patients keep their marijuana in tightly sealed containers to maintain THC levels. CBN is psychoactive, but at a much lower level compared to THC. CBN causes little to no psychoactive effects, even though it is a psychoactive cannabinoid. This is because CBN content is usually less than 1% in marijuana products.

CBN is known for its ability to fight insomnia or sleep issues. It offers similar effects to pharmaceutical sedatives in smaller doses; 5mg of CBN has the same effect as 10mg of diazepam.

Positive effects of CBN include:

  • appetite stimulant
  • sleep aid
  • effectiveness against antibiotic-resistant strains of MRSA infections
  • pain relief
  • anti-inflammatory
  • immune system regulation
  • anti-spasmodic and anti-convulsant
  • supports bone cell growth
  • antioxidant, fighting free radicals in the body
  • reduces intraocular pressure

Potential side effects of CBN:

  • groggy feeling
  • dizziness
  • confusion

Cannabigerol (CBG)

CBG is non-psychoactive and is a foundation for THC and CBD. It is formed early in the growing cycle and is not found in large quantities as the plant matures. Strains with higher CBG content tend to minimize the negative effects of THC for many users.

Benefits of CBG:

  • relief of intraocular pressure
  • antibiotic effects
  • antifungal effects
  • pain relief
  • possible anti-tumor effects
  • antidepressant
  • mood regulation
  • antioxidant, fighting free radicals in the body
  • anti-inflammatory
  • counteracts paranoia sometimes experienced with THC

Cannabichromene (CBC)

CBC is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is the second most available cannabinoid in marijuana after THC.

Benefits of CBC:

  • anti-inflammatory in the intestinal tract
  • anti-tumor effects
  • antidepressant
  • mild anti-fungal
  • antibacterial against E. coli, staph infections, etc.
  • encourages the growth of new brain cells
  • pain relief, although not as significant as other cannabinoids

The entourage effect

Although cannabinoids have individual strengths, when combined, their positive effects are boosted. The entourage effect is the combined effect experienced from marijuana’s different parts. Marijuana’s cannabinoids and terpenes, as well as hundreds of its other chemical compounds, work together to produce a synergistic effect.

Research proves that whole plant cannabis affects individuals differently than pure THC. An example of this is how CBD is thought to block many of the negative effects of THC while enhancing many of THC’s benefits. Dually, CBD contributes its own medical benefits. CBD changes the way THC acts on the body by binding to different receptors and changing how responsive they are to THC. CBN, CBG, CBC, and other cannabinoids also impact THC’s effects in different ways.

The entourage effect allows us to understand why certain strains of marijuana affect users in unique ways. Different marijuana strains have vastly different chemical profiles, causing different experiences in the same person. For example, sometimes marijuana can make a person feel calm, while at other times it can make that same person anxious. Each strain contains a unique profile of hundreds of cannabinoids and terpenes, which come together to produce the plant’s effects. If you change the strain, you change the effects.

Cannabis Plant Anatomy

Gender

Cannabis is dioecious, meaning it comes from separate male and female plants. Growing from a seed, cannabis can take on the following forms: female, sinsemilla, male, and hermaphrodite.

Female and sinsemilla

Female cannabis plants produce the large buds and flowers of marijuana. They contain pistils, the plants primary sex organ, and resin which collects pollen from male cannabis plants. When pollen fertilizes the female plant, seed is produced. If the female plant is kept away from pollen, more resin is produced; unfertilized females, known as sinsemilla, create a frosty layer of trichomes desired by the growers and consumers. Sinsemilla is much more potent than fertilized flowers because of their increased trichome production.

Male

Male cannabis plants produce pollen sacks that blossom into flowers when they reach maturity. They are not as potent as female plants, but do contain cannabinoids. Pollen fertilizes the bud of a female plant and contains genetic material used to breed new strains of marijuana with specific traits over time. Pollinating a female plant creates seeds with genetic material from both the mother and father plant, leading to more genetic variation and a stronger cannabis species (clones of female plants are prone to genetic weakness over time).

Hermaphrodite

A hermaphrodite is a plant that develops both female and male parts. This usually occurs when females have gone a long time without pollination or experience stress during growth.

Visual components of the cannabis plant

The cannabis plant is made up of several structural parts, many of which can be found on any ordinary flowering plant.

  • Trichomes

    Trichomes are tiny glands on leaves and calyces that produce cannabinoids and terpenes. They have a crystal-like appearance and hold the majority of resin. Trichomes and their resin are used to create a variety of concentrates and extracts.

  • Stigma and Pistil

    Pistils contain the reproductive parts of the flower. Stigmas are the vibrant, hair-like strands of the pistil that collect pollen from males. They are only found on female plants and capture pollen from male plants by curling or bending toward male plants. Pistils are a grower’s best tool for differentiating between a male and female plant.

  • Calyx

    The calyx is a tiny, teardrop-shaped cluster that makes up the bud itself. It contains sugar leaves and pistils and is where most of the trichomes are found.

  • Bract

    A bract is a tear-shaped green leaf covered in resin glands. Bracts produce lots of concentrated cannabinoids. They encapsulate the reproductive parts of the female and house seeds in a fertilized plant.

  • Cola

    A cola is the flowering top of a female cannabis plant where the bud develops. Colas grow vertically toward the ends of major branches where the buds receive the most light. Healthy plants grow one main cola at the top of the cannabis plant, and form smaller colas around the rest of the plant. Dried cannabis flower is the cola.

  • Sugar leaves

    Sugar leaves are small leaves that grow during the flowering stage out of the cannabis buds. These leaves are usually covered in sparkly THC-filled trichomes that look like a dusting of sugar.

  • Fan leaves

    Fan leaves grow in pairs off of the main stem and branches. Fan leaves help to differentiate sativa versus indica plants: sativas have light green and slender leaves while indicas have dark green, wide leaves. Fan leaves soak up light and transport energy throughout the plant via the phloem.

  • Node

    Leaf nodes are where branching occurs off of the stem and where flowers grow. Nodes connect new stem branches that separate and take the form of a leaf, branch, or bud. Internode space is the distance between sets of branches; indicas have shorter internode spacing than sativas.

  • Stem

    The main stem of a cannabis plant emerges from the roots and allows the plant to grow vertically.

What is a terpene?

Terpenes are compounds found in many plants. They are known for their unique smells and are a means of defense to repel predators and attract pollinators. In cannabis, terpenes have their own therapeutic and medicinal properties and are found in all strains. They are secreted in the same resin glands that produce cannabinoids. Their pungent oils give cannabis strains variety with distinct flavors like citrus, pine, and berry.

Sometimes used interchangeably, terpenes are not the same as terpenoids; terpenes are naturally-occurring in the cannabis plant, while terpenoids occur after oxidation.

There are an estimated 120+ terpenes and terpenoids found in cannabis, yet only a handful of the terpenes are found in the majority of cannabis products on the market.

Popular terpenes found in cannabis

BisabololBisabolol is a floral, fragrant compound. It is found in chamomile and is used frequently in the cosmetic industry. It is known to heal wounds, fight bacteria, as an anti-inflammatory, and analgesic.
BorneolBorneol has a menthol, woody scent and is commonly found in rosemary and mint. It is known for its soothing effects and stress-relieving properties. It is commonly used as an analgesic, anti-cancer agent, and anticoagulant.
CampheneCamphene emits a strong, pungent odor resembling fir and camphor. It is found in citronella oil, ginger, rosemary, and nutmeg. It has antibiotic, anti-tumor, cardiovascular, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is common in many indica strains.
CareneCarene has a sweet odor and is found in many healthy oils including juniper berry, cypress, and fir needle. It is used as an antidepressant and anti-inflammatory. It is also used to dry up runny noses and menstrual flows.
CaryophylleneCaryophyllene has a spicy, rich odor and is found in many plants including cloves, black pepper, and rosemary. This terpene is known to be an antibacterial, antifungal, anti-tumor, and anti-inflammatory. Studies have shown this terpene helps treat anxiety and depression.
EucalyptolEucalyptol has a eucalyptus, minty odor, and is found in eucalyptus trees, tea trees, and bay leaves. It is commonly used for digestive disorders and inflammation. Its anti-inflammatory properties help combat asthma symptoms.
GeraniolGeraniol has a sweet, floral, pleasant smell, and is present in geraniums and lemons. It is sought after for its antioxidant, anti-tumor, anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-viral, and anti-spasmodic properties.
HumuleneHumulene has an earthy, woody aroma. It is found in hops, ginseng, and sativa strains. This terpene has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. Humulene is also used as an appetite suppressant.
LimoneneLimonene is a terpene with a citrusy aroma, bitter taste, and energizing effect. It is known as an anti-fungal agent, possessing both gastrointestinal and anti-cancer benefits. Limonene is effective in treating depression, anxiety, inhibiting cancer cell growth, and aiding weight loss.
LinaloolLinalool has a floral odor and is isolated in many different plants, like lavender, citrus, sweet basil, and rosewood. It is used as a sleep aid, anxiolytic, anti-cancer agent, anti-epileptic agent, and analgesic.
MyrceneMyrcene is well known for its relaxing effects in several indica strains. It is found in mangos, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and many other plants. It has anxiolytic properties and is a powerful muscle relaxant used to treat spasms. Myrcene is an anti-inflammatory and helps with insomnia, diabetes, and cancer-related symptoms.
PinenePinene is found in conifers, most notably the pine tree, and in some citrus. It smells like pine, binds well with other compounds to create different terpenes, and is in many of the most popular cannabis strains. Pinene is used to promote focus, as an anti-cancer agent, and an anti-inflammatory. It can also relieve symptoms of asthma and serve as a bronchodilator.
TerpineolTerpineol naturally occurs in lilacs, lime blossoms, and eucalyptus sap. It has anti-anxiety properties, and is used as an antibiotic, antioxidant, sedative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor agent.
TerpinoleneTerpinolene is known to have a piney, floral aroma, tasting like citrus. It is used to promote sleep, reduce anxiety, and as an anti-cancer agent.
ValenceneValencene gets its name from Valencia oranges; it is also found in grapefruits and lemons. It has a sweet, citrusy aroma and possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties.

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