Cannabis dispensaries can be overwhelming with all of the different choices available.
There are about as many stains of cannabis as there are breeds of dogs. They are all the same plant, but each strain can have very different characteristics and effects. This is mainly due to the ratio of CBD to THC, but also do to other cannabinoids and terpenes in each strain. Many people have a bad experience with one particular strain and eschew cannabis all together, when likely there is a different strain that may be very helpful.
There are two main types of cannabis, indica and sativa.
There are also a wide variety of hybrid strains that can be either sativa or indica dominant. Indica strains tend to be more sedating and are preferred for nighttime use, and sativa strains are more uplifting and preferred for daytime use.
When choosing a strain, the most important factor to consider is the concentrations of CBD and THC. Higher CBD concentrations are preferred for medical purposes, since CBD has anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiolytic, and anti-convulsive properties, and also reduces and modulates the psychoactive effects of THC. Some people do want the psychoactive effect THC and the synergistic quality it has with CBD. Strains can have a CBD to THC ratio of 1:1 all the way up to 20:1 and beyond. There can even be variations in cannabinoid content of the same strain depending on growing conditions and other factors.
Here are some of the most popular medical cannabis strains:
ACDC: This strain is a hybrid of sativa and ruderalis (industrial hemp). It has one of the highest CBD to THC ratios of any strain available at around 20:1. It has virtually no THC and thus no psychoactive effect, and is great for sensitive individuals.
Harle-tsu: This is a hybrid of Harlequin and sour tsunami, with a ratio similar to ACDC at around 20:1.
Ringo’s Gift: One of the highest CBD strains averaging a ratio of 24:1.
Suzy Q: Another high CBD strain with a ratio upwards of 20:1
Harlequin: Another popular high CBD strain with a ratio around 5:2. It is sativa dominant and has little psychoactive effect.
Cannatonic: The name here is a bit misleading in that it is not as sedating as it sounds. It is typically around 2:1
Cannatsu: Similar to Cannatonic but with a higher CBD content at around 3:1
Frida: An indica dominant hybrid that is one of the best for pain and inflammation. It has a CBD to THC ratio between 2:1 and 3:1.
Stephen Hawking kush: Appropriately named, this strain is popular among those with ALS. It is balanced at around 1:1.
Nordle: A newly developed medical strain that is also balanced at around 1:1
Gilda: Another popular balanced 1:1 strain
Sour Tsunami: Also around 1:1
Cannabis is one of the most heavily pesticide sprayed crops, so it is important to buy from growers that use organic practices.
While there is no organic certification for cannabis, most growers that don’t use pesticides will say so on their product. Most recreational dispensaries only carry 3-5 high CBD strains at the most, so pick whichever one has the best organic growing practices. My favorite grower of a variety of high CBD strains with high standards is Raven grass, which is available throughout Washington state.