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Understanding Different Marijuana Strains and How They Can Help You

by in Medical Cannabis News, Medical Marijuana August 17, 2022

When people talk about marijuana strains, terms like cannabinoids, terpenes, Indica, or Sativa can be a little intimidating for first-time users. Fortunately, cannabis growers and dispensers are making an effort to clearly label their strain’s exact properties so you’re able to make better decisions based on your exact symptoms and needs. This is why we want to help you understand the different strains of weed, their components, how they work together, and how they affect your body. 

How Cannabinoids Affect Your Body

As research expands and science delves deeper into the chemical compounds of different strains of weed, less focus is being placed on the classification of Indica vs Sativa. The major difference between the two all comes down to cannabinoids.

Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds in weed that attach to your body’s cannabinoid receptors. Your endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body. This means it’s in charge of making sure that all of your other systems are running smoothly without any kinks and that everything is balanced. When you have an injury that causes inflammation or you experience stress, which raises your stress hormone levels, it’s your endocannabinoid receptors that search for ways to fix those issues. 

Each strain of marijuana has different cannabinoids that bond with your body’s cannabinoid receptors in different ways, producing different results. The two most common ones are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

  • THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects people associate with feeling ‘high’. This is because it bonds with neuro-cannabinoid receptors in the brain and affects them more than the rest of the body. It activates the areas in your brain that are responsible for memory, pleasure, and thinking. THC is great for making you energized, euphoric, and focused.
  • CBD is attracted to the cannabinoid receptors in your bodily tissues and nerve endings. That makes CBD perfect for reducing pain and inflammation. It puts your central nervous system back into balance by lowering your stress hormones and releasing the pleasure chemicals serotonin and oxytocin. CBD enables total body relaxation. 

Why Terpenes Are So Important

Close-up of a marijuana bud with orange trichomes

Now that you understand how cannabinoids affect your body, let’s discuss the other vital component found in different strains of weed, terpenes. Terpenes occur in all plants and are responsible for the different smells they have. Each cannabis strain has its own unique blend of terpenes which make up the essential oils and perfume of the plant. In nature, they act as a defense against pests and as an attractant of pollinators like bees. 

There are hundreds of different terpenes and weed has a higher concentration of them than most plants. Every time you smell a different marijuana strain, you’ll notice it has its own distinct blend of aromas such as citrus, pine, lavender, forest floor, or spicy pepper. That’s the terpenes letting your body subconsciously know what to expect when you consume it.

The Most Common Terpenes Found in Cannabis

  • Myrcene: This is found in a lot of different strains of weed and is responsible for that earthy fragrance most people think of when they smell weed. Myrcene has anti-inflammatory properties and relaxes the body. It’s also found in cardamom, lemongrass, and mangoes. 
    • Pinene: Commonly found in basil and rosemary and gives off a crisp pine scent. It’s an anti-inflammatory that relieves pain and anxiety. It can also be used to help asthmatics because it opens up the bronchial airways in the lungs. 
  • Limonene: The second most abundant terpene that occurs in marijuana strains. It has a bright citrus scent that is a strong antidepressant. All citrus fruits contain high levels of limonene which can also help relieve depression. Not only does it have anti-inflammatory properties, but it reduces stress and anxiety as well. 
  • Caryophyllene: Found in cinnamon and black pepper, caryophyllene has a woody, peppery, and spicy aroma. It’s known for treating depression, inflammation, and anxiety. 
  • Linalool: Has the same relaxing floral scent as lavender. This is a very effective antidepressant that soothes the nervous system and calms the mind. Cannabis strains high in linalool are able to balance the feeling of paranoia that can sometimes occur from too much THC. 

The Entourage Effect

Cannabinoids and terpenes work together in your body to create what’s known as the ‘entourage effect’. In order for your body to receive the maximum benefits it possibly can from each marijuana strain, you need the cannabinoids to carry the terpenes to the appropriate cannabinoid receptors in your body. Once safely delivered the terpenes can then go to work relieving stress, reducing inflammation, boosting your mood, and so on. They’re a team and aren’t as effective when separated.

Which Marijuana Strains Match Your Symptoms

A person wearing a blue latex glove holding a marijuana plant

These days finding a cannabis strain that’s purely Indica or Sativa is very difficult. Due to crossbreeding, most strains are hybrids. This is why it’s so important to understand the other components that each different strain of weed contains and how they’ll affect your body. However, hybrids are usually either Indica or Sativa dominant, so they will display more of the properties associated with that particular strain. 

Indica

Indica strains tend to have higher levels of CBD in them, which means they’re going to relax your body and mind rather than stimulate it. Indica is great for combating insomnia, which is why they’re often prescribed to people suffering from PTSD. It also has stronger anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to reduce pain for conditions such as arthritis.

Sativa

Higher in THC, Sativa is known for creating euphoric head highs. It can help boost your mood and alleviate depression. THC is also very mentally stimulating, so Sativa is popular with people who need to be creative and like to be social. One of the reasons athletes use Sativa is because it focuses the mind and reduces inflammation in the joints. This makes it helpful for people with Crohn’s disease as well by soothing their irritable bowels.

Figuring out the right marijuana strains and dosage for you will involve some trial and error. A good budtender should be able to tell you the chemical breakdown of each different strain of weed and what they’re good for. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions at your local dispensary or contact us to talk to an Ozark MMJ Cards expert. It’s easier now more than ever to find exactly the right cannabis strain for your needs and symptoms.

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