Choice Strains: Matching Up Strains With Symptoms

Berkeley Patient’s Care Collective offers these medical cannabis trading cards.Berkeley Patient’s Care Collective offers these medical cannabis trading cards.Perhaps the question I’m most frequently asked as a writer and researcher on medical-marijuana issues is: What strain is good for what.

I have headaches. Is there pot for that? I have joint pain, back pain, indigestion and migraines. Is there pot for that? Is there a particular variety that will cure my anxiety, insomnia, writer’s block?

The answer is complicated. I first began covering medical cannabis in New Mexico, where the “medical” part is taken a lot more seriously than in California. The New Mexico Legislature and the state Department of Health limited the herb’s usage to a set number of conditions, and dispensaries must have medical professionals on their boards. So, to answer this question, I turned to Len Goodman, founder of New MexiCann Natural Medicine.

“I’m beginning to no longer believe in any specifics for anything,” the somewhat frustrated grower told me. Goodman recently conducted a survey of his patients and the nine strains the dispensary offered in the last year. There was little variation in the patients’ responses between the strains. All you could tell from the graphs is that most people liked NY Diesel and Trainwreck across the board, for every condition—from depression to seizures. All marijuana seems to be good for pain, Goodman said.

“It’s not penicillin,” he said. “All people can do is find out what works for them.”

Of course, that’s no help to our readers, many of whom have expressed frustration to me privately about the difficulty in deciding between the vast amount of strains available at area collectives. If they’re going to experiment, surely they have to start somewhere.

So, I went back to the drawing board and attempted to find some sort of consensus among California collectives, including Best Buds and Mother Earth in San Diego and Berkeley Patient up north.

The general rule of thumb is that there are two types of marijuana, sativas and indicas, though most plants are a combination of the two with one type dominant. Sativas tend to be more cerebral—that is, better for mood conditions and daytime use. Indicas tend to have more of an impact on the body and are better for treating pain and sedation. When you visit a collective, asking for an indica or sativa will narrow it down a lot, and you can also ask in terms of “clear” (for a clearer head) and “heavy” (for a more powerful “stone”). If your budtender shrugs at you, you probably need to find a collective that’s a bit more, err, legitimate.

– Read the entire article at San Diego City Beat.