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There are hundreds of varieties of medical cannabis, each with slightly different medicinal effects.  Finding the right medicine will likely require trying out a number of varieties, but the following guidelines can help direct your search. Most patients eventually find 2-3 different strains that work well for different purposes, such as one for daytime and one for sleep. Medical marijuana strains fall into a few major categories: indica, sativa, hybrid indica/sativa, and high-CBD.

CANNABIS SAT IVA strains were originally found in tropical and equatorial regions. The plants are tall and the leaves are thin, and the buds often have a spicy or savory flavor.  These varieties are generally more mentally stimulating, more energetic and euphoric.  They tend to help more with nausea and other abdominal complaints, appetite stimulation, headaches, depression, and fatigue. Although side effects are uncommon and usually mild, sativa strains are more likely to cause or worsen anxiety or paranoia.

CANNABIS INDICA strains originated in more temperate regions. The plants are shorter and more bushy, and often have a sweet or fruity flavor. Indica varieties are often more relaxing and sedating. They tend to help more with pain, anxiety, muscle spasms, and insomnia.

HYBRID INDICA/SATIVA strains are very common, and have been bred to achieve specific qualities.  Many hybrid strains are able to produce effects that provide the best of both worlds.

 HIGH-CBD strains are specific strains that have been tested by a laboratory and demonstrate high levels of cannabidiol (CBD). CBD has several exciting medicinal properties, including anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-seizure, and pain relief.  Interestingly, strains high in CBD are much less psychoactive, making them desirable for patients who want the medical benefits without getting “high” or impaired. This can be ideal for patients who need to drive, work, etc. For more information on strains that have been found to contain high levels of CBD, visit

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