The Cannabis Plant

Cannabis has been used as a medicine for thousands of years, all over the world. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was widely used in western medicine. Cannabis prohibition forced cannabis outside of legal medicine, and severely limited research opportunities. As a plant, there are two main families of cannabis, INDICA and SATIVA. There are many strains of the plant, some pure Indicas, some pure Sativas, and others crosses of the two. Each strain of cannabis contains different ratios of cannabinoids, thus giving them a unique therapeutic effect.


Cannabis Sativa hails from the equatorial regions of Asia and Africa and is a taller and lankier variety, having long, narrow serrated leaves and loose spear-like buds that are usually not very dense, yet extremely resinous and potent. Sativas have high amounts of THC and low amounts of cannabinol (CBN), a mostly non-psychoactive cannabinoid that can reduce intraocular pressure with sedative and pain relieving properties. Some African and central Asian sativa strains contain tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid which severely reduces the length of psycho-activity to 1-1.5 hours as it competes with THC for the CB1 receptor in the human body. THCV has been shown in pharmaceutical trials to be useful in treating type 2 diabetes and perhaps other related metabolic disorders. The primary effects of Sativas are on the mind and emotions. These benefits can be particularly helpful for the psychological aspects of many illnesses, giving people an increased sense of well-being. Due to the stimulating nature of Sativas, they are generally better for daytime use. Caution should also be taken for people experiencing heightened anxiety or those with mental health conditions.

Some therapeutic uses of Sativas:

  • Reduces depression, elevates mood
  • Relieves headaches and migraines
  • Energizes and stimulates
  • Increases focus and creativity
  • Reduces nausea
  • Stimulates appetite



Cannabis Indica may have originated from the Hindu Kush mountain range From central Afghanistan to central Pakistan. They have wide, deeply serrated leaves and a compact and dense flower cluster. Indicas tend to have higher amounts of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that modulates the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and has extremely important medical value to a wide variety of illnesses. CBD among its many properties CBD has anti-psychotic effects and lowers the psychoactive or “high” feeling induced by THC. Because of this, many commercially available strains on the black market have been bred to lower CBD in relation to THC. The effects of Indicas are predominantly physical and sedative. Due to the relaxing nature of Indicas, they are best used for non-active times of the day, and before bed.

Some therapeutic uses of Indicas:

  • Reduces pain
  • Relaxes muscles
  • Relieves spasms
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Aids in sleep
  • Reduces anxiety and stress
  • Reduces nausea
  • Stimulates appetite
  • Stimulates appetite
  • Relieves headaches and migraines
  • Reduces intra-ocular pressure
  • Reduces seizure frequency


index1Hybrid strains are the result of cross pollination of various strains. The characteristics and the effects, of one strain, Sativa or Indica, will usually be dominant.

  • An Indica-dominant cross will be effective for pain relief, with the Sativa component helping with energy and activity levels. Such a strain is ideal for daytime pain relief.
  • A Sativa-dominant cross will be helpful in stimulating the appetite, with the Indica component increasing muscle relaxation. This strain would be ideal for daytime appetite stimulation.
  • All strains of cannabis may increase appetite and reduce nausea, however crosses are reported to work most effectively.

Conditions and Symptoms

Medical cannabis patients use cannabis relieve a variety of symptoms including debilitating nausea, lack of appetite, wasting, pain, muscle spasms and tension that limit mobility, and to improve their overall sense of well-being. Some patients have recommendations for the use of cannabis for conditions such as bi-polar, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and as harm reduction for substance abuse and withdrawal. Those suffering from critical or chronic physical conditions also may experience depression and anxiety for which cannabis can be beneficial. Research suggests that cannabis can be extremely effective in alleviating the symptoms of many mental health conditions. However, in some cases, cannabis use may not be beneficial and may prove deleterious to mental health.

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