Nobody knows the answer to this question for sure, as there are so many different variables to consider. First of all, you have to look at the person’s physiology (e.g. body-mass index) and even lifestyle (e.g. activity levels), the condition they’re suffering from, and any other medications they are taking. Then, you have to take individual differences in each person’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) into account.
To add to the confusion, the term “strain” is also not the proper terminology for cannabis. The old “indica”, “sativa” and “hybrid” distinctions are inaccurate descriptions of what the plant actually contains. When tested for cannabinoid, terpene and flavonoid profile, an indica and sativa may be more similar than different. What seems to matter is: a) the environment the cannabis was grown in; b) the characteristics bred for by the original breeder (hence the term “cultivar”); and c) at what point the plant was harvested. All of these can help determine how much tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), cannabinol (CBN) and cannabichromene (CBC) is expressed in the plant (often given as a percentage of each cannabinoid, as well as THC:CBD ratio), as well as which terpenes and flavonoids end up developing.
With that being said, there are certainly unique landrace varieties of cannabis with unique characteristics. Landrace varieties are types of cannabis that have grown naturally in specific locations around the world (e.g. classic varieties like Afghani, Panama Red, Colombian Gold, Mexican/Oaxacan, Thai), that haven’t been crossed with any other types of cannabis. These landrace varieties have now been crossed together to produce new, hybrid forms of cannabis, which has had the effect of increasing potency, yield and protection against diseases, as well as allowing for selection of specific characteristics within a single cultivar and making the plants easier to grow – we often recommend beginners to growing first try hybrid varietals. However, there is still some value in keeping original landrace varieties and unique hybrids alive due to their cannabinoid and terpene profiles.
You can check out our conditions page and report for more information on specific conditions and which cannabinoid ratios and terpenes may help, as well as our blog for blog articles and interviews with doctors and scientists, to get learn more about cannabis as medicine. Sadly, we cannot say anything more than, “Cannabis/marijuana may have some potential medical use for some medical conditions and illnesses. We cannot point you to any particular strain or product for definite.”
We advise people to take things slowly and to never consume too much cannabis at once, and in a safe environment. People respond to cannabis in different ways, and we will never say, “Cannabis will definitely help for your condition.” It may, it may not. Sometimes it might help at certain dosages, or hinder at other dosages. Some might even report little effect whatsoever! Different cannabinoids and terpenes might have different effects, and you may need to try and find out and see what works for you. For more information on this, we recommend you check out our guide to dosing.
Perhaps the best three oieces of advice we can give when it comes to getting specific information on which medical marijuana product is best for them are:
1) Listen to your body and your needs, and get an idea of what works best for you personally;
2) Do your research; and
3) Go to people who take their jobs seriously. Does the dispensary and/or company who makes the product test their for safety (pesticides, heavy metals, pollutants, pathogens etc.)? Do they endeavor to give information on cannabinoid and terpenoid profiles wherever possible? Do they provide any other educational services?
You may also want to approach doctors and scientists who are trying to figure out “What cannabinoid-terpenoid profile works for my particular condition and endocannabinoid system (ECS)?” We don’t expect everyone to have the answers, but those who honestly state, “We don’t have all the answers, but here’s what I know and here’s the research out there so far on it” are probably the ones who might actually know something about cannabis. Be suspicious of snakeoil and anyone claiming to have all the answers, because for the moment, nobody does.
The body of evidence so far suggests that medical cannabis and CBD is particularly useful for chronic pain, neuropathic pain, insomnia, the side-effects of chemotherapy and some types of cancer, epilepsy and seizure disorders, inflammatory bowel diseases, multiple sclerosis (MS), glaucoma and some autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, type-1 diabetes and lupus. However, not everyone’s condition is necessarily cannabinoid-responsive (i.e. endocannabinoid deficiencies or other problems regarding endocannabinoid signaling), and some people may react well to one cannabis variety whilst another doesn’t. In this regard, cannabis is just like any other medication.