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Home ยป How to Find the Right Cannabis Strain and Dose for your Medical Condition

How to Find the Right Cannabis Strain and Dose for your Medical Condition

The vast array of cannabis strains available in dispensaries, recreational stores, or online seedbanks can make for a bewildering experience when finding a strain that will hit the right spot for your particular medical condition.

How do you choose? What should you look for? And when you do decide, how do you know how much to take and how long to give a strain before you can figure out whether it’s for you or not?

Seedsman sat down with some growers and activists in our community to discuss this topic. Read on to see what they said.

1. Do Your Research

Start by researching which cannabinoids and terpenes are being studied for your particular condition and which ratios might be potentially beneficial (THC: CBD, for example). Although clinical research with cannabis is still in its infancy and human studies are few and far between, preliminary data (from petri dishes or animal studies) indicates the potential therapeutic utility of certain cannabinoids for specific ailments. For example, CBG has demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects in mice with induced inflammatory bowel disease, leading researchers to conclude that CBG could be tested on human patients. Although no clinical data exists as yet, if you were suffering from IBD, a strain with a high percentage of CBG might interest you.

Be discerning in your research, as there is a lot of misinformation online. Peer-reviewed medical publications will give you the most reliable data. Still, because research takes so long to complete and is so costly, many uses of cannabis have not reached trials yet. In such cases, real-world evidence can be just as valid and can be found by connecting with other medical users in your community and learning from their lived experiences. There are multiple forums for medical cannabis users and home growers, where people discuss different strains and doses and what has helped them. All of this can help guide you towards making an appropriate choice.

The legal medical and recreational markets offer lab-tested products that identify the percentage of cannabinoids and terpenes in a particular strain. It is a bit more hit and miss for people growing their own. Both will require trial and error, but obviously, the trying is a little more trying if you are growing! Seedbanks list the cannabinoid and terpene content of their seeds, but obviously, this is harder to be precise due to phenotypic variation. You might have to experiment with different strains and phenotypes to find something that hits your sweet spot eventually. Patience is a real virtue here!

2. Start With a Low Dose

Long-time Seedsman collaborator and medical grower Mandy Gosselin advises to always ‘start small and see how the effect will be and build from there.’ That way, you will get to use the smallest amount possible to help the condition. This means starting with a product with low percentages of the cannabinoids you are after or taking less of it if the product contains high percentages. Make sure to dose methodically and take notes regularly to monitor the effects. Starting low will help you find your sweet spot, limit unwanted side effects, ensure that you get the most for your money or growing efforts, and give you a baseline to work with when determining the effects you are seeking.

There are several ways to medicate with cannabis. Smoking the dry flower itself, vaping concentrates, consuming tinctures or oils, edibles and even using topicals. Smoking will produce the quickest effects, whereas effects from edibles will come on slower but last considerably longer. It’s important to dose accordingly and never underestimate edibles – give yourself time to feel the results before consuming more!

3. Go Slow

Don’t let first impressions fool you when trying out a new strain to use as a medicine. The first effects will not define the results you will get from the strain over time. Sometimes it takes your body a while to become accustomed to it and for you to achieve the results you want with it. We recommend you try a particular strain over several weeks, better still months, under different conditions, to get a feel for what it can offer you. Keep a diary and document the effects.

For acute conditions (such as pain), you should be able to tell pretty quickly whether a strain will offer your relief, but for more intractable chronic conditions, give it at least six weeks. If a doctor is prescribing you, they will help you reach your optimal dose, but if not, it’s just a case of being patient until you find it. Many medical users don’t experience significant benefits until several months of use.

4. Experiment With Different Strains and Phenotypes

Seedbanks will tell you the ratio of cannabinoids and terpenes you can expect from a strain, but each seed has its unique genotype. Its genotype is the genetic code that carries the information to produce specific characteristics in the plant (such as colour, shape, smell, resin production etc.). The extent to which these characteristics will be expressed is dependent on the environment. Genetic code and environmental conditions give rise to various phenotypes with each strain you grow out.

If you are choosing seeds to grow cannabis plants for legally permitted medical use, you might want to pheno hunt for particular traits you are looking for. This will involve sowing several different strains or seeds from one strain, seeing how they grow out, and identifying the plant(s) that are carrying the traits you are looking for. Once you have identified desirable phenotypes, you can clone them to ensure genetic stability and secure a reliable medicine source for the future.

Cultivation information, and media is given for those of our clients who live in countries where cannabis cultivation is decriminalised or legal, or to those that operate within a licensed model. We encourage all readers to be aware of their local laws and to ensure they do not break them.

This post is also available in: French

Hattie Wells