Comparing Cannabis sativa with
Cannabis Indica and their hybrids
By James H Freire Jr.
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In comparing varieties within a genus one must establish representative examples as benchmarks for each variety. In doing so the examples must represent all of the hallmarks of each variety. To this end I have chosen generic afghani as my benchmark indica and a Oaxaca/ Colombian cross as my benchmark sativa. From these two varieties we can make most of the important differences and similarities apparent. When trying to choose a medical strain one must first make a list of desired benefit from the use of cannabis, for instance if you have chronic fatigue with fibromyalgia you may wish for the following benefits
1) increased energy 2) pain relief 3) immunological support A person would then research which variety has shown efficacy in these areas and choose one or more varieties to achieve the desired results. It may well be a single hybrid can produce all desired effect( In this case possibly a sativa dominant hybrid for reasons we’ll get into). One must remember that most of the information on this is anecdotal and some what subjective so any specific application is greatly dependent on ones own response to the variety. With these things said lets talk about the plants, in general Cannabis sativa is the taller lankier variety that under optimal conditions can reach 5-6 m, it is usually characterized by narrow serrated leaves and a loose spear-like flower cluster that can be extremely resinous. The cannabinoids present in Cannabis sativa are characterized by an elevated cannabidiol level and a more stimulating psychological effect (although certain african and Hawaiian types can be quite sedative in a somewhat unique way). Sativas also seem to have greater immune enhancing abilities than indica varieties. Tinctures made from sativa cannabis are very effective on strep throat, and the variety seems to be preferred by immune compromised patients.
Cannabis indica is characterized by a shorter stockier growth pattern(1-2m) with wide deeply serrated leaves and a much more compact and dense flower cluster. The cannabinoids found in indicas generally have an elevated cannabinol level and a much more narcotic type psychological effect. Indicas make very good pain "relievers" and sedatives. Tinctures made from indicas are effective on muscle spasm and various types of myalgia and neuralgia. These varieties seem to be preferred for nausea also. (this is now being challenged by the effectiveness of some of the sativa dominant crosses available) Now with that said one should know that there are probably 500( or more) different "hybrids" of sativas and indicas each with its own unique cannbinoid profile. By using the general guidelines for the benchmark varieties one can experiment with different hybridizations to fine tune the effect desired.
Keep in mind that you are the best judge of what works for you and it will be up to you to determine what that will be. Strain recommendations to benefit specific body systems
1) Neurological problems should be treated on a case by case basis with sativa dominant hybrids being used as stimulating agents (such as in tension headache) only where a stimulating effect is desired. In general neurological problems respond well to the soothing effects of the indica profile .As an aside I personally know a young man who was able to eliminate haldol and control his Tourette’s syndrome using indica dominant strains.
2) Musculoskeletal problems can present a dual problem, the pain associated with these ailments can often be accompanied by depression and fatigue. So the easy solution of recommending a strongly analgesic indica could compound the secondary ailments of fatigue and depression. In these cases a hybrid variety could be the answer, look for pain relief of an afghani crossed with a stimulating sativa to help keep you active, if you could benefit from it. In some instances simply using a very potent Hawaiian or african sativa can give a balance between pain relief and energy level (these types seem to slow the body but leave the mind very active)
3) Immunological problems create special needs for the patient as far as product purity and method of cure. AIDS patient cannot be exposed to molds or fungi so great care must be used in curing the product to absolute dryness. Also immunological problems can also be quite painful so choosing a product to give maximum benefit with minimal negative impact on the immune system. The feed back I have received indicates that sativa varieties are preferred by immune compromised patients for their uplifting effects (could this be whats behind the immune enhancing effect ? ) and the energy boost the can provide.
4) Gastrointestinal effects are what really sparked the renaissance of cannabis medicine. Cannabis’ powerful antiemetic and appetite enhancing properties have been known by cancer patients for years. For this system I will make one broad recommendation; indicas seem to be broadly effective for most GI complaints ,the exception being motion sickness which responds to the stimulating effects of a sativa variety
5)Dermatological problems can take on several forms, plain itching or lesions of some kind. Systemic anti-inflammatory cannabinoids can be of benefit. look into low doses of indica type cannabis (excess use can actually make you itch much like the effect opiates have on some people) and perhaps a topical preparation of resinous sativa (disolved in an emolient of some kind ) can provide topical anti-inflammatory effect.
6)Cardiopulmonary issues and cannabis are a controversial subject as mainstream medicine views the inhalation of any smoke as anathema. But patients with lung and heart problems find benefit from the use of Cannabis in spite of negative medical bias. Cardiac patients can get benefit from sedative indicas for relaxation and stress relief but care should be exercised as Cannabis use can slightly raise heart rate but without an increase in blood pressure( I use cannabis before my post bypass exercise sessions and can sustain 45 min hard aerobic exercise without problems less than 1 year after surgery) Pulmonary ailments generally shouldn’t be treated with smoked product with the exception being conditions which respond to an expectorant product smoked Cannabis of any variety is an excellent expectorant.
7)Psychological therapy using Cannabis is as old as man’s association with it. Cannabis is effective in substance withdrawal and various mental perturbations. One way it works is by changing the mood of the user, usually in a positive direction, although it can cause paranoia and agitation in some cases. Strain selection for psychological problems should hinge on whether the condition causes agitation and unrest or depression and angst and appropriate stimulating or sedative qualities should be chosen
8)Endocrine conditions are as a rule not primarily affected by Cannabis and its use is primarily palliative .Strain selection should focus on immune enhancement and easing distressful sensations. (I am presently working on updating this section of information as some new facts have recently arisen)
9)Chemotherapy and radiation therapy cause great stress to the body, indeed these treatments literally bring the body close to death to destroy the less hardy cancer. As a result a whole range of physical and psychological symptoms accompany these drastic treatments. The most well known being the wracking nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy but the list of secondary effects of treatment is much longer .Again treatment with Cannabis should be of a supportive nature, sustaining the appetite, easing discomfort, and raising the spirits of the patient, sativas seem good for this effect as well as sustaining the immune system.
10) Ophthalmologic uses range from easing glaucoma to slowing macular degeneration. I believe indicas to be most effective in eye conditions because of what I believe to be a higher concentration of calcium channel blocking cannabinoids. These substances work in a similar manner to calcium channel medications for blood pressure except the eye has nerve receptors specific to endocannabinoids (substances created in the body)
11) Gynecological problems treated with Cannabis were made famous by Queen Elizabeth’s use for pre-menstrual symptoms. As her Cannabis probably came from India at the time it was probably an indica or indica dominant hybrid This guideline is by no means complete and as more research is done and more longtime medical users come forward with new applications I will update as applicable. To this end I ask that if any one would care to contribute information on medical applications please contact me through this forum, we after all are the longest running cannabis study in existence we simply must correlate the data and interpret it out side of political influence. I’m sure that as more research is done the potential for this amazing medicine will become apparent. To date most research is done wth smoked Cannabis or synthetic derivatives, leaving out the effects of alternative ingestion modes (tincture, food, transdermal, vaporizers, inhalers). All of these modes will change the effect of the same Cannabis. We who this information is for, are at present the forefront of Cannabis research. It is we who will not be denied this wonderful remedy and we who will pioneer its reestabliment of it’s rightful place among man’s medicine chest. I wrote this some time ago and am presently updating it to reflect a more modern and up to date view of Cannabis strain specific therapies.
AILMENTS GROUPED BY BODY SYSTEMS AFFECTED AS FOLLOWS
1) Neurological Delerium tremens schizophrenias Neurasthenia Stuttering Tourette’s syndrome Persistant insomnia Tension headache Nonpsychotic organic brain syndrome Multiple Sclerosis Cerebal palsy Epilepsies Grand Mal seziures Limbic rage syndrome Jacksonian epilepsy Migraines Tic Doloroux Neuropathy Nystagmus,Congenital Insmonia Tremor/involuntary movments Myofacial pain syndrome
2) Musculoskeletal Post polio syndrome Amyotrphic lateral sclerosis Multiple sclerosis Quadraplegia Paraplegia Carpal tunnel syndrome Arthritis,rhumatoid Arthrits,degenerative Arthritis,post traumatic Arthropathy,degenerative Patellar chondromalacia Ankylosis Intervertebral disk disease Lumbosacral back disease Muscle spasm spondylolisthesis Scoliosis
3) Imunological AIDS related illness Viral B hepatitis,chronic Viral C hepatitis, chronic Cancer Lupus Scleroderma Eosinophilia-Myalgia Syndrome Fibromyalgia Chronic fatigue syndrome Hepatitis( non-viral) Pancreatitis Prostatitis
4) Gastrointestinal Psychogenic pylorospasm Migraine Acute gastritis Gastritis Peptic ulcer/Dyspepsia Colitis,ulcerative Pylorospasm,reflex Regional enteritis Crohn’s disease Colitis Irritable bowel syndrome( spastic colon) Hiccough Vomiting Nausea Diarrhea Cachexia Motion sickness
5) Dermatological Henoch-Schoelei Purpura Pruritis ( generalized itching) Scleroderma
6) Cardiopulmonary Paroxysmal atrial tachycardia Post cardiotomy syndrome Acute sinusitis Chronic sinusitis Asthma ( unspecified) Cystic Fibrosis Cough Hypertension
7) Psychological Senile dementia Schizophrenia Schizoaffective disorder Mania Major depresssion, recurrent Bipolar disorder Anxiety disorder Panic disorder Obsessive compulsive disorder Alcoholism Opiate dependence Sedative dependence Cocaine dependence Amphetamine dependence Tobacco dependence Post traumatic stess syndrome Intermittent explosive display Psychogenic PAT Limbic rage syndrome Hypertension
8) Endocrine Graves disease Thyroiditis Diabetic gastropareisis Amyloidosis Dysthymic disorder Parkinson’s disease huntington’s disease Limbic rage syndrome Pancreatitis Prostatitis
9) Chemo/Radiation therapy Cancer Chemotherapy Radiation therapy Major depression, recurrent Anxiety disorder Panic disorder Opiate dependence Sedative dependence Migraine Acute gastritis Gastritis Peptic ulcer/ Dyspepsia Pylorospasm Anorexia Vomiting Nausea Diarhea Cachexia
10) Opthalmological Macular degeneration Glaucoma Dyslexic Amblyopia Color blindness Conjunctivtis Drusen of optic nerve
11) Gynecological Endometriosis Premenstrual syndrome This is a list of ailments shown to be affected by cannabis compiled by Dr Tod H Mikuriya M.D. available at www.drugsense.org/CCUA/ICD9.html
and grouped by body system by James H Freire Jr.
Duplications of ailments indicate multiple system symptomology. I expect this list to be some what fluid ,as more research is done I will attempt to maintain the accuracy of this listing. Certain statements regarding endocrine function need