Choosing the right strain of medical cannabis can be confusing at first with so many different and occasionally unusual names – the medical cannabis strain names are not always representative of the desired medicinal effects. This being said, it is much easier to decide what your desired effects are before you decide which strain to go with. Many patients have never tried or grown cannabis before discovering it as a medicine. Even for those who have, knowing what works for recreational and social purposes does not always translate into knowing the most suitable variety of cannabis for specific medical needs. 

When choosing a medicinal cannabis strain, it is useful to have a basic understanding of the differences between Indica strains and Sativa strains in terms of their medical applications. You have to know that there is and another medical cannabis stain, called Cannabis Ruderalis (variety that grows wild in parts of Eastern Europe and Russia). It’s occasionally used in hybrids (an intentional crossing of two different types of Cannabis) to help the resulting plants be better able to cope with the cold weather. It is not generally thought of as a consumer strain, so we’ll confine our talk to Sativa’s and Indica’s. 

All psychoactive cannabis contains the active compounds known as cannabinoids, but the proportions of the two main cannabinoids in the various strains create different effects when they are ingested. 

Effects and Uses of Medicinal Cannabis Sativa Strains

Medicinal Cannabis Sativa are tall, thin plants, with much narrower leaves and grow a lighter green in color. They grow very quickly and can reach heights of 20 feet in a single season. They originally come from Colombia, Mexico, Thailand and Southeast Asia. Once flowering has begun, they can take anywhere from 10 to 16 weeks to fully mature. Flavors range from earthy to sweet and fruity. The stone of a Sativa is cerebral, up and energetic.

Cannabis Sativa strains provide a cerebral, energetic ‘high’ effect which is experienced in the mind as well as in the body. These strains are most effective for the treatment of nausea, appetite stimulation, migraine headaches, depression, chronic pain and similar symptoms.

Effects and Uses of Medicinal Cannabis Indica Strains

Indicas originally come from the hash producing countries of the world like Afghanistan, Morocco, and Tibet. They are short dense plants, with broad leaves and often grow a darker green. After flowering starts they will be mature in 6 to 8 weeks. The buds will be thick and dense, with flavors and aromas ranging from pungent skunk to sweet and fruity. The smoke from an Indica is generally a body type stone, relaxing and laid back.


Cannabis Indica strains generally create a sedative, ‘stoned’ feeling. This sensation tends to be centred in the body, which relaxes as muscle tension is reduced. Indicas are most effective in treating muscle spasms and tremors, chronic pain, arthritic and rheumatic stiffness and swelling, insomnia, anxiety and related conditions.

Hybrid Strains

A good Indica/Sativa cross can also offer the best of both worlds. There are many breeders who work hard to develop strains that will accomplish just that– give you a great head high coupled with a relaxing and definitely medically-beneficial strong body stone.

For some patients this offers an advantage, especially when medicating with cannabis to relieve chronic pain, something for which both Indica and Sativa strains are suitable. Combining Sativa genes with an Indica strain can aid mental clarity and decrease sedative effects, while adding Indica to Sativa strains can lower the tendency of pure Sativas  to occasionally stimulate anxiety.Most professionally bred medical cannabis strains contain both Indica and Sativa genes. 

Consuming (eating) either strain or hybrid of the two results in a stronger, longer-lasting high. But it doesn’t feel as good as smoking the herb does to many who have tried it. It’s a matter of experience and personal taste. It really depends on what effect you are looking for when making your selection and choosing a way to ingest it for your condition. 

Top 10 Cannabis strains

1. Moby Dick is a tall plant with a large yield and rock hard buds. Moby Dick is a typical sativa with an extremely strong effect. Moby Dick is a delight for every grower, indoors as well as outdoors, thanks to her high mold resistance. Soft Secrets chose Moby Dick as ´Girl of the Year´ in 2010. Moby Dick is a cannabis strain from Dinafem.

2. White Widow, available at many cannabis seedbanks. White Widow is an extremely resinous cannabis strain with large, white trichomes. White Widow is pure medicine with a bittersweet aroma. White Widow is available in almost every coffeeshop in The Netherlands and even non-smokers have heard of the name ´White Widow´. She´s simply a classic among classics.

English: White Widow cannabis strain (form Dut...

English: White Widow cannabis strain (form Dutch Passion), 34 day of bloom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3. Jack Herer is a sativa dominant cannabis strain named after the legendary Jack Herer himself. Her flowering time takes a while, 70 – 80 days, but the spicy flavor and strong effect makes it all well worth the wait. Jack Herer won the famous High Times Cannabis Cup several times and is without a doubt one of the best cannabis strains from Sensi Seeds.

Jack Herer Strain

Jack Herer Strain

4. Critical+, is one of the most successful cannabis strains between indoor and outdoor growers on the market. The large influence of Skunk makes this strain very aromatic with a lot of resin. Thanks to Big Bud this strain is an incredible big producer of large flowers and rock hard nuggets. Critical + is fast flowering and she´s very easy to manicure. Critical + will guarantee a fantastic harvest with an incredible quality.

5. Skunk is one of the most famous and mythical cannabis strains out there. Skunk is simply the benchmark of uniform, reliable performance and her steady genotype has influenced more than a hundred modern hybrids from many different cannabis seed banks. Skunk has a high flower/leaf ratio, so she´s easily to manicure.

 6. Sensi Star is a fantastic strain from Paradise Seeds. Sensi Star is a mostly indica strain and is an incredible good cannabis strain for indoor cultivation. She produces powerful, resinous, and very compact buds. Sensi Star gives a complex high that warps both body and soul. Sensi Star was introduced in 1995, improved in 1997 and is still one of the best cannabis strains today.

Description unavailable

Description unavailable (Photo credit: Matt Kowal)


7. Blueberry is the mother of the so-called Blue family which is becoming more and more popular every day. Blueberry is mostly famous for her sweet, fruity taste and the blueish color she develops during the end of flowering. Blueberry has a make up of Thai and Oaxacan genetics and the development dates back to the 70´s. Blueberry is a cannabis strain developed by the legendary DJ Short.

Blueberry Strain

Blueberry Strain

8. Chocolope is the best-seller from the catalog of DNA Genetics. Chocolope is a crossing between Thai and Cannalope Chocolate. and she´s a chocolate flavoured old skool cannabis strain. Chocolope is sativa dominant, but DNA Genetics has been able to reduce her flowering time. Chocolope is an extremely easy plant to grow, which makes her a dream for anyone who has not too much experience with growing cannabis.



9. Somango is the sweetest and fruitiest cannabis strain from Soma Seeds. Somango is a crossing between the famous Jack Herer and a Big Skunk Korean. Somango is not a strain that produces the biggest yield possible, but the incredible quality of the finished product makes it all worth it. Many commercial growers grow this strain for their own personal stash. 

Somango Strain

Somango Strain

10. AK-47 – No Top 10 Strain List without mentioning the world famous AK-47 from Serious Seeds. At this moment AK-47 has won an incredible amount of 12 prizes in several cannabis competitions, making this strain the most awarded cannabis variety in the world. AK-47 has a THC of more than 20%, which makes AK-47 a ´one-hit-wonder´. AK-47 has an extremely strong smell.

AK 47 Strain

AK 47 Strain

The success of the eventual outcome will depend on your personal tastes and the conditions in which they are grown. Nobody tests the THC percentages of most strains and we are not really sure what the numbers mean when they do. THC is found in the resin glandsthat form on the plant during the maturation process. 

These glands act as a shield to protect the seed from the searing heat of the sun.From our experience this is needed more in a hot, dry atmosphere, than a hot humid one. To maximize resin production drop the humidity in the room for the flowering stage, the lower the better. But no matter how much resin you induce on an indica it’s still not going to give you the stone of a sativa, so it does have a lot to do with your personal tastes and expectations.

We are learning so much more about this wonderful plant all the time. We now know other aspects of cannabis such as the flavor (terpenes and flaviniods) also contributes to the effect. Remember, “the nose knows” – So trust your instincts and keep a personal cannabis journal to note how certain strains affected you.  In very little time, you’ll be a pro at finding the strains that suit.

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