What Should I Choose – Indica or Sativa? Long answer short – there’s absolutely loads to choose from! If you’ve been reading around this site, then you’ll find in that there doesn’t seem to be any major difference between medical and recreational cannabis. The distinction comes from the user, who might need it for specific ailments, rather than the type of plant itself. To quote Dr. Ethan Russo in an interview from the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research: “Dr. Russo: There are biochemically distinct strains of Cannabis, but the sativa/indica distinction as commonly applied in the lay literature is total nonsense and an exercise in futility. One cannot in any way currently guess the biochemical content of a given Cannabis plant based on its height, branching, or leaf morphology. The degree of interbreeding/hybridization is such that only a biochemical assay tells a potential consumer or scientist what is really in the plant. It is essential that future commerce allows complete and accurate cannabinoid and terpenoid profiles to be available. CCR: Sativa is often described as being uplifting and energetic, whereas indica as being relaxing and calming. Can you speculate on what could be the basis for these perceived differences? Dr. Russo: We would all prefer simple nostrums to explain complex systems, but this is futile and even potentially dangerous in the context of a psychoactive drug such as Cannabis. Once again, it is necessary to quantify the biochemical components of a given Cannabis strain and correlate these with the observed effects in real patients. Beyond the increasing number of CBD predominant strains in recent years, almost all Cannabis on the market has been from high-THC strains. The differences in observed effects in Cannabis are then due to their terpenoid content, which is rarely assayed, let alone reported to potential consumers. The sedation of the so-called indica strains is falsely attributed to CBD content when, in fact, CBD is stimulating in low and moderate doses! Rather, sedation in most common Cannabis strains is attributable to their myrcene content, a monoterpene with a strongly sedative couch-lock effect that resembles a narcotic. In contrast, a high limonene content (common to citrus peels) will be uplifting on mood, while the presence of the relatively rare terpene in Cannabis, alpha-pinene, can effectively reduce or eliminate the short-term memory impairment classically induced by THC.” Piomelli Daniele and Russo Ethan B..Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.Dec 2016.ahead of print http://doi.org/10.1089/can.2015.29003.ebr; retrieved from: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/can.2015.29003.ebr So, the question then becomes, “which variety of cannabis plant has the cannabinoid-terpenoid profile I’m looking for, what sort of environment do I need to grow it in in order to get this profile and how long do I need to flower the strain for to get the effects I want?” Sadly, there’s not any one way of knowing for sure, and the only way to tell is by using the same strain in small amounts a few times, trying many different strains and finding the ones that suit you best. For those who are growing at home and need to keep things small and discrete, autoflowering strains of cannabis can be used, but there is some debate concerning their overall cannabinoid content (although ruderalis plants seem to be high in CBD). The taxonomy of cannabis – it’s a difficult issue. So, do we agree with Dr. Russo’s statement? Due to the amount of crossbreeding and the fact that the same strain name can produce phenotypes with distinct cannabinoid and terpenoid profiles, Dr. Russo is what we might call “mostly correct”. However, there does seem to be some sort of pattern. Indicas are likely (although not always) to have higher amounts of CBD and myrcene in them, whilst sativas tend to produce less CBD and, in the case of equatorial sativas, more THCV. However, we are not here to debate the taxonomy of the cannabis plant and the way botanists define things. We would like to introduce you to some of the best strains from the best breeders. Most of these are grower, time and user-tested. Wherever possible, we have selected varieties from standard, reliable breeders. However, we should be careful of applying the term “medical” to any strain, as 1) almost any strain could be “medicinal”; and 2) there is no definitive evidence on any particular strain’s or strains’ efficacy for a particular ailment or condition. Much of what we have written here is based upon patient reports gathered from a number of sources, including Leafly.com and searching various forums, such as the Mr. Nice Forum and UK420.com, as well as seed breeder forums and descriptions (which can be more marketing gimmick than reality, unfortunately, but things are changing!). Now, we do not know for definite if any of the below are the “best” or “more medical than other strains out there” – our list is based upon what we’ve found many growers and breeders in the cannabis community say themselves. Please note that this list is not exhaustive but a guide of some of the best/most stabilized strains from some of the best breeders. For a more extensive look, check out the breeders and seed banks themselves (and start growing your own), and have a look to see if there’s any particular strain you might prefer. Please remember that some indica hybrids may, on occasion, have sativa phenotypes (and vice-versa). This means that you could grow a sativa strain and end up with a plant with an indica effect. The environment the cannabis plant is grown in has a significant impact upon the terpenoids and cannabinoids expressed by any particular cannabis plant. There are also some great, lesser-known, underground breeders that we may not know of, or who are local to the area they breed and grow in, creating some amazing cannabis varietals. There is a lot of politics in the cannabis growing community, especially as there are many arguments over who created what and when, as well as the quality of the seeds. Our findings suggest that, yes, there are some breeders who are more open, honest and trustworthy than others, but also that many breeders will have a few excellent strains, and a lot of not-so-good or unstable ones that either require time and patience to grow, or are simply a way of making an easy buck with a interesting-sounding name. We want to avoid such politics, and simply try and point you in the right direction and hopefully get you to understand the cannabis plant and its effects a lot better. We have split the lists into Breeder, Strain Name, Genetic Background and Effect. Cannabis indica plant. Indica/Indica Dominant Cannabis Strains Breeder: Ace/Cannabiogen Strain Name: Pakistan Chitral Kush Genetic Background: Chitral x Hindu Kush x Pakistan Effect: Relaxed, happy, sleepy. Stress, insomnia, pain, muscle spasms, inflammation. Afropips Seeds Fast Blast Iran x Blueberry Euphoric, relaxed, sleepy. Pain, stress, depression, insomnia. Barneys Farm Violator Kush Malana x Hindu Kush Relaxed, happy, sleepy, euphoric. Pain, insomnia, depression. BC Bud Depot CBD God Bud BC God Bud x Harlequin Relaxed, happy, euphoric. Pain, stress, muscle spasms. Bodhi Seeds Cougar’s Milk Socal Master Kush x Appalachia Relaxed, euphoric. Stress, focus. Cali Connection Pre-98 Bubba Kush Hindu Kush Relaxed, happy, sleepy. Insomnia, pain, stress, headaches, depression. CBD Crew Seeds Critical Mass Afghan x Skunk No. 1 Relaxed, happy, sleepy. Pain, stress, depression. CH9 Seeds Chemdog Ultimate Chemdog x Vintage 2006 Relaxed, sleepy. Pain, muscle spasms. Chimera Seeds Schnazzleberry No. 2 The Dom x Blueberry Relaxed, sleepy, weightless. Pain, insomnia, muscle spasms. DJ Short Blueberry Thai x Afghan Relaxed, happy, sleepy. Stress, pain, depression. DNA Genetics Cataract Kush LA Confidential x OG Kush Relaxed, happy, sleepy. Stress, depression, pain, nausea. Dr. Atomic Northern Lights No. 5 Northern Lights No. 5 Happy, focused, uplifted, relaxed. Stress, pain, depression, eye pressure. Dutch Passion Seeds Blue Moonshine Blueberry x Afghani Sleepy, relaxed, weightless. Pain, insomnia, inflammation. Emerald Triangle Seeds Blackberry OG Black Domina x Very Berry x Lost Coast OG Relaxed, euphoric, happy, uplifted. Pain, stress, muscle spasms. Flying Dutchmen Dutch Delight Big Bud x Skunk x Afghani Sleepy, relaxed. Pain, insomnia, muscle spasms. Green House Seeds King’s Kush OG Kush x Grape Ape Relaxed, happy, sleepy. Pain, stress, lack of appetite. Holy Smoke Kong Motavation x White Russian Relaxed, euphoric, tingly. Pain, stress, insomnia, nausea, depression. Homegrown Fantaseeds Master Kush Hindu Kush x Hindu Kush Relaxed, happy, sleepy. Insomnia, depression, headaches. Jordan of the Islands God Bud Unknown x Hawaiian x Purple Skunk Relaxed, happy, euphoric. Pain, stress, insomnia, depression. Karma Genetics C99 X Biker Kush Cinderella 99 x Hell’s Angel OG Relaxed, sleepy, euphoric, happy, tingly. Pain, stress, depression, insomnia, nausea. Kiwi Seeds Alegria Unknown (20% sativa, 80% indica) Uplifting, happy. Anxiety, depression Mandala Seeds Hashberry Unknown. Cross between a US and Indian indica. Relaxed, euphoric, happy, uplifted, sleepy. Pain, stress, insomnia, lack of appetite, inflammation. Mr. Nice Seeds Medicine Man aka White Rhino Brazilian Sativa x Indian Indica (White Widow) x Afghani Relaxed, happy, uplifted, tingly, sleepy. Stress, pain, depression, nausea, insomnia. Nirvana Seeds Ice Afghani x Skunk x Northern Lights x Shiva Relaxed, happy, euphoric, sleepy, hungry. Stress, depression, lack of appetite. Paradise Seeds Sensi Star Unknown (Afghani?) Relaxed, happy, sleepy, euphoric, uplifted. Pain, stress, insomnia, depression, muscle spasms. Reeferman Seeds Mighty Mite Kootnay Mountain Mighty Mite Relaxed, happy, sleepy, euphoric. Pain, insomnia. Reserva Privada Seeds Purple Wreck Purple Urkle x Train Wreck Relaxed, happy, euphoric, uplifted, focused. Stress, depression, insomnia, nausea. Resin Seeds Hammershark Dieseltonic x Shark Shock Relaxed, euphoric, happy, focused, uplifted. Stress, pain, depression, inflammation, nausea. Royal Dutch Genetics Strawberry Kush Kalifornien x OG Kush Happy, relaxed, euphoric. Pain, stress, depression, lack of appetite. Sagamartha Seeds Matanuska Tundra aka Matanuska Thunder Fuck Euphoric, happy, energetic, uplifted, creative. Stress, pain, depression, fatigue. Sannies Seeds Herijuana Petrolia Headstash x Killer New Haven Relaxed, sleepy, happy, euphoric, hungry. Pain, insomnia, stress, depression, inflammation. Seedsman Seeds Mazari Mazar I Sharif Relaxed, happy, creative, sleepy, uplifted. Pain, stress, lack of appetite, insomnia. Sensi Seeds Black Domina Afghan x Ortega x Northern Lights x Hash Plant Relaxed, sleepy, euphoric, happy. Insomnia, stress, pain. Serious Seeds Warlock Afghani x Skunk No. 1 Happy, relaxed, focused, euphoric, uplifted. Stress, pain, depression, inflammation, muscle spasms. Soma Seeds Somango Big Skunk Korean x Jack Herer Relaxed, sleepy, hungry, uplifted, creative. Stress, insomnia, pain, muscle spasms, depression. Spice of Life Donk Unknown x Blue Satellite Uplifted, euphoric, relaxed. Depression, anxiety, stress. Sweet Seeds Cream Caramel Bluback x Maple Leaf Indica x White Rhino Relaxed, happy, sleepy. Stress, insomnia, fatigue, muscle spasms. TGA Subcool Deep Purple Purple Urkle x Purple Querkle Relaxed, euphoric, sleepy. Pain, stress, inflammation. T.H. Seeds Bubblegum Indiana Bubblegum Happy, relaxed, euphoric. Stress, pain, depression. Tom Hill Deep Chunk Afghani Relaxed, happy, euphoric, uplifted, sleepy. Insomnia, pain, stress, eye pressure, fatigue. Underground Originals Smile Unknown Relaxed, happy, euphoric. Depression, anxiety. World of Seeds Afghan Kush x Yumbolt Afghan Kush x Yumbolt Sleepy, relaxed, happy. Pain, insomnia, muscle spasms, nausea. Cannabis sativa plants in full bloom. Sativa/Sativa-Dominant Cannabis Strains Breeder: Ace/Cannabiogen Strain Name: Vietnam Black x Thai Genetic Background: Vietnamese x Highland Thai Effect: Stimulating, energetic, uplifted. Fatigue, depression. Afropips Seeds Malawi Gold Malawi Gold Relaxed, focused, energetic, uplifted, euphoric. Stress, fatigue, pain, headaches. Barney’s Farm Acapulco Gold Acapulco Gold – Mexican Sativa Happy, uplifted, euphoric, energetic, creative. Stress, depression, fatigue, muscle spasms. Bodhi Seeds Big Sur Holy Bud Californian Sativa Happy, uplifted, relaxed, creative, euphoric. Stress, depression, nausea, muscle spasms. CBD Crew Seeds Medi Haze Super Silver Haze x Neville’s Haze Relaxed, uplifted, happy, energetic, focused. Pain, stress, inflammation, depression, nausea. DJ Short F13 Thai x Mexican x Afghani Uplifted, energetic, euphoric. Depression, stress, focus. DNA Genetics Cannalope Haze Haze Brothers Original Haze x Mexican Haze Happy, uplifted, energetic, euphoric. Stress, depression, pain, nausea, fatigue. Dr. Atomic Atomic Haze Northern Lights x Cambodian x Super Silver Haze Relaxed, happy, talkative, energetic. Depression, stress, nausea, pain, eye pressure. Green House Seeds Super Lemon Haze Lemon Haze x Super Silver Haze Happy, energetic, uplifted, focused, euphoric. Stress, fatigue, pain, depression. Holy Smoke Bhutanese Thimphu Bhutanese Thimphu Euphoric, uplifted, happy. Depression, fatigue, anxiety, inflammation, spasticity, muscle spasms. Homegrown Fantaseeds SPR Haze Amnesia x Unknown Indica Relaxing, uplifted, euphoric. Stress, focus, inflammation. Jordan of the Islands The Purp Mendocino Purps Relaxed, euphoric, uplifted, happy, sleepy. Stress, depression, pain, insomnia, fatigue. Karma Genetics AG13 x Biker AG13 Haze x Biker Kush Happy, euphoric, relaxed, energetic, uplifted. Stress, pain, depression, headaches, fatigue. Kiwi Seeds Congo Haze Red Congolese x Neville’s Haze Focused, uplifted, energetic, creative, happy. Nausea, cachexia, tension, muscle spasms. Mandala Seeds Beyond the Brain Colombia/Haze x Satori Energetic, chatty, uplifted, creative. Depression, tension, anxiety. Mr. Nice Seeds Super Silver Haze/Mango Haze Haze x Skunk No. 1 x Northern Lights Happy, uplifted, euphoric. Anxiety, depression, fatigue, stress. Positronics Seeds Grapefruit Cinderella 99 x Unknown Sativa Happy, energetic, uplifted, euphoric, creative. Stress, depression, pain, fatigue, headaches. Reeferman Seeds Nepalese Highland Nepali IBL Happy, relaxed, uplifted, euphoric, giggly. Stress, fatigue, depression, nausea, insomnia. Reserva Privada Seeds Silver Kush Silver Bubble (SSH x Bubblegum) x OG No. 18 Relaxed, happy, uplifted, creative, giggly. Stress, depression, fatigue, eye pressure, pain. Resin Seeds Critical Haze Critical Mass x Afghan Haze Happy, euphoric, hungry, uplifted, euphoric. Stress, depression, insomnia, lack of appetite, pain. Sagamartha Seeds Western Winds (Kali Mist phenotype) Unknown Sativa Happy, uplifted, creative, energetic, focused. Cramps, spasticity, depression, fatigue. Sam the Skunkman Original Haze x Skunk No. 1 Haze x Skunk No. 1 Electric, uplifting, energetic. Focus, motivation. Sannies Seeds Sannie’s Jack Jack Herer (Haze x Northern Lights x Shiva Skunk) Uplifted, happy, energetic, creative, euphoric. Stress, pain, fatigue, headaches, depression. Seedsman Seeds Early Durban Durban Poison x Skunk No. 1 Uplifted, euphoric, energetic, happy, creative. Stress, pain, fatigue, headaches, depression. Sensi Seeds Ed Rosenthal Super Ball African x Afghani x Hindu Kush x Thailand x Mexican x Jamaican Euphoric, tingly, uplifted, relaxed, happy. Stress, pain, depression, headaches, muscle spasms. Soma Seeds Amnesia Haze Afghani x Hawaiian x Southeast Asian x Jamaican x Cambodian Thai x Haze Energetic, relaxed, happy, uplifted. Stress, pain, depression, fatigue, insomnia. Serious Seeds Kali Mist Unknown Sativa Happy, uplifted, creative, energetic, focused. Cramps, spasticity, depression, fatigue. Spice of Life Blue Satellite Blueberry Sativa x Sweet Tooth No. 3 Happy, euphoric, creative, uplifted, relaxed. Stress, depression, pain, nausea, lack of appetite. TGA Subcool Nurse Jackie Medicine Woman x Jack the Ripper (Jack Herer hybrid) Energetic, happy, euphoric, uplifted. Pain, stress, headaches, inflammation, muscle spasms. T.H. Seeds S.A.G.E. Unknown Haze x Afghani Happy, relaxed, focused, euphoric, uplifted. Stress, depression, pain. Tom Hill Haze Original Haze (Mexico x Colombia x Thailand x India) Euphoric, energetic, uplifted, happy. Stress, pain, depression, fatigue, lack of appetite. Underground Originals Oldtimes ES x ESB x Blueberry Euphoric, relaxed, talkative, uplifted. Stress, anxiety, depression. World of Seeds Columbian Gold Santamarta Sativa Euphoric, relaxed, energetic, creative, uplifted. Pain, lack of appetite, stress, depression, inflammation. Cannabis plant in bloom. Indica-Sativa Hybrid Cannabis Strains Breeder: Big Buddah Strain Name: Cheese Genetic Background: Skunk No. 1 x Afghani (Exodus Cheese) Effect: Relaxed, uplifted, hungry, euphoric. Stress, pain, depression, insomnia, lack of appetite. CH9 Seeds Blue Lemon Thai Lemon Thai x Toxic Blue Relaxed, uplifted, creative, euphoric. Fatigue, stress, focus. Chimera Seeds C4 Cotton Candy Kush x Shishkaberry Relaxed, uplifted, focused, happy, euphoric. Fatigue, stress, pain, headaches, depression. DJ Short Azure Haze (Blue Dream) Blueberry x Super Silver Haze Relaxed, uplifted, euphoric, dreamy. Depression, anxiety, stress. Mandala Seeds 8 Miles High African Sativa x Indian Indica Relaxed, uplifted, talkative. Stress, depression, anxiety. Mr. Nice NL5 x Haze Northern Lights No. 5 x Haze Happy, energetic, uplifted, energetic, relaxed, focused. Stress, depression, fatigue, pain, inflammation. Resin Seeds Cannatonic MK Ultra x G13 Haze Relaxed, happy, uplifted, focused. Pain, stress, inflammation, muscle spasms, depression, anxiety. Sannies Seeds Cheeseberry Haze Blue Cheese x Lady Cane (Super Silver Haze x G13) Relaxed, uplifted, dreamy. Stress, anxiety. Serious Seeds White Russian AK-47 x White Widow x White Widow Relaxed, uplifted, creative, euphoric, sleepy. Stress, pain, depression. Soma Seeds NYC Diesel Mexican Sativa x Afghani Happy, uplifted, euphoric, relaxed, energetic. Anxiety, depression, pain, stress, fatigue, inflammation. TGA Subcool Jilly Bean Orange Velvet x Space Queen Happy, uplifted, relaxed, euphoric, creative. Stress, depression, cramps, nausea. Underground Originals The Blues The Blues x Killerskunk (The Blues x Smellyberry) Relaxed, uplifted, creative, focused.. Anxiety, depression, stress. Some Tips on Deciding Which Cannabis Strain to Grow Should you decide to grow one of the above yourself, please take genetics and the environment you’re growing in into account. A sativa strain from equatorial regions will likely not grow so well in a small grow tent in the middle of North America or a wet and windy country in Europe. Also take into account the sort of environment the breeders get their seeds from, as this means that the seeds they grow will likely be “conditioned” to grow in that environment. Approximating the environment that the cannabis strain comes from in your own grow room is the way to get the best out of your cannabis plant. Most of the bigger seed breeders are from the USA, Canada, Spain, Portugal, Holland and the United Kingdom, although there are some from other parts of the world as well. Generally speaking, a hardy hybrid that can be grown indoors or outdoors and has a flowering time of 10 weeks or less are the most forgiving of mistakes is best for a beginner. Indeed, even the best breeders use such strains as a backbone for their own breeding projects due to their stability and ability to withstand diseases! As far as using any one of the above strains, we would recommend vaporizing and tinctures most as it gives the most direct and controllable method of ingestion. Edibles and “dabbing” of concentrates are fine for medical use, but we would recommend to ingest using these methods in small amounts, as well as slowly and at longer intervals, due to the fact that they produce much stronger effects. Many companies that focus on making medicinal products tend to make tinctures, due to ease of titration and its ability to be used by almost anyone, young or old. Of course, strain names don’t tend to make much difference when it comes to such products, as they’re looking at making specific cannabinoid-terpenoid profiles (which is arguably the case for the strains as well, but their greater variability makes this less of a factor).