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Strains of Marijuana Plants

There are several different types of marijuana strains. While all marijuana has important medicinal and healing properties, each cannabis strain is different and can be used to treat different conditions and illnesses.

The marijuana sold in Illinois dispensaries is based on two different cannabis species: Indica and Sativa (as well as hybrid strains that mix the two). Medical marijuana strains are created from breeding and crossbreeding these plants to enhance their different medicinal qualities. The active ingredients present in all marijuana strains are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Cannabinol (CBN) and Cannabidiol (CBD). These compounds are present in all strains of medical cannabis and are responsible for helping to alleviate the symptoms of the illnesses of medical marijuana patients.


Generally speaking, Cannabis Indica strains of medicinal marijuana will provide strong body effects which are ideal for pain relief and relaxation. Due to the high CBD:THC ratio and the sleepy effect that may accompany the use of an Indica strain, consumption of Indica cannabis is preferred for night time. In fact Indica strains are often used as sleep aids. Indica strains that are higher in CBD don’t produce a psychoactive “high” and also have an anti-epileptic, anti-anxiety effect. Indica is the ideal medical marijuana strain for appetite stimulation, pain relief, muscle relaxation and insomnia.


Cannabis Sativa strains of medical marijuana have a higher THC-to-CBD ratio, which causes an uplifting and inspirational “head high.” As a result, Sativa strains are also typically the recreational marijuana of choice. Since the CBD levels are lower in Sativa strains, the body effects and relaxation properties are less pronounced than with Indica strains. Daytime use of Sativa is preferred as the higher THC content has been shown to have a stimulating effect. Sativa strains are good for conditions of the mind, and have been shown to treat depression, stimulate appetite, increase focus, boost energy and improve moods. 


There are a wide range of Hybrid strains of both recreational and medicinal marijuana. These plants are created by selectively “blending” both Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa strains to maximize the beneficial properties from each strain and limit the unwanted effects. Most Hybrid strains of marijuana fall into two broad groups: Indica-Sativa (Indica-dominant) or Sativa-Indica (Sativa-dominant). Cannabis Hybrids are often used medicinally. For example: Indica-dominant Cannabis Hybrids are effective for pain relief, and the Sativa component allows the patient to maintain their energy and activity levels. Sativa-dominant strains are good for stimulating appetite, with the Indica portion helping to reduce body pain and increase relaxation. Among other conditions, Hybrid cannabis is used to treat insomnia, muscle spasms, and treat anxiety, as well as to reduce inflammation.

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