As I get ready to medicate for the first time of the day, I have been thinking about how I can figure out what medicine I prefer. I have been using cannabis for years now to help treat my symptoms of PTSD. We all have our favorite strains, or will, but do we understand why we prefer them? I have a passion for research and knowledge, which makes me wonder why different strains of cannabis have different effects. The major classifications of cannabis are simple: Sativa, Indica, Hybrid, CBD, THC we can make a decision based off these classifications, but is that enough. I would say no. While an indica is fine for some patients to take during the day, it might not be the best for most people etc. There is a wide variety of compounds in plants, specifically with cannabis, which differentiate the smell, the taste and the effect of cannabis. Sticking with the same type of cannabis for a duration of time will increase the patient’s tolerance to the medicine. By finding why the strain is good for you, might help you identify other strains which could have similar effects.
Terpenes are aromatic molecules that have developed over time to serve a purpose. They are naturally occuring in all plant life and serve multiple functions: (IE) keeping predators at bay or attracting insects for pollinating purposes.Terpenes are the basis of essential oils used in Aromatherapy. More than 100+ different types of terpenes have been identified in cannabis, however these terpenes are not restricted to only cannabis. The smell of lavendar is soothing and relaxing to most people, this is do to the Linalool terpenes. The same terpene found in cannabis helps as an anesthetic, anti-convulsant and anti-anxiety. Below are some examples of common terpenes in cannabis and their effect on patients.
Myrcene is the most common terpene found in cannabis, which can reach up to 60% of the essential oils created by the strain. This terpene smells similar to that of cloves and like cloves is an anti-inflammatory and antibiotic. Myrcene interacts with THC, effectively increasing the psychoactive properties of cannabis. According to some reading, myrcene is very high in mangos. It is said that if you eat a mango, 45 minutes before medicating, the patient will feel an increased high.
Limonene is often the second, third or fourth terpene found in cannabis resin. This family of terpenes produces the typical smell we all recognise as citrus. Limonene has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties and is also anti-carcinogenic. It has been determined that patients medicating with a strain containing high percentage of limonene, have experienced increase attention-span and focus. It has been identified to increase sex-drive as well.
Pinene is related to the scent of pine trees, but also found in plant resin from sage and rosemary. Pinene has been associated to improve memory, because it inhibits acetylcolynesterasics. It is commonly used as an expectorant, local antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.
If you are looking for more of a sedative feel, terpinol might be something that you research more. Terpinol is normally found in cannabis that is high in pinene as well, the pinene tends to cover the aroma of terpinol.
The chart below may help you determine what type of medicine works well for you. Please consult your pharmacist before purchasing a new medication.