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Why Do Certain Strains Affect People Differently?

Most medical marijuana patients are probably familiar with the differences between indica and sativa strains. This general classification of strains shows that most indica strains induce calming, sedative effects, whilst most sativa strains induce more stimulating and euphoric effects.

While they’re a good rule of thumb to go by, these generalizations are not absolute rules. Marijuana strains are typically crossed from different strains, creating unique blends that have attributes of both sativa and indica.

Medical marijuana takes effect in the body through the body’s Endocannabinoid System, and every individual ECS can react to the same strains in uniquely different ways. There are a few reasons for this, which we will get into below.


Much like caffeine or alcohol, marijuana’s effects depend on each patient’s body. For some people, a single cup of coffee is enough to last all day, while others drink cup after cup all day.  Marijuana is no different. It is important to be mindful of how you’re consuming and how it will affect you. When consuming medical marijuana, it is important to know how much is the right amount for you. Edibles are absorbed differently than vaporization, and understanding the difference will help the average consumer have a more consistent and enjoyable experience.

This is where the ECS comes in, yet again. It’s why certain strains can aid in the symptoms of anxiety, or mental health issues. No two individuals ECS are 100% identical, but it is the system our body uses to absorb THC and other terpenes to give the consumer different effects.

Biological Sex

Biological males and females naturally possess testosterone and estrogen respectively, but these hormonal differences also interplay with medical marijuana in a multitude of intricate ways. For instance, the female brain has been observed to have higher cannabinoid density than the male brain, meaning that they have increased cannabinoid sensitivity. Interestingly, males are typically more susceptible to experiencing an increased appetite after consumption than women.

Overall Health

The entire purpose of the Endocannabinoid System is to move the body closer toward homeostasis, balance, and equilibrium. Those who suffer from chronic illness (whether physical or psychological) will not have the standard healthy baseline of balance that people who don’t have these disorders will possess.

Rather than bring forth an uncomfortable high feeling, medical marijuana may be more likely to move these individual’s conditions closer to equilibrium.

The Strain Itself

Perhaps the biggest factor in a strain’s effects comes from the strain itself, its terpene profile, and how that matches what you are looking for. Our bodies might be sensitive to certain terpenes or blends that can give the opposite effect that we’re hoping to experience.

A prime example of this is found in the terpene alpha-pinene. Alpha-pinene is a common terpene found in most sativa marijuana strains. There are certain strains like Blue Dream where the pinene content is very high and is intended to help with focus and mental energy. In some people, the high pinene and THC level can result in headaches or anxiety. If you are an anxious person and want to consume medical marijuana for calming effects, avoid pinene and look for a strain with linalool, which comes from lavender and is known for its calming effects.

Learning about common marijuana terpenes and what they can do is a vital part of finding the best treatment for you. When paired with THC, they can have a positive impact on the body.

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