With 15 U.S. states and Washington DC already allowing medicinal marijuana users a legal alternative to managing their own pain, advocates fighting to legalize, regulate and tax cannabis claim their time is near.
In November, California voted against ending cannabis prohibition all together, but the measure was defeated by just over 700,000 votes with Proposition 19 forcing the global spotlight on the issue of pot law reform for recreational use.
Medicinal use of the plant, however, continues to forge on as a trojan horse of sorts. As more chronic pain sufferers praise marijuana's healing power and debate over lost tax revenue and expensive jailing for offenders grows louder might warrant a closer look into the financial viability of legal sales.
In an attempt to take a closer look into marijuana's alleged medicinal values, we consulted Danny Danko, High Times magazine's senior cultivation editor, to help us identify the most popular strains for medicinal use. Highlighting excerpts from Danko's new book, High Times Field Guide to Marijuana Strains, we compiled a list of marijuana strains that he claims to have medicinal value.
What are the top medical marijuana strains today? Click ahead to find out!
By Oliver Quillia & Paul Toscano
Posted 8 Dec 2010
According to Danko, White Berry can make a great nighttime smoke, claiming its soothing qualities can induce a peaceful, easy feeling just perfect for sitting on the couch. He also recommends White Berry for relieving muscle spasms and restless-leg syndrome.
The hybrid genetics of this strain is a mix between Humboldt County “Trainwreck” and “Afghani Mazar,” giving the user a favorable taste and the grower an easier plant to grow. Danko claims this strain enhances appetite and lowers ocular pressure, which is particularly important for glaucoma sufferers.
“Trainwreck” is a staple of Northern California, says Danko, and the A-Train strain has “a kick all its own.” It was named the High Times top 10 strain in 2009 and is known for its spicy flavor and citrus after-taste.
Named in honor of noted cannabis researcher and author Dr. Lester Grinspoon, a Harvard Medical School professor and advocate of marijuana for over 40 years. “Long-lasting and very cerebral, this is a true connoisseur’s strain,” says Danko. Danko says this strain can be used for the treatment of depression and nausea.
“Over the past few years, the sativa-dominant Blue Dream has become a real dispensary favorite on the West Coast, especially in the Bay Area,” says Danko, noting that it’s become a staple at many medical-cannabis collectives. He describes it as “as full-bodied in odor, flavor and high, the colorful strain provides a richness of experience lacking in many other “meds.”
Danko also notes that Blue Dream allows the user to be fully functional and lacks sedative qualities present in many other strains, although the euphoria experienced is relatively strong. He offers this strain may be a remedy for chronic stomach or back pain.
A perennial winner in High Times’ ‘Cannabis Cup’, this strain is a combination of successful types of marijuana to create this highly praised variety. Danko notes that G-13 Haze, developed by the European company Barney’s Farm, exhibits spicy and sweet flavors as well as an uplifting high for users and can be used to treat depression, ADD and ADHD.
“True connoisseurs know the many positive effects of sativas, including their ability to inspire sensual thoughts and feelings,” says Danko. The effect is to “elevate and stimulate the mind” while burning off in an incense-like smell. He says this strain may assist bronchial dilation, helping to alleviate symptoms of asthma-related conditions.
Described by Danko as “the all-time-best mellow, violet colored indica-dominant strain available to the public today,” it is also popular among medical marijuana users and growers. The foliage of the plant has also been recognized by marijuana enthusiasts, featuring orange veins and dark-purple leaves.
The strain provides a relaxing high, says Danko, with a taste of plum and pomegranate, and is best recommended use at a time of low activity. Users claim its relaxing qualities have been useful for treatment of insomnia.
Crimea Blue, a favorite of Danko, is described as having “connoisseur-level detail” in its make-up. It is a prizewinner that is a combination of genes from Ukrainian Hash and Blueberry strains and is noted for its complexity. The strain also includes scents of lemon and pine, delivering a high that may foster creativity.
Possible medicinal values include treatment for muscle-spasms for multiple sclerosis patients and pain reduction from neuropathy suffered by HIV/AIDS patients.
Sometimes referred to jokingly as “ampheta-weed,” this strain tends to energize the user to the point of paranoia in amateur smokers.
Possibly recommended for medical patients treating depression, seasonal affective disorder, PTSD and some forms of anxiety. Danko suggests to prepare mentally to anticipate the rising high and then sit back and enjoy the ride.
Placing second in HIGH TIMES 1999 Cannabis Cup winner for Indica, Danko claims strains from this area in Mazar-i-Sharif region in Afghanistan appeal to indica lovers interested in power from their pot. Users claim to feel strong sedating properties, possible recommended for patients who need muscle relaxation or are looking for help falling asleep at night.
This almost pure indica strain has its origins in the Pacific Northwest, but according to Danko has become increasingly popular and available worldwide. Users note these grape-flavored, violet-colored nuggets can help patients appreciate the deep body stone, which may be helpful in treating chronic pain and depression.
Danko says this strain is perfect for those with a higher THC tolerance since it combines an “up” high of a longer-flowering plant with the hardiness and rapid growth typical of shorter, stockier indica. Users point out Satori’s abilities to ease depression and anxiety (unlike some sativas that can make the heart race).
British Columbia established itself long ago as the pot paradise of Canada’s provinces, and the strain called Romulan led the way. According to Danko, Romulan buds are prized by medical patients for their pain-relieving properties and devastatingly powerful couch-lock high. Users can enjoy the piney odor and peppery flavor.
Danko claims patients who smoke Sativa Afghani Genetic Equilibrium, S.A.G.E. for short, may help treat mood swings, hepatitis C and PTSD. Users report enjoying its sandalwood scent.
Danko says this fruity flavored strain has a high pistil-to-leaf ratio that makes smoking it a treat since there’s very little leaf on each bud and a thick coating of resin. Users report this strain can help with appetite for those suffering from nausea or otherwise unable to eat.
Bred and named in honor of the late marijuana activist Jack Herer, this strain is called the “Champagne of Strains” and has frosty and bubbly characteristics, says Danko. Jack Herer has several related strains, including Jack Flash, Jack’s Cleaner, Jack Candy, Jackie O and Jackie White, which Danko notes is a testament to the strength and beauty of this variety, as well as its versatility in breeding programs. Patients suffering from anxiety disorders and fibromyalgia report relief from using Jack Herer.