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Universal understanding of medical cannabis treatment is broadly based upon a desired bodymind effect; however, with over 700 strain types globally, choosing one’s own best medicine presents a barrier to treatment.
As a result of the strain “naming” phenomena inherent in cannabis culture, medical users are guided towards a particular species of cannabis when asked the dominant treatment question: “Do you want something for the head or something for the body?”.
The Origins of Strain Naming
Canna from the Babylonian word “cane” and -bis via French and Italian, meaning ‘twice’ referencing the female and male nature of cannabis, was first recorded in De materia medici, in 70 A.D. by Dioscorides, the Roman father of Pharmacology. De materia medici, persisted for centuries as the most comprehensive plant, animal and mineral formulary ever written.
Cannabis sativa, simply meaning “cultivated” cannabis, best known for focused and creative mind effect, was first cited by German Physician, Professor and Ethnobotanist Leonhart Fuchs in his pharmaceutical herbal, De historia stirpium, in 1542. Accompanied by a brilliant illustration of European hemp, Fuchs acknowledged the possible existence of a wild cannabis species indigenous to Asia, i. e. indica, but never actually observed the species.
Confirming the existence of a wild hemp indigenous to India and Asia, Cannabis “Indica” literally meaning “of India”, seeds have been found in caves dating back as early as 10, 000 years in Japan. Considered most potent for its body effect, Indicas have been used extensively in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines, dating back more than 3,000 years.
Believed to have been a vital food source of omega rich fatty acids for early man, scientific speculation asserts that the consumption of cannabis seed, oil and leaves helped progress the development of man. Not a far reach considering our endocannabinoid system is the only thing separating us from slime mold. More on that in the next Strain Theory!
Over hundreds of millions of years, plants have evolved genetic chemicals that mimic the structure of neurotransmitters in mammals, binding at receptors in the nervous systems of plant predators, aka humans. This is precisely why we respond to plant cannabinoids, or phytocannabinoids, as they resemble neurotransmitters we make ourselves.
THC, the only psychoactive cannabinoid, mimics Anandamide, our own internal THC, the molecule of bliss vital for embryonic growth and development, regeneration of neuropathways after injury, neuroprotection, stress management, programmed cell death, thermoregulation, feeding and forgetting.
New genetic testing technologies have lead to the discovery that multiple strains of industrial hemp are genetically closer to the indigenous hemp Cannabis Indica than to historically cultivated Cannabis Sativa. Perhaps this is why hemp derived high CBD strains like Charlottes Web, provide effective treatment for Epilepsy, since wild cannabis evolved alongside human development from the time of Early Man.
While there are prolific strain options for high THC Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica, perhaps the evolutionarily persistent model of simply eating hemp and cannabis including raw, may be one of the best practices for boosting overall health. In essence, maybe we all need to eat more weed!
For more information about how I can help you integrate cannabis into your health and wellness regimen please visit me over at The Center for Integrative Nursing and Cannaceutical Sciences