Finding the right product for you

Matching Cannabis to your symptoms

Finding the Best Cannabis Products for You


If you’ve experimented with cannabis for symptom relief or general wellness, you’ve probably noticed that all cannabis products do not affect you in the same way. That’s because cannabis, as plant-based medicine, comes with a good deal more variability than pharmaceuticals do. Your experience with cannabis—whether intended for symptom relief, feeling well, or just fun—is affected by a number of factors, including: the total percentage of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids; the ratios between those cannabinoids; your total dose; your mode of intake (i.e., vaporizing, smoking, taking a tincture or edible, etc.); the presence (or absence) of compounds called terpenes; and your mood and environment while consuming. On top of all that,

each person’s endocannabinoid system, which determines how your body responds to cannabis medicine, is unique.

No wonder it’s a bit tricky to find your sweet spot!

When working with cannabis for health and wellness, anticipate a learning curve as you find what works best for your body and your unique symptoms. Here, you’ll find suggestions, based on cannabis science and up-to-date research, for mapping key symptoms to cannabinoids and other components of the plant.


Pain is the most common symptom people seek to treat with medical cannabis. Unlike other pharmacological pain treatments, medical cannabis has been proven effective in treating all types of pain—including neuropathic, acute, visceral, somatic and psychogenic pain. Many medical cannabis doctors recommend starting with a low-dose of a 1:1 THC to CBD product for pain relief.


THC: the most commonly utilized analgesic (pain-relieving) cannabinoid; many medical cannabis users rely on THC for pain relief, but be aware that THC is the primary psychoactive component in cannabis and will, in the right doses, give you the “high” or “elevated” feeling. Try combining THC and CBD for pain relief.

CBD: along with numerous anecdotal reports, this cannabinoid has been shown to provide effective pain relief in animal models and preliminary human studies.

CBN: a 2019 study found significant reductions in pain signals with CBN; even more helpful results were found with a combination of CBD and CBN.

CBG: often called the “mother of all cannabinoids,” CBG holds significant promise for pain relief.

THCV: preliminary research has found decreased signs of pain and inflammation with the use of THCV.


Myrcene: widely viewed as the most analgesic of the cannabis terpenes; a 2019 study found therapeutic potential for myrcene as a pain reliever. Strains high in myrcene include Nine-Pound Hammer, Grape Ape, and Grandaddy Purple.

Caryophyllene: a study published in 2013 showed that caryophyllene reduced pain felt by chemotherapy patients. Strains high in peppery-smelling caryophyllene include Bubba Kush, Candyland, and Gorilla Glue #4.

Pinene: this piney-scented terpene is believed to contribute to an overall analgesic effect, especially in combination with other terpenes.

Linalool: in the same study referencing pinene, above, researchers found pain-relieving effects from linalool in combination with other terpenes.


One of the next most common reasons people try medicinal cannabis is to treat anxiety and stress. If CBD is on your menu of options, start with a high-quality product and take a few weeks to titrate your milligram intake upwards until you find your ideal dose. If you’re an experienced cannabis user, you could try a low dose of THC in addition, but be advised that larger doses of THC can worsen, or even induce, anxiety. According to research and user reports, the following cannabinoids and terpenes may be most helpful:


CBD: research is still in early stages, but users report that quality CBD has the best track record for treating anxiety; even high doses will not worsen it.

THC: a low dose is best, and may be most effective in conjunction with CBD. “Low dose” could be as moderate as a single puff of a strain with 15% THC or less, or 1-2.5mg of ingestible THC.


Linalool: known for its soothing, anxiolytic effects similar to the essential oil lavender. Strains high in linalool include Zkittelz, Do-Si-Dos, and Kosher Kush.

Limonene: a citrusy terpene that’s been shown to reduce anxious behaviors in animal models. Strains high in limonene include Banana OG, Cherry White, and Black Cherry Soda.


30-40% of adults report insomnia symptoms each year, and unsurprisingly, sleep issues are also among the top reasons people seek out medical cannabis. When it comes to smoking or vaping THC, cannabis guides often recommend finding a strain with myrcene as the dominant terpene; on the other hand, many patients prefer THC edibles for sleep because they last longer. CBD and CBN are two other cannabinoids that may be helpful for sleep issues.


THC: research on THC for sleep is admittedly a bit mixed, but there is promise. One study showed that THC helped people fall asleep faster and reduced overall REM sleep in favor of deeper sleep states. Anecdotally, many cannabis patients medicate with THC to assist with sleep issues and tend to favor THC strains high in myrcene for that purpose (see myrcene, below).

CBD: in a 2017 review of many previous studies, researchers found that high doses of CBD are associated with improved sleep quality and duration.

CBN: is trendy today in the sleep-improvement space, with plenty of anecdotal evidence and new CBN-based sleep products on offer. To date, we have only limited clinical evidence that CBN is a sedative; however, this mildly psychoactive cannabinoid is associated with sleepiness among cannabis consumers because aged flower converts its THC to CBN. Anecdotally, smoking older cannabis flower induces sleepiness, and it’s presumed that the effect comes from a higher percentage of CBN.


Myrcene: Folk healers in various cultures have utilized plants with high myrcene content to aid with sleep. Myrcene may also be a muscle relaxant. Myrcene-rich strains frequently suggested in cannabis sleep literature include Grandaddy Purple, God’s Gift, and Nine-Pound Hammer.


It’s clear that the endocannabinoid system plays a role in regulating nausea, and THC has long been the star of the show when it comes to anti-nausea and anti-emetic uses of medical cannabis. As we learn more, THCA (the non-psychotropic precursor of THC), is emerging as potentially even more helpful, and studies show that CBD could also contribute to the solution for patients seeking to treat nausea and vomiting without the psychotropic effects of THC. It should be noted that long-term, heavy THC use can lead to an unusual condition, characterized by frequent vomiting and abdominal pain, called cannabis hyperemesis syndrome. Moderation is key when using medical cannabis for nausea.


THC: the effectiveness of THC for reducing acute and anticipatory nausea is well-established by numerous studies in both human and animal models. A 2021 study showed that “the vast majority” of patients experienced relief when using THC-rich cannabis to treat nausea. Flower labeled as “sativa” and “hybrid” outperformed cannabis labeled as “indica.”

THCA: was shown to “potently” reduce nausea-related signs and behaviors in animal models from a 2013 study.

CBD: in a 2016 review of existing studies, researchers found CBD a “highly effective” intervention to reduce both acute and anticipatory nausea for chemotherapy patients.

CBDA: the same literature review that looked at CBD for nausea, above, also found significantly positive results with CBDA (CBD’s precursor) with no psychotropic effects.


Limonene: a 2014 study showed that inhaled limonene (as lemon essential oil, not as a component of cannabis) significantly reduced nausea and vomiting among pregnant women.

Linalool: while studies have not been conducted on lavender’s solo effects on nausea or vomiting, it’s been effectively combined with ginger and fennel in inhaled (essential oil) form for this purpose.
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